Dreamin’

“Colorado, everywhere I go I’m in your shadow and you’re callin’ to me
Colorado, the sun melts the snow makes the rivers flow to the sea”
from Colorado by Chuck Pyle

Elizabeth: watching the sunset (JN Ranch, Oct 25 2017)

Nothing is finer than being home.

 

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Pebbles: Rainbow Bridge Day

It is the twelfth anniversary of her Rainbow Bridge Day. Pebbles is very memorable, quickly bringing a smile as we remember her. A beautiful girl, she was happy, a close confidante and loyal littermate. With Pebbles, you knew she was in charge – not only of all things feline, but of all things.

meezer kittens: Pebbles squeezing into the box with Dino (Mar 1990)

kitchen cabinet high ground: Pebbles surveying her kingdom (Jul 1991)

summer is easy: lounging under the tree (May 1992)

fashion: Pebbles with her leopard-print, leather handbag (Oct 1999)

patio comfort: relaxing on a summer’s eve (Aug 2002)

Pebbles at eleven (Jun 2000)

We were most privileged to have our Siamese girl for more than 16 years. Every day was a good one with her. We miss you much.

Love you always,

mom and dad
xoxo

Photos are from the Two Cats Two archives. They were taken using a Canon FTb 35 mm SLR using Kodak Gold (ASA 200) film.

Riding: Grand Prix Day

The day begins early, shortly after 5:30 am. The horses are beginning to wake and stir in their stalls. Soon, it will begin like every other day. My daughters are quiet during the ride in, studying their checklists and going over what they want to accomplish in their minds. Horses are animals with a set routine. Whether at home, or on the road at the show, it is about keeping with the daily schedule.

Though it seems quiet, the main horse barn is humming with activity. The barn crew is finishing their deliveries of stall supplies; the riders are slowly filtering in. Those riding in the first events of the day are the most busy preparing their gear and horses. Arriving at the barn, it is straight to work for my girls. The first order of business is a check of their horses and their stalls, followed by setting up breakfast. The breakfast is precise in what they are fed. It is a mix of ultra-premium hay, rolled oats and scientific horse feed, with the balance varying slightly for each horse. After getting them started on breakfast, along with fresh water, the girls check on the stall supplies they’ve ordered. And, so begins another day.

morning workout: Elizabeth and SAM on a circle exercise, the froth normal (CHP, Jul 2017)

In the early morning workout, a sense of the day begins to develop between my girls and their horses. Of importance is the energy, prompting and workout level. Though it is Grand Prix day, it is keeping it like any other day. Preparing for the event tempers the anticipation and expectations. They become an X-factor of sorts as the marquee event draws closer. No other event is greater, or better, than the Grand Prix. It features the best riders with the best horses in attendance, with a few riding it as their only event. Yet, the competitiveness is even. Anyone riding the GP can win. Deborah often compares it with the NFL maxim: “On any given Sunday …

During the morning meeting, the GP riders are briefed on the day’s schedule, weather and practice windows. With the event always scheduled for the late afternoon, or in the evening, knowing the schedule aids them in managing their time and routines. The most important part of the meeting is the blind draw for starting positions, with a preference for a later position. Between the short workouts and walkthroughs, there is much to do during the day. Though the downtime is very little, it is keeping the day very relaxed and routine. In their workmanlike approach, my daughters can often be found studying their practice video and leafing through their notes. It is staying with what they know, trusting in themselves and their horses.

finishing touches: flora and greenery for the 1.40 m Grand Prix course (CHP,  Jul 2017)

It is when the GP course build begins, a quiet anticipation grows among the riders. Having kept themselves busy for most of the day, they are ready to ride the event. The course length and its difficulty depends upon how the designer wants to challenge the horse and rider. Once the course build has been certified to specification, it becomes available for a walkthrough inspection by the riders. With a printed copy of the layout in hand, the riders will walk the course with an eye on every physical feature – from fence height and distances to the firmness of the footing material to sight lines.

the walkthrough: former RRC teammate and mentor, Megan (r), with her riding student Roxanne making her GP debut (CHP, Jul 2017)

While several riders will walk the course with their trainers (instructors), others will make it a solitary walk. My daughters walk the course together, quietly discussing their observations among themselves. They are also writing additional notes and observations. After completing their walkthrough, the girls secret themselves and talk about the best way to attack the course – which riding line is the safest, which one is the most aggressive, and which one is the best.

Once they finish their course analysis, my daughters tightly focus their remaining preparations on the event. It is their time to be alone in their thoughts, planning and visualizing their rides with no diversions and no distractions. The schedule and weather delays are taken in stride.

the golden boy: Mr. Ed receiving a perfect groom from Elizabeth before donning his show tack (CHP, Jul 2017)

A final brushing of their horses is a calming time between my daughters and their horses. They too are aware of the event before them. Soon, they will be dressed in their best show tack. The ground work is precise and methodical. Every hair, horse and rider, perfectly in place. My girls, absolutely perfect in their Grand Prix clothes.

It is time to be a champion.

the championship look: Captain Andrew Evan Stedman and Deborah (CHP, Jul 2017)

Days of Gray

Six, to be more precise.

skies: call it gray

It is a reminder of the seasonal change from summer to fall. Add in periods of rain, fairly cool temperatures, and the furnace occasionally running. However, positives can be found. A couple of hummers still visiting the feeder (past due their normal departure date of around September 15th). And, rain during a normally dry time of the year. The better positive, at least, it is not winter weather.

dark gray: doves waiting for the dark clouds to pass

waiting for flight clearance

The better positive, a sign of bright colors ahead.

an early sign of fall colors in the lowlands (elevation 6000 ft)

National Pancake Day

Made from scratch, or made from a mix. Breakfast, lunch or dinner.

on the griddle: Andrea making breakfast

Of course, the cook may exercise their privilege of having the best made pancakes unto themselves.

plated and served: with butter and drenched in Log Cabin syrup (Andrea’s plate)

Already had breakfast? Other serving options include lunch or dinner.

Have a great National Pancake Day!

Photo credit: Andrea Kanakredes camera: Blackberry Classic