Nov 27, 2015

Black Friday

No, I am not a shopper.  I really prefer to get everything online if at all possible.  The idea of heading out to the stores with a bunch of crazy people fighting over a discounted television is not my idea of a good time but hey, you all who do it, knock yourselves out.  Buy my share because I won't be there!

Actually, the Christmas list is getting smaller each year.  I told my boys that once they are out of school, big Christmases will be a thing of the past.  Their wives will thank me.  I am in a few gift exchanges and may try some handmade items.  I have had some "Pinterest fails" but also some that worked out okay.  I made the above flowers for McCain and Angie's wedding.

We finally got the trailer winterized and today I went out and cleaned the living quarters.  I stripped the bedding and brought in most of the clothes from the closets.  Then cleaned the countertops and scrubbed the refrigerator and floor.  I guess winter is really here.  We had our first ice storm yesterday (on Thanksgiving) and I was grateful we only had to travel down the hill to John's mom's place for the holiday.

I didn't use my little two horse trailer too much last winter.  It had a bad tire and it was just easier to pull out the big one when I needed it.  We had the tires replaced on the small trailer a few months ago so hoping I can steal away when we get some nice days.

Although I have mentioned Darby on Facebook, I don't think I have talked much about her on this blog.  Nor have I mentioned that Fancy is going to have a baby in May.   Lots of changes in our little herd but some fun things to look forward to.  More on that as the winter keeps dragging along.

Nov 21, 2015

Just Dilly Dallying Around

Windy and I at the Sandhills CTR in Kansas in April
 I keep trying to find a way to define this year and can’t quite put my finger on it.  Changes?  Not really.  We had a lot of family stuff going on (planned & unplanned) and work has been incredibly busy.  Those two variables play a big part into what is left for my horse life.  I’ll probably finish out the year with about 700 ride miles give or take which is under my norm. 

Riding Fancy in the Spring

A planned graduation, an unplanned wedding and regrettably a couple funerals really limited my spring riding.  I only competed once between April and September.  Late nights at work kept me from joining my Platte River Riders on Wednesday nights. The Friday Before Mother’s Day ride was canceled due to bad weather and I never even rode my Oak Creek Trail until a few weeks ago.  

John and I at Lake Solitude - Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Last winter, we planned to join friends at the Big Horns Mountains in Wyoming.  Years ago we made plans to go and it wasn’t meant to be.  This year, there was no stopping us.  A paragraph today does not do justice to the wonderful week we spent in the mountains.  I’ll save that post for another snowy day.  

Juanita completing on Windy at the PonyXpress CTR in August

My friend, Mary, and I volunteered to manage the PonyXpress CTR at Rock Creek Station at the end of August.  There has not been a CTR there for about a dozen years.  We spend many (hot) weekends there clearing trail, mapping the route, marking the trail and all that it takes for a comeback ride.  And then come September, I was finally able to compete again and managed to compete five times this fall.  

Cowgirl Week leading up to Cowgirl Weekend was changed to the “lite” version this year.  Our host and my friend, Kathy, unexpectedly had heart surgery which kept her out of the saddle during this time.  Luckily we all still got together and had the best time but didn’t do the riding that we normally do.

I lost Pip in September.  RIP sweet Sister.  

I haven’t spent much time going through pictures and getting better ones developed.  That is on my winter list, too, and I hope to share some of the better ones with you.  I also have to get the darn poodle puppy house trained!  But most of all, I want to take advantage of a friend’s offer to help me with Windy.  We are heading into a more competitive class next year and I want to be a real contender.  

I’m continuing to lighten the load for next year.  I am not planning to host the Friday Before Mother’s Day Ride.  After 15 years, I’m ready to free up that time.  To do what?  Who knows.  But riding weekends in the spring are few enough; this will give me one more.  

Wow, posted two days in a row.  I’m on a roll…..

Nov 20, 2015

First Snow

Last week at this time, we were en route to southeastern Kansas for the last Competitive Trail Ride of this year which was the first CTR of 2016.  (It is not as confusing as it sounds, really.)  We had a really successful 2015 season and I will no longer be riding novice in 2016, so I decided since Windy was in great shape and I -- well, I have been riding all year -- that I may as well give the Open class a try just to see if Windy (and I) can handle the speed and the miles.  So I donned the blue vest registered with the "big dogs",  as my friend Mary put it.  

