I discovered that I’m pretty terrible at making cupcakes. I just assumed it was a natural trait but no, it isn’t. I made some, and they were awful.
I started out ambitious. I was going to make cupcakes for a friend’s party, but I would make them horse themed. I looked up horse themed cupcakes, and the majority of them are very cartoony looking, which is not the look I was going for. I thought about it for a while, and then I came up with an idea – I would make them themed as a hunter jump, as the flowers and natural elements would translate well to frosting design. I sketched out a plan – the cupcakes would have different elements on them, but when placed together they would form a complete jump, following the design of a hunter derby jump I found online.
You are likely unaware, but a long time ago, I took a frosting class at my local Michael’s. Taking the class made me feel like a very experienced froster, and also noteworthy, my husband was hit by a car as a pedestrian while I was in class one night (He was fine). It’s so nice when couples makes memories together.
Because of my class I have a large kit full of frosting accessories. I assumed this would naturally translate into me being really good at frosting, so constructing an entire horse jump out of cupcakes didn’t seem unreasonable.
The first problem occured when I failed at baking nice cupcakes. I’ve baked cupcakes at least 5 times, so I didn’t think that would be the hard part. But half of them didn’t rise and ended up weirdly flat. (Not the ones above obviously, I hid the weirdo ones behind those).
That was the first annoyance, and I decided not to bake new ones, because really, I didn’t care that much. So flat weird dense cupcakes it was.
Next, I whipped up some frosting using a family receipe. I “had” the ingredients on hand for so long that I just assumed I still had all of them. Turns out, I did not, I was missing a flavor. No matter though, I’ll make it anyway with what I have!
Somehow, like a child, I ended up spraying powdered sugar everywhere. Then I added too much water so my frosting was way too soft. One frustration after another.
If you learned anything about me from not rebaking the cupcakes, it’s that I won’t admit defeat when everything is going wrong. I’m going to use those weird cupcakes, and I’m going to use this weird frosting because damnit, that’s what I do.
“Grass” themed cupcakes
I sat down at my table with my bowl of frosting, all my tools, and my unfrosted cupcakes, and just felt dread. It seemed like I’d already been at this for hours, made very little progress and I was ready for a nap. People do this for fun??
I looked through my guidebooks for frosting advice that would make my ambitious design come to life, and it felt like I was reading something in another language. I looked at how many colors I had to mix, and felt overwelmed. I needed to pick a simplier design.
Horses love grass right? I should do some frosting that looks like a field of grass! That sounds simple. At first I was going to put some hoof indents, maybe a few wild flowers, but in the end, it was just grass. A mushy, deflated (thanks too wet frosting) pile of grass. I also couldn’t find the actual frosting tip that makes grass, so I had to improvise with some other tip. Sure, I could have looked through the frosting kit I have for the actual tip, but does that seem like something I’d do? Definitely not.
For the other cupcakes, I went with flowers. Everyone likes flowers right? I would even do sunflowers for a nice summer theme. I also could use the green frosting I mixed up for grass. The less mixing, the better.
I made the stems first, and it’s surprisingly difficult to get a straight line. I really thought with those classes I would have mastered at least a straight line of frosting, but it was beyond the scope of my ability.
Leaves were made with a different tip, and basically made themselves. They were by far the best aspect.
Next, the flowers themselves. I had thought sunflowers wouldn’t be too hard, just some straight lines outward. Turns out, not so easy. They mostly became a mess of yellow frosting.
I was originally going to add brown centers, but since that would have required more mixing, I just gave up at that point. The frosting process was complete.
They tasted weird. Like, something was clearly off with those cupcakes. But still, a bad cupcake is still a cupcake, so I both ate a few, and brought them to my friend’s party. Maybe people would think they were “gourmet.” Unclear if anyone else actually ate them as we had to leave early to take care of baby B.
Baking is not a talent that comes naturally to me. I’m positive I would have had sucess had I followed the frosting receipe exactly, but unclear why the cupcakes baked so weird. Likely an oven problem I guess. If I kept practicing, I might be able to hone my skill and make a pretty design, but since I don’t normally eat cupcakes anyway, it doesn’t seem likely to happen. The most likely scenario – in about a year or two, I’ll decide I want to give it a try again, and since I did not practice, I will have a very similar result and decide to give up again. Repeat every few years for life.
It’s been 4 months now since I had Bridgette. It feels normal to have a baby now. I’m getting used the title of “Mom.” Before, only my mom was Mom. She’s still Mom, but I am also Mom. We both share Mom.
Routines have been established, and I feel like I’m part of a unofficial parent club because I now get all the memes and jokes about kids.
She’s so big now, it’s hard to believe she came out of me. She seems giagantic compared to before. She continues to be more expressive, both in facial expressions, and attempts to talk. The things she says sound almost like words, but they are still babbling nonesense. She reacts to the things we say, our facial expressions, and just seeing us. Our favorite time is first thing in the morning when she wakes up because she is the absolute happiest to see us, all smiles and pumping arms.
Some fun things Bridgette has been up to:
She learned how to blow raspberries, and spent several days exclusively communicating by blowing raspberries. Angry raspberries are way better than the screaming! Sadly, it was just a phase, and now she’s bad to screaming.
She’s learning to roll over. She flips herself to the side quite a bit, but can’t make it the rest of the way. I’ll give her a little push to go the rest of the way so she can get in her tummy time (important for their development). No crawling yet though, she doesn’t understand how to propel herself.
She grabs her feet now! It’s super cute. She lifts her feet, and just teeters on back.
She constantly wants to sit up. She can’t manage it on her own, but we give her our hands to hold on to, and she pulls herself up. She’s pretty wobbly in the sitting position, but she’s happier teetering than she is laying quietly.
She has so many cute clothes, I don’t think she’s even going to be able to wear it all. (Sidenote: omg I know really kind and generous people.) She outgrew a bunch of things that she never got to wear already. Kind of want to do “Outfit of the Day” with her just to get pictures of all her cute little outfits.
She freezes up when she sees the camera. I’m still shocked she’s able to identify it when I pull it out. But it’s kind of a bummer because she’ll be doing something super cute, and then when she sees the camera, she stops and stares at it.
Now some fun things about me:
My hair is falling out in chunks. I’m finding it everywhere, as though I now own a shedding dog. It clogged up my vacumm cleaner. I started taking vitamins, but I think it’s just going to happen until it’s ready to stop. May have to cut my hair short as its looking pretty thin.
Body is otherwise okay, seems to have fully recovered. C-section scar is fading, and still have stretch marks, but they’re fading. Unclear on internal damage, but nothing hurts anymore.
I still haven’t figured out a gym schedule. I go about every 4 days, and that is just not often enough to see any results. I am still losing baby weight, but it’s any results I’m getting now is just because of the Whole 30 diet. It’s not that I couldn’t go, it’s just not a habit. I need to figure out when it makes sense to get there, as they even have childcare there!
Overall, it’s a fun experience having a baby. There’s ups and downs, but seeing her little happy face is so rewarding. It’s neat figuring out the things that she likes, especially when I wouldn’t have guessed she’d like something. For instance, my husband starting playing “airplane” with her, and surprise, surprise – she likes being up really high in the air, and being held like she’s flying. I would have thought it would scare her, but nope. She’ll indicate she wants more by holding her little arms out.
Comparison between a one month old and now, both in one time use outfits:
To the untrained eye, it looks the same. But, to her mother, who evaluates everything, she’s gained some weight, which is pretty significant because we struggled to get her to gain weight in the early weeks. And other than that – she looks about the same. The lighting makes her look tanner, she isn’t actually. But she is bigger, I promise!
I really like the idea of documenting her growth, so be prepared for further updates, likely around the one month mark. And maybe some Instagram stories about her outfits. Haha.
It’s now been about a year since the last time I rode. I cannot believe it has been that long. I am dying to go riding again.
Unfortunately, as it often happens, I am out of the habit of riding, which makes it difficult to start up again. I didn’t ride while I was pregnant, and I now go through my day, completing my normal activities, but none of them are anything close to riding because I am not used to doing it. In fact, it feels almost like going riding will require the planning of a wedding – an enormous event that will happen sometime in the future, but I need time to perfectly coordinate everything in order to make this work.
