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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 2M ago

We got a bunch of snow in Virginia. Hurrah for a snow day! Actually, I find them kind of annoying, but they make for great photos. I spent some time just hanging out with the horses, trying to get some good photos. Stu was really the only one interested though, the others just ate their hay.

I feel like I got a workout just walking around in the snow with this huge belly. I also got stuck in a gate that wouldn’t open all the way because of the snow. And it also takes me like three times as long to do all the horse chores. Being pregnant is not efficient for getting things done!

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Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, filled with family and delicious food!

I’m now at 27 weeks pregnant. The final week of the second trimester. Next week, 28 weeks, will start the third trimester homestretch. It feels like this pregnancy has gone at light speed. In the beginning, it seemed like it would never end, and now here I am nearing the end. Thank goodness really, I’m sick of being handicapped, and I’m ready to go back to normal for me, granted with a baby now. But still, mostly normal life! Most of all, I’m looking forward to riding again. Berry has been looking awfully smug these days, not having to do anything but loaf about in the field.

The Belly

I guess belly bumps can be cute. Women other than me have certainly worn them well. I, on the other hand, feel like a tanker. I’m slow to start moving, and I have to take my turns wide. My belly sticks out like the prow of a ship, and is surprisingly solid, probably able to slice through smaller icebergs. I used to be able to slip through the barn doors or the gates easily, and now I get stuck because of my belly.

I used to be able to pick up hay easily and toss it out to the horses. Now it’s like a three step process – kneel down, collect, brace legs out and rise. Combine that with not being able to get through narrow gate openings, and sometimes I’m just stuck for a moment between the gate and the post, while Pony (it’s ALWAYS Pony) uses this opportunity to eat the hay I’m currently holding, showering me with hay bits. If I’m lucky, Stu joins him from the other side so I have both of them ripping hay out of my hands from opposite directions, while I’m just trying to scoot the gate open a few more inches.

Gym Time

The best part of the second trimester has been having energy again. The first trimester I was so tired I felt like I constantly had the flu. But the glorious second trimester, I’ve felt basically normal, and therefore, great. So I took advantage of this and starting actually going to the gym again. It quickly became a highlight of my day. To non-gym goers I’m sure this sounds strange, but going to the gym is addictive, and just makes you feel great. And I did feel great. Sure, I had to modify some exercises because I couldn’t put pressure on my belly, and I kept everything low impact, but I felt better, slept better (I have serious pregnancy insomnia), and it gave me something active to look forward to. Until…

The Twisted Ankle

About a week and a half ago, I was walking down the street outside my office, when I stepped on a manhole cover and rolled my ankle much much worse than I ever have. It was the most painful thing I can remember happening to me. I had heard a pop, so I actually thought my ankle was broken. I either let out a scream, or other people thought it looked painful because a bunch of people asked if I needed help, or needed 911. But because people and spending money scares me more than a possible broken ankle, I assured everyone I was fine, and then limped slowly away to my office.

It hurt a lot, but the pain started fading as I arrived back in my office, so I assumed it would probably be fine. I was walking around just fine for the rest of the day, even though it was swollen and still hurt a bit.

As the next few days went on, I was careful, but the pain seemed to be fading. Until one morning, when I was feeding the horses.

I was in the hay shed when I stepped on uneven ground. My ankle choose that moment to roll again, and down I went, shrieking in pain. Then my lantern went out. Just like the start of a horror movie. As I lay there in the darkness on the soft hay, sobbing, I wondered how long it would take coyotes to find me and eat me. I was either scaring away all wildlife with my cries of pain or attracting the more opportunistic animals.

Eventually, I got back up, and limped around, passing out hay to the horses. Despite the pain, and the lack of being able to see what I was doing, there was no way I was going to make a second trip down there later to finish feeding. My superpower is being able to throw out hay to the horses by feel alone.

At the moment, it was a little bit frightening to be down there with a hurt ankle and no light, but in retrospect, it was kind of funny, mainly because I didn’t get eaten by wild animals. I laughed about it later!

