Weekend Coffee Share

Oops, I made the coffee really strong this morning. I like it strong, but today it’s really strong. I almost choked on the first sip I took. LOL. Would you like a cup? Or, just wait a minute, and I’ll make some new for you. You like it strong? Great!

How is your week? Is your work week over? We’ve had another very rainy week. In the beginning of the week it rained so hard, that it felt unsafe to take the freeway to my horse (which I did anyway. Being extremely careful. With my heart in my throat.)

My daughter and I had a great week, school wise. We worked more with our parrot theme, it’s becoming a rather extensive theme. We work in units, projects based on her interests. All the subjects falls under that project. Naturally we do other things as well, but the parrot theme is our main project right now. Besides that, the majority of our math, and science lessons have been in the kitchen this week. Baking, with yeast, and the process of how the yeast works inside the bread is something that fascinates my daughter. I try to break up our lessons with lighter activities in between; art, photography, dancing, and this week jumping in rain puddles!

We started to read a new chapter book, Pollyanna, as a part of our evening reading routine. I haven’t read it before. It came up when I googled; children and gratitude. So far we both like it a lot. I believe it’s the first chapter book we are reading together, causing my daughter to get completely absorbed in the story. I like that a lot! I want so badly for her to treasure books, and be able to read/write really well. I’ve been reading to her ever since I first found out that I was pregnant. I recommend reading Pollyanna with your children, if you have young children. Without encouragement from me, the story makes my daughter reflect over things in her life that she should be grateful for (her health, family, friends etc.) I can tell, since she now brings it up several times a day.

I love being my little girls teacher. It’s the greatest blessing. When she’s with me most of the time (naturally she plays with friends etc.) there’s so many opportunities for meaningful conversations. It means the world to me.  I’ve made choices in my life that I’m not so proud over, but my daughter, I am giving her 100%, and I am so proud of her. Since she unexpectedly came into my life she’s been my universe. Don’t get me wrong, I have by no means played the martyr, not indulging in things that I enjoy. That’s not the case, but I have carefully arranged them with a little girl in mind. One of the major things being, only accepting jobs where I can bring her with me. As you can imagine that limits the market quiet a bit. I have never regretted that choice. These years will never come back, and I intend to live every minute of them. She is getting older, and I am now able to do more things, and now I have a wonderful, happy, healthy, well mannered (at least most of the time..lol,) girl by my side. Besides the time together this has also forced me to think outside the box, something that definitely have been most beneficial to me, I know I was a little rigid in my way of thinking.

The rain this week forced me to adjust my training sessions with Ghost a little. I have been going to him twice a day, every day except Tuesday, but our sessions have been shorter than usual. The weather was so bad two days this week, that I wasn’t been able to give him any pasture time at all, for safety reasons. It builds up a lot of energy in a young horse, when he spend lots of time in a stall. I have been taking Ghost on walks around the property, when it’s been safe to do so, and when the indoor arena have been available we’ve been playing there. He’s been taking all this pretty good, but naturally it does effect him. With his mental wellness in mind, I have been taking him out to pasture for a few hours in the am, days when the wind wasn’t too bad, but it rained pretty hard. He doesn’t mind the rain, having lived most of his life in a big pasture. I board him at a place with more than 30 other horses, those days he’s been the only horse out. It still looks like he’s been enjoying it. It doesn’t freak him out to be out alone, as long as he can see other horses. One day when I came to take him in to the stable, we had to walk through a small pond of water, to get out of the pasture. He didn’t hesitate once. I like that about him!

Yesterday morning there was only a light rain, and we played with obstacles in the outdoor arena. I asked my daughter if she wanted to borrow my camera, and help me take some photos for this post. (She accidentally lost her camera during an adventure in Lassen Volcanic National Park. We both got so into the moment that we accidentally left her camera hanging from a limb of a tree.) Photography is one of her favorite subjects, and she loves documenting things. She was thrilled! All the photos below is taken by her. I helped her a little with the settings, I told her what I wanted to document, and we talked about how to frame the photo to get the best results. These are the results!

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Having my horse 100% clean is not my first priority. Please don’t mind the mud. I do groom him 1hour day, divided in two sessions, on most days. For circulation, and as bonding time. Days like this..you can’t tell.

