Uncategorized

Joshua Tree

It’s been one year since I explored this lovely national park. Boy, do I miss it! I’ve also been in a bit of a hiking slump (I think it’s probably the winter weather?), so I thought I would share some pictures of this trip to inspire me, and inspire you to get out and explore!

First off, we went during my spring break vacation. This turned out okay, but it was so crowded that we almost didn’t find a campsite! Next time I go, I’m definitely booking a campsite or staying in backcountry. IMG_1803

Once we found a campsite, we immediately started exploring! I fell in love with the desert landscape. It was weird to me at first, just because I love the forest, but the desert is beautiful in its own way. My favorite part was the sharp contrast of the deep blue sky with the tan rocks. Pictures do not do it justice!

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We were so excited to be done with the six hour drive and hike all around. We could not get over the beautiful views and all of the rocks! This is truly a beautiful park.

There are so many areas to explore in this park. One thing to point out is that is extremely accommodating to all levels of outdoorsy folks — there’s something for everyone! We were surprised to see day trippers in fashionable footwear instead of hiking boots; but then we would see tons of rock climbers and backpackers.

And then it didn’t even matter if you wanted to hike, camp, climb, or just sit around. The views were still incredible.

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Hopefully that got you inspired to go outside!!

From our week camping out in the desert, I wanted to give some helpful hints. Honestly, we barely researched before going and we still made it out alive. So it’s fine if you want to do your own thing because you will still survive, but there’s some things I wish I knew about desert camping.

Joshua Tree had different weather than I was expecting. Because we went in spring, it wasn’t 90 degrees everyday, but it still go up to about 75 or 80. At night, though, it got cold and windy! I definitely didn’t bring enough layers for some nights and ended up freezing. Also, because we went during spring break, we weren’t able to get firewood because it sold out! So I would recommend bringing firewood before you get to the nearest town because there’s a chance it will be sold out.

Now, onto what I learned from this trip.

First off, a no-brainer, but water is your literal friend. Joshua Tree recommends 2 gallons of water per person per day that you’re there. Do not discount this. We probably chugged about 2 gallons of water a day with all of the activities we were doing. Even though it was spring time and not incredibly hot, it was still warm enough. Water is your friend!

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Second, choose a pair of shoes you feel comfortable enough in. We were averaging about 12 miles a day. If I was walking in just athletic shoes, my feet would have been covered in blisters. My hiking boots saved my feet. One thing I didn’t do, and wish I did, is buy a couple of pairs of hiking socks. By the end of the day, my feet were always tired. My friend’s feet, who had hiking socks, did not have the same reaction. Hiking socks sometimes seem overrated, but trust me, they are not. After this trip, I bought a pair of socks, and I will never go back.

Third, leave room for playing on the rocks! For some reason, whenever I see rocks I just want to climb them. Joshua Tree is known for world class rock climbing for a reason. It was honestly so much fun to just see how far I could get up before actually needing gear. No matter how old you are, just climb the damn rocks. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Plus you get amazing views!

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Lastly, go with people you love. The desert has no cell reception, no wifi, and you’re at least 8 miles away from civilization. If you don’t like the people you’re with, you will not be able to escape them. So go with people that you love to talk to and that share similar interests as you.

I went with my best friend from my hometown that I rarely see. So this trip was perfect for catching up. We hiked the whole time, explored everything that we could, and ate like 12 cookies a day. It was the best week.

So, if you have time to go to Joshua Tree, don’t hesitate. Just go!

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Horses

Why I Ride

I don’t ride my horse to be perfect at something. I ride because it’s who I am.

I was 6 years old when I decided that horses must be in my life. I had my mom, my dad, my teachers (basically a lot of people) tell me that I couldn’t do it or that I couldn’t afford it or that I wouldn’t have time for it. I had a lot of people tell me no, so why did I say, actually yes?

Honestly, I don’t really have an answer. Riding horses was always a no-brainer for me. I might not be the best at it, I might not have the money or time to quickly move up in show competitions, but I still persevere. I keep it in my life because the feeling of sitting on a horse is the most liberating feeling. You have control over a 1200 lb. animal with the ability to go anywhere and do anything.