But as hilarious as twisting my ankle has been, it’s effected my ability to just live normally, and go to the gym. I haven’t been doing as much walking, and I feel like I’ve gained 10 lbs just from that. And the bigger I get, the harder it is to get around, and I feel like I need a walking stick to get up. I haven’t been able to do my leg exercises at the gym, and now my legs are starting to cramp up at night. As I mentioned, I already have issues sleeping at night, so now in addition to a baby doing gymnastics with my insides waking me up, I have uncomfortable, cramped legs waking me, and no amount of stretching will relieve it. And the leg exercises at the gym were just my favorite! I suffer from a syndrome that causes fat to store on my legs, commonly known as “fat legs,” and those exercises really kep it in check.

The Glucose Test

Pregnant women can sometimes develop what basically amounts to pregnancy diabetes. It appears in around the late week 20s, and will last the duration of the pregnancy, going away after the birth. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a condition that has to be managed carefully to avoid complications.

To test for it, women are given a vial of sugar water to chug, and then their blood sugar is tested an hour later. I was given this test. And they were concerned about the results, so I had to go back in a week later to get a second test. The entire week I fretted about how I was going to have diabetes and how I might die from this pregnancy, or how the baby might die, or I’ll have diabetes for life afterward, and have to have a carefully controlled diet for the rest of my life. Basically, I read a lot of WebMD.

I went in for the second test, and this delightful test was 3 HOURS LONG. I had to drink the sugar water again, and I had my blood drawn four times. My veins felt so bruised.

Luckily it turned out that nothing was the matter, and I was just left annoyed that I should have fasted before the first test for a more accurate result. They had assured me it was fine to eat before the test, but I will no longer believe that. Just fast… it’s so much easier.

In Conclusion…

This feels like a huge complaint, but it actually hasn’t been that bad. With the exception of feeling like a tanker and the sleep insomnia, I feel mostly normal. I think I got lucky. I have plenty of energy, and everything seems to be progressing on schedule, and everything is healthy. Despite my earlier complaint, it’s pretty amazing to feel the baby moving around inside of me. Sometimes it’s a little tap, sometimes it feels like she’s doing flips. Sometimes the movement is so big I can see my whole stomach ripple with the movement. I feel like such a cliche when I say this, but I can’t believe there’s an entire little seperate life instead of me. Like, how it is possible that I made this?

There are no cravings of any sort. I always heard pregnant women would have weird cravings, but nothing. I have the usual moments were I think I’d really like a pound of sugar to stuff in my mouth, but that’s pretty normal for me, and unrelated to the pregnancy. Not sure if I’m just lucky about this, or if I’ve been lied to my whole life about these so called “pregnancy cravings.”

Overall, I feel basically like me. But I would like my body to be my own again, with the ability to eat what I want and be able to engage in more active activities. I look forward to that day. Only three more months!

The post The 27 Week Pregnant Report appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 3M ago

I’ve had big barn plans in the past, but I’ve since scaled back my more elaborate ideas. A couple of factors play into this – the time required, the cost, and considering resale value down the road. If I built something more elaborate, chances are I would never get my money back. 

So, the new plan! 

I’ve started by moving all the hay and things I need storing into the shed that was originally Stu’s house. It makes for nice storage, especially with all the gravel I put out. (Pic above). I think the horses got used to loafing around in the shed and were a bit disappointed to lose it. They did manage to break into the area one day, and I found them munching on the hay and leaving manure everywhere, but I’ve managed to keep them out since.

This leaves the old hay storage area open for my next project.

Looking in from the front, still lots of hay leftover.

For now, I’ve been using the space to feed Stu. He’s at the bottom of the pecking order, and the other horses pick on him as they leave their own stalls after eating. 

The plan is to turn this open space into two stalls. One would be Stu’s and one would be Pony’s. I would remove part of the wall on the left to create an aisle running the length of the barn. The end result would be a shed row barn with a small aisle in the front. Simple, but effective for my purposes. 

The first part of putting up the stalls will not be fun. I think that the current roof beams are not getting enough support, so I’ll be putting up more posts to support the roof. The front area has a nice thick post, but the back area has small weak posts holding it up. It feels like one of those situations where it might be fine, but I’d rather know for sure that the roof has enough support. 

