2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas to ME!

I didn't want to say anything sooner for fear of jinxing it, but as many of you know, I have been on the "Great Saddle Search" for some time now. In the end, I resolved that the Duett line of saddles is about the only way I can go. They are not cheap, but I have yet to hear any bad feedback at all about them. In fact, they are so well liked, as a general rule, that finding a good used one is kind of like finding a unicorn... and finding a good used one that would be both wide enough for Bronwyn and big enough in the seat for me... they exist, oh, they exist... but to get one that is USED is kind of a "from my cold, dead hands.", a la Charlton Heston.

I have doggedly kept my eyes on eBay and Tack Trader looking for something that will fit me and (most importantly) Bronwyn... a couple of times they have come up, out of my price range. Two went over the summer in the $500-600 range which would have been right up my alley, had I had money in my hands. I eventually gave up on the idea of something used and took on a second job through the November/December months in order to buy a new one in the new year.

And then it happened. I found a 38cm, 19" Duett Companion Trail on eBay with a starting bid at $500. This was doable. I was excited!

I don't dig the two-tone going on, but with what I do with Bronwyn at this moment, and considering the fact that my butt and thighs will cover most of the ugly up, it will do. Heck, at this point, I wouldn't care if it had Mickey Mouse all over it, as long as it fits Bronwyn.

Anyways, the seller, "Nora", was beyond helpful. I contacted her with what I anticipated to be my payment schedule prior to even bidding on the account. She was so easy to get along with and even expressed excitement when I won the auction. So, Nora... thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for assisting in this wonderful adventure we call saddle-fitting!

Now, I am a pretty experienced eBayer, but I am also pretty anxious, and I have a hard time (and heart palpitations) when I am bidding on something that is not that common to find and that I also "need". I enlisted my mother, who I would call a "MASTER EBAYER" to help me out with the bidding. What that meant is that she sat at the desktop computer with the page open ready to "snipe" the bidding at 10 seconds prior to the auction ending, and I sat in my bedroom, on my bed, with a blanket over my head and my laptop open before me, neurotically refreshing and refreshing the eBay page and occasionally letting out squeals and shrieks. I had already decided what price I wanted to go to, but what if someone else went $10 higher and I lost the auction?!?! THEN I would have to continue this neurotic searching of eBay and all things internet or wait until the new year before I could buy a saddle.

In the end, I ended up winning the Companion for less than half of what it would cost new (even including the shipping), and I am pretty darn excited. It got into the mail on Friday and I have only a delivery confirmation number so I can do some more neurotic refreshing on the USPS website (probably better that there isn't an actual tracking number so I have more details to anticipate looking for).

Does anyone see a pattern with neurosis here? I am practically bouncing in my seat hoping that it will land before Christmas (they said 8 days but I know USPS can sometimes be faster... but also during this time of year can also be MUCH MUCH SLOWER) and I will have a REAL Christmas present for myself and for my horse.

I usually have buyer's remorse after spending any amount of money on anything (sometimes even grocery shopping gives me buyer's remorse!), but I haven't experienced an ounce of it yet and I am so darn excited!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slightly Not-Horse-Related: Being Thankful

A week ago on Saturday, I was thankful for having a steady mount. Bronwyn and I decided to finally ride up on the clearcut that has happened next to our home (you might remember me blogging about it and how upset it made me). All the snow that had been on the ground had melted out and it was a really mild day - we had gotten a lot of rain shortly before it but it had backed off and I was really looking forward to just riding my horse up into the mountain and being able to unwind from some personal stresses that were going on.

Bronwyn was keen so as we headed out the driveway, we picked up a brisk trot. As we were passing our pond, all of a sudden, there was no horse under me. Thinking she had stumbled, I supported her head the best I could and tried to keep her from doing a nosedive and Bronwyn managed to stay on her feet. She continued to trot off as though nothing had happened. I reined her in and looked behind me to find an enormous gaping hole in our driveway.

She had put a front foot through a spot beside the cedar culvert that someone had built several years ago. Fortunately, there was no metal for her to cut herself on or get caught up in. Due to the heavy rains we had been experiencing, the earth beside the culvert had just washed away and left a sinkhole. She walked off sound and we completed our ride with no problems - she was not sore even the day after. I was so impressed with her steadiness, and the way that she just took things in stride.

It's funny because to many, she is not predictable, she is difficult and sometimes I feel like she can be a handful. On our longer-than-should-be-legal 4 hour ride, she was full of it when we left - my dad actually said later on that he hadn't been sure if I could handle her. She is reliable in her unpredictability, and the strong underlying current, despite some of the fears she still harbours, is that she trusts me and I trust her and in the end, that is why we get along so well!

Later on, I became thankful for other things that were related to saturated ground and rain.

This is a picture of what our front lawn looked like earlier this week - you can see the spot on the driveway where we fell through the sinkhole. The pond in front of our house is supposed to start about three feet behind the fence. Eventually, we unclogged the old rotted culvert and set most of the pond free and our dog yard is no longer flooded through, but the rain did more damage to other areas.

I lucked out. I am thankful.

These images were taken on roads that I travel on at least a weekly basis (some of them more like daily). This was all from a day's worth of torrential rain.

Fortunately, our place sustained no real damage, but places just 20 minutes away.. people were evacuated, horses had to be moved, reports of riding rings and barns down, pastures flooded, homes picked up and MOVED by the water.

The area is rebuilding, but this has always been one of those "it can't happen here" things.