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Our main focus in everything we do right now, is to take the time it takes, to encounter a challenge in a calm, thinking state of mind. Ghost is a reactive horse, with a lot of flight in him. It takes less than a second for him, to be transport himself to the opposite side of the arena, if he feels to much pressure.

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If he wants to stop and investigate something, I encourage that. Curiosity is a much better (and safer) answer to a question (my question here being a request to cross this wooden bridge,) than a NO, flight, or a forced yes.

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I purposely choose an obstacles that I knew Ghost wouldn’t have a big reaction to anymore (he had a HUGE reaction the first 100 times we did it,) since my daughter was in the arena with us. After letting him smell the obstacle for a couple seconds, I politely ask him, to cross, by lifting the rope (not pulling.) If this was the first time we encountered this obstacle, I would of taken all the time it takes, even if he needed an hour, or two, to be comfortable. I never stop until there is some kind of progress. He doesn’t need to be completely comfortable with something, but he needs to try his best, before quitting. To always end on a good note is critical, otherwise I’m teaching him to fear things, instead of helping him become braver.

The first time I showed him this obstacle I asked him to stand still and look at it, from a distance of 10 ft. That made him completely freak out 9 weeks ago (I’ve had him 10 weeks. He wasn’t halter broke when I got him.)

The second session I asked him to walk up to it. I planted my feet firmly in the ground. I was very careful to not put pressure on him, more than necessary. I showed him with a slow motion of my hand, while focusing my energy towards the obstacle, what I wanted him to do. He had 25 feet of rope available to him. He spend majority of an hour by the end of it. In the beginning stages I am happy as long as he faces the obstacle. I just stood still, waiting, breathing very slowly, relaxing my body, until he found the courage to try. He did eventually smell the obstacle. I’m telling you the background, to let you know how difficult this was for him, and how he always faces his fears, when given the time to do so. He has a very big heart. I want to honor that.

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This is relatively easy for him now. His body is long, and relaxed. His ears are relaxed, his lower jaw is relaxed, his head is below his withers. He willingly said yes. To me that YES, is  very beautiful, and most precious.

This is not a dominant horse, and I could of forced him to just cross the bridge. Even that first time, I could of. I’m a human, a predator. He is a horse, a prey animal. It would of been a fast, quick way to do it. I see absolutely no point in that. Then he would be nervous, and afraid, his head would be high. Eventually he would stop trusting me (there’s still a very few people that he lets himself be physically touched by,) and say no to my future requests. I want to make my questions clear, and I want it to be as easy as possible to say yes, when I ask something.

You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear. There will always be something that he fears more than you. We shall take great care not to annoy the horse and spoil his friendly charm, for it is like the scent of a blossom – once lost it will never return. In training horses, one trains himself.

– Antoine de Pluvinel (1552, Crest, Dauphiné – 24 August 1620.)

I have great respect for this early master of horsemanship. I’ve read his books, and I think it’s amazing that his ancient wisdom is available to us today. I try to keep this quote in the back of my mind, when I feel a tendency to rush things sneaking up on me. I’m my own worst enemy. When I’m able to stay in the moment (easier without distractions..) horses trusts me. Even severely abused ones. Ghost is not an abused horse, just an un-handled, sensitive, young horse.

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I love how calmly he crosses the bridge at a slow walk now. During our first session, the very first time he decided he was ready to try to cross the bridge, he jumped over. I just stood beside the bridge. After that he rushed over a few times. Eventually, he started to walk fast over. Now he can walk slow, and even stop on the bridge if asked. That is a big step towards becoming a brave, safe,  riding horse, which is my goal.

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It makes Ghost braver when he gets to take a good look at things. He wants to see, and fully understand what I ask, before doing something. Then his yes comes much quicker. Slow is usually fast, when it comes to learning new things, and facing fears. Especially with horses.

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A horse has to learn everything from both sides. When we mastered walking over the obstacle slowly, away from the barn, we worked on passing over the obstacle towards home (the barn,) without speeding up.

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Considering where we started, it is OK that it looks like he’s almost sleeping. He’s not sleeping, he is very aware of where he places his hooves, but he is relaxed, and comfortable with the situation.

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I am showing him that I trust him, by giving him a slack (loose) rope, letting him be responsible for his speed, and where he is in relation to me. I trust him, he trust me. Give and take. His body language, ears, and open/kind face tells me that he is feeling very good about this session.