The roof still needs to be replaced, but that will, unfortunately, end up being pushed off. For the harmony of the herd, I really need Stu to have his own stall to be in when the weather is bad. He gets picked on a lot and ends up spending bad weather out by himself. 

So, first it will be the new supports, then the stalls themselves, and then the new roof. Other projects that don’t have a definite time frame are the new siding on the barn, and having individual run outs for each stall. 

I also have plans for more work outside the barn itself. I want to finish fencing in the little barnyard I’ve been working on. I also have a crazy little plan that would require much more planning – a little building across the barnyard, facing the barn with a tack room and a grooming stall. It’s really appealing to me right now. It would be perfect for the farrier and vet, and of course, perfect for tack storage. I’m really excited about the prospect of it! Of course, it would require much more planning, and who knows when that would actually go in. 

This all feels like a huge undertaking, but I’m optimistic that it would work really well for me. It will definitely take a while though. I’m disappointed that it’s now getting colder and much less pleasant to be outside, but still hoping that I’ll be able to get it done! 

The post The Barn Plan appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 3M ago

Big news in our world! The baby is in the factory, continuing to get bigger and stronger, but to double check on that, I had my anatomy scan to ensure all the parts were there. After all, we don’t want any surprises

The anatomy scan is typically done right around the 20 week mark. They check all the vital organs to ensure everything looks like it’s developing correctly, and as a natural side effect of all that poking around, you learn whether it’s a girl or a boy. 

My first child was a boy… the CUTEST LITTLE BOY EVER!

I had my anatomy scan right around 20 weeks, which was almost four weeks ago. But I had to go to the doctor again for another ultrasound, so it seems right to post this now. Baby was being very uncooperative the first time around, and wouldn’t flip over so they could get pictures of the heart.

I didn’t get any pictures of the main attraction (the baby), which was unfortunate. All the ultrasound pictures I have are of things like the kidneys, various limbs, and the brain. But overall, my baby looks like a reptile right now. The way it was sitting, all curled over, and it just looked like it had way too many ribs. Definitely a human baby though, just currently in the reptilian stage.

We wanted to share the gender reveal with my parents. I’ve seen that some people think that gender reveals are annoying, although really I’m not sure why people are against them. I think they are fine, although not in a blow-up something in the desert and start a wildfire kind of way. More of a “Good excuse to gather with family” way. Why not do a little something to celebrate life? 

It was a very simple plan. We got the sealed envelope with the reveal from the ultrasound technician and took it to the bakery. The bakery made a cake with colored frosting on the inside. Super simple.

We cut the cake and….

It’s a girl! (Although definitely a very subtle girl… it was very light pink)

I had been hoping for a girl, so I’m very happy with this. Of course, my first concern is if baby is healthy, and so far everything indicates that she is! 

During my recent follow-up ultrasound, I got to see baby again, except this time the technician threw in a little bonus. She took 3D images of her little face. On the machine, I could see everything in color, and she rotated around a bit. It was really cool to see her face! The printed images weren’t as fun, but it’s still really neat to see what she looks like. 

I personally prefer the above side view, where I think she just looks so darling, and also like an actual baby. But I also have the monstrous front view, where I believe she is channeling her lizard tendencies. 

I had to ask why she looks so bizarre, and apparently, it’s just because the umbilical cord was in the way, and she couldn’t get a picture without it. So she doesn’t have additional growths on her face, she’s probably mostly normal.

Seeing her face definitely made it feel real in a way it hadn’t before. I’ll need to start moving on getting her room ready, and getting the whole house ready for her arrival. I’m hoping the next few months will fly by! 

The post The Gender Reveal appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 3M ago

This has been the wettest year I can remember. Certainly, the wettest year since we bought this farm. We would get weeks of rain, one week of sun, and more weeks of rain. All that rain amounted to so much mud. More mud than I’ve dealt with. 

My normal mud control is to scrape it out once a year. My barn, where the mud is the worst due to the horses hanging out, is on a hill, so the dirt from above ends up making it’s way down the hill and collecting around the barn. So the scraping takes out that top layer and brings it back down to the stone dust base below. It was a pretty good system.