I can also say that horses teach lots. There’s so much you learn about communication, responsibility, perseverance, discipline, and love that you can’t really learn from another sport, animal, or person. My horse taught me so much about interpersonal skills and the importance of humility. She also taught me that I need to be for her every single day, just like she is for me. She taught me that I need to take care of her, just like she takes care of me. We have created a team, and that is probably one of the best feelings ever.

So why do I ride?

I ride because it’s who I am. I feel free, I feel alive, I feel like myself.

Horses

Time for some spring cleaning…of bad habits

It’s that time of year again. The weather is better, horses can stretch their legs, you aren’t in the mud all the time. It’s also when your horse’s energy is sky high and their ground manners could probably use a good brushing up. I wrote a post similar to this (here’s the link), but let’s review the basics so your horse isn’t constantly dragging you to the nearest grassy patch.

Just like riding, horses benefit from assertive handlers. There is no need to be aggressive or try to “man-handle” them, but just emulate Beyonce’s confidence and you’ll be good. A horse with superb ground manners also respects their handler. Along with being assertive, create a give and take relationship. Allowing your horse rewards for their good behavior only leads to better things, so feel free to let up on the pressure, give them a cookie, or give them a pat whenever you think they are listening to you!

Now that you’re as confident as Queen Bey, let’s choose a method of training. While I cannot say enough things about Clinton Anderson’s Method, some horses will do better with other training. Versions you can use include other methods of natural horsemanship or just the good ol’ fashioned stud chain and whip. You can even mix and match these training forms; you don’t need to choose just one! Whatever you choose, allow room for some trial and error, because your horse might suddenly decide she doesn’t like it anymore when you use a carrot stick.

Practicing these methods can sometimes be the worst. I don’t know about you, but I’m almost as impatient for results as a dog waiting for a treat. But this is actually one of the most important parts. Consistency with your training is key. If you don’t practice, you won’t have a responsive horse. This means that you need to take your horse for a walk every single day and you need to make them back up every single time they don’t stop when you stop.

Ok so now we that we have the boring stuff out of the way, time to get into the actual training. No matter the method you choose, the fundamentals behind ground manners stems down to having a responsive horse. Doing different exercises with them using different tools will achieve this result. The bottom line is to keep your horse mentally and physically engaged, aka listening to you, so that they won’t feel like they can do your own thing.

  1. Start with the simplest exercise. When you’re walking your horse, stop and make them halt. The key here is they must stop with you. Don’t let them stop ahead, don’t let them stop when they feel like, don’t let them stop and whip around to eat grass, and especially don’t let them stop with their hindquarters facing you. If they don’t halt at or behind your shoulder, make them back up until they are in the desired location. This implies that they must work when you tell them, and work until they get to the place they are supposed to be in. As soon as they respond and do what they’re asked, give them rest, to signify they did a good job.
  2. Another exercise to do on ground is similar to the first: having them back up. Just making your horse back a few steps when you tell them to shows that you are assertive enough to tell them what you want. This is also a good tool if you feel like they aren’t listening to you. The trick to making this an effective tool relies on you keeping your feet planted, so that you don’t walk with them to back up. This is a serious learning curve, and might involve you breaking this rule to initially teach them to back, but it’s so freakin’ effective. By you planting your feet, and making them back, you’re telling them that you have the only control in this relationship.
  3. A good thing to teach them is your personal space. If they are too close to you, you can get in serious danger if they get scared of something. Make sure they keep about a 2 foot space away from you. You don’t want them giving you flat tires every 5 feet, anyway!

And of course, ask your trainer, read up on methods, or ask me for more information! There’s tons more exercises you can do to improve your ground manners, and your relationship with your horse.

 

 

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Now Raven can even ground tie!

 

Remember to just take everything one stride at a time and you’re golden 🙂

 

Horses, Uncategorized

Interested in 3-Day Eventing?

 

 

Oh my, where to start. This sport has so much to talk about!

Eventing is not for the faint of heart. While eventing is ridiculously fun, it is also takes a ton of discipline and learning. I miss it, and after you’re done reading this post, you’ll understand why everyone is addicted to it as I am.

