And we said................I DO!

To begin this journey you have to have some history. After about 5 years, Jim finally proposed! He said he didn't want to rush me (I think we're safe there!). So, almost a year later (don't want to rush) we got married, on May 12th 2007. A very small wedding in our backyard; 11 people counting us and officiated by one of my closest friends (yes, ordained online). The next day we headed out on our honeymoon. A road trip down the coast line into California to Disneyland, then over to Las Vegas, up to Reno and back home in three wonderful weeks! And who thought that 8 months later we’d be moving to our very own horse property but, that’s exactly what happened!! Sometimes, childhood dreams do come true!! So, here begins our journey…..

The amazing yet simple Game of Contact!

August was the craziest month ever! I had something planned every weekend, including a small riding clinic put on by our very own, Emma Kline. Emma had learned this incredibly amazing game to play with your horse under saddle, the Game of Contact (created by the wonderful Linda Parelli, of course). The game is simple, either you have the contact on the reins or horse does. The goal is for your horse to "choose" to have the contact. Emma wanted to try out the concept on a couple riders and horses of different backgrounds. I won't be able to explain things as eloquently as Emma but, I can certainly give my take on it and what I've observed. As described by Emma, it's "simply the art of riding in connection with the reins. Strong like a firm handshake, as fluid and maneuverable as a dancer's close hold"; focusing on "free forward movement, looseness and stretch-ability". In short, your horse is learning to stretch over their top line (rump, back, neck, poll. Horse yoga!) and use their hindquarters to power forward; basically moving them from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive. LOL. The Game of Contact and the exercise referred to as Fluid Reins helps your horse achieve this. And here's the really amazing part! What you're asking your horse to do becomes their idea because you make a "game" of it! And, it works with any horse of any age and any level of training (I've personally experienced it with three horses of different backgrounds).

Emma and I started searching for a good date to have her clinic and of course Murphy's Law said it HAD to be the weekend before Jim and I's BBQ when we should have been working on the yard or pond or something!! But, I took a big breath and agreed to do it. So, I got two of my favorite horsey gal-pals to join me as students and the plan was I thought. It seems that Emma and I had a small communication problem. The night before the clinic I realized that Emma thought the clinic was in one location and I thought it was in another. LOL. Lucky for us Jim, in his quiet, calm way, suggested that we have it at OUR place (such a simple solution)! The next day things went great. The weather was perfect, Jim and Kip took videos of the whole affair and all three horses and their humans did wonderful (actually four horses, I rode Jake and Minnie). The "game of contact" AND "fluid reins" is so amazing.

Shannon & Desi
Shannon has been taking dressage lessons with her horse, Desi. And even though they have advanced tremendously in the past year or two, they totally benefited from both game of contact and fluid reins. The first time Shannon used the fluid reins, Desi stretched her neck all the way down and stretched her top line like she'd been doing it for months.

stretching with Fluid Reins
Kim's horse, Tunes is green broke and will eventually become a barrel horse. Tunes nor Kim knew anything about the game of contact or fluid reins but, within the first 15 minutes we all could see a difference. How amazing is that!!

Kim & Tunes
Minnie and I went last. Minnie did awesome. Emma had started us on the game of contact back in May but, with summer being so busy, this was only our 8th session. The difference in Minnie was truly amazing. I've had Minnie 6 yrs this November and I've struggled to get her to calm down, slow down, balance herself and use her body properly with really no success. Yes, I tried the
"traditional" martengale, forks and different snaffle bits both online and under saddle.... and then I met Emma and Emma learned the game of contact and passed it on to me!! In a 1-hour session, Emma taught Minnie and I the game. We went home and had 3 more sessions on our own, each one better than the last. The fifth session Emma coached us again to keep our progress moving forward. Two more sessions and Minnie was literally a different horse; I could see it and feel it, Jim could see it, my mom could see it. The 8th session was really a testimonial to the concept. In fact, we started working on the lope that day (another big challenge with my "goey" horse). So, 8-1 hr sessions spaced out over a summer, only two of which were coached, and my horse learned how to stretch over her top line and use her hindquarters all with contact on the bit and it was HER idea, from playing the simple "game of contact".