This is my personal favorite, of all the photos my daughter took yesterday morning. Even though I sometimes have to challenge my horse’s comfort zone, to get to the next level, our friendship is still the most important thing to me. I have very specific goals for our training, but to get there fast is not worth loosing our friendship for. Winning a horse trust is an amazing feeling. A reward in itself.

I apologize for the length of this post. (It’s OK if you only looked at the photos.) These Weekly Coffee Share‘s, sometimes inspire a lengthy post. LOL.

I hope that the coffee was OK. Do you want another cup? I’m in no rush to go nowhere. Why don’t you tell me more about your week?


Ms Zen

PS. This is my 5 year old daughter’s entry to the weekly photo challenge; I’d Rather Be…. All photos in this post is hers! Given the choice she would document horse stories all day long. I don’t know how on earth she got into horses and photography ..

Weekend Coffee Share

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Would you like some coffee? Or perhaps tea? The coffee is made, and I will have the tea kettle going in not time, if you’d rather have tea. There’s plenty of teas to choose from; black, red, green, and white ones. I’m on my second cup of coffee. It’s a dark roast, and boldly brewed. Strong, just like a like it.

How was your week? Mine was good. We’ve had strong winds here this week. Strong like trying to move my truck sideways on the freeway. My daughter and I have indulged in different school projects; such as a research project about Australia, Valentine’s Day history, rhyme words, remarkable Queens throughout history, what it takes to become a participant in the olympics, and how to research topics of interest on the internet etc. School wise, it’s been a great week!

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Ghost (my horse) is doing fantastic. On the windiest days I’ve adjusted the training, taking that into consideration. I have worked with him twice a day, every day, as usual. I only work him 15-30 min at the time. If we just play it can be slightly longer. I believe in consistency, and short, creative, session. He seem to thrive on routine. A lot of people around our neck of the woods are unfortunate to have the flu, making the indoor riding arena available, more than ever before. We’ve built obstacle courses there, and played with a big yoga ball, perfect for windy days. (You can see this weeks photos, and a short video of Ghost, if you head over to Instagram.) Yesterday it wasn’t quiet as windy as the other days, and I decided to work outdoors, in the round-pen. Since I’ve only had Ghost for a little more than a month, I’ve spent a lot of time working on gaining his trust. It’s true that I have asked him to do things, but more in a getting to know you kind of way. I feel that he trusts me fairly well now, naturally I will keep working on our relationship, but I’m upping the game a little, asking him to face some of his fears. It’s only by stepping out of our comfort zone that we can truly grow. Ghost is a sensitive horse, a very sensitive horse in some ways. He is intelligent, and it is possible to connect to his thinking side, of the brain. Did you know that horses have a thinking side, and a reactive side of the brain? On top of that you have to teach a horse everything from both sides, it’s not enough hat he knows that a plastic bag won’t eat him on the left side of the body, you’ll need to make sure he knows that it won’t eat him on the right side either. With Ghost it is easy to connect to the thinking side of the brain, but the reactive side is still very close. Especially with everything that involves ropes. I can hang over his back, and put my leg over his back, but if a rope touches his back, he is at the other side of the arena, or as far away as he can get, in the blink of an eye. I’ve been working successfully with silk gloves around it, but now when he trusts me a little more, I ask a little more of him. I’m being very carefully to not push too much, because he is so sensitive, but it is necessary that I help him overcome this fear. It can take as long time as it need to take, but I need to help him get through this. Before I do, he’s not going to be able to become a safe riding horse. We did have some major breakthroughs in the matter yesterday, but I am expecting this to take some time. Surely Ghost can have opinions about things, like where he wants to go when we are out for a walk etc, but when it comes to ropes, it’s not that, he is afraid. He’s been through something, at some point. Maybe someone have roped him when he was very young? Even though that doesn’t match the story I was told. Anyways, we will get through this. He is very trusting, and tries, even when he is scared. There was a lot of licking and chewing yesterday. He is definitely thinking, trying his very best. I purposely waited to deal with this, until I knew that he would come to me for reassurance, which he constantly did.

