Sunday, August 29, 2010

10 years of Grace, Oh the places we've been!

10 years ago today I wrote the check that would changed my world. I had just sold my Warmblood gelding Bailey and I turned right around and spent every last dime on a 3 year old Quarterhorse mare. She was in the early stages of training, I had already been the first person on her back. She was most likely priced higher than she should have been, I could have bought a been there, done that horse for less. But I didn't want another horse, I wanted Grace. She had chosen me the first time I met her and the dollar amount was just a number. 10 years later I would do it all over again.

When I bought Grace my intentions were to show her Western Pleasure, to eventually show her at the breed show level. Little did I know how many adventures we would have along the way. What I ended up with was one very versatile little mare, who is always up for trying something new. She constantly surprises me with how well she takes to something new. It's been an amazing 10 years, in which time I've learned what it really means to be a horsewoman, many times putting my agenda aside for the well being of my best friend, so that we can continue to have many adventures for the next 10 - 20 years.

Showmanship - always a good class for me to get though my show ring jitters without being in the saddle. Grace was very patient with me!

Western Pleasure - neither one of us really enjoyed it. I believe we are both a little too ADD to go around in slow circles all day.

Look at that short mane! I will be dedicating an entire blog post to her mane and tail!

Now Trail on the other hand, is a class that we both enjoy! Grace gets to walk on stuff, look pretty, and be the center of attention. I don't have time in between the obstacles to let my mind wander. It's a technical class which keeps my brain busy. A win - win. Most of our blue ribbons were won in Trail.

Hunt seat! Wow! Look at that pretty mare!

We did a reining clinic with John Slack! Grace loved it, by the end of the weekend she had a sliding stop and a spin. Not the best thing for her left hock, but she still loves to do loping patterns at home, we just leave out the stops and spins.

Grace stole my heart the first time I took her to Corey's day on the Farm for Special Needs Kids. She was so good with all the kids! I told her that day that she never had to win another blue ribbon or trophy as she had just proven to me that she was worth her weight in gold. It wasn't long after that we started to have more fun:

This was our first year at the Thunderbird Rodeo. This was a life changing event. I wasn't on the team, but one of my closest friends was and I went to her first practice. I wanted to be a part of it and I went out of my comfort zone and asked if there was any way that I could help out. I was invited to ride at the next practice and was later told that I had made the team. It was a big step up for Grace and I, we never looked back!

Last year we had the honor of carrying the American Flag. I can't think of a time where I have been more proud of my little bay mare!

We tried our hand at Cowboy Mounted Shooting

Grace didn't like it so much! It was the first time she really said "NO!" about something. I'm really glad I listened to her, as it gave us more time for barrel racing:

The first time I ran Grace on a pattern, I had to wonder who taught her this. She ran to the first barrel like she was going to inhale it. I am still working to catch up with her around the barrels. We are still very much growing in this area, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where we go with it.

Grace and I have been in many parades. The first one was on a dare. Somewhere in the middle of the parade route she looked around and seemed to say "Well it's about damn time they threw me a parade!" She was absolutely in her element!

And now on to our latest adventure! Grace has show me that it is ok to walk right into a herd of cattle and tell them where to go. Even if they have horns on their head. Any fear or reluctance I might have had was washed away when I saw how enthusiastic she was about it. Grace has made it very clear to me that when it comes to cows my job is to sit down, shut up and stay out of her way. I used to think she could be kind of irritable at times. Now I've learned that she's just cowy!!

At the end of the day it doesn't really matter what activity we partake in. I'm just happy that whatever adventure we are on, we are there together. As long as this is my view, it's never a bad day!

I love you Gracie Lou! Thank you being my inspiration each and every day.


  1. What a great post, and a great mare! It looks like you've been having fun - more to come!

  2. What a nice mare she is. It's obvious by the pictures that you keep her in tip-top condition, kudos to you! You two deserve to have fun at whatever you decide to do.

  3. Thanks for your post! It was completely heartwarming. She's your "heart horse" for sure!

  4. This is a great post, thanks for sharing your journey. I'm sure you two have many more places to go together.