May 27, 2012

In Honor of Memorial Day....

by: Sunny Paula Barnhart USMC

Veterans are easy to recognize
By their special swagger
And their shattered eyes
By the way they stand so tall
When the flag is raised
And how they bow their head
When the Lord is praised.
They may have clabbered voices
And brown and mottled skin
A missing arm or leg or eye
But you can see the youth within.
What horrors did they see
What hell did they endure
To keep my flag and liberty secure?
What would our nation be like
Without veterans such as these?
Let us remember each of them
When we bow our knees
And may we give all reverence due
To the brave men and women
Who defend the Red, White and Blue.

More than 35 years ago my father was a young man and a Navy Seal on tour in Vietnam. It was there that he was exposed to Agent Orange and contracted cancer as a result. The cancer worked through his body swiftly, and before I turned a year old he left my mother and I to make our way in this world without him.

Please take this day to reflect on our veterans sacrafices for you, me, and this country as a whole.

God Bless them all....and THANK YOU.

Semper Fidelis,
(Former) Sgt Leah Roehl, USMC

May 20, 2012

Horse Show Campout: Stall Style!

The kids and I headed to MD over the weekend for our first MDPOAC show....Me + 3 Punks + 2 Ponies = Great Memories! This was the first time I've ventured to haul the whole gang on my own to an activity this long and this far away from home....I opted to leave Tuff Pup at home just to be sure I wasn't going to be biting off more than I could chew....

Turns out we had plenty of time to hang out and play between Randi's classes....Sophie and CJ enjoyed the wash rack immensely! Filling buckets with water appears to be a lot of fun!!! 
 ...and of course there was plenty of saddle time for the little ones as well....I had scratched the leadline classes as I wasn't sure I'd have the time to get them ready, but I'll definitely be entering them next month! They fought for saddle time on ole much so that I ended up letting this little lady perch during a break while Bo grabbed a drink of water and a bite to eat....
 ...and CJ snatched up a ride in the shade between Randi's classes.
 When they were washing buckets or in the saddle, they engaged in tickle wars....
Sister smashing...

...and momma luvin.
 Our accommodations were top notch for the weekend! We owned a spacious 10x10' stall with matted floor and plenty of fresh air flow! 
 ...what little girl WOULDN'T want to sleep next door to her pony (that is Bree in the background and Bo just past her)?
Each morning I bundled the punks up and let them get their Froot Loop on while their sis caught some extra winks.....we like her to get all the rest she can's best for everyone ;)
 My favorite part of the weekend was all of the pony luvin' going on....CJ, in particular, was head over heels for ole Bo....all weekend he would see Bo and say "Oh, Bo" and then give him a hug....ridiculously sweet!

 ...and Randi was able to pull Bree out of her stall on breaks to give her some attention and grazing time too....
 I don't mean to downplay the main reason for the trip tho.....the SHOW! The turnout was great and Randi held her own in the Open division with ole Bo....they brought home many ribbons and a ton of useful experience....
 ...and even better yet, NEW FRIENDS!
 I have a feeling these two are going to be spending a lot of time together this year....and for years to come. Missing my childhood riding buddy, Lindy, when I see these two frolic in the warm up pen like this....bring back so many great memories of the horse shows of my youth.
All went very well and I look forward to the rest of the season and the additional friends and memories we will be making together...

Happy Trails,

May 13, 2012

A Birthday Road Trip for Randi!