3 day eventing incorporates 3 phases – dressage, show jumping, and cross country – over a course of 3 days with at least one phase each day. During the show, you are mentally and physically tested, and it’s the most rewarding experience. One of the best parts of eventing is that all equestrians can do it. The energy and people behind eventing is  very inclusive. This is what makes the sport truly enjoyable, the feeling that everyone is connected and spirited about the same thing.

Before I get all kumbaya on you, I wanted to briefly explain each phase.

Dressage is what I always call the building blocks of eventing. If your horse can’t respond to the simplest of commands in dressage, you will not excel in the other two phases. Here, you ride a test, depending on your level, to display the horse’s responsiveness to cues. Don’t worry about the fancy moves — worry more about suppleness, rhythm, and your geometry. The judge will score you on how accurately you do the test, but also these qualities.

Now on to stadium jumping. This was my trainer’s favorite phase, and I never understood why until now. Stadium jumping is very technical because you need all the same qualities as dressage while navigating a course. Your horse must be willing to give you their head, adjust their stride, and pick up their feet! You’re being judged on how quickly you go through the course, so purely time, but you get a better score if you don’t knock any poles or have any refusals. Your course will also have a higher quality ride if you have a responsive horse, like I mentioned, allowing you to have a faster time.

Next is my favorite, cross country. Here is where your horse’s bravery, and your’s, is tested. You are literally galloping and jumping over natural obstacles for about 10 minutes straight. If you are an adrenaline junky, this phase is for you! Anything can happen while out on this course, making it the most dangerous out of all of the phases – and the most controversial. The USEF, USEA, and other organizations are working to make this safer for horses and riders, but don’t let that interfere with your interest for this sport. If you are safe, aware, and responsible when you ride, you should love it!

All three phases make up this beautiful sport, but there is so much more to it! The eventing community is one of the nicest I have ever been a part of. This sport also exposes you to multiple disciplines, allowing you to deviate or move between different areas and try something new.

There are lots of reasons to try eventing. But the best reason of them all is that you develop one of the strongest bonds with your horse. I know Raven will have my back every time we’re on the cross country course. I know she’s going to stay collected and focused through every dressage test. And lastly, I know she’s enjoying her ride as much as I am.

If you have any questions, want to know more about the sport, or just want to talk, feel free to contact me! You can also read more about it on the USEA website, Eventing Nation, or contact some eventing trainers in your area. Now get out there and kick some butt!

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Life

What I’m Good At.

Soon I will be an MBA. I will have a masters of business administration and a graduate degree in animal science. That’s a lot  of schooling. With all of this experience, I feel pressure to be wise and to have myself figured out. I know that I don’t have to, but that’s what modern society says.

I can sit here and blame society, but honestly, I would just be avoiding myself and not taking responsibility. It’s literally my fault that I can’t figure out what to do. You know why? Because of my attitude.

I am terrible at making decisions. I am afraid of risk. I am freaking terrified of failing. I let people get into my head. I over-analyze every situation and cannot stop thinking about it. I can easily feel depressed, just as I can easily feel over-the-moon. If I don’t do well at something, I automatically think that it’s not for me; I never assume it’s because I need to persevere. I am never an A student — I can’t motivate myself to try that much. My vocabulary is subpar at best. I’m a terrible test taker. I constantly make bad decisions. I’m not as selfless as I could be. I have low self-esteem.

There’s a bunch more I can write, picking apart everything that showcases my flaws. I’ll spare the details because, let’s face it, everyone has at least some of these characteristics. Sometimes I spend so much time devoted to thinking about everything I’m bad at, that I never highlight my good qualities.

The truth is, I am a strong person. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve lived to tell the tale. I’m good at hiking. I love nature and appreciate everything the environment has to offer. I constantly try to improve myself and become more well-read. I can ride my horse well. I drive a truck and trailer like nobody’s business. I can keep relationships strong. I am awesome with animals. I can run 2 miles in 15 minutes. I’m pretty good at drinking beer. I don’t fail classes. My mom likes me. I actually read the news daily. I stay humble. I crack myself up, even if no one thinks I’m funny. I’m good at making small talk.