There have been a few times where I’ve decided today is the day I’m going to get out and ride again. I start thinking about the things I’ll need to do to get out there. Then come the excuses. First, my saddle now has a fine layer of green dust on it. Okay fine, I’ll need to clean it first. My arena has been compacted to the consistency of a parking lot, complete with weeds growing out of the cracks. Okay, well, I can’t ride on that, I need to drag it and fluff it up. But the tractor tire, which has been mysteriously going flat, is currently at the dealership to be fixed (tractor parts are like triple the cost of normal parts, BTW. Add the word “tractor” to a part, and the price instantly increases). I guess I won’t be dragging anything soon. Okay, well, maybe I can trailer to the park, and ride there. But wait, the trailer inspection is overdue, I need to get it updated, as well as just check on maintenance for the trailer. I’ll have to schedule an appointment… but it’s just soooo hard.
As you can see, I’m full of excuses. But, I haven’t even come to my main excuse. If I trailer out, I’ll be gone for at least 4 hours. Who will watch the baby while I’m gone??
I mean, look at that face, how could I leave it!?
I know, I know, I have a husband, she has a father (luckily they are the same person). It’s not that he couldn’t, or even wouldn’t. But it seems so unfair to spring that on him. “Here, you watch our spawn alone, while I go have fun by myself for several hours.” He’s never done that to me. It doesn’t feel very team like to just run off to have fun by myself.
It seems like I’m just at a standstill, not sure how to make this work. It could be a temporary setback, but I’m afraid I’ll end up like so many other mom’s. The ones who give up their hobbies and goals to focus on their kids. If someone else wants to do that, it’s their prerogative, but I can’t imagine doing that. In the end, I’m a little bit selfish, and I want to live my own life. The problem, as I see it, as that it’s incredibly easy just to fall into forgetting your own hobbies and goals, and doing everything for the kid. I don’t think a lot of moms meant to do it, it just kind of happened. And I’m afraid I’ll be next.
During another session of watching her play and squeal (delightful!) I started thinking about how I can remove the barriers to riding, and actually get out there again. I already went through my lengthy excuses – what actionable item can I do to change this?
The saddle is easy – clean it.
Arena, not as easy, but I have grass, too. It’s just not level, which makes for a very annoying ride. But, I could figure something out there.
I’ll take the trailer in for the inspection.
Get a babysitter while I trailer out.
Solve the short term excuses.
My long term excuse – I have gotten sick of not having a place to tack up. So, I started building one. I get a little bit of time in the evenings after B goes to sleep when I visit with the horses. I’ve started digging holes and dropping posts in, creating a fenceline to enclose an area to tack up. It’s something I thought I couldn’t do because my post hole digger tractor attachment didn’t seem to be the right size. But I decided to just shrug, and do it by hand. I expected it would be backbreaking labor. It wasn’t. It was fine. I have four posts in so far, with four more to go. It’s a little tough to dig through gravel, but it’s workable. And if I could just get a full few hours to work on it, I’d have it done in a flash. But still – slow progress is still progress.
I think that once my barn area is set up properly, my life will be so much easier. It won’t feel like such a chore to just pop on for a quick ride, which will evolve into longer rides, which will evolve into making real progress again.
So I’ll keep banging away at it, one evening at a time. Soon, I’ll be riding again.
I see this question all over the internet. “What do I do to become a horse professional?” usually coming from a teenager or someone very early in their career. I understand – you love horses and want to have a lifetime with them. Working with horses would be so fulfilling, and you know you’d love your life, spending every day at the barn, and riding 20 horses a day.
I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But, hear me out. I’m not saying you can’t work with horses, but to rethink your idea of working with horses. Let’s start with the problems of the most obvious horse career.
The Professional Trainer or Barn Manager
The most obvious job with horses is being a professional trainer, to include training horses, teaching lessons, and showing horses for clients. I’m going to lump this together with barn manager because they frequently end up being the same job. It seems like a dream job, spending all day, every day with horses. I don’t disagree with this. I spent some time as a riding instructor and helped my trainer work horses as a teenager, and frankly, it was amazing. It is fulfilling to teach others about horses and riding, see the joy on their faces, and watching a horse develop is amazing. I was a teenager, who didn’t have to pay for a mortgage, health insurance, or any other bills so the low wage I received seemed like a huge amount of money, especially to do something I loved so much.
