My Little Bat

My little bat at school

Today was the Halloween Party at Wade’s school.  He wanted to dress up as a bat.  Easy enough, right??  Not if your son is as picky and eccentric about his clothes as mine.  It started out like this……

“Wade, I laid all of your black clothes out for your bat costume.  Put on the black pants and the black dinosaur shirt inside out, and the black soccer socks with black crocs.”

“Don’t you think that’s a little weird?”


“Wearing the shirt inside out?”

“Don’t you think it’d be a little weirder for a bat to be wearing a shirt with a glow in the dark dinosaur on it?”

“Maybe we have another black shirt”

“I don’t think you do”

We search for one and lo and behold we find a plain black t-shirt. 

“I told you so “….Wade says.

“Yes, you did.  Now put the dinosaur shirt on under it and the short sleeve shirt on top of it.  No one will see the dinosaur and your arms will be warm….and it won’t be “weird””

He puts on his shirts.

“Now put on your soccer socks”

“Can’t I just wear my white socks?”

“No–put on the black ones.”

“But I think bats have white feet.”

“Nice try, but no they don’t .  Put the socks on”

“Can I just wear different socks?”

I go rummaging around in his sock drawer for another pair of black socks.  I found a pair of black dress socks and return to him with those.

“Here.  Put these on.”

He had a really weird facial expression as he looked at them.

“Aren’t those “Dancing socks”????


“One time I had a soccer game and I tried to put those on with my shinguards.  My daddy told me those were dancing socks”

I just busted out laughing.

“I think maybe he said they were “dress socks””

“No–he said they were dancing socks.  I’ll wear my soccer socks.”

“Ok.  Then put on your soccer socks with your crocs and meet me downstairs.  We still have to put on your wings and get you some cereal.”

“Should I wear green or black crocs?”

“Have you ever seen a bat wearing green crocs?”

He laughed and put on the black ones.  He ate his breakfast and put on his wings.  

I’m glad he decided against the dancing socks………..that would have been completely ridiculous.  Who ever heard of a bat wearing a dinosaur shirt with green crocs and dancing socks?

My little bat in his "non dancing socks"

Octoberfest horse trials——–A great weekend!

Just a note to those of you interested……Octoberfest went extremely well.  We didn’t bring home any blue ribbons, but we all had a blast and our move-ups went very well!  I’m so tired right now that I can barely stand it, and I still have a bat costume to make for Wade’s Halloween party at school tomorrow.  I will fill you in on all the details about the show and have lots of pictures for you tomorrow!  Until then…..I’m a costume designer (poor Wade!!)

Gus —- starting back on Monday

Gus is enjoying his last few days of vacation while I get ready to go to Kentucky.  On Monday he will get groomed, clipped, and lunged.  We will discuss the timing of the SI joint injection with Dr. Miller when he comes out next week to do fall shots.   Until then, we will start back with some hacking and light flat work.  He’s been off now since September 18th, and I cannot wait to get back on him. 

Gus enjoying his last moments as a "retiree"

A wake up call……

Today did not go as planned.  When will I realize that that is how it always goes.  If I planned every day to not go according to plan, what would happen?  Would things run ever so smoothly?  Would all of my rides be calculated and forward moving along the learning scale?  Would my darling horse behave himself as if I were his favorite human whom he loved and wanted to please as if his life depended upon it?   It sounds like a nice idea….but who really wants predictable?    Predictable is boring………and do you really learn anything?

Today I fell off of Rhyland for the first time ever.   Wait, I take that back.  I fell off of him the first time while we were standing still waiting for my Kate to jump her horse over a little tiny log.  Her horse celebrated on the landing side of the little tiny log and Kate came off.  Her horse fled the scene in Rhyland’s general direction.  Rhyland proceeded to squeal like a little girl and spin hard left to avoid any confrontation with the “terrifying, 20 year old, schoolmaster, mare”.  I found myself butt-down in the tall weeds.   That was my first fall off of Rhyland.