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I’m going to work a little more on this, and then I’m planning on spending lots of time long reining him. Driving him on the ground, with long reins, (sort of if I would have a cart, but without a cart. LOL.) That way he’ll have plenty of time getting used to ropes/lines on his body, before I start riding him. He will also build more muscles, and learn to be soft and supple, flex/bend, and steer easily. All of those things will highly benefit him (and me,) when I do start riding. I’ve also decided that I am not going to use the beautiful, heavy duty, F.Vela saddle I got last week for him. It weighs at least 55lbs, and I’m not sure it would be very comfortable for him. I might try to trade it for a more light weight endurance saddle. We’ll see. Plenty of time to think about that. Spring is just around the corner, and I am definitely going to take advantage of the warmer days, that soon will turn into hot days. Introducing new things to a relaxed horse by the end of a hot day, is something completely different, compared to introducing something new to a fresh horse, on a cold, windy day. If you’re not a horse person, I apologize for all this talk about horses. Can you tell that it’s something that I am passionate about? When I learned to read I read everything there was to read about horses, at the three libraries closest to where I lived (I was 5 years old,) and I mean everything. Growing up, and later having horses of my own, I still enjoy learning more about these fantastic animals. In the end it’s definitely the horses themselves that teach me the most.

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Tell me more about your week! Are you planning to have a garden this year? If so, please tell me about it! I’m not sure about my garden yet. It’s a complicate thing. I have access to 3 acres, that I can do anything I want with. I used to live close by, but I don’t anymore. I’m not sure what I am going to do about that. I love gardening, and I really do want to have a garden. In the heat we have here you need to water it twice a day, early in the morning, and late in the evening. The rest of the day is scorching hot. I would have to drag my daughter out of bed at 4am every morning. I just can’t do that. When you don’t live nearby it’s just not practical. On the other hand, there’s so much that you can do with 3 acres of excellent soil. I’ve been thinking a lot about that this week.

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Today we went on a great hike up at Mt. Shasta. The photos in today’s post are from that hike. This post is a part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare. Thank you for having coffee with me! I really enjoyed your company! Please come back soon.


Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share


I usually have my coffee alone, at least in the morning, but I’d love to have coffee with you. Are you up yet? It’s actually almost 6am, Saturday morning..For now I would have to invite you to my living room. I think you’ll be rather comfortable there. I have a dream about a house on a mountain, with a porch, and matching rocking chairs, where I enjoy coffee watching the sunrise. I wish I could invite you to join me there. Maybe one day soon. I love watching sunrises, especially in the mountains, with an unobstructed view.

I just came back from walking my dog. (If you’re new to the blog, I have a 3 year old German Shepherd named Gretchen. She’s a rescue that I’ve had for a year. She came with zero training, and I’ve been working with her every day since she blessed me with her presence. I am very proud of her!)


Our walk was slightly shorter than normal this morning, because we’re going on a hike in a couple hours. Where are we going? Funny you would ask that, I’ll share the photos with you later 😉

Before going on the hike, I’m going to see my horse. I currently board him at a stable about 20 min away. I try to go there in the morning, do a couple ground exercises, and take him out to a pasture for the day. Later in the afternoon I go back again, work/play a little more, and take him in for the night. I wouldn’t have to go there twice a day, I have all inclusive boarding, but what’s the point of having a horse, if you don’t spend time with him? It does makes a difference, especially with a young, inexperienced horse like mine. He knows that I’m his person, even though I’ve just had him for a month. I really like getting to know Ghost’s personality a little better for every day that passes by. He is very intelligent, a fast learner. New things makes him spook/freeze in one place. If he is allowed to stand still for a while, and compose himself, he will confront whatever the scary thing is. If he is put under any pressure, even a very light one, before I see the signs that he is ready (a lowered head in his case,) he goes into flight mode and tries to back away. He is not a terribly spooky horse at all, but he is sensitive. He’s 3/4 Arabian after all. He thrives on routine, and feels safe when he knows what’s about to happen.