It seems like a dream life but look at the whole picture. With a low wage, it’s going to be hard to pay your bills, and it will be hard to save up to buy things like a house, or a truck and trailer. Not only is it a low wage, but it is long hours. Horses don’t take a day off. You’re going to be taking care of them 365 days a year, in the rain, in the snow, during tornados, on Christmas, while you’re moments away from giving birth. With the way the industry currently is, there aren’t many, if any, vacation or sick days, and additional benefits, such as health insurance, are not common. If you have more clients/more horses, you’re going to be spending hours a day taking care of horses. Do you want to muck 20 stalls a day, every day? I have done it before, and I sure as hell don’t want to do it again. There’s a reason trainers try to get working students to unburden themselves of this task – it sucks.
Most of the horses that are brought to training are problem or green horses. People don’t bring their well behaved, kind horse to a trainer to be trained. They bring their rank, unruly horse to be fixed, or their scared, unexposed, untested horse to get exposure. Both types can be dangerous to work with. If you get hurt, you can’t work. If you can’t work, you won’t get paid. You could be completely fine in the morning and have a shattered leg by noon, and with it, your shattered financial future. You won’t get rich with horses. In fact, it’s one of the lowest paid jobs you can have. In most places, this would have you struggling to make ends meet, or even on the poverty line.
For the especially ambitious who want to get paid to ride other people’s expensive horses – well, to be honest, most of you are wanting a pipe dream. It takes a lot of (someone else’s) money in order to be paid to just ride, and not only do you need to be incredible at riding, but you also need to be able to network with those who will pay for you to ride. Which means you need access to those people. Which means you either need to creepily stalk them (I legally cannot recommend this), be so freaking amazingly good that they hear about you, or be part of the same circles already, already competing. Unfortunately, this means you usually have to be born with money because you’ll need money to bring yourself to the highest levels.
For all of these occupations, keep in mind it is a very competitive market. Not only do you want to be a riding instructor/trainer/pro rider, so do about a zillion other horse lovers. The other kids at your barn aren’t there because they hate horses (usually), they are also there because they love horses and want to spend every minute with them. You’re competing with them, as well as every other kid at every other barn in the nation. Which is a reason why if you absolutely must go this route, get a business or marketing degree to give yourself the knowledge to be successful and set your business apart from the millions of others that will pop up. Being a good riding instructor or trainer goes beyond just working with horses, it’s working with people, and it means you’re also running your own business, which includes many things that have absolutely nothing to do with horses.
Equine Science Degree
Let’s pretend the last section didn’t convince you that you don’t want to be a horse professional. The next question is always, “How do I become a horse professional?” Many kids think a life with horses starts with an equine science degree. After all, it’s horses, and that’s what you want to do! But please – don’t get an equine science degree. Banish the thought from your head. I’m going to explain this further below, but let’s first focus on the practical aspect. This degree will not help you get a job in anything other than horses. “But that’s what I want!” you exclaim. Well, no, I promise you that it’s not what you want. Equine Science is an extremely niche degree, applicable to an extremely niche market. The potential careers for ES majors are, riding instructor, barn manager, event manager, salesperson, among others. Do you know what you don’t need a degree to do? All of those positions. You can do any one of those things without a degree. You can learn the horse skills by working at a barn, and even getting paid to do it. Same applies for event manager, or salesperson. You can get a job in that industry, entry level, and work your way up, with no degree. The most valuable part of ES degrees is the business aspect, and that should tell you to get a business degree instead. Even if you are eventually pursuing a veterinary degree, it’s much more valuable to major in biology, or something related to medicine than a worthless ES degree.
When you’re looking for a job, you want to have as much marketability as possible. If you do end up trying to get into the corporate world, an employer will look at your ES degree vs another applicants business or accounting degree, and which do you think will be more relevant? What this boils down to is, if you’re going to spend 4 years of your life at school anyway, spend it on something that will help you in life, not something that will hinder you.