Not that everything about me will get me a job, or suddenly make me feel better about myself, but it’s a start. I’ve been listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and while this book points out a lot of other things, it also emphasizes that you cannot go somewhere, you cannot motivate yourself, unless you start somewhere.

So I am beginning by writing down everything I can work on, everything I am good at, everything I like, don’t like, want to improve on because I believe this will help me understand more about myself. I also believe that this will help me start to figure out my life and what I want from it.

Now this is only the beginning, but I think it will work. I think that eventually it will lead me in the right direction. If anyone feels something similar to how I am feeling (which is lost), I encourage you to do this, or read self improvement books, or just do something. It can inspire you, motivate you, make you feel life you have a handle on life.

And I’ll be back with an update/more horse stuff/more hiking stuff soon. Remember to just take things one stride at a time (especially when life throws you a curveball).

 

Life, Uncategorized

Enhancing Productivity

 

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To-do list. The first “to-do” of productivity (sorry, I can’t help it) is to compose lists of everything that needs to be done. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around the amount of work I have to do if I write it out. These lists can include everything from what needs to be finished in a day to a ten-year plan.

To-do lists also help break big tasks into smaller components. If you had a huge project due at the end of the quarter, lists can help you establish a timeline to finish the project early and definitely help you not lose motivation.

You can also prioritize your list of things that need to get done. I have to see Raven every. single. day. So that definitely goes on my high priority task list. But buying those cute boots I see at the boutique across the street isn’t really necessary, so I can put that on a low priority. And I should probably but saving money for said boots at medium priority, too.

Plus, it’s ridiculously rewarding to cross items off of your to-do list.

Organize. I LOVE organization. My idea of a fun Sunday morning activity is cleaning out my closet and tidying up my house. Organizing your purse, your life, your house, heck, even your kitchen, can not only help you keep from procrastinating, but can also relieve anxiety about a dirty house or even just make you feel more put-together. I always sense a bit of accomplishment and motivation whenever I have a tidy living room or a clean kitchen. Then I want to organize my task list my tackling it.

Take breaks. The number one killer of motivation is burn out. If you don’t allow your body and mind to refresh every few hours, you will quickly reduce your concentration, and therefore, productivity.

The tricky thing I’ve experienced with taking breaks is rather simple. Avoid Netflix. Seriously, Netflix sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve watched 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and your final is in two days and you haven’t studied a lick. Instead, take ‘productive’ breaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a chance to relax, but it actually works!

Let’s say that you have allocated 10 hours for studying over two days, or about 5 hours a day. If you take a break every hour or so (or whenever you feel yourself slipping in concentration), take 10 minutes to go make tea, coffee, doodle in a notebook, call your mom, eat some almonds, literally anything that gets you off of social media and gives your brain a rest. You can even switch activities for an hour and go do something else on your task list. Simply taking a break from anything using critical thinking skills will benefit your work.

Establish a (healthy) morning routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think everyone has heard this. But I still think it’s important to mention, because I notice that variations in my morning routine can affect my productivity. Take Saturdays for example. If I lay in bed later, checking Instagram, and not working out until later in the day, I tend to not get anything done. But during my week, I wake up every morning at the same time, walk my dog at the same time, and continue on with my morning routine of making breakfast, getting ready for school, and I cannot forget coffee.

This routine allows me to budget my time out, but also reduces my laziness. Have somewhat of a plan for the mornings allows me to create more time in my day for activities.

Eat and drink well. Eat a vegetable. Have water. Simple as that! Give your brain healthy food to feel productive, increase concentration, and feel better. No one wants to work when their body feels like shit.

Leave room for fun! While productivity can seem like your sacrificing spontaneity, I would argue just the opposite. If you write down everything you have to do in a day, you should have a rough estimate of how much time you need. So for the other spare hours you have, go do something adventurous! Hang out with friends, let your mind relax. This is where you can watch the 1o episodes of Westworld all at once because you can’t just not.

 

So there you have it. These are rules I follow to increase my productivity. I love staying organized, having task lists, staying healthy, this all leads to a better lifestyle. While changing things in your routine are hard at first, they soon become second nature, and you’ll forget what it’s like to have Instagram open all of the time.