Yesterday my daughter’s lessons (I homeschool her,) took a little longer than I planned. When we arrived to the stable there were no turnouts available, they were all taken. Not ideal, but no big deal, if it only happens once in a while. I figure I’d take him for a long walk in the morning, play a little in the round-pen, and then repeat in the afternoon. That way he’d get to come out anyways, and maybe at some point there’s a turnout available. I start by walking him around the place where I board him. I ran into the owner that generously offers me to leave him in the round pen for a few hours, if I want too, she even offered to take him in for me later. I agreed. Ghost and I had lots of fun in the round-pen, and when it times for me to leave, I leave him there. He told me loud and clear that this is not part of our normal routine. I stayed nearby for  little while, keeping myself busy with little chores, until he settled down. Before leaving I groomed him for 30 min, leaving him with a good feeling. I had some errands to run in the vicinity of the boarding place, and I did plan on checking in on him before going back home. Before I got him, a month ago, he wasn’t halter broke. I’m the only one that handles him, and frankly I wasn’t sure that he was going to let the owner of the place catch him. She is a very knowledgable horsewoman, but a sensitive Arabian is a sensitive Arabian. They are very loyal to their person. (I don’t know what it says about me, having a German Shepherd, and an Arabian Horse? The two most intelligent and loyal kind of their breed of animals, one could choose to have in ones family. Is it my way of creating the family I’ve never had?  Who knows. I’m not going to have any sleepless nights about it. Though, it is true, that more than one man have told me, that he wished that he was my dog/horse ..lol.)


When running my last errand yesterday, I get a text from the owner of the boarding stable, saying that Ghost doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she apologizes and says that she can’t take him in for me. Further down the road I want other people to be able to catch him, for safety reasons, if there’s a fire or another kind of emergency. For now it tells me something about the mind of my horse. That all the time I’ve put into him actually gained (some of) his trust. When I get there he is sweating, and I can tell that he’s been running around. He is not the nervous kind, and does not mind being out alone, in a place where he is used to be. He doesn’t usually run around mindlessly, like a crazy horse. He’s been happily alone in the pasture, and in the stable many times. He is not buddy sour. This was however a new place, the round-pen, where I’ve never left him before. This was out of his comfort zone. When he saw my truck pull in to the parking lot he started to call out for me. When I came to the entrance of the round-pen he trotted over, lowered his head and tried to put it in the halter, before I even opened the halter. That’s my boy. I am very proud of him too, and excited about our journey. We have so much to learn, and I really enjoy our time together. He is the reason why I haven’t written another blog post this week.

Ghost is not ready for a saddle yet, we still have some work to do. I’m not at all in a rush to get there either, as long as we keep learning together. We will get there when the time is right. My gosh, it’s only been 30 days so far. He’ve made HUGE progress, in this short amount of time. I did however, come by a beautiful saddle this week. It’s made by a famous artist; Frank Vela. He was the number one saddle maker in the beginning-middle of the 1900’s. He created handmade masterpieces for everyone who was someone, including many royalties. To come by one of his creations is very rare. I’ve been cleaning, oiling, and polishing the saddle thoroughly, and will oil it a few more times. Here’s some pictures of what it looks like now.

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The floral pattern is something extra, don’t you think? I’ve always been intrigued by old saddles. I like the feel, touch, and scent of leather. I like the thought of good quality that last for many, many years. It intrigues me to think about what horse the saddle been on before? Who did the saddle belong too? Was it a man, or a woman? I believe in this case it might of been a woman, going by the size, shape, and pattern. Of course this is just speculation, I could be wrong. Where did the little scuff on the cantle come from? It is a heavy duty ranch saddle. Maybe it belonged to a cattle rancher’s daughter, or wife? It’s made in Texas, where Frank Vela lived, and had his business. If only the saddle could tell the story. I am going to do more research about the saddle. What if I could find out who it was made for? All of Frank Vela’s saddle were custom orders to one specific person. Maybe I can find out. A lot of my thoughts this week have been about the saddle. I originally thought I was going to use it to put the first rides on Ghost. It is his size. It is a very sturdy saddle. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I’ve done some research, and the more research I do, the more I come to understand that it’s a very valuable collectors piece. I have been sitting in the saddle, feeling the leather move, underneath me (that’s another reason why I believe it was made for a woman.) It is almost like a living thing. It’s definitely not one of those assembly line made things. The saddle is somewhere between 75-100 years old, and in excellent working order! That says something about the quality alright. Even the sheepskin underneath is in excellent condition.

Sorry for hogging so much of the conversation! It’s been an exciting week 🙂 Can I get you some more coffee? I really want to hear more about your week! What’s going on in your life? What’s on your mind? Something fun planned for the weekend?


Ms Zen


PS. This is part of the #WeekendCoffeShare. Feel free to join it here!

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