This year, I have scraped the mud back at least 5 times. To make it worse, sometimes the mud has been so bad that I have to wait for it to dry out before I can even get the tractor out, and sometimes it will just rain more, meaning the horses churn it up more, and it’s a sea of mud, constantly threatening to suck my boots off my foot completely.

It was too much, so I had to fight back. As I took some time off to deal with barn issues, it would be my top priority. Also, it kind of had to be because I could literally do nothing else until the mud was dealt with. The first step involved waiting for it to dry enough to get my tractor out, but then I sprang into action! I ordered some loads of gravel, which unfortunately it was too wet for them to dump it anywhere near where it was needed, but at least I had it. Then, the scraping. There was so much scraping. 

The muddy mess before The not quite as muddy but still a bit muddy after

The next step was to move all that gravel down there. Since I had to travel quite far from the gravel pile to the barnyard (It’s totally a barnyard now! very excited by this!) this was actually the most time-consuming task. Initially each trip took 9 minutes, but I shortened it down to 6 minutes by using the tractor bucket to open the gate, using the bush hog to push it shut behind me, and leaving it open for a few dramatic minutes while I while I rushed out to the gravel pit before the horses noticed the gate was open. Luckily, they didn’t notice or care about it the entire time. My hay bribe worked well. 

After many, many hours of bringing gravel down, my barnyard was looking good!

Since this picture was taken, I added more gravel, including covering the ground in the shed.

I tested it out by having a hay delivery put right in the shed, and it worked perfectly. It also rained twice since I put the gravel down, and it’s nice and firm. It feels like a huge luxury to have my little barnyard filled with gravel. I can now walk freely through the area without getting stuck or falling in the mud (both of which have happened). 

I still intend to put down more gravel – this is actually only one side of the barnyard, but the other side which has the stone dust base could still use more gravel. But that part will come after I put in some fencing to truly complete my little barnyard. Otherwise, I will just be digging holes in gravel, and that’s not nearly as easy as digging holes in the dirt. 

I’m also very excited that everything maintenance/storage related is now moved out of the barn and into the shed. This means I can start on another step – Operation Build Stalls for Stu and Pony. They used to have the shed as their run in, but since it now has new machinery occupants, that won’t work anymore. Plus, it’s another step to help with the mud!

I had originally planned to use this time to put a new roof and new siding on the barn, but once again, I was thwarted by the rain. It was too wet to drop a dumpster anywhere on my property, and I just didn’t have the time to make dozens of trips back and forth to the dump with the bit of old roof and siding. So, unfortunately, that task will have to wait for now. But, still to come! 

The post The Mud Problem appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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You already knew that I wasn’t dead, so me being alive isn’t the big deal (although, in a way, it’s a pretty big deal for me.) Instead, this is a different life changing event, although it is actually related to why I have been MIA for a while now. 

For you see…

I am pregnant! 19 weeks along now!

Your pregnancy comes with a string of ultrasound pictures as long as your leg.

While I am excited, it hasn’t really felt real yet. For sure, the EXTREME EXHAUSTION in the first trimester was real. I have never been so tired in my life. My life revolved around sleeping. I went to work, came home, and slept. Often times someone else took care of my horses because I was THAT tired. Basically, every moment I could get away with it, I was sleeping. I slept 16 hours on the weekends. The moments I was awake, I daydreamed about sleeping. My life was planned for maximum sleeping time. 

When I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating. Despite (or maybe in spite of) my low carb diet of the last year, it was all I wanted. All spaghetti, all the time. I needed that pasta. Moments I wasn’t thinking of sleeping, I was thinking of pasta. I did learn that a diet of all pasta and sleeping the rest of the time is actually not very healthy, and I gained about 10 lbs just in the first trimester. Ugh. 

Week 13 started to ease up on the exhaustion and pasta obsession until it faded into nothing. Now, I feel totally normal, except I can feel my little parasite kicking at my insides. I first noticed the movement at week 18. It felt like a little gas bubble, but I knew what it was. Now the little bugger has gotten stronger, and usually when I am laying still, it was start up its drum beat of wailing on my insides. It doesn’t hurt, but it makes me wonder if it will get to that point.