If you disregard this, not only are you looking at low marketability, you’re also looking at struggling to repay your student loans on the very low salaries that an ES degree would get you. You’re looking at a very uncomfortable existence.
P.S. If you are trying to be a trainer, it will look much better on your resume to have 4 years working with a reputable trainer over an ES degree.
The Other Route
This brings me to my personal recommendation. Being an instructor or a trainer is an obvious route to working with horses, but I encourage you to think outside of the obvious route. The 2017 Economic Impact Study showed that the horse industry is worth a staggering $122 billion dollars. That money isn’t being generated from just trainers and riding instructors. There’s a huge market for other things. There are products to be made – tack, grooming supplies, buckets, horse trailers, apparel. There are services that are needed – insurance, farm maintenance, horse transport. There are things we need constructing – barns, arenas, fencing. There’s research to be done – nutrition, medical, environmental. We need our shows run and judged. We need people running the non-profits that fuel competition (USHJA, USEF, breed associations). We need people to keep the equine industry alive. The world is changing and evolving, with new technologies emerging daily/weekly/monthly. The equine world needs to keep up, and you can be one of those people.
Do you do marketing? Organizations, breed, discipline or otherwise, hire marketers. What about accountants? Business needs someone to track the money, including the riding instructors, trainers and professional riders mentioned above. What about design? Could you prototype a safer helmet? Or even just one with a cutting edge, modern design? Feed companies continually research the effects of different feeds on horses. There are positions related to education if you’re looking for a variation of the traditional riding instructor. Or what about something computer science related?
Note that none of the jobs I linked want a degree in equine science. They want a degree in something else, and that skill is then applied to the equestrian world. There’s plenty of people who love horses, but just loving horses isn’t a qualification. The qualification is the technical skill that you learn, either through college, or otherwise (I don’t believe that college is needed for every career, but that’s not the point of this post.)
You can have a comfortable and fulfilling life with horses without working directly with them. Nearly every profession can be applied in some way to the equine world. And, if for some reason you cannot find a position within the horse industry, you will have marketable skills that can be applied outside of the horse industry, which will put you in the financial position to afford the horse lifestyle that you want. Despite not being able to work directly with them, being able to afford them, and all the lessons, shows, tack and apparel you desire is a huge incentive to have skills outside of training horses.
Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comment below, as well as any other advice you might have for the youngsters.
Did you know there’s a museum devoted to the sport and culture of equestrianism? Okay, so it does include other things, but there’s a lot of horse going on here. It’s called the National Sporting Library and Museum, and it’s located in hunt country/horse country, Middleburg Virginia. They offer exhibitions, educational programs, and family activities throughout the year. George Morris comes here regularly for talks, and he’ll be here again this fall!
I have wanted to go for a while so I decided now was the time. I had noticed an exhibition on sidesaddle last year that I missed, and I wasn’t going to miss more interesting exhibitions.
One of the rotating exhibits is called NSLMology: The Science of Sporting Art. I didn’t understand what it was before I went in, but once I started reading the descriptions, I understood, and it was amazing. They provided analysis of the weather portrayed based on the clouds shown and the colors, information on why certain elements (like the people) were interacting in different ways, and why horses were portrayed in different ways.
It was so informative, interesting, and by far my favorite part of the museum. I wish all museum had this analyst beside the art. It would really help out those of us who don’t understand art beyond the most elementary level (me). I highly recommend visiting the museum just to see this section.
I enjoy pictures of chickens, so, therefore, everyone must. Look at these chickens! (There was an explanation of these chickens, too. Greatly appreciated!)
One of the other rotating collections was CANTER & crawl: The Glass Sculpture of Joan Danziger. While I did not get explanations like the other section, I still greatly enjoyed viewing these. They are impressive pieces of work.
Think these are small?
I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, so, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to look at the library as well. But the Museum is definitely worth checking out on its own, especially if you’re already in the area for another horse interest.
The National Sporting Library & Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10am – 5pm. It costs $10 to get into the Museum and the Library is always free. Admission to the Museum is free on Wednesdays. Their blog provides a fascinating inside look at their exhibits and provides behind the scenes information on how they operate.
