It’s official… I now have everything that I need to own a horse. Technically. I learned this weekend that there is so much amazing stuff out there… it could be very easy to spend TONS of money on horse gear!

This weekend I bought my very first saddle! My trainer hauled Sue down to the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center, where a cutting show was being held. I have been riding in one of her saddles that I absolutely love, made by Roohide Saddlery. John, the owner and saddle maker spent lots of time with Sue, trying different trees (that’s the shape/form of the saddle) on him to make sure we got a good fit that allowed his gait to be free.  After sitting on what felt like a thousand different saddles (it was actually about 40) and trying a few out (who knew that’s how you picked a saddle), I finally found one I liked. I honestly could not have asked for a better saddle… it’s like he custom made it for me! I absolutely love it – the skirt and gullet have rough out leather, which is basically a roughed up version of the leather on the rest of the saddle. The edges all have barbed wire tooling – nice and manly for my Boy Named Sue! I left it overnight because John wanted to do some customizing on the stirrups (since I have seriously short legs he wanted to change up the length so that I had more holes – ie. could raise them higher if needed). I rode on it this afternoon and it was beyond comfortable!

Sue's Saddle
Sue’s Saddle

When I went back today, my parents met up with me to watch some of the cutting competition. Cutting is basically a judged version of separating or “cutting” one cow from the herd and keeping him there. It’s so interesting to see the different techniques and the level of discipline the horses have! My parents were awesome and decided to buy me the last piece of tack I needed – the headstall (when put together with reins and a bit, it becomes the bridle). Since I had my saddle there, we were able to match the leather. I absolutely love it – the tooling is arrows, which goes well with the barbed wire on my saddle!

Sue's Bridle
Sue’s Bridle

Here’s the bit I got from my trainer… I love the silver detail on it!

Sue's Bit
Sue’s Bit

Now it’s time to break it all in… tonight’s project is to sit on my sofa and bend and smush my reins… the softer and more “broken in” the leather is, the better! I am one happy, tired cowgirl!


One of my friends from CERT moved back to New Jersey a while ago… but we’ve stayed friends on Facebook. She loves her pup the same way I love Shadow and has been super sweet about commenting on my rambles about Sue.

She has a friend at work who lives on a farm and loves to tell her about his horses. She mentioned that she had a friend who just bought a horse (me!) and showed him one of Sue’s pictures on Facebook. A few days later, he came into work with a beautiful hand painted horseshoe that a friend of his makes, saying he thought I might like it. Daniela popped it in the mail and here it is!

Painted Shoe
Painted Shoe

It is really beautiful! I am so touched that people across the country that are crazy about horses want to share that horse love with me! Equestrians rock!!!

In Memoriam: Tevye Ditter

I have a whole slew of posts that I need to catch up on (the Easter train with my nieces and nephew, washing Sue, some book reviews), but came across a terribly sad Facebook post today. The group I sang with, the Sacramento Choral Society, posted that last December’s soloist, Tevye Ditter, had passed away. The world has lost a ridiculously talented man. Rest in peace, Tevye.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The other night we rented The Wolf of Wall Street. Mike and I were both surprised by this one – surprised in a good way.

The Wolf of Wall Street (from IMDb)

DirectorMartin Scorsese

StarsLeonardo DiCaprioJonah Hill, and Margot Robbie

Runtime: 3 hours

Plot Summary: (from IMDbIn the early 1990s, Jordan Belfort teamed with his partner Donny Azoff and started brokerage firm Stratford-Oakmont. Their company quickly grows from a staff of 20 to a staff of more than 250 and their status in the trading community and Wall Street grows exponentially. So much that companies file their initial public offerings through them. As their status grows, so do the amount of substances they abuse, and so do their lies. They draw attention like no other, throwing lavish parties for their staff when they hit the jackpot on high trades. That ultimately leads to Belfort featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine, being called “The Wolf Of Wall St.”. With the FBI onto Belfort’s trading schemes, he devises new ways to cover his tracks and watch his fortune grow. Belfort ultimately comes up with a scheme to stash their cash in a European bank. But with the FBI watching him like a hawk, how long will Belfort and Azoff be able to maintain their elaborate wealth and luxurious lifestyles?

Rating: On Demand.

I seriously think Leonardo DiCaprio is a very underrated actor… he was really good in this movie as well! The way it was filmed was very engaging – my favorite parts were when he would look at the camera and talk right to the audience. This movie was not what Mike and I were expecting – it was less serious and more about the craziness of Stratford-Oakmont. This is definitely worth seeing!

Ratings Explanation:

  • Theater: This means the movie is awesome. Go see this movie in the theater – well worth the $100 you’ll spend for a night out to see it on the big screen!
  • On Demand: Since no one actually rents movies anymore, this category has changed to On Demand. This means it’s a great movie, but it is as good at home as it is in the theater and worth seeing a little sooner.
  • TV: This means the movie is ok. Wait for it to show up on HBO and see it for free.
  • Skip It: Movie sucks, don’t waste your time.

