Ironically for a blog named for mares, there’s another important guy in my life (sorry mom, he has four legs too). Fin (formally Bluefin Tuna Dog) is my Jack Russell Terrier/Corgi mix – colloquially known as a ‘Cojack,’ which I think sounds like something that plugs into a television. And today is Fin’s 7th birthday!
He came to me January of 2017 (literally on New Year’s Day) from the Carolina’s Russell Rescue. He had been surrendered by a family who said he was, “aggressive because he barked at and chased squirrels and rabbits.” Yeah.
I took one look at his giant, oversized ears and fell in love. I call them his radar ears. He’s almost perfectly half-JRT, half-Corgi – colored like a Jack, body/tail/ears of a Corgi. Personality swings wildly between the two.
He’s the best snuggler, the worst co-worker (I work from home, he sleeps on the couch), and yeah, we love to chase squirrels. Who doesn’t? Fin’s interests include: destroying stuffed toys, eating a variety of vegetables (carrots, squash, plain lettuce, spinach, green beans), stalking squirrels, rolling around in the grass, lounging in his swimming pool, playing with his Doberman best friend and going to Starbucks. Basically the bougiest dog of all time, right?
For a dog who should be the dream horse person dog, he despises them and does not get to go to the barn or any horse shows. Fine by me. Less fine when at my parents’ house and he is forced to see Lucy and Sancho the Mini Donkey.
Fin is the world’s biggest wimp and in our time together has overcome fears of the broom, the pantry door, my purse, the kitchen timer, the bathroom and most brilliantly, the hardwood floor. Yes, the floor. We are still working on all types of weather events and precipitation.
He has more coats and jackets than I do, courtesy of the clearance room at Farmhouse Tack.
If we’re being honest, it’s Fin’s world and I’m just living in it. Happy birthday buddy!
I guess my parents’ didn’t teach me super well, because while I won’t go get in a van for free candy, if you’re like, “HEY wine and ponies and puppies!” I’m like, OKAY LEMME BOOK MY PLANE TICKET. True story.
Also the story of how I basically sent Olivia a text like, “here’s my flight, THANKS!” and showed up at her doorstep. Okay, so more like outside in passenger pickup at Dulles, but basically the same thing.
But I don’t even care if it breaks every childhood stranger danger rule because we had SO MUCH FUN. I knew we’d be great when she picked me up and was like, “Sooo… we can go home… or we can go to the barn.” Uh, duh. Barn. Where I got to meet the cutest snuggly gigantic horse ever, Frankie!
Guys, he’s giant. Like, I don’t think anyone understands this, because you see Olivia on him and it’s like okay, sure he’s big, she’s tall, k. Nope. I’m like the size of one leg. Minus some draft horses, he’s legitimately the largest horse I’ve ever met in my entire life.
She schooled the humongous horse, we snuggled him and then she fed me Thai food.
AND THEN SHE TOOK ME TO WEGMANS.
If you are not familiar with Wegmans, you are missing out.
Saturday, first we stopped and she introduced me to Wawa. WHAT. Insanity. Gas station, but like… amazing. Coffee. Breakfast carbs. Ordering via computer to reduce the amount of actual human contact I have to endure.
Then we went to Middleburg, hereby known as Heaven on Earth. Seriously, the cutest town ever. All the pony things.
I made her try on Animo breeches, but they didn’t fit her (the shame, I didn’t start an addiction to $400 breeches). I sat in approximately 90382 saddles, of which I made her get 85% down for me while referring to her as, “tall friend.” (I’m seriously so sweet and nice of a person, right?!) I fell in love with every saddle I sat in that was more than $3000, because #champagnetaste #tapwaterbudget. We didn’t buy anything.
We drooled over properties for sale that cost more than I could dream of. I mean, it comes with 890 acres though? That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
I even got to dabble in my not-so-secret old lady habit – antique shopping! In which I played the enabler and made her buy a gorgeous copper pitcher and bowl. They’re totally practical purchases though – you can put things like sangria in pitchers and candy or carbs in bowls.
We went to a winery. Where there was a mini-donkey just roaming loose. Uh, hello did I mention heaven on earth?