 

Hiking

Desolation Wildnerness

I love nature for many reasons, but the first and foremost is that it never ceases to amaze me. Example A: Lake Tahoe. More specifically, desolation wilderness.

Located just before the actual lake, desolation wilderness is perfect for almost any activity. On this particular sunny day, we went on a day hike. Since desolation wildnerness is fairly small, we almost hiked to the center of it and it was only 8 miles round trip. But in those 8 miles, we saw picturesque mountains with full lakes and the greenest grass.

The actual hike wasn’t too hard. After a steady incline, and adjusting to a higher elevation, we made it to above the forest and saw a gorgeous view.

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Once we got through the initial forest (about 2 miles in), we hiked on these giant granite slabs to the lakes. I was in love with the  tree tops against the blue sky.

After seeing the forest, we continued our climb to twin lakes, our final destination. The whole hike was absolutely beautiful!

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Ta-da! The lake! You can see a bit of the reflection in the water, but these lakes were the blue-est I have ever seen. It was honestly worth dealing with the elevation change and the warm sun on our backs. I can see why some people just want to live in nature and nowhere near any cities. Desolation wilderness is so pretty, with a peaceful air, and full of nature!

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After crossing one lake, we went to the divide of twin lakes. They almost look like one, except for this small divide. We ended up having lunch on this rock and it felt like we were actually in the middle of the lake!

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I honestly never wanted to leave this rock. Desolation wilderness made me want to forget school, forget my responsibilities, and just live outside forever. It was absolutely breathtaking.

So if you’re in the mood for some nature, go!

Horses

Thanksgiving

Hi, all!

So I’ve been gone awhile….sorry! Grad school is kicking my butt. Not gonna lie I have been so busy and today I totally forgot to shower and I didn’t realize that until just now.

But anyways, on to what I actually wanted to say.

I tried something new and hopped on the Western train! As many can tell from this blog, I ride English and, aside from a couple of tourist trail rides, I have never ridden Western. Over Thanksgiving I was able to try something new, starting with a Western saddle.

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(Excuse my riding attire, my family abruptly asked me to ride with them while I was in the middle of cooking so I had no time to change)

On Thursday, I warmed up my ride on the “western” side to get a feel for the tack change and for the differences in command. My AQHA judging experience came in handy!! It was definitely a learning curve to ride in this saddle, but I acclimated quickly. I even taught my boyfriend how to ride and he grew comfortable enough to go out in the pasture on his own.Thursday was a good warm up for the big guns. We were able to become comfortable with the horses and tack in time for the next adventure – a BLM trail ride.

Friday was the big day. We decided we were going on a trail ride, rain or shine. We loaded up the horses in 45 degree pouring rain and headed to the Bend in Red Bluff.

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Oh. My. Gosh. So gorgeous. The rain actually stopped (thankfully) as soon as we hopped on our horses and headed for the trail. Even though we ended up walking and trotting a bit, I absolutely loved it. There was no one on the trail, everything was fresh from the rain, and the views were absolutely to die for.

We even had enough time for Wes and I to take cute pictures with all the gorgeous nature. Once of my favorite things about the Bend was the always changing scenery. There was over 300,000 acres full of rolling hills, rivers, forests, and meadows. The trail ride was truly a beautiful thing.

These pictures do not do the area justice, but take my word because this ride was one of the most serene and picturesque. It was also a great experience to try something different.

As a typical horse girl, I will take just about any opportunity to spend time with a horse. However, I get so caught up in my discipline that I sometimes forget about others or I never think to try something new with my horse. Spending time with family, especially with a fellow horsewoman who strictly trail rides and packs, gave me a different perspective.

My horse sense grew over the weekend because I was able to learn from the trails. These horses were so comfortable with trailering, with jogging on trails, even with gunshots! It reminded me that increased exposure makes a better horse – something that my horse definitely needs to work on.Trail riding also taught me to slow down and enjoy the view. Constantly in the competition world can be detrimental to both our horses and ourselves. This is why I think we need to experience different things. It doesn’t need to be as drastic as racing barrels on Saturdays and show jumping on Sundays, but a casual trail ride every once in awhile could benefit your horse. You can even work it into your training regimen as a hack or conditioning!

