Hi Friends! Happy New Year!

A new decade is a “heavy” thing to ponder! I spent a few minutes this morning thinking about the Big Things included in the last decade. 3,650 days doesn’t seem like all that many but 87,600 hours seems like a lot. On the other hand, the hours go by faster and faster so maybe it’s just that I can’t exactly wrap my brain around a number that big. 

Speaking of which, it’s a little mind blowing to think I’ve been blogging about my horsemanship journey for over 15 years! Recently, I’ve gotten a bunch of questions about the horses I’ve written about in the past, how many total horses I own now, and exactly which horses are in my main string currently. 

So, on this New Year’s Day 2020: Here’s the update!

I currently own 9 horses. Lil (21 year old thoroughbred bridlehorse) and Willow (18 year old oldenburg who taught me some priceless things about peace in the most difficult movements and taught me a lot about flying changes) are retired and living at home. 

Jax (16 year old quarter horse bridlehorse)  and Big Jackson (15 year old appendix who we’ve had his whole life because he’s one of Lil’s babies) live at home too and get ridden when I need extra horses to play with. 

The two “baby horses” Ocean and Annie (coming 2 year old Yakima reservation rescue ponies) are fosters from Harmony New Beginnings and are thriving and growing and living at our house too. They are scheduled to head north on a new adventure within the next few months. 

Nigel (23 year old lipizzan, bridlehorse) lives with my dear friend Teresa Owen and gives wine tours at Red Mountain Trails in Washington. Nige HATED being retired after I ran out of things to teach him which is in stark contrast to Lil who is graceful, snuggly and content in her retirement. Nigel is happy and engaged and delighting the guest at Red Mountain Trails. He will probably be one of those ponies who lives to be 40 and wants to be busy for every single day of it.  

Now to my current string of 4 which I realized a few weeks ago is pretty well what I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. It suits my interests perfectly because the characters in this volume of the story are a classic german warmblood, a spectacular PRE andalusian and two $1 rescue horses. 

Vivian (an approximately 13 year old rescue from Harmony New Beginnings who looks to be a quarter horse Morgan cross) is the one in this batch I’ve been with the longest and I’m super attached to her. I guess she’s kind of like a security blanket to me. She is a very close friend. I’m happiest when I’m able to see her as much as possible. So, of course, Viv lives at home too and when the horses are in the barn I have her on the side where I can see her from the treadmill and the kitchen. 

Vivian is currently in the hackamore for a little while longer and my plan for her for this year is to do more field trips, move her to the two rein and play with her more at Liberty. Also, I’m excited to weave in the new information I’m learning in dressage land. 

Daveena (8 year old Hanoverian) lives at The Northwood Campus which is 5 minutes from my downtown Real Estate office in the valley. She is currently in the snaffle bit and I’m super excited for her this year! She’s been easy for me in some ways and super challenging in other ways. 

I would say Daveena is causing me to think a lot about the marriage between lateral and longitudinal flexion. I love getting to ride her lofty tigger trot. Her canter is flat and lumbery in its natural state so that’s a fun work in progress. As I mentioned on a vlog earlier this year, our relationship really changed when my brother died. Something shifted between us and it felt like our true friendship began then. 

My plan for Daveena this year is most importantly more time!! I want to just enjoy our deeper friendship and I’d also like to get her out to see the sights more. I would guess I’ll keep her in the snaffle bit this year and I would actually like to ride her bareback more. She’s super comfortable to sit on but the intimacy of it has been a sticky spot for her. I feel like it’ll open more doors in our relationship. I haven’t ridden bareback much at all since I’ve been studying with Buck so we’ll see how I get that reintegrated into my playtime. 

If I get in enough of a rhythm with Daveena this year, I’d like to play with her on longer lines and be a little more focused at liberty. She does tend to have a weak back and jumping is really important for her. Although I like small cavaletti work, I don’t see myself ever getting brave enough to ride over jumps that will really do her justice. PLUS, I love watching her!

Zorro (10 year old PRE Andalusian) lives at the Northwood Campus with Daveena. I still cannot believe he’s mine. It’s seriously so crazy. I’ve known Zorro since he was a 4 year old stallion and rode him several times a year without a thought of him ever becoming my partner. This year in August, in a whirlwind, with the help of several wonderful people, I was able to buy him. 