The Little Brat turns 7 next week! In honor of her birthday and her relentless pestering for the past 3 years to get a kitten of her own, we are hitting the road! It took a ridiculous amount of time to find her puuurrrrfect kitten, but we did it! "Lilly Mae", aka "Mae Mae", is pictured below at just a few weeks old....she is a full 13 weeks old now and Randi could not be more excited to bring her home and smother her in love! So what if I am driving to MI to get this little lump of fluff...don't judge me...I'd do crazier things in the name of making life long memories with my kids...and I'm sure I will! See you soon "Lilly Mae"!
This birthday road trip brings closure to another exhausting and enlightening task I took on beginning last year! Finding the perfect pony for Randi to take to POA shows....we've traveled hundreds upon hundreds of miles to MD, PA, NJ, OH, and all around VA...thought I might be so darn picky that I might never find 'the one'....but I did....the only compromise I ended up having to make was to go a little younger than planned and let go of the spots....LB wanted the spots, but I learned that it is hard to have everything you want all in one, instead of spots we have a wonderful mind and disposition, excellent conformation, freaky good movement, and a proven champion! Meet our 3 yr old POA mare AKA What's Your Pleasure, or "Bree"!
Bree has been shown extensively in-hand as a weanling, yearling, and 2-yr such, she has wonderful ground manners, has been hauled rigorously, and has been exposed to the sights and sounds of the show pen. This is all very helpful in getting Randi on her as soon as possible....she's had all the ground work done! I'll just need to work on putting some miles on her this year under saddle and hopefully have Randi take her on solo next year! They'll have 2 yrs together in the 8&under division to work out all the kinks before moving up to the w/t/c division....stay tuned for many picture and video heavy updates on Bree's progression! 
The truck is loaded up, the trailer bearings are greased and we are all set for a very fun and productive road trip for sure....feeling the WANDERLUST!
Happy Trails!

PS...Thank you to the following people for helping me make Randi's birthday so special this year:
Amber Dreyer of Kreier Kountry POA Farm
Matt Stutz of Exclusivecatz Cattery

May 07, 2012

Our first POA Show...May Results!

We attended our first POA show this weekend @ Penmerryl Farm in Greeneville....the whole family came out for the event! We also had one 'extra' family member, Randi's BFF Chloe....Chloe came to ride Bo in the leadline classes and hang with Randi....oh yeah, and Tuff came too....the girls found him to be a bit of a bed hog ;)
 Penmerryl Farm offers a delicious FREE breakfast for all their guests...I think I may have gained 5 lbs from it! Deannie can cook!....and I can EAT!
 There was a lot of this going on btwn classes....the princesses resting on their thrones.
 Randi wasn't sure about doing the showmanship class with the bigger kids (she was the only one in the 8&under division so her classes were combined to be 18&under)....she held her own tho! She gets better in this particular event with every run.....I think I need to find her a smaller hat tho....whatcha think?
 Poor sleepy Tuff....and this was only day #1! This show dog business is exhausting!
Obviously the 'plain jane' pictured below is ole' Bo....luv the color on these ponies, don't you?
 Chloe's mom came to lead Chloe in her very first horse show...they did GREAT and had a wonderful time! I think we'll see more of them at future shows....Bo certainly didn't mind the extra love and attention!
 The twins are following Randi and Tuff to the arena in the picture below.....Sophie was set on riding and wouldn't go anywhere without her helmet! Going to attempt to get her thru the leadline classes at the next show for sure....we'll have Randi's new pony to carry her, so Chloe can still ride Bo.
 Randi's posting is coming along well....need to start working on her hands now....her favorite thing at this show was being able to canter in her classes (because they were combined with the older kids)...mommy was a bit nervous, but she did great!...a little fast....but great!
 ....and the punks found ways to entertain themselves while their bib sis was showing....
 ..and when they demanded mommy time, daddy came in to handle 'pattern duty' and get Randi on course for her pattern classes. include a working hunter and equitation over fences classes! 8 jumps each! She LOVED it! Her second favorite part of the show next to cantering....good ole' Bo.
 ....Bo deserved lots of grass breaks...he worked hard this weekend.
 ...and the girls appreciate him very much.
 ....and I wouldn't trust any other with my precious cargo.
 They trotted poles....
 ...and backed thru cones (w/o hitting a single one, I might add!)...
 ...and when it was all said and done they enjoyed a cool and well deserved dip in the pool.
While the girls were preoccupied and the punks napped, JR and Tyler had time to fish the pond and catch some beauties! JR says this is the heaviest bass he's ever caught!
....and Tyler's wasn't too shabby either!
We exhausted ourselves having so much fun this weekend and look forward to seeing our new friends again in June....our next POA show wil be in MD where we will meet new friends to add to our growing POA family! We also hope to have our new pony with us, Bree....Randi will be showing her in halter and showmanship! Stay tuned...
Happy Trails,
Leah (aka- woman with the horse show hangover come Monday)