The map showed we would ride 26 miles at an average speed of 5 mph.  While Windy has an awesome walk when she wants to, I figured we would be trotting most of the time.  I was unfamiliar with Big Hill Lake; management said there would be some rock so move out when you can.  Nebraska rider and open veteran, Robin, agreed to be my riding partner.  

The trails were lovely.  We started out going through a deep water crossing and then trotted into the forest with glimpses of the lake through the fallen leaves.  It was a beautiful ride and Windy and I were hanging with it.  We did miss a turn once which kind of scared me as you don’t pad as much time as you do when riding open.  

The obstacles were a bit advanced but we should have showed better than we did; I kind of forgot all the things we have been practicing such slowing it down and taking one step at a time.  Rider error on my part.  I was pretty pleased with her pulse and respirations and metabolic checks.  The temperatures that first day was close to 70 degrees and Windy was in her full winter coat.  She lost a couple points on respirations and one on hydration but overall, I thought she handled the ride well.  She came in sound and with a clean back, which is something I always thrive for.  

We didn’t place and I didn’t expect we would.  I know now that she is an open horse and with some tweaking, I have something to look forward to.  Since we have just started to gel on the obstacles, I am going to move up to Competitive Pleasure for 2016.  It will run the same miles and speed as novice, but will provide advanced obstacles.  The competition is as tough as the Open class but it will set a good bar for us.  I am already looking forward to next year.  

Today, we put the trailer in the shed as the wind picked up and started pelleting some sleet which turned quickly to snow.  I’ll slip on my coveralls in a little bit and go feed the horses in the barn, hoping for a hot flash about the time I leave the house.  Thinking of it reminded me of this meme I saw on Facebook recently.  Very fitting.  

Nov 2, 2015

Horsetales Past

I said I was back the last time I posted and I never did come back.  And most likely I am just talking to myself at this point but that is really why I started blogging to begin with; to relive the ride by writing about it and to remember the moments years later.

In the early years of this blog, the horse world was new to me.  New friends, new places, new events, new disciplines, new tack... you name it.  I was a newbie.  In some ways I hated to admit it and in other ways, I was like a sponge and wanted to know everything there was about horses and then some.  Now, 15 years later, I sometimes think I lost that wanderlust.  Maybe because I don't blog anymore.  Or perhaps because I haven't ridden with our Wednesday group this year or put on 1,000 miles like I did when riding the Distance Derby.  Or maybe what I am doing now only interests those who do the same thing.  I'm really not sure what is different but I feel it in the air.

The last couple of years I have gotten more involved in Competitive Trail Riding (CTR).  I have never in my life competed in anything so just deciding to be serious about something is outside my comfort zone.  However, the people are friendly and welcoming which helps and I get to ride some beautiful trails and I am doing something I love to do and can do!  How cool is that?  It has made me pick up my game and be a better rider for Windy.  I have to tell you that Windy has excelled more than her rider! I am still trying to catch up.  What is very cool about the sport is doing it with Windy.  We are becoming a team.  And that alone is worth the entry fee.   But that is not what this post is about.  Really, I am not sure where I am going with it.  I guess I am just a bit melancholy tonight and thinking about the early days.

Around the same time I started HTR, I started a Yahoo ListServ called Horsetales.  It was a way for area horse riders to communicate to each other.  It grew quickly; in its heyday was about 350 members strong posting thousands of thoughts each month for group comment.  It wasn't without drama but for the most part, we all grew as riders and friends.  Some of us never met but others became friends and riding buddies.

I fought Facebook as long as I could, but eventually we all went over to the dark side and the best analogy I can come up with was we graduated from Horsetales and all moved to the city.  We got lost in the crowd and only our besties remained.  No longer was there the tight knit group who shared ideas and ride reports and pictures.  The accolades we would get from other Horsetalers pretty much dried up.  The archives remain, still hosted by Yahoo, but it is no longer a part of our day or our horse life.

A few years ago, I stopped hosting the annual Horsetales ride; the interest wasn't there.  This past year, storms canceled my Friday Before Mother's Day Ride.  Next year there won't be one.  I have moved on from that as well.  Horsetales would bring it to life before the ride and we would share the stories long after the ride was over.  The last time I hosted the ride admittedly I thought, "who are these people?"  Lots of faces I had never seen before or after.

Where is going from here?  I don't know.  It, too, is an archive of my horse life and I use it quite frequently for time references.  I hope that I can bring it back to what it once was and no, I will not do classifieds!  My gosh!  Those about killed me!  But I miss the chronicle of my horse life and even though it isn't going in the same direction, doesn't make it less important.  We have a new filly to start, we hope to have a foal in the spring and if my calculations are right, Windy and I will finish the CTR year with some blue ribbons.  I have stories to tell.

Jul 21, 2015

Facebook is Your Friend

While this website has been the source for horse trail riding in Nebraska, unfortunately, I have been unable to keep up with the day to day work on this site.  While I am hoping to catch up with it in the future, it won't happen that soon.  In the meantime, you are welcome to post your rides or horse events on the Facebook Page.

Join the page and then click on Events to enter pertinent information about your upcoming horse event.  Please remember that is regional and limited to horse events in Nebraska and adjoining states.  All other events will be deleted.

Thanks for tuning in and hope to be back to our regular scheduled program soon.  Ride on!

Jul 5, 2015

Welcome Back

McCain texted me yesterday, one of his random one-liners.  "Why don't you blog anymore?"  I thought, "I do", but then realized that I have not done much with my blog at all this year.  Busy, yes.  But I blame it on Facebook.  When I do sit down at the computer, I read the feeds and catch up with friends.  Since my oldest son does read my blog, this ones for him!

The Horse Trail Riding Expo was a huge success!  I was so tired when I pulled into the driveway that night that I did not remember to unload Windy until I was taking a shower  the next morning!  Yes, I forgot my own horse in the trailer.  She had hay and shelter..... she was fine.  Really!

In April, we headed to Kansas for our first Competitive Trail Ride of the year.  It was at a park called the Sandhills and I would have to look at a map to tell you where in the state of Kansas we were!  The last few months have been a blur.  It was a full class and Windy came in 2nd.

Fancy, however, was pulled for lameness.  She has vetted out Grade 1 in the past; this time, she was 3 legged lame.  We had her vet checked when we returned and she is arthritic in the knee.  Her competition days are over.  We have moved Butter to the A team for the rest of this season but haven't competed yet.  It will take a while to get her in condition and what's the theme here?  We have been so busy!

Later in April, we lost John's nephew unexpectedly.  We traveled to Minneapolis for the funeral and then back to central Nebraska for the burial a few days later.  It was a very sad time for the Vasa family.  Unfortunately, sad times continued when a few weeks later, we lost my sister's husband, also very unexpectedly.  It's amazing how quickly both families pulled together in these times of extreme loss.

On to happier times.  McCain came home from Okinawa on leave and he and Angie were married in our yard with just close family in attendance.  We wanted a sunset wedding and we got it!  I'm happy to welcome her to the family.

A few days later we fulfilled one of our parental duties when Case graduated from high school.  Admittedly, he gave me a few gray hairs over the years which made this day even more of a celebration!

One of the advantages of having mares is being able to breed them.  Although Fancy will be sound for pleasure riding, she is no longer competition sound.  Since she is a beautiful mare with a wonderful disposition and a nice pedigree, we have decided to breed her for John's next competition horse.  It is his horse so he picked the stud, PC Cashing in Frost, a son of Sun Frost.  Sun Frost, while a decorated stud in his own right, is the grandson of Doc Bar.  A lot of SI-AAA horses on the dam side as well:  Dash for Cash, Cash Native, Rocket Wrangler....  Barrel racers could probably identify more with this breeding.

So, I did the math and figured if Fancy takes on the first breeding, his new horse will be ready for competition in 2020.  That's a long time to wait for another horse, isn't it?  So I went shopping and surprised him with a pretty filly that is just to his liking:  a solid sorrel with 4 black hooves.  Far from speed bred, this little pleasure filly sure moves pretty.  I figure when John is ready for Speedy Gonzales, Windy will be slowing down and I can move over to this horse.  Her name is Decks Tru Grit.  I call her Darby.  She is two years old.  Nicely started in hand.

We had a very dry winter so we were happy for spring rains.  The Friday Before Mother's Day Ride was canceled due to rain.  Spring went into summer and it seems to still be raining.  We have had a heckuva time getting our hay out!  The bugs are awful and we have had quite enough now thank you very much!

This summer we are heading to the Big Horn mountains in Wyoming.  At the end of August, a friend and I are managing our first CTR at Rock Creek Station and then hopefully, we can start competing again at the fall rides.