But, despite all of this, it is strange to think of myself as pregnant. I had two miscarriages prior to this, so I just kept expecting it to happen again. But then… it didn’t. And I became a little obsessive with making sure it doesn’t happen again. I now use all organic bath/body products, which is something I’ve never cared about before. I actually gave up coffee completely for a while, after finding out that excessive caffeine can trigger miscarriages, even considering that maybe that’s what happened before? I drank a lot of coffee. Now, notice I only said for a while though, because I also suffer from chronic migraines, and have always used coffee to treat my migraines. Turns out that without coffee, I had headaches and migraines constantly, so starting last week I started drinking tiny amounts of coffee so I don’t feel like death. But I went like 10 weeks without any coffee, and that’s pretty impressive in my book.

I haven’t even been riding because I’m too afraid of something falling apart in there. I’ve already gotten sharp pains in my abdomen from pushing hay around, and it terrified me so much that I had ripped something vital. Between every appointment I think something bad has happened and the only thing that gives me reassurance is hearing the heartbeat at the doctor’s office. I was pregnant when Stu kicked me over the summer – what if he got me right in the gut instead of the leg? What if he does it again? 

The horses cause me a little bit of anxiety, but not enough to do anything drastic. I enjoy seeing them twice a day, feeding them and messing with them. Stu is now the tallest horse in the field, and it’s hilarious to see him bossed around by the little pony. They are a major highlight of the day, and while I may not be riding, I am planning. I decided to use this time to really get some construction done. I have plans to redo the barn’s roof and siding, put up more fencing, and make some other improvements. That way, once the baby is born, I will have maximum efficiency to ride again. It’s going to be awesome. 

12 week ultrasound

And I’m really really hoping the little parasite will be horse crazy. I think really we all wish our spawn will have the same interests as us. But if not… I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it. I don’t know what else kids do. I know I rode horses. I guess other kids do like… bug collecting or something?

So now, at 19 weeks, I am feeling good, except for my inability to get a full night of sleep. What an ironic twist from the first trimester. I now wake up sometime between 1am and 4am, wide awake and full of energy. And then I’m not even tired during the day. Just the 5-6 hours of sleep, and I’m physically feeling fine, although unfulfilled. I did turn this into slightly a positive, and now I exercise at this ungodly hour. Yes, I am really that annoying person, waking up super early and working out. But since I already gained so much weight, I need to keep it under control. But at least I don’t obsessively talk about it like I am the next coming of crossfit, though!

Next week it the ultrasound when we find out the gender. We won’t find out right away, we are going to have a tiny gender reveal party with family, but I’ll know soon enough. I’m guessing that will make it feel more real, and we will discuss names, and I’ll finally clear out my clothes storage room to make a bedroom. Right now the clothes are way more real than the baby, and they need the space, dang it. 

I’m really hoping that having this baby doesn’t interfere with my own horse ambitions anymore than it already has. Since I’ve obviously never had a baby before, I don’t know to what extent it’s going to impact it. But I’ll be doing my best to still keep my own life, even while caring for another. I’m pretty sure that babies/children will adapt to the life we want to led, but I’ll see how that works out when it’s actually happening. The best I can do is prepare now, and I think my property improvement projects will help out a lot with that. I’m really excited about those, and will actually have an update soon as they are scheduled to happen in November! 

Let me know your experiences juggling kids and horses… potentially job too, that’s pretty important as well!

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 6M ago

It’s been almost three months since my last post. My god, where has the time went?!

At first it was time. And then it was exhaustion. And then when it wasn’t my routine anymore, I just forgot about it…

To get everyone all caught up, here’s the high level of things that happened over the last (almost) three months.

1. I got Lyme disease. 

Yes, I got the little bull’s eye rash and everything. I’m guessing it was from taking Stu on walks through long grass around the neighborhood. If I could, I’d go back in time and not do it, not just because of the lyme, but also because of reason 2 below. I did the round of antibiotics, and I should be fine now.. you know, unless I’m not, in which case, years from now, I’ll just start crumbling down, a sad husk of the person I was once.