We all love horses and find beauty in their form. At least, I assume you must, if you are here. You might also be one of my relatives (Hi Mom!). But I digress. There’s something that is so beautiful about the equine form, especially when they are highly conditioned for peak performance in their discipline.
That’s where Drew comes in. Drew Doggett is a photographer, director, and producer who focuses on places, objects, and cultures at risk of disappearing. His work can be found in private and public collections globally, notably the Smithsonian African Art Museum in DC. He previously photographed and filmed unique horse breeds on Sable Island in Nova Scotia, Camargue in the South of France, and Iceland. His equestrian images have garnered a worldwide collector base and acclaim in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler and Professional Photographer Magazine.
His latest series examines polo, dressage, and jumper horses through visual references to modern fashion photography. This is his first equine studio series.
I asked Drew a few questions about his latest collection.
You spends a lot of time researching before you shoot. Can you tell me about the process for this series?
This shoot was inspired by my work with wild or semi-wild equestrian communities. I also got my start in fashion photography, so being able to mix my love of unique horse breeds and my studio background felt like a natural extension of the work I had been doing on places like Sable Island. I have exhibited my work in Wellington, which is how I became acquainted with the community and from there, things fell into place. I went back in January of 2019 to create the series.
Did any of the horse’s personalities really stand out during the sessions?
I found all the horses I photographed had natural confidence, temperament, and poise, which gave the impression they were ‘posing’ for my camera.
How did you develop your appreciation for horses? Are you a rider?
For me, horses embody freedom in a way no other animal can. I also love their persistent place in culture and mythology. As a child, I used to ride for fun while visiting my father’s family as well as on other family trips. My earliest associations with horses are happy memories, which is what started my foundation of appreciation for the equestrian community.
Thank you so much Drew for answering my questions and sharing your work! These photos are awe-inspiring, and truly demonstrate why we love these animals.
Be sure to check out the rest of the collection on his website. My favorite feature is the drool-worthy braids, featuring hunter, button and rosette. They are #braidgoals.
I follow Noelle Floyd on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve always appreciated the articles, and their design choices have been appealing. When a new shirt from them popped up on my feed, stylized by Instagrammer Milton Menasco, I went over to Noelle Floyd to take a closer look, and it hit me then. It is literally a plain white t-shirt, and it costs $48.
Why is it $48? Is it a fancy tech fabric? No, it’s 100% cotton. But it has some kind of feature that makes it unique? No, it’s literally a white crew neck t-shirt. Oh, but it does have the words “Barn Babe” written on it in tiny letters. It’s a symbol of empowerment. Because by buying this shirt, you are contributing to the empowerment of its creators, I mean, shit, the empowerment of women! Yeah, women will be empowered by buying this shirt and watching the considerable markup go to women’s charity NF and associates.
I feel like it could be said that I am not being a “barn babe,” because I am not supporting the women who made this shirt. Well, frankly, it feels like a slap in the face to project such comradery and expect women to spend such a large amount of money on such a basic article of clothing under the guise of empowerment. And that’s before even getting into how inappropriate a white t-shirt is for the barn. It’s basically a one time use because once a horse touches you, you will be stained forever. Maybe they are targeting the demographic of horse lovers who have no plans to ever get near a horse.
This might be a controversial stance to take, but I am against buying crap I don’t need. I don’t like accumulating stuff in my house, and I don’t like stuff in my barn either. I’m not a shopping addict, and I’m not a tack ho. I get offers all the time to review products on my blog, but I rarely take them up because it’s uncomfortable to write about things that I wouldn’t have bought myself, let alone encourage others to purchase things they may not need. I am in support of quality products, that last a long time and provide good value, and if I do a review, it will be with that in mind. A $48 plain white t-shirt is exactly one of the things that make me cringe.
When I first saw this shirt on Instagram, I couldn’t believe how many people were excited over it. Are there really that many people that want to spend over 5x what a white t-shirt costs because it has the words “Barn Babe” embroidered on it? The marketing is highly stylized and sleek, but it’s literally a white t-shirt. Staring at the comments, it felt like an emperor’s new clothes situation, and I commented as such. I did get a reply that someone else said something similar and it was deleted, so it’s possible others are finding this absurd, but all the comments are being deleted.
