We’re still here. And I got a dog.

For the few of you who have followed my blog in the past, it must seem that Baron and I have disappeared off the face of the earth, or the blogging universe at least. Not to worry, we’re still around; we just haven’t done much for a long time. As you know, horses and riding lessons are quite expensive, and I haven’t had the money or the time to do much with Baron. I had to put him on the back burner for a while to save money and do right by my kids. He is still boarded at the barn two minutes from my house and I still feed and care for him daily, so I do get to see him. The summer was hot as blazes and I was busy, so I didn’t ride all summer. Not once. All. Summer. It sucked. I did let my kids ride a couple times, but I couldn’t ride and supervise them at the same time.

Baron and my daughter this summer.
Baron and my daughter this summer.

In August I decided to pull his shoes to save some money on a horse I never got to ride anyway. I found a natural barefoot farrier and she came out and took a look at him. It’s now almost Christmas and he’s been barefoot for about four months. I couldn’t ride him at all during this time because his feet needed to grow out and toughen up. I was skeptical as to whether he could go without shoes, but he’s done fine. At her last visit, the farrier told me his feet looked great and he was ready to be ridden again. So I saddled up and away we went.

We ride on grass and in the sand arena and so far he’s been perfectly sound. Much to my surprise, he doesn’t seem tender-footed or ouchy at all.  I have given up on showing for the time being and I’m trying to ride for the simple pleasure of riding. Because he’s not been worked, he’s lost some muscle. I’m looking forward to both of us getting back in shape.

In other news, I got (another) dog. I had two dogs, an English bulldog and a chihuahua. Both are lazy and don’t like the barn. (The bulldog would actually die of heat exhaustion if I took her outside in the summer.) So I decided I wanted an active, outdoorsy dog. I found her at Paulding County Animal Control the day before she was to be euthanized. I adore her. Her name is Heidi and she is pretty close to perfect. She stays with me without a leash and she is not an idiot around the horses. She accompanies me to the barn every day now and I love having her around.

The new dog Heidi
The new dog Heidi

My kids (ages 2 and 4) are finally old enough to entertain themselves at the barn while I ride. I have waited so long for this day. On Sunday afternoon the kids, Heidi and I all went to the barn. First I led the kids around on Baron. He is amazing with the kids and they love him. I am proud of them for riding such a big horse and I’m proud of him for being calm enough for kids. After the kids rode, they made mud pies and played with the barn cat while I rode. I actually got a decent ride in. It was glorious. I think FINALLY I may be able to easily balance the kids and the horse without feeling like one or the other is being neglected.

We had a picnic at the barn this summer and this is Baron right after he stole my 2 year old's peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
We had a picnic at the barn this summer and this is Baron right after he stole my 2 year old’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich.