How horse people handle vacation; (P.S. I got engaged!)

This Thanksgiving we went on a road trip to Northern Arizona (DID YOU KNOW ARIZONA HAS MOUNTAINS??? I didn’t!) to visit our family. But on the way, we passed a few places which any self respecting horse-person could not pass up the opportunity to stop at.

Mind you, everything is cheaper in some parts of Arizona than it is in San Diego already so I was already inclined to go on a little shopping trip. To make things even better, of course the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday which is the biggest (and most violent) shopping day of the year. Aside from maybe the day before/day of Valentine’s day when all the procrastinating men in the world simultaneously realize they forgot the roses.

This is pretty much the breakdown of our trip.

Before we left, we were convinced that there were going to be sub-arctic temperatures during our trip and prepared accordingly. We went out and bought ski jackets, hats and gloves, which I of course made sure would also be appropriate for riding in after the trip was over.

Multi-purpose purchases are important when horses eat your income every month.

I also made an urgent call and rushed to the shop where a pair of Dublins waited for me. I had been arguing with myself about purchasing them for some time but because they were ordered by the owner and didn’t fit, they were really cheap, plus were my size.

At first, I was reluctant to buy them because I needed to save my money for more western riding boots since mine were annihilated (seriously, like three inch tear on the inside of both boots) and I need new boots that I could ride in and run around in the mud and manure for work. Then I realized something.

Duh! Dublins are riding boots. Plus, they’re waterproof and made for extreme weather. They’ll probably hold up to our weird humid, salty climate than a regular pair of boots would. And I could tromp through the ‘snow’ in Arizona in them and really get my money’s worth.

And so…

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Aren’t they beautiful?

(By the way if you’re wondering about the boots, I wore them all day everyday and they broke in after the first few hours and then were formed to my feet. I had big blisters on the back of my heels from another pair of boots and these ones never once caused discomfort even with preexisting blisters. I had a little trouble getting them on at first because of the anatomical shape of the upper heel and the only thing I can say is that I wish they had boot pull straps but I solved this problem by gripping the back seam to keep it straight while I pulled them on)

Thanksgiving morning we loaded up and began our trip. We stopped a little past Yuma in Dateland for gas and lunch and walked through the Date farm to see the railroad tracks (Cambria is fascinated by trains), then drove the rest of the way and made it just in time to drop our stuff off at the hotel and get changed for Thanksgiving dinner.

The hotel sucked. One room smelled like the inside of a smoker’s house and the next one had blood on the pillowcase. Yum.

After getting that situated, we went to dinner with the fam. Their house backs up to the Tonto National Forest. All I could think about was riding through those pine trees and trekking up the mountains. Cambria and I went on nature walks and had a blast (I’m so blessed to have a mini who loves nature as much as I do).

The next morning was of course Black Friday. On this most discounted day of shopping I just happened to be located in a very small rural town where no one beats down small children over kitchen appliances no matter how cheap they are. So naturally I made a stop to the Tractor Supply Co.

Have I purchased any presents for the wonderful people in my life like a responsible adult? Nope! But my horses’ goodies are already lined up!

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Apparently this year our theme is purple and teal.

Last year, they got new matching waterproof sheets and fleece liners, and then big fat buckets of warm bran mash, grain, carrots, cookies and peppermints.

This year, it will be whitening shampoo for my two stained fuzzballs (did you know that ‘fuzzball’ is a legitimate word in the Microsoft dictionary?), more weight booster and grain for my little old man in a pretty new purple bucket (we already have a teal one) with new bucket strap since we keep breaking them. And my daughter picked out a matching purple brush for her horsey (because, you know, we don’t have enough brushes…never.)

We got new Professional’s Choice polos for our Dressage set. That is one nice thing about having a mostly white horse; white polo wraps look seamless on white legs.

And of course a new halter and lead rope…just because they were cheap.

While we were there, we saw stall mats on sale but unfortunately could not fit them into the car. We decided this year our big investment will be raising the side of their stalls under the cover since that is where they like to hang out the most. My horses do not like the rain (yes, I do appreciate that blessing) and will usually go to the back of their stall to go to the bathroom. however, if water ends up pooling under the shelters, they will stand in that one spot until they create a mud pit and their hooves rot and fall off and I rip my hair out…

So my fabulous fiance promised to help me create a high point and support the dirt on that side so that they will have a dry place throughout the winter. Once we fill in the dirt, put in 2×4’s as supports and then slant the rest of the stall, we will get new rubber mats.

So pretty much if anyone gets presents from me this year, I must really like them because most of my money and time will be going toward horse junk.

I digress.

We spent probably half of the day farting around at Tractor Supply. While dad discovered the power tools section, we discovered the hat rack.

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Once we were done farting around there, we met with the family and ate, then loaded into the car and headed for Rim Road which was a beautiful drive that winded up the side of a mountain, finally bringing us to a lookout point right at the edge of the cliff where we jumped out and ran to the edge to watch the sunset and take pictures. I had my camera at the ready and started snapping photos.

 

While I was taking pictures of the beautiful scenery, behind me something even more amazing was happening.

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Not too shabby, I’d say. It was not planned exactly; he was worried that I wouldn’t have been happy or that I might have liked it better if he had planned it.

Yeah right! Can you imagine a better scenario for a pine forest mountain loving nature freak? I can’t!

Of course, the rest of the trip was a blast. We stopped at the local western wear store and I got a Justin belt, then on our way home we stopped at Bass Pro Shop and I got a hat for work to match the pink Bass Pro matching sweatshirts that I got for myself and Cambria.

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My vacation in a nutshell.

So naturally the next step is to make time to do an engagement photo shoot at the ranch, with horses, horseshoes, boots, spurs, et cetera. Because what is horse ownership if you can’t utilize your investment for epic engagement pictures?

Happy Holidays everyone!

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