Me & Minnie
Next, I rode Jake. In all reality, Jake doesn't have alot of time under saddle and what he does have, has mostly been leisurely, plodding around with Jim (you know, just a couple of dudes hanging out). When I ride him, he has to work! LOL. Jim and I describe Jake as driving an old farm truck and Minnie as a Ferrari. I've also described Jake as trying to bend a bus! He did not possess any "fluid movement, looseness or stretch-ability". So, Emma made Jake and I work hard that day (which Jake does not appreciate). The task at hand was to encourage him to have a bend in his body going around a circle. The exercise was simply trotting a circle and asking him to move slightly sideways, stepping up under himself with his inside hip and bending and relaxing his neck. I have to say, at first I didn't really know what Emma was after. I was just following direction and trusting my "leader". It did finally sink in, for me AND Jake. :) The process is so fascinating to me. Here's this big lug of a horse who's been going around the arena like a chunk of wood and all of a sudden, with no brutal gadgets, harsh riding or harsh words, he starts to gain "looseness and stretch-ability" through his whole body and it only took 30 minutes or so and our relationship was still in tact.

I should mention one more thing. You'll notice a clicking sound in the video. Emma has been experimenting with a dog clicker. She used it during our lessons to mark exactly when our horses had achieved what we were asking. It's a great tool. The theory is that you can mark the exact moment that you and/or your horse "get it right" and THEN give the reward. It's more precise. And it's said to create mental markers in our minds that we remember later. Very interesting!

All I can say is, I can't wait to see how Jake, Desi, Tunes and Minnie progress from here and thank you, Linda Parelli for discovering and developing these exercises and thank you Emma for sharing what you've learned.

......the long awaited BBQ!

+(The belated wedding reception, home warming, happy retirement BBQ at Jim and Lisa's)

It seemed so far away when I set the date of the BBQ! But, man does time fly! That final week was a bit hectic. My mom came down Friday to help us get things ready. What a relief! And, our friend, Stan rescued me again by setting up the waterfall in our pond! Saturday morning rolled around and we hustled to get stuff going. Jim had the smoker going at 7:00 and the turkey was in it by 7:45. There was pork to shred, slaw to chop and jello to garnish, oh my. Jeanie came over and helped with the pork (and we polished off a bottle of wine. lol) and mom garnished and chopped. Stan magically showed up with picnic tables and everything came together! Guests started arriving and the cars lined up! I wondered how many cars could fit in our driveway. I didn't count them but there wasn't alot of spaces left, that's for sure. It was a fabulous BBQ if I do say so myself. The food was awesome and there was alooooooot of it! Kim totally out did herself with a new cake creation. OMG, was it a cake! It is definitely one for the record book. Frank (the mad baker) brought fabulous rolls (as usual) for the pulled pork and homemade bubbles for the kids. What fun!! There were alot of yummy dishes. Pasta salad, peach cobbler, baked beans, MMMMMM. And, I loved seeing everyone relaxing and visiting under our pine trees. We really do have a perfect BBQ setting. I love our place. :) It was especially great to see a few people whom I haven't seen in several years- my dads close friend, Ed and Ed's son, Jeff (who I grew up with); mom and Michael's friends, Bob and Mary (who I used to work with on occasion) and Loretta (an ODOT retiree) and her husband, Dick. I miss Loretta dearly so, it was wonderful to see her. It was truly a great day!

I'd like to thank Jim, Stan, Jeanie and my mom for all their help!! And thank you to all our guests. I love you all!  :)

2010-This year is going way too fast !!!

OMG!!! Where has this year gone??!! We spent New Years in Seaside with Dale, Mary, Frank and Tammy watching storm after storm; playing poker and eating waaaaay too much. When we left home all the ditches were overflowing, our dog run was about to flood and I left our friends son (Kyler) in charge of farmsitting! EEK! We weren't sure what the roads would be like so we drove the truck. Got to the condo in Seaside and guess what?! Underground parking, AGAIN! I had flash backs of our honeymoon in Frisco and Vegas and the truck NOT fitting! Lol. In Vegas we parked with the tour buses; this time we parked with the service trucks. :) The weekend was wonderful in spite of the weather. We stayed up late playing cards, watched movies, did some shopping and of course, ate alot! And, Kyler (our farmsitter) did an awesome job of holding down the fort.

The home projects started early with some yard work- pulling up grass! Then it was on to MORE painting. We started by painting the master bath and pulling up the last of the "wine" colored carpet. A week later we were painting the laundry room and pulling up vinyl in the spare bath and the laundry room. Away with the old toilets too! Once that was done we had porcelain tile installed (yes, paid to have it installed!). It was quite an experience. That project put up a good fight! First, the flooring guys that they couldn't install it over our subflooring. We had a couple "miscommunications" followed by them running out of flooring! They came back the next day with more tile and things were looking up! The spare bath looked great and the laundry was on it's way to being done and so was the master bath, until........the water line in the floor that connects to the toilet BROKE off under the house!!! AAAAAAAAAH! Of course, the flooring guys couldn't fix it (they install floors not plumbing) and Jim wasn't sure how to fix it. To be honest, I probably could have fixed it but, I DON'T GO UNDER HOUSES!!! :) So, we called a plumber....and waited and waited and waited some more. Just when I thought all was lost and the flooring guys were gonna run off on us, the plumber showed up. He fixed it lickity split and we were back on track. But, wait! Now it's around 8pm and the flooring guys are finally installing the new toilet in the master bath and discover that the fitting on the NEW pipe does not fit the toilet fixture. GRRRR! Oh, but they have a piece of flexi hose that should fit. Oh drat......the end we need won't fit and the end we don't need will fit. DANG! By then it was too late to do anything so, they finished the flooring which looked WONDERFUL and the next day we called the plumber and they replaced the pipe for free! PHEW! It was a stressful couple of days but we love the tile!
In the meantime, Jim was preparing to retire after 36 yrs working for the State. 36 years!!! It gives me anxiety just thinking about it! Jim had a great retirement party with several co-workers and a couple ODOT retirees.

So, his last day was March 31st. He has a 1977 280Z and you'll notice that before he retired it was a decent looking car. On April 1st I pulled into the garage and saw that he had sanded down a spot on the back hatch! LOL. Now, the poor car is tore apart waiting to be repainted. LOL. Only one day and he's already bored??!! hehe. Easter was really nice this year because Nini came down with mom and Michael. I was so happy she felt up to the trip and could see all the things we've done to our place. And, I surprised them all with a little indoor EASTER EGG HUNT! I got the adults to do one several years ago and of course they moaned and groaned as they did it. LOL. Well. I decided to do it again. :) The funny part was that after dinner I announced that I had something for them to do and my dad says......"I hope it's not another Easter egg hunt!" Oops! He had just been telling a friend about the time I made him search for eggs so, it was fresh on his mind. hehe. Yes, I still made them do it and yes, they moaned and groaned but, it was still fun. When it was all done my parents said "I guess she's getting even for being traumatized by Easter egg hunts as a child". I assured them that they hadn't caused me any "childhood trauma".....I'm just devious. LOL. Now that the painting and flooring was done we could concentrate on the yard (between rain storms!). First order of business was to pull shrubs. Andrew was nice enough to let us throw them on his burn pile and, oh what a pile it became! He finally lit her up one night and we had a neighborly BBQ and made s'mores.
Apil 19th was Nini's 93rd birthday!!! HOLY MOLY! We had a party for her at my aunt and uncles. She even made a wish and blew out the candles. Way to go Nini!! The following weekend my mom came down and we had pony time. What a blast! Minnie helped my mom learn the 7-games. Jeanie came over with Sue and we brought Angel along too. It still amazes me how much easier it is to communicate with horses "naturally". I haven't played with Angel in many months and yet she was playing the 7-games with me and Jim. And then there's Minnie. My mom was just muddling her way through but, Minnie was patient and figured out what my mom wanted. In May we finally did it! We started building our pond. We built a foundation and Jim started digging and, digging. This went much, much faster than it did at our house in Turner. There's alot less rock here however, there's alot more water!! The pond reached about 2 ft. deep and started filling up! GRRRRR! Needless to say, that project was put on hold. LOL. May 21st we were off to Redmond, OR to see Pat and Linda Parelli! This year Pat and Linda each chose a person who would bring their horse to Redmond and have a lesson in front of everyone! Emma and Lil got chosen once again! We had such an awesome weekend. This year my mom and family friend, Sue went with us. The four of us stopped in Sisters first. Did some shopping and had lunch at The Gallery (of course) and then we were off to Redmond. My friend, Tina (who recently started Parelli) met us there and Emma's parents came along too. And of course, Kip and Beth. :)  We all stayed together in a glorious house in Eagle Crest and had an absolute blast!!! Words can not describe how happy I was to have my mom and Sue there and to finally be able to share the experience with Tina.

Friday night we gave Emma a little surprise birthday celebration. I brought cake and mom made horse turds and Kip kept her occupied while we set things up. It was great fun!! There's also an amusing story of Jim, my mom, Sue, Tina and I going for a walk and getting lost within Eagle Crest and Emma's parents being locked out of the house but, you'll have to hear that one in person. LOL. So, Pat and Linda put on an incredible show as usual full of amazing people and horses and packed full of new and insightful information. And, it's interesting to see how new people react to what they see. Sue had tears within the first 1/2 hour followed by....."I always knew there was a better way". Sunday, Emma had her lesson with Linda and I recorded the whole thing, nearly 2 hrs!! It was amazing to watch Linda transform Emma AND Lil right in front of our eyes. The issue at hand was that Lil can't handle crowds. She had a melt down last year in Reno and so Emma asked that her lesson be about Lil being able to relax in front of a crowd. If you'd like to see the video, it's on Emma's blog-under "Getting Unconscious" .  It was a wonderful trip!!! And my hat is off to Emma for being so brave. Starting in June we hit the yard work hard. I discovered that the storm ditches up the road were full of rocks just the right size for borders around the flowerbeds. We made alot of trips up and down the road with our quad and little baby trailer! That poor trailer will never be the same! We moved rocks, rocks and more rocks and spread 7 1/2 yds of barkdust and ordered another 7 1/2 yds! There were a few stolen moments with our horses but not many. Besides our home projects, we had the Scio Buckaroos. I'm the club President this year which means I'm in charge of making sure things get done. UGH! Our June show had to be postponed due to wet weather. Not that it was raining but, the ground was still so wet that we couldn't prepare the grounds for the show. The wet ground also meant our pond project was still on hold as well. We pumped it out twice and it filled back up and it was now the end of June! But hey, the flowerbeds were looking great!
July 25th, the pond was finally dried out and we got the liner in and filled it up with CLEAN water. It was 95 that day and we got the wise idea to go get a load of slate we found on craigslist! Sounds simple unless some of the pieces way as much as you do! The "wise" idea came later when we paid Kyler to unload it. :) He's such a trooper! So, I mentioned in my last post that we had tore down my Jeep and taken it to be refurbished. Well, it's still there. Jim had tore apart the 280Z thinking it could be repainted by the same guy but, it's in line behind my Jeep.   :)~ 

Anyway, Jim got bored and decided to shop for a "muscle car". After alot of rejected prospects and a couple disappointing test drives he finally decided on a 1970 Mustang (351-Cleveland, if you want to know). Let's just say our garage is full! But, it's a really, really nice car and I can't wait to go to car shows and cruise-ins. What I haven't mentioned yet is that in Spring I set a date for a big BBQ and then set nearly impossible goals of redoing our landscaping, building a pond and remodeling the rec room all before the BBQ. Every spare moment has been spent working in the yard. We spread a total of 16 yds of barkdust and a ridiculous amount of rock! By the middle of August the pond was at a standstill. I was out of energy and out of inspiration and my poor mom was out of ideas too. LOL. But, our friend, Stan had a few good ideas so, I enlisted his help and bribed him with goodies! We were right down to the wire but we got it done (mostly done). It looks amazing! I love to sit out there and listen to the waterfall and the birds and frogs. With any luck at all, the tree frogs will move to the pond and leave our hot tub alone! And, the BBQ was a success but I'll save that for another post........  :)

2009-Projects and Ponies

2009 was a busy year! It's all a big blur so, I'll try to remember the highlights! LOL. We made it through our first full winter with no mishaps and when February arrived we were ready for some home improvements. We had bought a large amount of laminate flooring the year before but were too scared to start! So, there it had sat for almost a year but, thanks to Frank and Tammy, on February 14th (yes, Valentines Day) we got started! First off was the guest room. New paint, shelves, flooring and curtains. The scariest part was pulling up the carpet and not knowing exactly what you might find.

The next scary part was actually installing the new floor and thinking we were in over our heads. But, Frank and Tammy were our heroes!!! And, they stuck it out clear until the middle of May when we finished our last room; the kitchen. I think it was the worse room as them all!! The flooring was alot of work but in the end it was totally worth it (even the 12 hr day we put in). We love our new floors and we had such a great time hanging out with Frank and Tammy. Of course, there was always a big FEAST on "flooring day". I loved that part!! We literally couldn't have done it without them!!

In between flooring days we had pony days. Jim and I and the horses made so much progress, it was mind boggling. Jim and Jake passed their Level 1-Online and Minnie and I passed Level 1-Online, Level 2-Online and Level 2 Freestyle. What does all this mean, you ask?? The short story is that the Parelli program has levels of achievements in the developement of you and your horse and your relationship. Once you complete a certain level, you should be able to do certain tasks, games or maneuvers. To get recognition for this and to get constructive feedback, you can do a video audition of you and your horse demonstrating your accomplishments. Your audition is reviewed by certified instructors at the Parelli ranch and graded with the relationship being the real test. The "means" really has to justify the end. They aren't looking for or expecting "perfection" as much as they want to see a strong partnership between you and your horse. I can't tell you how gratifying the experience has been. I feel like it's the first truly EARNED award I've gotten with a horse in years! In May, Jim and I drove to Reno to a 3-day Parelli conference along with our friends Emma, Kip and Beth. It was incredible!!! To top it off, Emma and Beth had been selected to take their horses and do what they call a "spotlight performance". Basically, a live audtion in front of everyone!! All three days were so amazing. I can actually say, I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. If you'd like to learn more about what we do and the Parelli program, visit or . I almost forgot the one 'mishap' before we left. The afternoon before we left, Minnie comes LIMPING in for dinner! Yes, limping!! She had bowed a tendon a couple years before and was now favoring that same leg. AAAAAAAAH! So, I spent that evening holding ice packs on her leg and really stressing out! Luckily, our neighbors mom (Brenda) was staying at our house while we were gone and she was very willing to play nursemaid. She was amazing! I was so thankful to have someone like her taking care of things. Plus, my friend, Jeanie stopped by to help out. Everyone rallied to Minnie's side. It was great! Don't get me wrong, I was still really stressed out being away from home but, Minnie couldn't have been in better hands. She was laid up for a few weeks but, healed just fine and was back to running and jumping as usual. :)

By June, we had formed a little group of Parelli students; Emma and her husband, Kip, Beth and Jim and myself and did our own spotlight performance at the Scio Buckaroos horse show. We had such a great time!!! Kip did some commentary while the rest of us played with our horses and demonstrated what you can achieve when you put the relationship first. We later came up with an official group name- The Aspiring Horseman (I plan to do a photo album just for our group so, watch for it). The June show was also Jake's first experience in the show ring (it didn't go so well). We went in an English class. He wasn't too sure about being in there with a bunch of strange horses and decided to buck and of course, caught me off guard and lets just say it was a looooooong way down (sorry, no pictures)!! You have time to think about the ground when you come off a tall horse! LOL. In July my little cousins, Morgan and Hailey came down to go to the horse show. They even came out in the arena and did their own little spotlight with Jake and Minnie. What a blast!!! No competing this time though. That's when I finally decided that competing was no longer important to me. Having my horses be happy with what I ask of them was more important. So, the rest of the summer was spent just riding each of them during lunch break at the shows. It did wonders for Jake. Less strange horses and no pressure. By the end of summer he was pretty relaxed in the ring. I have to say, my favorite part of the summer was Jim and I doing the Waldo Hills Trail Ride. We had such a wonderful time and I really think our horses did too. It was Jake's SECOND trail ride ever; a 10-mile trail ride and Jim rode him with a halter and lead. Gotta love it!! Minnie was a hero that day. Her and I led three different horses across a creek crossing that her, herself may not have crossed the year before! She was such a trooper and I owe it all to the work we did in the months before.
Of course, our summer still had some projects too! We had our horse trailer stripped down and painted and some extra's added along the way. We started pulling shrubs out in the yard and started landscaping the "island". It's a work in progress but it'll get there. We really put the tractor to work, that's for sure. In September we tore down my Jeep and took it to the shop that painted our trailer. That's all I'm gonna say about that right now. It warrants a separate post. Let's just say it's a loooong story!

Time sure flies by! Before we knew it, here came the holidays. We had another belated Thanksgiving which, we've decided we prefer. And because we did it that way, Jim and I ended up having three Thanksgiving dinners! lol. We had a party with the Scio Buckaroos the weekend before. We had dinner with Laurel and Glen on Thanksgiving and then had our belated dinner at our house on Sunday. The usual charactors were there; mom, dad, Michael, Jason, Jordan, Susie, Kim, Jessy and us. Everything was wonderful as usual! Then came Christmas, at our house this time, with mom, Michael and dad. What was really fun was that I had gone to the Holiday Crafters Market and found something for everyone on my list so, everyone got something handmade and unique. I love it when I can give people something that's one of a kind and didn't come from a retail store.  :)
So, there it is.....2009! What a whirlwind of a year!

2008-Settling in

2007 ended with a bang! We rang in the new year at the beach with Dale, Mary, Frank and Tammy. Of course, we couldn't stay as long as planned because we had to start packing for the big move! And what a move it was. You just don't realize how much "stuff" you've acquired until you move. LOL. But, we had lots of help! Thanks!! You all rock!! 2008 brought alot of changes. It was the year of "settling in", to a new place and a new life style. Within a week of moving, Jim's horse, Jake arrived. Jim loved him the minute he climbed out of the trailer.

We couldn't ask for a better horse.......thanks to Emma. And Minnie was happy to have a buddy seeings how she went from a stable full of horses to being the ONLY horse. The first few months were all about unpacking and getting a routine with having horses at home and property to care for. And, by the end of February, Emma had sucked us in to the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program. We bought our first set of dvd's and were off and running! In May we attended our first Parelli tour stop in Redmond OR. It was absolutely amazing! The changes in our horses (especially Minnie) were incredible. Minnie and I had already had a bond but our relationship went to a whole new level. It's amazing to look back at all the stuff her and I could NOT do at the start of 2008. Also in May, we adopted two dogs. Carly came from a family in Salem and Duke was born right in Scio. Jim said it's a "two dog" farm!
We joined the Scio Buckaroos; a local horse club that has it's own property with club house and a huge outdoor arena. It's been a great way to meet  horse people and it's a peaceful place to ride. In July we bought a much needed, larger horse trailer. Poor Jake was too big for our other one. LOL. And later that year we bought a tractor!! Yep, Jim gets to sing the song.........."She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy"!! Definitely money well spent! Thanksgiving rolled around and we had a belated celebration at our house. Jim's sister, Susie and her son, Travis and his new wife, Raylene were able to come. It was nice to finally spend time with more of Jim's family. Maybe some day I'll get to meet his other sister and his brother. LOL. Christmas and winter arrived at the same time and what a winter it was!