Maybe I am the odd one out for finding this ridiculous. Maybe there really are a bunch of people willing to spend nearly $50 on a complete basic. I guess time will tell if this marketing campaign is successful. But it’s turned me off of NF and the designer that I hadn’t heard of before this collaboration (might have been a future customer, but not now). But if you want to learn how to style a basic white t-shirt (retail price $5-$10), Milton Menasco has some pretty good ideas!
Have you ever noticed that (usually) the older a rider gets, the more fearful they get? They’ll even tell stories of when they were young, jumping wheel barrows or picnic tables, galloping through people’s yards, or doing backflips off their horse? When I was a kid, I just did anything I felt like doing, most of the time not thinking that something might go wrong. Some of my more memorable times were from getting a very green horse and bringing it along by myself. I was bashed in the head, fell off many times, and had both me and Vintage fall.
Vintage has her own attitude issues now.
I can look back now and say it was a great learning experience and I don’t regret it at all. After all, I learned how to train a horse (often through trial and error), and from that, had amazing times with a horse that felt like an extension of myself. But it could have gone seriously wrong. I look at that now with Stu, my fifth untrained horse that I’ve acquired (I’ve only purchased one trained horse in my life), and think to myself, wow, he could really hurt me. He’s already given me a nice hearty kick.
As I look at him now, already the biggest horse I own at 2 years old, it’s a little intimidating. He’s the biggest, most expensive, and fanciest horse I’ve ever owned. And his manners, training, and overall worth as an adult are solely in my hands. And there’s so many what ifs? What is he kicks me again, in a less squishy place? What if he becomes difficult on the ground, and I don’t know what to do? What if I am intimidated by him?
I got a message the other day from someone who owns Stu’s full brother.
This guy, but he was two then. He’s three now.
Her teenage daughter has been working with him and started showing him as a three-year-old. I was sent pictures, but since they include a minor, I’m not going to post them. But he looks so good! She’s doing awesome with him, and apparently, he’s been easy enough to work with, no major issues anyway. Color me jealous! Teenagers are amazing. They have no fear, and they operate on solid ambition and love of the animal.
It fascinates me that the under 18 group can accomplish so much with horses. Junior riders, some having only ridden a few years, are light years ahead of my own riding skills. They throw themselves into riding with their whole selves, and they excel because of it.
What happens when we grew up? Why is the scared adult such a common thing? Sometimes it could be attributed to an accident, some kind of incident, or a fall that emphasizes the danger of the sport. Often times we as adults don’t have the time teenagers have to devote to horses, and we feel like we are rusty. Some of it could be attributed to teenagers not realizing their own mortality, and therefore, taking more risks.
But mostly, teenagers are right. They may take more risks, and they get more done because of it. They have the drive to succeed, and the confidence in themselves, despite often knowing less than the adults (only because they haven’t been around as long as some adults, not because they are inferior). Having trouble with your horse? Ask the teenager to ride it. Not only are they thrilled to be able to ride another horse, they usually fix the problem, too. They have sticky seats, or at least enough guts to feel like they do.
They drip with confidence in themselves. I remember being a teenager myself and thinking I knew everything about horses, and the adults at the barn were kind of ignorant. It was likely very obnoxious, but that attitude worked for me. It made me try things with my horses that I would have otherwise been hesitant about, would have needed my trainer’s guidance, or could have been a “bad idea.” Adults did have me riding their horses. My trainer put me on the green beans and left me to my own devices. Things might not have been picture perfect, but my own horse Vintage turned out pretty awesome with my teenager “trial and error” training methods. I mostly survived. I’ve got all my limbs and my brain (because I always wore a helmet.)
I’m jealous of teenagers, and I want to channel their energy. I want to go out there and just start spending my afternoons with Stu to see what we can accomplish. I’d love to take him to his first show when he’s three.
I think teenagers are a huge example of why attitude matters so much in this sport. They haven’t been riding nearly as long as the adults, but man, they are good. I want to be as good as a teenager. I’m going to work on channeling that teenager confidence into my skills.