My second fall off of Rhyland happened today.  Less than 24 hours before we were scheduled to leave for the show.  Fantastic.  It happened over a crossrail.  Even more fantastic.  Nothing like a humongous wake up call over the smallest fence in the universe to bring about a little attention to the riding position.  For some reason…could it be the crazy way he flails between fences, or the way he leaps off of his front end to challenge the martingale, or the way he barges to the fences claiming to be a superstar jumper in a greener than snot body, that has caused me to lose a little bit of my classical riding style?  On more than one occasion I have seen my life flash before my eyes……so, yes….I may jump ahead every now and again.  Today was one of those days, and on the 3rd or 4th time over the warm up crossrail, I found myself jumping ahead, and then he stopped—HARD.  I then found myself in the sand.  Nice.  I promptly dusted myself off, grabbed my obnoxious horse, and got back on.  Knowing full well that he had just reminded me a most valuable lesson.  Thank you, Rhyland for dumping my butt in the sand and reminding me to sit up and wait on your highness to jump.  Thank you for allowing me to be the student and not the teacher.  Thank you for having this “teaching moment” at home and not at the show this weekend.  I appreciate it.

The next time I cantered down to the crossrail I was sitting up and waiting for him.  This time he threw in another NASTY stop, but I was sitting up and ready for it.  I whacked him on the shoulder, and that was the end of the stopping.  Oh, he was still his obnoxious self, but he went over the fences without hesitation. 

I walked away from my ride with two thoughts…..

I am soooooo glad he made me aware of my position issues today


Predictable is for sissies.

A great training day !

Today was another great day in the saddle!  Rhyland and I worked on our dressage test, and he was absolutely fantastic.  He is finally putting it all together for this weekend.  I couldn’t have asked for a nicer ride on him.  Though he still occasionally has his moments of beligerence, he is improving by leaps and bounds in the dressage.   We struggle a bit in the stadium due to the fact that my friend thinks he needs no help at all—-nor does he need to keep his head at a level at which he can still see the fences.  The cross country is going extremely well, and I feel “fairly” confident in jumping him novice this weekend.  I worry only about the combinations if he decides to celebrate after the first element.    No time like the present to experiment!

Since Gus is on hiatus until Monday, and my girl, Kallie, is officially OFF of the training list….and awaiting her departure from the farm….I decided to work with McKinley today.  

He came with the jockey club name “BOLD AND BAD” .  I gave him the name “McKinley” because I have always loved US Olympian Gina Miles and her superstar horse “McKinlaigh”. This horse was purchased to be a lesson/family horse and a potential resale project.  I never  thought he would be a horse I would compete myself….so I wasn’t really concerned about stealing the name of the famous horse…until now.

I have been watching this horse change over the last couple of weeks.  We started him back at the very beginning ….working on all of the ground work, the tying, the clipping, the lunging, the grooming, etc.   He has picked up on everything very quickly, and seems to be thrilled to have a consistent job. His personality is enjoyable,   he’s a nice mover, he is careful with his feet, and he loves to jump.  So this horse that  I wrote off as being just a nice lesson horse, has made his way onto my training list.   Emily, who will be leasing him starting Monday, will be taking lessons and working with me to get him ready to show this spring.  Emily is hoping he will be ready to do his first starter with her in May…..we’ll see how he progresses this winter. 

I think I may have found a diamond in the rough.  I’m looking forward to seeing what this 4 year old will look like at age 6.

This week…….

This week leading up to Octoberfest has been an interesting one.   Weeks leading up to horse shows tend to be that way.  Trying to balance the riding , the kids’ activities, the new responsibilities at my husband’s business, and running the farm has proven a bit rough this week. 

It started on Friday night with Wade’s soccer party and Kate’s trip to her friend’s house.  Saturday was an all day soccer tournament in Beavercreek with Kate.  Sunday we awoke at 6am to prepare for another whole day on the soccer fields.  It ended with Kate’s team losing in double overtime in the tournament finals. 

Monday started out like a normal day… up at 6:30am, kids off to school…..and then somewhere in the middle things went horribly wrong.  I had a terrible  dressage ride on Rhyland and got bucked off of the horse formerly known as “MY new horse, Kallie”.  I was getting on her at the mounting block when she decided to buck me off and trample my friend who just happen to be standing nearby.  Lots of fun.   I actually went on a nice run after that—-before the soreness from getting bucked off set in—- and then I spent the evening  in the high school gym watching a series of choir performances.  I felt like I was trapped in an episode of “Glee”.   Sort of enjoyed the whole evening, much to my own surprise!  

Today I woke up extremely sore and had the song “Soul Sister” by Train stuck in my head from last night’s performance.    Wade didn’t have school today, so we got a lazy start.  It was a beautiful day and we made it outside in time to help Jessica turn out horses    After I taught my 10 o’clock lesson, Elizabeth and I  loaded up Cavalier and Rhyland and ran up to Twin Towers for a quick run around the xc course.  Wade followed us around on foot and enjoyed jumping “off”  some xc fences.   Rhyland galloped well, and it was a great day of jumping for both horses.  We arrived back  home in time to get the horses bathed and clipped for this weekend’s show. 

Tomorrow will be a dressage day for Rhyland and McKinley.  Kallie is officially off of the list.  She will go back to my friend’s farm on Monday.  

Saturday we will leave for the show after the “parent vs. kids” soccer game with Kate’s team.  Totally looking forward to kicking her butt on the field…..ha ha ha.  Let’s just hope they don’t injure me to the point of not being able to ride this weekend!

Kate at her first choir concert----next to Brooke, of course

Getting to know the new horses……

This week has been a “get to know you” week for the new horses.   We have been thrilled thus far with both of them!


Monday Jessica rode him outside.  He was fairly hyper and we thought perhaps he may try to throw in some bucks at the canter. He trotted quietly over some cross rails and a small vertical and flower box when he settled down a bit.  He carries himself very well, but loves to keep his head straight up in the air like a giraffe.

Tuesday Jessica lunged him in our indoor arena.  It is very small in there, and he was bouncing off of the walls in the canter.  He had a bit of attitude on the lunge line and tried to run into the circle several times and threaten Jessica.  She won, of course, and he settled into his lunging after that.  We think he is just a little clueless.

On Wednesday I took him to the indoor to lunge him.  He had it all figured out.  He lunged like a superstar.  I took him to the outdoor arena….same thing.  I think he is very smart and willing to learn.  I was really excited to watch him start to extend his trot and canter a bit.  He may be way more talented than we originally thought.

Today I gave Emily her first lesson on him.  She is my student that was planning on leasing Vaquero when he came back from the trainer’s.  Emily is  going to start leasing McKinley in November and will help us get some miles put on him.   They got along really well, and I think they will be a good match.  McKinley still needs a little time cantering under saddle before I will turn Emily loose on him…..but it won’t be long.  He  has done everything right so far, and I am loving his personality.


Kallie came to us on loan from “Friends of Ferdinand”, the race horse adoption association.  She has been with them for awhile and has proven to be a bit difficult to place.  So far we have loved her.  On Monday Jessica lunged her, and to our surprise she was fantastic.  She knows voice commands and carries  herself without putting any pressure at all on the lunge line.  She is careful with her feet and wants to please.  She is a bit head shy, but she is starting to let us mess with her ears a little bit.

On Tuesday we lunged her inside and I rode her for the first time at home.  She is great.  She moves like Gus, but her trot is easy to sit.  Her canter is a bit big for my indoor, so I stuck to the trot.

Wednesday didn’t turn out quite how it was supposed to. I jumped Rhyland, lunged McKinley, and then I had to call Dr. Miller out for Gus, who was having one of his crazy unexplainable episodes where he seems drunk, and Kallie got put on the back burner.

Today I made her priority number 2.   I did dressage on Rhyland, who happens to be doing really well.  Then I got on Kallie.  She was even better than Monday.  I was able to work on leg yielding and moving off my leg.  She is so much fun to ride.

I have two more weeks to make a decision about her adoption.  I can see why she has been difficult to place in a home, but we think she may have found a  permanent one.  I’m pretty sure a decision was made today…..we think she’s pretty great.