Willie Nelson

This past Saturday Mike and I headed to the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley to see Willie Nelson. I was really excited about this show because I’ve always loved Willie’s voice. I grew up hearing my dad and his band play Willie’s songs. As it turns out, it was a pretty disappointing show. We got there a little late, but the first band (Shovels & Rope) was actually pretty good. The second band (Drive-By Truckers) was terrible. Like singing off key and instruments out of tune terrible.

When Willie came out, he kicked off his set with “Whiskey River”. From the very first note it was clear that his voice is definitely not what it used to be. He was never really a strong singer, but he definitely could carry a tune… basically every song he did the “sing-talk” thing. It was kinda sad and disappointing, but then again he’s 81 years old.

The Greek, on the other hand, was a pretty cool venue. It’s an 8,500 person outdoor amphitheater with a very cool vibe. The weather was beautiful (although it got a little windy) and the sound was pretty good!

The Greek Theater
The Greek Theater

All in all, the night was a bit of a bust. We left early because we had stuff to do the next day. Like 5 songs into Willie’s set early. Boo.

Update On Shadow

Yesterday my mom came up to help me get Shadow to the vet (Mike was at work). I was hoping that he would get his cone taken off… to be really honest, it’s driving just about everyone in the house crazy! Poor dog hasn’t figured out yet that his head is bigger, so in addition to be drugged out of his mind, he is running into just about everything.

The good news is that they took the drain out and it looks like it’s starting to heal up. The bad news is that he has a bunch of stitches and until those can come out, he has to be supervised and wear the cone of shame. Sooo… we have 6 more days. Thankfully, my parents are coming to help this weekend (we have the Willie Nelson concert) and next Monday – Wednesday. Then, Mike and I will take his stitches out… that should be fun.

A Very Eventful Sunday With Shadow

Life in the Blankenheim household sure has been… well, eventful, in the last 24 hours. Yesterday Shadow jumped while Mike was opening the gate to his pen and got his paw stuck. That caused him to land funny, and he came down right on top of the latch. He limped away from it and I checked his paws. He seemed like he walked it off, so we headed out for a few hours for lunch with some friends. When we got back, he was limping even more. He let out these squeaks of pain on the stairs and I knew something was wrong. I had him lay down, and that’s when I noticed the almost 2 inch gash under his arm.

We immediately tossed him in the car and headed down to the emergency vet in Sacramento. The poor little guy was very clearly in pain… he just sat there (not even wagging his tail) when the vet came in and checked him out. He very clearly had a puncture wound. They did a chest x-ray to make sure that he hadn’t penetrated his chest cavity (he didn’t, thank goodness), then sedated him and put in a drain since it was so big – the vet said it was about 2.5 inches deep! They stitched some of the muscle together (think of getting stabbed between your armpit and chest muscles) and sent us home with a sleepy dog, antibiotics, pain pills, and a hefty bill. The rest of the night was awful – I slept downstairs with him and he was completely in pain and out of it. I think I finally fell asleep around 4am with the lights on because something about the dark freaked him out.

He has to wear the cone of shame so that he doesn’t rip the drain out… and is completely doped up. It is so hard to see him hurting (you can definitely tell when the pain meds wear off) and he hates the cone (although he’s tolerant of it). We go back in on Wednesday to have the drain evaluated and hopefully removed.

My poor little guy!

Shadow Getting Sun
Shadow Getting Sun

Life With Sue

I know, I’ve sucked at posting since I told you all I finally bought a horse. Life’s been busy and I’ve been spending as much time with him as I can!

The other day I headed over to the barn after work… it was really nice because no one was there and I got to spend some quality one on one time with Sue. I pulled him out of his stall and did some lunging. I’m still learning the techniques of this, but the basic premise is that I stand in the middle and Sue runs in circles around me. Using the lead line and my voice I can work on getting him to go slower or faster, closer or farther, and different directions. It’s great for exercising him when I can’t ride (as was the case this day because the arena was too wet), for getting some energy out and focus him before we ride, or to use as a training tool. It’s definitely not as easy as it sounds… first of all, it’s very easy to get dizzy! I also have to practice my footwork and handling – I’m moving in a smaller circle as he goes around me and I’m still getting used to my spurs. That’s right, I’m that girl who trips over her own spurs!

After that, I gave him a good grooming. He had been turned out during the day and one whole side was caked with mud, so he definitely needed it! No one else was there, the other horses were whinnying, and the country music was playing (a staple at any good barn). It was awesome to just spend time with him. I bought him a new halter and lead rope – we’re going with a hunter green theme, which I think looks good with his reddish brown hair!

Sue & I
Sue & I

In the midst of my selfie-taking, I discovered that horses are a lot like dogs… they are very inquisitive and want to sniff everything.

Selfie Gone Wrong
Selfie Gone Wrong

I seriously love this horse. He has such a fun, young personality!