I was browsing around some farms in the event that we decide to move and I just kept increasing the price until I was looking at the most gorgeous farms. The magnificent homes, the expansive properties and of course, the amazing equestrian facilities. All things to drool over.
That evolved into one of my favorite games – where would I live if I had tons of money?!
Note – while these houses obviously have interiors, I’m way more interested in the exteriors. Click on the link to see their interiors.
Starting with my area. I am quite biased, but it’s definitely the best area. There are so many beautiful properties! But of the ones on the market currently, I would definitely move into this one, the very second I win the lottery.
8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 12,000 sq ft on just under 58 acres
I love the style, I love the driveway courtyard, and I love the old feel of it. This is classic Virginia hunt country right here.
I like sitting by pools. Sometimes I even go in them.
It feels like some landscaping or something is missing from the exterior of the barn, but that can be easily fixed.
There are no direct photos of the arena, but I did find this overhead that shows it. Also shown: big beautiful fields to gallop across.
The final offering, and perhaps the best one. I mean, I love some Virginia, but this place… wow.
4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 10,246 sq ft on just under 60 acres.
Exactly the style I like! It’s like a house in VA was shipped to SC!
This is the main house. There is also a 3400 sq ft guest house. Where I come from, that’s the main house, but this property has guests visiting in style.
This house has the honor of being the only house on the list that I will show the interior – because it is clearly amazing.
Lovely backyard for when I want to sit by the pool and/or grill up some things to eat while I sit by the pool.
The description says this is just one of “several” riding rings?! How many riding rings does one person need? (Answer: When you are rich, you can never have too many riding rings.) (Also, I checked and it seems there are two riding rings. The second one is MORE THAN DOUBLE the size of this one.)
Not a fan of the orange color wood, but I suppose if I’m rich enough to buy this place, I can afford to have it restained to a more pleasing color.
I would buy this place in an instant if it wasn’t for the pesky alligators that are in SC. Alligators and I can never live in the same state. Don’t let the price fool you, it’s the alligators keeping me away.
We had so much fun the last time, we headed down again to see family, and spend some time doing the touristy things.
The baby didn’t get to meet all of the family the first trip down, so that was a priority this time!
Happy baby girl with her cousin
After family time, we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge.
I have lots of thoughts on this, especially after our experience. First off, the wax museum itself is fine. I’m actually not a “fan” of Hollywood, so to speak, and don’t follow/don’t care about celebrities (except a select few, Chris Pratt being high on that list. He was not at the museum though). But it was fine, lots of wax people, and Dave makes it fun.
Dave and Morgan Freeman
Dave and Ellen
Dave in a horror movie
and me having breakfast
The wax museum was part of a group of attractions that we purchased a pass to enter. The other attractions were a mirror maze, a 3-d ride thing, and a zombie outbreak. Well, I never thought I’d be that parent, but it happened. I’m so annoyed that I was not warned that the zombie attraction is not for children, although thinking of it now, it seems obvious that something involving zombies would not be for children. But I specifically asked, “are these okay for infants?” and they said the ride was not, but the others are. I think they literally took my question as, “Is it physically possible for a stroller to go through?” and yes, it is physically possible.
We did the ride without Bridgette, went through the mirror maze, and then went into the zombie outbreak. I expected it to be like the wax museum, lots of displays of zombies. Instead, it started with an insanely loud air compressor going off, and scared Bridgette. She immediately started screaming her head off, and Dave and I desperately tried to get her out of there. It was probably only a minute, but it seemed like it took forever to exit while I covered Bridgette’s ears the whole time.
As we left, we passed another infant in line. Dave told the parents it was not appropriate for babies, and they exited the line.
I hate complaining about something that seems like it would be obvious in hindsight, but I specifically asked if it was okay for infants. I’ve never been in the attraction, I have no idea what it consists of. Which is why I asked. UGH.
Other than that though, it was pretty nice. I am sure I would have enjoyed the zombie attraction if it wasn’t for my terrified baby.
Head back home – The vicious one allowing herself to be used as a pillow
Of course, it’s always good to be back… lots of work to do, and horses to work!