Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

For the New Website

Website – About Me

I grew up with 13-14 hand Welsh cross ponies. I rode all over our 120 acre farm and the western Pennsylvania hills for miles around the farm. They taught me to love them and to hang on when they ran.  With their stubborn ways, they taught me patience. Others had troubles with their ponies, but I never did. My parents have a photo of myself, my younger sister and older brother hanging onto very small ponies.  I think we were 3, 5 and 7.  Ponies and horses have been part of my life, except for a few years during college and early married years.


Tom and I have 3 children. Sara is married to Jake and they have Makenzie and Kaytlyn.  Jacob is married to Amber and they have Caden and Tyler.  Our youngest son, Micah, lives close by in Lincoln.  All 3 children rode and showed Quarter Horses.  Sara did all around Showmanship, English Equitation and Hunter Under Saddle, and Western Pleasure Horsemanship.  All 3 children showed Barrels and Poles.  Micah added Reining and Working Cow.  We were privileged to have the children show at the Quarter Horse Youth Worlds when the event was held at Fort Worth, Texas.  The boys made finals in Pole Bending and Stake Race.


Empty nest came.  I operated a tack store for a few years.  Then I decided to go back to raising some foals.  Over the years, we raised many Quarter Horse offspring from our Good Asset stud, Grand Duke of Asset, out of a Boston Mac Granddaughter.  The last 10 years, we felt the decrease in the horse industry, and we only raised ½ dozen colts.   And a few years ago, our stud became a gelding that I love riding.  He and Shaggy, one of Duke’s sons, are my main 2 horses that I ride in my Centered Riding Clinics.


I grew up trail riding and I started trail riding more.  I started riding CTR’s, Competitive Trail Rides, in 2007. I knew I wanted to get an Arabian as they were meant to ride distances.  I heard about Rushcreek Arabians and how well they rode.  When I heard that Rushcreek Arabians were liquidating, I knew I had to go out to Lisco, Nebraska and bring one home.  I ended up bringing 2 fillies home in the spring of 2012, 6 year old Rushcreek Allie and 5 year old Rushcreek Bonita.  Both are lovely greys.  I just love their heads, their personalities, and how much they have bonded with me.


I rode in a limited distance AERC Endurance Ride in 2013 as well as The Tevis Trail Educational Ride in CA.  I caught the endurance bug.  I want to do this!  Last year, I rode RC Bonita, as RC Allie was coming off an injury.  This summer, I started getting Allie in shape for fall CTR’s.  I hope to try a few 50-100 mile AERC rides each year.


But raising babies is what I love.  So the summer of 2012, I also purchased 3 Rushcreek youngsters, 5 of the older mares and 2 younger mares.  We had our first 3 Rushcreek bred offspring in 2013 and 4 more in 2014. In 2013, I leased Shalimar Playboy, an Al-Marah bred grey stallion, and purchased him the following year. 


For a while, I’ll continue the heritage of Rushcreek Arabians.  And I plan on getting out there on the trail on a few of them!


“God provides the opportunities, but it’s up to us to take them.”  A line for the movie, “Stranded in Paradise.”  I’m a romantic at heart.  With a great love for horses!  And Foals! 



Monday, July 14, 2014

The Last 9 Months... Part 1

The last 9 months have been totally different than the previous 2 years.  I rode over 1300 miles in 2012 and over 1600 miles in 2013.  This year, I think I have less than 100. But that is soon going to change.

Mom and Dad at their 65th Anniversary 3 years ago

            My mom had been sick with Scleraderma, an arthritic like problem that causes a thickening of the skin and poor circulation, for over 50 years.  Her symptoms worsened over the last 10 years, including other internal problems.  And about that same time, she started having memory loss.  The last 5-10 years, her dementia declined, even though she always knew people.

            My mom passed away last Oct 10th.  At the time, we were on our way home to Pennsylvania for a visit.  We were 3 hours of arriving at my parents when we got the phone call that she had peacefully passed away at home.  The 5 days that we had planned on visiting were spent with funeral details and helping my dad.  He wanted me and my younger sister to start going through mom’s things.  I think that he had lived with her being sick for so long that he had already processed this. He seemed like he wanted us to do this, and to make sure mom’s clothing and jewelry were taken care of.

            October 10th was also the same date that Finny had passed away 4 years before.   I think I was in shock, as I organized more of my mom’s items than I ever thought I would have been able to.  I believe it helped that my dad was ready to do this.  I’ll always be sad that we weren’t able to get home earlier in the year, as we have always done in the past.

