I guess I really shouldn’t call myself an ex-dressage rider. I continue to use the same principles in my riding, I just now ride in a western saddle most of the time. 

I do get out my dressage saddle once and awhile. It’s much lighter and easier to throw on when I don’t have very much time to work with my boys.

I used to own an Oldenburg named Finian. He was beautiful and I loved riding him. I bought him as a three year old and he was not an easy horse to train and ride, but we had come a long way in the five years that I owned him, thanks to my trainer Julie.

Then I moved to my own place and tried to make a backyard horse out of Finian. It worked pretty well while the weather was nice. But then winter weather moved in. Finian is a horse that needs to be worked hard and frequently, which I couldn’t do without an indoor arena.

I tried to ride him in November after he hadn’t been ridden for awhile. I should have known better. Finian took off while I was getting on him and I broke my collar bone and wrist when I hit the frozen ground.


Check out the purple cast…

I reluctantly sold Finian and now have two horses more suited to standing around most of the winter, only to be ready to go again in the Spring after a brief lunging session. Neither of them will ever be dressage horses, but they can still do the leg yields, turns on the haunches, shoulder ins and such — all with a western saddle on.

Families are an interesting thing. And I have two of them: my adoptive family and my biological family. Unfortunately, both my families have gotten smaller. 

My adoptive Dad died 25 years ago. My adoptive brother died 13 years ago. And my adoptive Mom died about 17 months ago. And now my biological Dad died on November 28, 2008 from cancer.

I actually met my Dad on Thanksgiving in 1998. Ten years was not enough time, not that any amount of time would have fit the bill. But he lived about 1700 miles away from me so the visits were too short and infrequent. 

My Dad wasn’t the only member of my birth family I met at that time. I also met my birth Mom, three sisters, two brothers, and a number of nephews and nieces.

The most fascinating thing about meeting my birth family was that the love of horses and animals appears to be genetic. Who would of known? So many things about me finally made sense.

My Dad and Me on Jacki (2004)

The death of a parent is a difficult thing to go through, but I’ve found it especially complex with the loss of my birth Dad. Probably something to do with losing a part of myself so recently found. That mixed in with the adoption, rejection, abandonment issues I tote around with me. It’s something I’m sure I’ll be working through for quite some time to come.

My Dad and Me (2006)

I feel as though I should introduce my animal crew. The newest member of the family is Java, a German Shepherd, Golden Retriever mix. I got her from Pleading Paws Pet Rescue (PPPR) last September. She was about four months old then. PPPR picked her up from a dog pound that was going to put Java down if the rescue group didn’t take her. Thank goodness they rescued Java in time! She helped to put a smile back on my face after my dear Willow dog died. 

I am so thankful for organizations like PPPR and all the people out there that foster and adopt rescued animals. They do such great work. 

Then there’s Shy, a barn cat that came with the place my husband and I bought. I named her Shy because it took many months before I could get near her. The front paw she’s holding up in the photo has buckshot in the elbow joint that’s probably been there since she was fairly young. The bone healed and fused in an awkward bent position, but she still can move pretty fast. The leg seems to hurt at times, especially in the winter. Which is why she winters inside the house now.

Lastly, there’s Luke and Murphy. Luke’s in the forward right of the photo. I bought him as a 3-year-old. He had rain rot and was skin and bones. But he’s nine now and doing fine. He’s supposed to be a Tennessee Walker but I think he has more quarter horse in him than anything.

Murphy (in the left rear) is a Missouri Fox Trotter who I believe successfully bullied his previous owner into never riding him. Murphy tries to intimidate people but if you don’t let him, he can be a nice horse to ride. Very smooth.

So that’s the crew. I’ll be telling you more about them as we go along.

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