Basically we just played with the donkey for like 10 minutes and then we finally tore ourselves away to go drink wine. What a rough life we lead, right? It was also like 9839 degrees and I wore all black like the displaced Southerner genius I am. Not.
AND THEN. We went to the barn. And I got to ride Frankie.
If I didn’t mention he was giant before…
So giant. Also had to put Olivia’s stirrup leathers on the very top hole.
Other than being impressed by his size though, there’s so much to love about this horse. He’s so freaking cool guys. I ride like a very small sack of rice on a horse and he was like, “Yes, of course, I would be happy to!”
When I asked for fancy things, he did them. When I just wanted to toodle around on the buckle and pretend he was a western please horse, he was all about it. I made him neck rein. It’s really a miracle anyone lets me ride their horse guys. I’m a total weenie and felt entirely comfortable on him, like you could ask me to go do anything and I would have been like, SURE.
It’s so so cool to see how far Frankie has come since Olivia has gotten him and you can tell it’s been a lot of hard work, but man, he sure makes it fun. I totally would have horsenapped him, but he’s like, slightly too large to fit in a carry on bag. (I totally had him on my side though, I fed him ice cubes because I ignore rules because I was trying to win him over)
And then we went home and ordered Chinese food and sat on the couch because we are the same person.
Sunday, Olivia had a lesson (recapped here) and my main takeaway was a) she can remember a lot of jumps in a short period of time (I take like 8 years to learn a course) b) her assistant trainer is super awesome and c) she’s seriously a fantastic rider who does not give herself enough credit. Her leg does not move when she drops her stirrups. Her upper body doesn’t do any of the bizarre things mine does. She’s great at making adjustments mid-course. No wonder they’ve done so well this year – she’s got it.
We finished out the day pampering Francis (he was less than impressed with getting his mane pulled), watching her assistant trainer perform chicken surgery (just a small leg procedure), and cleaning tack (she cleaned, I sat and watched her like the super helpful friend I am).
It was basically the greatest weekend and I can’t wait for her to come visit Doc and me in Indiana!
I manage to end up with a lot of bruises. Mostly from really stupid things. Half the time, I can’t remember what they came from. September, however, was a particularly moronic month for me, so obviously the correct response is to share it with the entire internet, RIGHT?
Upper right arm/elbow + outside right knee: Doc is crosstied in wash rack, I’m carrying small bucket with ACV rinse. He steps on the hose, I push him off, he instead steps on my foot. Proceed to, “OW GET OFF MY FOOT” and manage to trip myself backwards. Our wash rack has a 6″ or so lip on the front of it, like a curb, which in my tripping, I fall over. Doc spooks (aka pulls back like, “THIS GENIUS AGAIN”), knocking bucket out of my hand, which goes flying. At this point, I’ve landed on the curb, horse is hovering above me and bless his sweet, wonderful, sane heart, realizes nothing is going to kill him and he should freeze before he kills the small human beneath his large feet. I am soaking wet and accumulate an upper arm bruise that looks like I got socked, along with the outside of my knee. Can’t raise arm fully for three days. Praise the Lord for heating pads.
Inside left knee: So I have a pair of Monacos that have been straight hell on Earth to break in. Everyone who is like, “oh so easy to break in, so comfortable!!” YOU. ARE. LIARS. Or mine are just defective. Anyways. I try to make myself ride in them once a week or so (and they’re getting there, I will admit), but they still haven’t dropped enough to fasten the snaps at the back of the knee. No big deal, I think, I forget to do the snaps on my schooling boots all the time. Well, post-lesson, I discover the snap somehow migrated between my knee and saddle and has left me with a quarter shaped disgusting colored bruise on the inside of my knee. Cool.
Outside right knee/lower thigh: Leaving the arena on Tuesday, stopped to grab my water bottle off the arena rail. Doc decides he’s done and leaving right now, thanks, nevermind to the small human on board and proceeds to turn my leg into the post. Thanks buddy.
Honorable mention goes to the 4″ scratch up my left calf I do not know the origins of and the cut on my lip courtesy dropping my phone on my face.
On the plus side, I did not fall off the mounting block this month.