2. Stu doubled barrel kicked me TWICE

WTF horse?! So on one of our walks around the neighborhood, Stu sees the neighbor’s dog, gets excited, sprints forward, and nails me in the thigh and hand, and then stops to graze happily without a care in the world. Granted, I was letting him walk a pace behind me, because he’d been so relaxed up until that point that I thought it was fine, so I didn’t even see the problem until it was too late. Lesson learned… or was it? Same walk, five minutes later, talking OUT LOUD about how much worse it could have been, and the freaking horse does it again! I guess it worked so well the first time, Stu thought it would be brilliant to try it again. This time he got me in the same hand again, and the opposite wrist.  And the little jerks just trots happily, 10 feet away to grass that we were heading to in the first place!

My hand turned a gross blue, and I had a hoof shaped bruise on my thigh. My finger has a bump on it still that doesn’t seem to want to go away, and continues to be red and sore. Maybe it’s a bone chip? Since I don’t feel like going to the doctor about it, I may never know…

Looking so innocent, and yet full of crafty, scheming, yearling thoughts.

Also, he was made to behave. The first time may have been a fluke, but the second time was planned. We had a moment, he behaved, and then we begin working on manners through the lunge line. Of course, since I basically had a broken hand, that didn’t go too great, but after many weeks of resting my hand, it’s going much better now. He’s looking like a real horse now (he’s like 15.1 now!), and I’m hoping to get alot of ground work done with him over the next year. 

3. Ollie has moved on, Stu is lonely

Ollie has moved on to her owner’s trainer’s barn, a more convenient location for her owner. Stu is now sad, alone, and getting beat up on by Berry. It has made him easier to work with, though, as he now wants to hang out with me, purely for companionship. If he doesn’t make new friends, I think I’d be okay with that. I will take the form of his friend, muwahaha. Really though, I think his new best friend will be Pony, as I found them eating a tree together. Pony is well on his way to teaching Stu all that he knows. 

I made a little video of taking Ollie to her new home. I think it’s kind of cute, so I’ll post it soon.

4. There was polo involved

Last time I played polo, it was in an arena. I thought I was pretty good at it, if I remember correctly. This time it was on grass, and I was terrible. Grass is not forgiving when you wack a polo mallet directly into it. I feel like I’m doing math calculations trying to figure out exactly how much to lean out, what angle to hold the mallet, where my head should be. So much thinking! I just want to wack a ball around!

On the plus side though, my horse was pretty cool. It was basically like riding on a train, but in a good way. Start her in the direction I want, at the speed I want, and she just maintains it while I flail around trying to hit balls. She wasn’t the type to act like I meant my flailing was some kind of cue, she knew I was doing my thing, and she’d do hers. Then, turn her a different direction and repeat. A++horse, would ride again. 

Finally, some polo time! This needs to happen way more often than every two years!

A post shared by Courtney (@aneqlife) on Aug 11, 2018 at 2:10pm PDT

In addition to playing some polo, I did go watch some polo with the family, and that was fun. We had a nice little tailgating adventure. 

Put your right foot in, take your right foot out, put your right foot in, and STOMP SOME DIVOTS

My family was really enthused about watching the polo, so I think I’ll have to bring them out again. The tailgating definitely helped with the experience and we had a lovely picnic while watching. 

That about brings everything up to speed. Not you are prepared for my next hard hitting, in-depth exposé, “Working with Stu on the Lunge.” It will shock and astound you! (I mean, maybe, if that’s the kind of thing that shocks you…)

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My little Stubert is officially a yearling now! My little boy is growing up!

Technically his birthday was June 4th, but it’s never to late to celebrate!

Or in some cases, many weeks before at a different horse’s birthday!

So what has little Stubert been doing? Well, I’m glad you asked! 

He’s gone on solo walks around the property, getting a bit excited and light footed, but learned to relax and enjoy it.

He’s gone on the trailer several times, and seems to be delighted by the window in the front of the stall. 

He loves baths, and plays in the water.

He got a huge lump on his stifle that got me pretty worried. I actually noticed it from a photograph first. I went out to take photos, and when I was reviewing them later, I noticed. I had all the thoughts of, has it always been like that? Did I just never notice? 

Play find the lump!

I checked it out in person, and sure enough, squishy weird lump. I watched it over the next few days, and it got bigger, big enough to have no more stifle/thigh gap, so I called the vet out. 