A good day……


Today was a good day.  It was supposed to be raining all day today, but I woke up this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that the skies were clear.  Wade and I took our time getting dressed and eating breakfast.  He doesn’t go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I try to spend as much time with him as possible on those days.   We decided that today would be a good “date” day, and made plans to hit the Bellbrook McDonald’s as soon as I was done riding and teaching lessons. 

We headed outside at 10 am.  While Wade checked on his pumpkins in the pumpkin patch to see if any of them were ready to be picked ,  I threw on my boots, helmet, and chaps and grabbed my dressage whip.  Jessica had Rhyland all tacked up  for me, and as I headed down to the arena I hoped he was going to be cooperative enough that I could practice my dressage test.  He was really very nice to ride today.  I not only practiced my test, but also got to work on some leg yields, shoulder ins, and collected canter.  As I finished up with Rhyland,  Wade continued his work on the gigantic sand pile outside the arena gate. 

I still had an hour before Elizabeth’s lesson, so I had plenty of time to work with the new mare.  Jessica finished tacking her up while I untacked and brushed Rhyland.  I lunged Kallie outside, taking my time to work on her issues with the whip and sesitivity around her ears.  She lunged like an old pro, and we were off to the indoor to put in our first ride here.   I just walked and trotted her, working on her brakes and moving off the leg.   She is going to be a blast.  I was thrilled to once again feel how rhythmic and balanced she was in the trot.    The second I got off of her I was already looking forward to getting back on her tomorrow.

Jessica untacked her for me as I started Elizabeth’s lesson.  Wade, by this time, was asking me every few minutes if it was time to go on our date yet.  I finished up with Elizabeth’s lesson, helped Jessica bring in a few horses, and changed out of my breeches and into some jeans.  We headed out of  the driveway and off to McDonald’s just as the rain started to come down.

Wade and I lucked into an open computer booth as soon as we got to McDonald’s.  We ate our salad and chicken nuggets while listening to the crazy beepings and clickings of golf, skee ball, snowman, and Luxor.   We had a great date, and then it was time to get home to get “sissy” off of the bus and ready for her riding lesson at 3:30.  

Kate’s lesson on Cavalier went well.  Afterwards, Elizabeth and  I set up the  new jump course for the week, while Wade did some arts and crafts in Jeff’s office.   Kate fed horses and we headed inside…..where Jeff had a pot of chilli waiting for us……nice 🙂 

The harvest of the day
Wade on our "date" to McDonald's
Wade and his Happy Meal loot

Congratulations, Jessica and DCHS!

Tonight Kate and I went to watch Jessica’s team play in the first round of the Ohio High School soccer tournament.  They played really well and beat  Tri County North  6-0.  Kate and Morgan were ball girls and got plenty of exercise running up and down the field.

Congratulations, Jessica—-and all of the DCHS girls varsity soccer team!  The girls will play Preble Shawnee in the second round of the tournament this Thursday night.  Good luck!

Coach Orme giving her pre-game pep talk
Julia, Morgan, and Kate---ball girls for the evening
Coach Orme and Orme in action
Kate giving her mom the "I can't believe you're embarassing me" look

A weekend of leisure…..for me and the kids anyway!

This weekend has been a relaxing one.   Kate had a soccer game Saturday morning and then spent the rest of the afternoon playing here with Morgan and her friend Julia.  Wade and Wesley spent the day playing in the dirt with their fathers in my back yard….helping with the renovations.  I met my college friend Natalie at Mimi’s Cafe for a nice long talk before I went home and gathered up my family for the bonfire at our friends’ house.  We all had a great time at the bonfire, and the kids literally fell into bed with exhaustion when we got home.

Today, while Wade and Wesley helped with the trenching, Kate and I went to do a little shopping and lunch at Panera.   It was great just to have a little girl time out.  When we got back we played outside a little and then went to Young’s Dairy for some ice cream.  Tomorrow we get back to work, but it was a beautiful weekend to play.
A lazy morning watching "Cake Boss" on Netflix
Armani ---enjoying a lazy day in the field