It was the Christmas that almost didn't happen. I was glued to the TV, totally mesmorized by the snow and ice and all the highway closures. We had plans to spend Christmas day at my mom and Michael's and then go to my aunt and uncle's and it was touch and go right up to Christmas morning. In the end, everyone made it. We drove 88 miles and never used 4WD until a block from my mom's house. Too funny!! Of course, I LOVE the snow so, it was all a big adventure to me (sorry everyone)!  :) It turned out to be a nice "white" Christmas and my aunt got to show off her newly remodeled house. The day didn't go without incident though. My aunt's new kitchen had plumbing issues and my cousin spent alot of time under the sink. My mom and Michael ended up with a flat tire which is always fun to fix in a foot of snow! My dad got home from my aunt and uncles only to turn around and take his neighbors daughter to the hospital (their car was stuck). And to top it all off, the next morning my dad found out his semi-tractor had been stolen (broken into, chained up and the snow)! Of course, everything turned out okay but, it sure was a strange series of "unfortunate" events. So, 2008 came to an end. We laid low at home and watched them ring in the new year on TV.

May 12, 2007- Our Wedding Album

Thank you to my husband for making me so happy. :)

January 2008-We were just window shopping.

Back in October 2007 we weren't really serious about moving. I had been driving past a place for months that was for sale and when I finally decided to look, it already had a buyer! It gave me the bug! So, we started looking at what was out there.We were just "window shopping". We had looked at a couple places but they really didn't meet our needs, and then it appeared. One of Jim's co-workers sent him a craigslist ad (yes, craigslist!) for a place set up for horses. It looked great in the pictures so I called the listing agent, Emma. 

She gave me the scoop on the place and we talked about our horses and had a great chat! Here's the funny part (one of several), she told me the property had a recreation room that used to be a dance studio. Hmmmmmm, my friend Laurel used to take Hula lessons in that exact area and those people had put the place up for sale a couple years back and Laurel had wanted us to buy it (could it be the same place??). I sent the ad to Laurel and sure enough, it was the same place being sold AGAIN!!! This time we were ready to look! We loved it right off!!! 
Well kept house, nice yard, peaceful surroundings, huge garage, rec. room, an AWESOME barn and massive arena AND round corral!!! It met almost all our wants and needs (we had a list you know)!!! And what a small world it is- we recognized the seller, Brandy, from a local horse show and as it turned out she knew some of the horse people I hung out with! Not mention that one of them lived right down the road. Loooooooong story short, we made an offer and Emma listed our other house for sale. A few weeks later, there we were making the biggest decision ever! We were pretty sure our house was sold to my beautician's daughter, Kelsee (a VERY small world!) but it wasn't final. Suddenly we had to make the decision to buy the place we wanted even if our sale fell through, otherwise we'd lose out to another buyer. There Jim and I sat in front of our computer with Emma on the phone and the signed agreement ready to email! We were right down to the last minute with Emma yelling, "JUST PUSH SEND!! "DID YOU PUSH SEND?" "OMG, JUST DO IT!!!" LOL. Obviously we pushed "send" and our house DID sell to Kelsee and the rest is history! We started packing right after Christmas, moved January 13th and a week later Jim got his horse, Jake (also from Emma)!! 
A huge, huge thank you to everyone who helped us move! We could NOT have done it without you!! That was 2 1/2 yrs ago and we love our place! Every time I ride in our arena I still can't believe it's ours. To top it off, we've become close friends with Emma and her husband, Kip. Which brings us to our journey with our horses and the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship program!! It's way more than riding!!   :)