The vet came with a little ultrasound wand-thing, and probed around. Not only was Stu a little gentleman for the vet, but she determined it was a fluid build up from a bruise, and just to watch it to see if it went away. Which it did, eventually. But as the days went on, and there was still a lump, the deadline for Upperville passed. And my interest waned as the deadline for Loudoun Benefit approached. And then it passed, and I did not sign him up for it. So, looking forward to trying to get it to Warrenton Horse show now!

You can just tell he’s thrilled

I just need to prioritize getting him to it! I’m not sure if he needs to be shown in a bridle, but I really don’t want to put a bit in his mouth yet… it just seems so little and delicate. But, they are only yearlings once!

The post Stubert the Yearling appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 10M ago

I have wanted to see Biltmore since I found out it existed, and we finally made the trip down. We stayed in Asheville, which is a bit too hippie-ish for my liking, but Biltmore was pretty amazing.

The area has been getting a lot of rain recently, and when we first arrived, the driveway to Biltmore was completely flooded out. We had to go on a long detour through a back way to get into the estate. We parked, took the shuttle to the house, and stared in awe at the big house. And then it started pouring rain and we had to make a run for the cover. And I mean POURING.

The stable has been turned into a restaurant and shops. We had lunch in this stall – The walls seemed to have genuine horse pawing damage.

All the time I spent doing my hair was basically pointless because it was like I took a shower in my clothes.

A little bit scraggly looking

After finishing lunch, we went into the main house, which has been kept as original as possible – meaning there’s no public restroom in the house. Keep this in mind and visit the stable first. The restroom is a great attraction.

I feel like I need a winter garden now. The formal dining room

Biltmore is mostly self guided (unless you pay for one of the extended tours), so I got us little audio tours to carry around. They were really helpful in pointing out secret doors, and giving us context, although some of the descriptions were a bit long winded. That’s probably due to my short attention span though – it’s better to have more information than not enough.

Dave on the terrace, multitasking with the audio tour and his phone.

I asked Dave to get a few photos of me here, but they were all pretty terrible. The best ones are the ones I took myself, in the mirror. So here it is!

Wow! It’s my image reflected in a genuine Biltmore mirror!

The house is really neat, and there’s so many rooms to look at. I highly recommend it! I would go back again, and this time get one of the extended tours. 

After the house, we headed out to the huge gardens. I could fit a nice sized arena in these gardens, as well as some pastures, but they choose to use the space for landscaping, and they currently have glass sculptures by Chihuly mixed in.

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After the gardens we were feeling pretty sore. So much walking! But we headed over to Antler Village, and visited the museum there, and naturally, the petting zoo to admire the chickens. 

As we were leaving, I noticed how high the water still was. I’m not sure where this road leads, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be under water. 

I would love to come again, and this time bring the horses. The estate has trails, and it would be amazing to explore them! I just need to figure out overnighting with the horses first – it’s not something we have ever done before. Off to google!

The post Biltmore Estate appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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An Equestrian Life by Courtney - 10M ago

Every time I see some title like this on someone’s blog, my brain always screams, “THEY’RE GETTING OUT OF HORSES, OH MY GOD WHYYYYYYYYY,” so be assured immediately that this is not the case. 

My handsome Stu has my heart forever <3

Instead, I’m talking about a different kind of change – personal changes. I’m always trying to improve myself, as I think everyone should, really. I don’t think anyone should be content with the status quo, I think everyone should always try to be the best version of themselves. So this is me, thinking about how I should improve.

In this case, it was triggered by two things, the first being the boxes of junk that my parents made me take to my own house. There was so much stuff, and looking through it make me really nostalgic for my childhood…but at the same time, it stressed me out thinking about what I was going to do with this junk. I could clearly go without it, as I’ve been living the last ten years of my life without it… But, what if something came up in the future where I really needed a clay model of a castle?!

I got rid of a lot of it (not the clay castle, because duh, I need that). I donated, and I threw away. I don’t need more junk. And that got me looking around my own house, at the amount of junk I have just sitting around doing nothing, but yet I am hanging on to it for some reason. It feels almost like hoarding to keep this stuff. 