            Dad also wanted to plan a garage sale before the weather got colder, as he had the home for sale, hoping to move closer to town.  After the funeral and flying back to home, I just couldn’t be motivated to ride, plan on going on any CTR’s or endurance rides, or even get excited about starting to ride and condition for the following year.  We were planning on returning for PA for the 3 day garage sale early Nov. 

            On top of all of this, we would return home on a Monday or Tuesday, and our youngest grandchild turned 1 and had her birthday party the following weekend.  Even though we hated missing her party, we just couldn’t see traveling over 7 hours back and forth to be there.  We decided to have a few weeks of rest and we went to visit our Colorado family for Thanksgiving.

            The holidays came and went, with memories of mom and dad popping up all the time.  Bittersweet memories.  I knew my mom is now pain-free, happily visiting with her older sister and younger brother who had both passed away within the year also.

           The New Year came.  The previous 2 years, I started riding early January.  This year, we were taking all the family on a beach vacation, and left early January.  When we returned home from the holiday, the weather didn’t cooperate for winter riding.  Even though we didn’t get much snow, we had the cold. 

 What happened to spring?  Late arriving after what seemed like a cold and wet March.  I don’t know what happened to April.  I did host 2 Centered Riding clinics, one in April and one in May.  We actually got a garden in, then it promptly started raining, and raining, and raining.  Living in Nebraska, you never complain about the rain, because drought is always possible and could start at any moment.  We had our horse lots muddy for most of the spring though. And most of the garden washed away.

            I was planning on the May CTR’s, but dad decided to have another garage sale, and then he would pack up whatever wouldn’t sell.  I needed to go home to help, and to continue to go through Mom’s crafts, dishes, and quilting items.  I ended up bringing back items that I couldn’t believe I left in the fall garage sales…. Mom’s 1950’s Phaff sewing machine, Mom and Dad’s Radio/Record player console, Moms manual typewriter, and a few smaller items.  I went through all her old glassware and dishes, as well as anything in the garage sale that didn’t sell, to have keepsakes for all family members.

Hubby’s mother lives 3 hours away.  When we go home, I stay with my parents and he visits his parents.  We have the choice to do that and spend 5-6 days with our own parents but alone, or visit each parent for 3 days and be together.  As our parents aged, we decided length of stay was more important.  That meant either I or hubby only spent a day or 2 with the other’s parents.  Yet, whatever we were able to do, our parents were pleased.  At least that was one area that didn’t stress us out.

            After we got home, we headed to Colorado a few days later for Makenzie’s, our 5 year old granddaughter, dance recital the following Sunday.  We arrived on Thursday and watched her and 1 ½ year old Kaytlyn on Friday.  That gave us a long weekend with family.  Once we were home to Nebraska the following Monday, we would be home for the summer.

            Time to get ready for foals.

            Part 2 tomorrow.

(I tried to upload photos, but Blogger was not  be cooperative.  I'll try to upload more photos tomorrow).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day. 

A day to remember.... the military who have kept and our keeping our Country safe and free. 

A day to remember... our loved ones who are no longer with us, but will forever be in our hearts.

A day to remember... the pride of our Country.

A day to remember... to raise our Flag.

A day of remembrance.

Forever in our hearts.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Do you have a Golden Horse"

Horse listening posted this today:


“Do you have a Golden Horse? You can spot him from a mile away.

He is “golden” because of his heart of gold. This is the horse that takes care of you even more than you take care of him. You know you can rely on him to not spook, not get unnerved and let you enjoy what it was you set out to do. In fact, it seem that he  enjoys his job even more than you do! 

If you have a Golden Horse, you will soon realize how lucky you are. You will never want to part with him. Because as you learn and grow through his graciousness, you realize how much you are benefiting from him, and how much he is giving you. Every ride becomes a gift and every workout is easy because of his willing nature. You become the rider of your dreams because he lets you!

Although that calm generosity can be learned by good training, upkeep and handling, some horses are just “born that way.” So, for all the Golden Horses out there, here is a poem of gratitude.”


(by the Horse Listener)

The Golden Horse


Interested ears forward pricked,

patiently waiting through soft velvety nose-kisses,

the Golden Horse 

loves the grooming attention;

two hours of brushing, polishing and wiping

with nary a fuss but more like a sweet relaxation

reminiscent of a day at the spa.


Solidly standing for the mount,

quietly ambling the first strides

into 100% effort.

Team player to the point

Of two becoming one.


Reciprocal listening, flickering ears back and forth,

gives and takes and loose flowing backs,

seamless communication seemingly telepathic,

mindreading  aids and signals, snorts and strides,

bounces and swings -

there is no better synergy 

than when two combine.


Patiently waiting through your confusion,

Kindly caring through less-than-perfect risk-taking,

he is the ultimate teacher

in your quest to grow.


One of a kind.

OK… now granted… not every horse acts this way with his owner… but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a connection. If you ride your horse, and care for your horse, there is a connection!

My Golden Horses.... when I was a child, I had Jennifer, my welsh cross pony for many years. 18 years ago, Starlet was one of my first foals I raised. 7 years ago, Finny was my 1st competition horse. Last year, Bonita bonded with me as I rode her. Now I have Allie who I feel a strong connection with.” 

This poem struck a nerve.

I've had a few "Heart" horses during different times of my life.... my youth, one of the first foals I raised, my first horse I rode a lot after the kids got done showing, now during my competition years. I think we need to share our heart with many horses... to get over "horse ache". I could only get over Finny after I knew I had to share my heart with another horse.... and Rushcreek Allie seems to be doing that with her quiet and gentle way with me...

 “Caring” yes, I care for my horse…. And I know my horse cares enough for me to take care of both of us when times get tough.   

Yes, my horse is a teacher…. I learn so much from all my horses…. As they teach me to share my heart.  My “heart” horses teach me how unselfish they are.  They give willingly.   

“He is “golden” because of his heart of gold. This is the horse that takes care of you even more than you take care of him.”   

Finny was my horse that had a heart of gold.  I wished I could say they he still has a heart of gold, but he has been gone for 4 years now.  He took care of me more than I took care of him, as he completed a CTR then went down with a fatal colic the minute I stepped off of him, with no prior notice.  I will always be sad/sorry/angry/anguish/angry with myself/hurt/sadden/ and every emotion you can think you could have when your horse/best riding partner/the one who knows you/ and the one who you know… dies.  It is a very sad time of your life. It took me 2 years to get over him, and another year to understand it, and another year to realize this happens to a lot of horses… BUT I will never understand why this tragic death had to happen to Finny.  He was a wonderful horse and would have gone on to teach a lot of kids how to ride.  I’ll always be sad about the way he had to die.  That makes me so sad.  And it always will.

But I came to the realization that I couldn’t keep the love of horses buried.  I needed to keep the love alive.  What horse could I love?  Do I love all the horses I have equally?  Would that take too much of my energy?  My heart?

“One of a Kind”

There are many horses that are one of a kind.  Do they all become our heart horse No.  But the ones that do… they are one of a kind.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

“It sure felt good to be on a horse”

“It sure felt good to be on a horse”. That was my first thought, and the comment I texted my hubby, when I rode last week.  It’s been a long winter for me, and this was just my 2nd ride of the year.  Compared to last year, I had many more rides in, with almost 100 miles recorded by now.  Not so this year, but the minute I rode off on Bonita, while ponying Allie, I couldn’t believe how great it felt!  I couldn’t believe I’ve waited so long to ride this winter/early spring.


Most winters, I’ve given the horses a rest Jan and Feb.  I start consistent riding from March on, as the days get warmer…. usually.  Last year, riding for the Horsetrailriders Distance Derby, I started riding in January and rode every day that I was home, and the weather cooperated.  This year, March is here, 1st day of spring came and went, we’ve had some near 70 degree days, and I still didn’t get extra days of riding in.  But I did take the time to just be with the horses during chore time, moving among them, petting or rubbing on some of them, standing quietly by the ones that just want the closeness.


With my mom passing away last Oct, and hubby having some health issues this winter and recovering from a recent surgery, life with horses not only got slowed down, but got put on hold.  Tiredness doesn’t always have to be physical.  I think mental strain/anguish/stress makes you so much more tired and drains what energy is left over from the day.  I didn’t have any problem sitting and doing nothing.  I guess it was my body’s way of telling me that I’m not ready to be as busy as I was last year.  I felt the need to take the time to rejuvenate.  I knew I not only had to build up my energy, but also my desire to want to do more with the horses.


A mid-winter vacation is always welcomed.  Sun and warmth does wonders for the mind and body.  So does spring sun and warmth!  I love to hear the birds singing.   I love to see green grass.  I’m ready to see the trees bud up and leaves start to come out.  I’ve had my winter rest.  I’m really ready for the tans and browns and grey tones of winter to change into the greens and yellows and reds and oranges and blues of spring grass and flowers.  I love flowers and taking photos of them, especially roses.  Maybe I’ll plant more perennials this year.  I’m starting to feel the growth of spring in my body and mind and soul.  I’m starting to see the true colors of spring again.


Spring is here.  Hubby and I just had our 33rd Anniversary.  We have 2 small grandsons that are spending the night tonight and next weekend, we’ll see our 2 young granddaughters.  Then I’ll be ready to start riding, and working young horses, and petting on yearlings, and watching the broodmares.  I’m starting to get excited about seeing this year’s foal crop come this summer!


Just writing this makes me want spring even more.  I’m ready to get back into the saddle.  Watch out… the ride is on. Hope you are able to get back on the trails too.  And as always, “Embrace the Journey!”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year’s Trails

“As 2013 comes to an end, so does the old paths.  2014 will bring new paths, new choices, and a new way of life.  What will you chose for 2014?  Will you stay on the old path? Maybe with new direction? Or will you take a totally new path?  Will your priorities stay the same or change?  Will you focus on the same issues or decide to focus on something that is more important now, due to where you are in your life now?  I know I will.

As we ponder the New Year, we can let go of the old year.  It doesn’t matter what we didn’t accomplish, what we could have done, what we did but shouldn’t have.  But then, maybe these things do matter.  It’s all in the context of what you did or didn’t do, the meaning of your thoughts, and the reasoning behind what you did or didn’t do.  Yes, I’m sure I would undo some of the things that I did.  I would try now to do some things differently or with a different mindset.  But, regardless, it is what it is.  And we can take what we know now, learn from it, and move on.  Change for the better.  Maybe some areas of our life don’t need to change, and that is great also!

That was my point in my New Year’s Eve Blog about new paths and new choices.  I wasn’t so much asking the questions for myself, because I knew some of my answers.  I was asking them for you to ponder about also.  We all have choices and sometimes we follow different paths, for different reasons.  That’s ok to go off the original path and follow other paths/distractions/goals.  Our lives change constantly and we need to change our paths to best suit where we are at the moment.  I try to do that. I try to change when I need to, but sometimes I’m slower than I need to be.  Sometimes, I want to change faster than the situation needs.  Sometimes I change, but not in the way I should have changed. The point is, be open to change when the time comes.

So now, on New Year’s Day, we are on the 1st day of our 2014 path.  And now, we can ask ourselves the question, “what path do we want to take this year?”  Is our path based on a new personal goal, a change in last year’s goal, a life changing decision to try something totally different?  Or will we continue on our same goal with some different choices, and by following different paths, will that lead to the same goal?

I think I will revise the goals that always seem to be part of my yearly decisions.  Family needs to be prioritized.  We are trying to go to church as often as we can in off season, as sometimes horse competitions and rides takes us away from church.  During those times, I think of God in the beautiful surroundings around me as I ride. God’s country is beautiful!  Sunrises, sunsets, trees, hills, mountains, and in all the lovely scenery!

I am thinking of where I want to go with the horses this year. I will be breeding more Rushcreek bred endurance Arabians and I will have more foals this year.  I need to handle last year’s foals and start my coming 3 year old and a coming 5 year old.  I need to start 2, 3 year old QH’s as well as ride 2, 6 year olds.

I need to decide what my riding goals will be.  The last 2 years, I have pushed for miles on the Horsetrailriders Distance Derby, but this year, I don’t want to push for the miles.  Instead, I need to spend more quality time with the horses that I haven’t done so with this year.  I need to spend quality time with my riding horses also.  A plan may be riding one day, ponying the next day, then doing some arena and slow work the 3rd day.  I do need to keep 2 horses in competition mode though, and do some fast, longer miles.  Maybe I’ll work on interval training with longer, faster distances then slower work.

Wherever life leads me this year, wherever my horses take me this year, whatever happens in my family life, I know that I can turn to God for answers and to help me through any choices.  But one area in my life is constantly changing, and that is to be the best person and horse person that I can be.  My horses are my life, my soul and my being, and I will always do what I can to protect the horses in my care and to learn as much as I can  about thinking like horses.

“Embrace the Journey”!


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