Z and I had a busy last quarter of the year in 2019. He was my main focus and I put almost a hundred hours on him between the end of August and the end of October. I rode him with Anne Gribbons and took him up to Spanaway for the Buck clinic. 

Zorro is actually the one who has brought me full circle to realize that for me, building a dream horse includes being able to ride him bareback and bridleless and to party it up at Liberty. Have I mentioned I can’t believe he’s mine? I guess that’s so important because putting my heart and soul into this horse the way I really want to is only possible if I know they aren’t going to be taken away from me. Like I said, it still hasn’t sunk in. It really is so amazing to be able to explore dressage with both the Spanish and German body styles. 

People keep asking me if I’m going to show Zorro. The answer for now is, I don’t know. If there was all the time in the world, yes. Since there isn’t, I’m not sure if I can squeeze it in. 

This year, I want to just enjoy the heck out of him. He’ll stay in the snaffle bit and I’m excited to take some regular dressage lessons now that I’ve connected with some coaches I trust. I’m planning to take Zorro with me to the Dayton Buck clinic in June which is always a blast.

And…to round out this perfect string is Bonnie. She’s a 4 year old Yakima reservation pony who was rescued twice by my good friend Debbie of Mustangs and MOHR and was started by my dear friend Lisa Overhuel. 

This is my official announcement that I quietly adopted Bonnie right after I got to buy Zorro. I was so overwhelmed by it all, I just couldn’t get the words out to tell you guys. Bonnie currently still lives at Mustangs and MOHR, which is in my valley Real Estate territory between my house and the campus. 

One of the reasons I adopted Bonnie is because riding a colt is so important to me. It keeps me close to the fundamentals. I always say that all the answers are at the beginning, so having a young one in development helps me be the best I can be advancing my older horses. 

When I was going to Buck’s to start a colt once a summer, my young horse thirst was quenched but when I added the Oregon Coast to my Real Estate territory, I had to give up the summer road trip to Wyoming. Since then, I guess I had been sort of looking for a yearling dressage prospect. Maybe another lipizzan. 

I’d met Bonnie when she first came into the rescue as a 2 year old and immediately went to visit her last February when she was re rescued as a 3 year old. She has an incredible story. I was super stoked when Lisa picked “Bon Bon” as her annual summer project out of the bazillion possible rescue horses that are always in need. 

I watched Lisa’s journey and Bonnie started to stick in my mind. I realized she was the perfect fit for me in a bunch of ways. First of all, the rescue horses are a joy. What fun to see what can be uncovered where I’d least expect it. (Vivian got me addicted for life I think.) Also, Bonnie has a brilliant little bodystyle. I love the way her neck ties onto her shoulders and her trot has a really pretty dreamy quality to it. She’s definitely striking to look at and is a very very sensitive mare. She actually reminds me of Lil a lot which warms my heart. 

Aaaand I LOVE continuing a horse’s development after a good friend. Especially Lisa whom I’ve known for a long time and shared the horsemanship trail with very closely. Lisa put 24 total rides on Bonnie in summer and so far I have 15 more. 

This year, my plan is to keep Bonnie in the snaffle bit and I’ll play around with her Online and Liberty foundation. It’ll be fun to go out on some trail rides with Debbie and I’d like to take her up to the Spanaway Buck clinic in the fall. 

Also, I’m choosing Bonnie for my 2020 Northwood Farms Twelve Week Horsemanship Challenge horse and am really looking forward to all the cool things that come with completing the 40 hours and 30 rides first thing in the year. 

So that’s the scoop! I’ll be sharing the story of Vivian, Daveena, Zorro and Bonnie on the Evolution of a Girl instagram chanel and on my blog at 

My dream is to have something to share with you guys every week. I do write about the horses every morning because it helps me keep things clear and on track but I don’t always get to the editing and publishing part. 

It would be so cool if I could execute a regular Saturday post. Maybe one per horse every month. Obviously, my Real Estate Business keeps all my ponies fed and housed and the Northwood Farms projects going so I’ll have to just do my best. At least I got the first post of the decade rolled out! 

Remember, I love being a part of your horsemanship journey too so thank you for sharing as well. Here’s to all our horses and their stories in 2020!???-Emma

p.s. Here’s the link for The Northwood Farms 2020 Twelve Week Challenge FAQs. Gotta be IN by midnight January 4th!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *