Thursday, September 30, 2021

She went to Texas, part three

Truth be told, I would have been happy to extend my stay in Austin and go horse shopping with Lauren. Alas, that wasn't an option, so on Sunday we rolled out of bed, said our goodbyes and hit the road. The drive was pleasantly uneventful, and we checked into our Amarillo hotel room some seven and a half hours later.

We took a few minutes to relax, then I texted my friend, Andrea, to tell her we'd made it. "Come on over," she responded. "I could use some help." So we got back in the car, drove to Andrea's house and helped her take photos of her sales horse, Hope.
What a cute girl!
Once that was done, we said hi to Matt the Cowpony.
Although he's an unassuming looking fellow, Matt has a most impressive resume. In addition to being quite possibly the only horse ever to simultaneously and successfully compete in FEI level dressage, reined cowhorse and competitive trail riding, Matt is a seven time Western Dressage National Champion and an ambassador for the Quarter Horse breed. I am definitely biased, but I think he would be a perfect addition to the Breyer line-up!
We had a nice dinner with Andrea and Bobby, then headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime. The next morning, I asked Mary Jo to make one stop on our way out of town.
I have been wanting to properly visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum ever since Carol and I made a fifteen minute tour of it in 2014. I wasn't able to fit it in when we drove through Amarillo in 2017, and there wasn't time this year either.
Still, I thought it would be fun to walk around the outdoor sculpture garden.
Most of it looked the same as it did in 2014...
but there was one new addition.
Hello, Rugged Lark!
I still hope to make it inside again someday, but this was better than nothing.
When I finished taking my pictures, we climbed back in the car and headed home.
That was so much driving. That was so much fun. I'm glad we did it. I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

She went to Texas, part two

Although we've read each others' blogs and chatted on and off for more than a decade, prior to last weekend, Lauren Mauldin and I had never actually met in person. 

I shared this information with Mary Jo, who shared it with another friend who was concerned. She asked, "How do you know that Jennifer's "friend" isn't a serial killer?"

I mean, I guess you never really know, but still, I felt completely at home from the moment we arrived at Lauren's house in Austin.

Everything from the art on the walls...
to her dog Lucie was exactly as advertised.
The conversation flowed easily, and by the time we went to bed that night, I felt like I'd known Lauren forever.
The next morning, Mary Jo went to her cousin's service, and Lauren and I went to the barn.
I met Lauren's brand new horse, Captain, who she imported from Europe earlier this month.
Since Captain is so new and Lauren's trainer was away, it was a hand walk only day.
That was fine with me, especially since Lauren had arranged for me to hand walk Bob.
We walked and talked and "jumped" a few tiny fences.
So much fun!
We had lunch and did a little shopping. Then we picked up Mary Jo and Lucie and went to a dog park with a bar. After that, we had dinner and went on a driving tour of Austin.
Somewhere along the way, I mentioned that I was casually horse shopping. Lauren decided I needed a Texas horse, so the balance our evening was checking out some of the local candidates. 
This was such a good day.
Thank you so much, Lauren. I'm so glad finally got to meet in person. Blog friends are real friends.

P.S. Definitely not a serial killer.

She went to Texas, part one

After we ride, Mary Jo, Karen and I often adjourn to the stable's sitting area for a post ride beverage and talk. It was during one of these sessions that I mentioned that I hadn't seen my in-laws for a long time, and I really needed to go to Texas.

"Maybe you could come with me," Mary Jo mused. "I'm driving to Austin in a couple weeks for my cousin's Celebration of Life."

And just like that, the real quick Texas road trip became a thing.

On Thursday, I packed a bag and said goodbye to my family.

Mary Jo picked me up in her Cadillac, and we headed east on I-70.
We stopped for lunch in Colby, Kansas, then it was back in the car.
Our spirits were high and the miles went quickly. We called out, "Horses!" every time we saw them and laughed at our own ridiculousness.
Almost before we knew it, we were through Wichita and into Oklahoma.
We drove through Oklahoma City at sunset, and checked into our hotel in Paul's Valley at nightfall. The first day of our road trip was in the books.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and hit the road. 
Our first stop was Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies.
Not going to lie, I took this picture entirely for Karen's benefit.
We bought some pies...
then headed to Turner Falls Park.
Nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains of Davis, Oklahoma, Turner Falls Park is a popular tourist destination filled with swim beaches, cabins and lots of snack stands.
Fortunately for us, there were no crowds on a Friday morning in September. We practically had the place to ourselves.
We parked and walked to the seventy seven foot waterfall.
So beautiful!
Then we got back in the car and drove up to the mountain.
We thought about riding the zip line, chickened out and then regretted it later. Next time!
Then it was back in the car and on to our next stop: Flower Mound, Texas. There we ate lunch with my in-laws.
I wish we could have stayed longer, but we still had a lot of driving to do. Unfortunately most of it looked like this.
The sun was setting as we drove into Austin...
and it was dark by the time we reached my friend, Lauren's house. 
The first two days of our road trip had been a lot of fun, but we were both ready to slow down a little, even if it was only for a day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Real quick

Over the weekend, Mary Jo and I went on a real quick road trip to Austin, Texas.

And when I say "real quick roadtrip," what I actually mean is that we spent four days...
driving through...
four states.
We passed through big cities,
small towns...
and vast stretches of nothingness...
We had a great time,
saw some beautiful country...
and spent time with some wonderful people...
and animals along the way.
I wouldn't change a thing.
Not even the lime sherbet and Prosecco dinner we had in Paul's Valley, Oklahoma.
That said, the real quick trip has left me really, really, really tired. It's going to take time tp gather my thoughts - and photos! - so instead of the full road trip rundown, I'd like to remind everyone to enter Anne Field's Field of Dolls Online Show, which is being hosted on the Online Model Horse Photo Shows site.
Instead of showing, I'm judging this time, and I really hope to see some amazing entries, especially in the Scene/Specialty Division. Anne writes some great prompts, and these are the most interesting classes in the entire show.
They're also the most important. Anne's shows have the best prizes, and the most efficient way to earn points for those prizes is to go big in the double judged classes.
And you know, since I'm one of the judges, the blog referred to in class 27 doesn't have to be Anne's. Everything in this blog is fair game as well.
With that, I am signing off for the day. I am real tired from my real quick road trip. I think I'm going to go take a nap!