I haven’t fully gone through everything, but staring at my closet one day, I just plunged in, and start yanking out clothes. Some of these things were a size two, something I haven’t been in years. Some of it was ten years old. Some of it was never even worn, with the tags still on. Why on earth did I still have this?

In case you forgot, he’s the most handsome yearling in existence. And such a gentleman too! If he was a human, and definitely a bit older, he’s be the perfect man. Sadly the technology doesn’t exist yet.

It made me start thinking about the way I wear my clothes – I have several ratty t-shirts that I end up wearing on repeat to the gym, but the fancy shirt I actually bought for the gym says in drawer, I guess waiting for a special occasion to go to the gym? 

I have tons of nice dresses to wear to work, but I got into a routine of rotating between three different pairs of black pants. I have a closet full of shoes, but I end up wearing sneakers every day. This begs two questions, why did I even buy this stuff, and alternately, why aren’t I wearing it? 

I didn’t get rid of the black pants (let’s face it, they are a classic), but I had four black trash bags full of clothes. I briefly thought about selling it, but that seemed like so much effort, so to Good Will they went. There was a moment it stung, as I thought about how much money I had spent on those clothes (likely about $5,000 worth of clothes, as it there was a lot of designer brands in there), but it wasn’t like it was giving me any value by sitting in my closet, taking up room. It wasn’t my style anymore for whatever reason, and I literally wasn’t going to wear it. I don’t need 5 pairs of Rock and Republic jeans I’ll never wear again – I’m not going to pretend that either I’ll be a size 2 again, or that jeans that cut into your hip bone would be cool for someone my age.

I left the nice clothes, that clothes that I feel like I’ve been saving for some special day. That day is now here, and they will be worn.

The second thing that triggered this… and I really hate to say this because I am very anti-celebrity… but the Royal Wedding. I love beautiful clothes, and watching everyone arriving to the wedding was so inspiring. They clothes were so lovely and classy, and I wish wearing hats and fascinators are normal and accepted here. Now, granted, these people are going to probably one of the biggest events of their lifetime, so they’re going to dress nice. But I want to be able to show up places looking that nice! Why shouldn’t I put in the effort to dress nice like that?

So, that fell down a rabbit hole, and now I’ve been looking up royal style:

Quite possibly the best hat I have ever seen. The jacket’s not too bad either! Also, the best hat I have ever seen. This outfit is perfection and I love it

America needs way more garden parties. Why isn’t this a thing here?!

I’m not saying I’m obsessed with Meghan Markle, but I’m also not going to pretend that she’s not great at dressing herself. I’m obviously not attending royal garden parties, but it is an inspiration to step it up a little bit, and present myself better. I usually go with the easiest option because I’m lazy, but I want to put in the effort now, and present myself a bit better.

Moving forward, my plan is to put in some effort, and wear the clothes I own, not keep them for some obscure occasion in the future. I will ruthlessly elimate the clothes that I don’t end up wearing, and only buy classic pieces that will last years and years. No more trendy pieces that are great for one season, and then feel uncomfortable to wear afterward. No more contributing to the world of “fast fashion,” and having a landfill of last season’s clothes. I will be way more thoughtful about my purchases. I hate waste, and I hate wasting money, so it’s a mystery to me why I even did this to began with.

I want to share some of my outfits, although I’m a little cautious about coming off as a huge dork. Those who have been with me a very long time may remember the beginnings of my blog that showed some pretty terrible fashion. Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing now, and I never want it to see the light of day. But, hopefully this will be a different time. And I really don’t expect it to come up much, as it annoys me when someone dresses up for the sole purpose of taking pictures, but isn’t actually wearing the outfit anywhere. So basically, I need to find some garden parties to attend.

Another part of improving myself is a newly rekindled interest in millinery. It seems so obscure that I feel weird bringing it up, but I really REALLY love hates. A few years ago I made some fascinators and they were pretty cute, but I put it on the backburner. Now is the time to bring it up again. I want people to wear hats, DAMNNIT. I don’t know the plan on this going forward, but if something comes up, I will mention it!

I’m curious – have you ever had some trigger that makes you want to grow yourself? What is your inspiration?

The post Making Some Changes appeared first on An Equestrian Life.

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