May 6, 2015



UPDATE WEDNESDAY - RIDE CANCELLED!  I know I said I was going to wait until Thursday but it rained overnight and is still raining with more predicted throughout the day and night.  This is only the 2nd time in 15 years I have had to cancel, so I guess we have been lucky.  Please spread the news.  Sorry!  Have a great ride season!

PLEASE READ:  Usually one day of rain does not effect our Oak Creek Trail.  However, it has been raining here since Sunday night and rain is in the forecast until early Sunday.  While I am not one to believe the forecast is always right, I am also not one to risk damage to our trails for a one day ride.  I don't think with continued moisture that the limestone could handle 75 - 100 horses.  And I have learned over the years, it is very hard to police riders from being on the limestone.  In dry weather, it holds up well.  In wet weather, it can produce awful divots.  This is a shared trail and we want to keep it good for all users.

Road riding is not an option as I have not had the opportunity to map it accordingly.

Please share with your horse friends.

On the positive note, we have had much needed moisture in the area.

Mar 28, 2015

March Marches On

Expo is over.  It was a great success.  I was really happy with the support and well wishes we had from our vendors, guests, presenters... just everyone.  And it was a success for our trails committee.  Thanks to everyone who participated and we are pretty sure we will be doing it again next year.

That's the good news.

The bad news is our Nahla has been missing for about 10 days.  She literally disappeared in front of John's eyes.  He was chopping wood at his mom's place just down the hill from us.  My mother-in-law had come outside and was watching Pip and Nahla as she talked to John.  Fifteen minutes later he went to leave and only Pip loaded up.  We live about 1/4 miles from my mother-in-law if you cut across our pasture, which we usually do.  Her driveway is 1/4 mile from the highway.  No one came in while he was there.  So Nahla had to have gone out.  Did she get drug out by coyotes?  A cat?  Did she chase something toward the highway and someone pick her up?

We have rode horses, quads, and walked all around the area.  We have hung up fliers and posted on Facebook.  I spoke with a medium at Expo and she described where she went missing to a tee, but none of the leads she provided have helped.  How could she have just disappeared?

In other news, Windy is back from the trainer and a friend rode her in the Trail Challenge at Expo.  She didn't win but she didn't refuse an obstacle, so that was an improvement.  You can see her (and me) in the Expo news story.  Windy is the bay with the veterinary speaking about her.

I am looking forward to our first CTR in April.

I am starting to get info on this year's trail rides and will update shortly on this site.  And I will try really hard to keep it current.  Thanks for hanging with me and Happy Spring.

Mar 1, 2015

More on Horse Trail Riding Expo

Our event is coming right along!  And as much fun as it has been planning, I can't wait until its over and I can start thinking about riding again!

By the way, Miss Windy will be entered in the Trail Challenge at the Horse Trail Riding Expo!  Come & cheer her on!

To see actual size, visit 

Feb 4, 2015

Here I Am!

Happy New Year, Happy Presidents Day and Happy Groundhog Day!  I have been gone from this spot way to long.  I always have said I blog for myself and not for followers but if my not-yet-born grandchildren read this blog in forty years, they will wonder if I met my demise?  No, still here.  I've just been super, super busy!

With what?


From 2005 to 2011 (I think), I was part of a great committee who hosted the Nebraska Horse Expo each spring.   We took a year off in 2012.  Lots of reasons:  facility cost, lack of volunteers, committee burnout... my son's graduation.  When March came around the next year, I didn't miss that big time commitment dedicated to Expo.  But still.... something about March just hasn't been the same.

At our Trails Committee meeting in November, we asked the question, What If?  What if we, the Trails Committee, did our own Expo dedicated to what we know best.  Trail riding.  Use a smaller facility, cut it back one day and fill it up!  So what if Expo usually took nine months to plan.  We are experienced!  We can do this!  So the Horse Trail Riding Expo came to be and every spare moment I have at the computer is dedicated to making this a top notch event!

Meanwhile, Windy went to "camp".  Code word for "trainer".  She is getting fine tuned again; working on collection and become more soft.  I try to visit her every week and timing was good since I wasn't suppose to ride for awhile following an elbow procedure I had done in December.  

So that's it in a nutshell.  I'll have lots more to share about my riding adventures when Windy comes home.  Until then, think EXPO!

The schedule has been posted on our Expo website.  I'll be doing a demo called Women & Horses.  Check it out!