All in all, doing something different every once in awhile not only opens your perspective, but it could maintain the health of your horse, and you might even find your next new hobby!

 

Hiking, Life

Tips for Taking Your Dog to the Beach

Ah, the beach! There’s nothing more relaxing than taking a dip in the warm salt water, sun bathing, and just watching the world go by. Not a summer day goes by without me thinking about how wonderful the beach is compared to my stuffy apartment. And of course, the beach is too good not to share. So why not bring the puppy along?

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Always check the rules of the beach

While you would think that everyone loves to see the joy of dogs running across the beach, begging for another round of fetch or going 0 to 60 down the sand, most beaches actually don’t allow dogs or at least dogs off a leash. It’s important to check with either a ranger station, a website, or even the locals to see if you can take them. In my town, we actually have a beach dedicated to dogs. Here, dogs are free to run around on the beach and frolic to their heart’s content. And then there are some beaches where they are allowed, but only on a leash.

Come prepared

When we first took our dog, we made sure to have our leash, the choke collar (if he decided not to listen to us), doggie bags, and water. For some reason, our dog likes to go to the bathroom on the beach more than anything! Thankfully, most beaches that allow dogs have a dog bag station. Anyway, we wanted to make sure that Jackson would listen to us on the beach just as if we were hiking, playing frisbee, or taking a walk through the park. We took him to a quiet beach that allows dogs on a leash the first time we went. Honestly, just be prepared for any reaction out of your dog. At the end of the day, you know your pup the best, so you can make decisions for them perfectly!

If you want to take your dog to a dog beach, just remember that many of the other dogs will become an instant distraction. Your puppy will want to play and play and play and most likely not want to listen. But again, you know your limits of your dog. Just remember that a quiet place might be better when you’re first starting out.

It’s all about the time of day

Timing is important for many reasons. When you first take your dog, it might be better to go at a time of day where there aren’t too many people or other dogs. This will help your dog not get overwhelmed with all of the distractions. Remember, the beach should be a positive place, but too many activities all at once can be a negative thing. Bringing them to the beach in the early morning, or even during the late afternoon, could potentially help with lowering distractions. The first time we took Jax, we went during the early evening and made sure not to bring any toys. We wanted him to get familiar with the ocean, the waves, and the sand. Now, he loves nothing more than chasing the waves and becoming soaked by the water!

Another reason timing is important is because you don’t want it to be too hot for them. Obviously, they are at a beach, so it’s easy to dunk them in the water if they overheat, but what if they end up not liking the water? To be on the safe side, I usually go to the beach sometime other than the peak heat of the day.

Make this a family affair

If you know your dog is social, and is good with other dogs, take them to a community dog beach! If you’re not sure about how your dog will act with the plethora of puppies running and playing in the waves, I would strongly recommend taking them to a dog park or interacting with friends’ dogs before taking them to meet total strangers. Timing also is good in this case. Nonetheless, a community dog beach is so much fun, both for you and for your dog! You can meet tons of friendly dog owners while your dog occupies himself with fetch and chasing other dogs around in the water. The other dogs could also contribute to a more positive situation because your pup can see others having fun. Jax used to be afraid of the waves, but when other dogs started jumping around in the water, it was easy for him to see that the water was okay. (Dogs are pack animals, they like to see other dogs do something if they are too scared to do it!)

But most of all, have a blast!

The beach should be just as much fun for them as it is for you. Bring toys, bring treats, bring other dogs, bring whatever you want to make this a great time for you and for you puppy! Now that we have been a few times, Jackson starts whining when we take the exit for the beach. He absolutely loves it, and loves fetching tennis balls in the ocean! Maybe your dog won’t dig it, so maybe the beach isn’t the best place for them to hang out. Maybe your dog will love it so much he wants to be the next dog surfer. Who knows? At the end of the day, just trust yourself with your dog, and have fun!

Horses, Life

Senior Pictures with Horses: How-To

I recently graduated from college and….ohmygosh I’m an alum!! So weird to think about, but I’m so happy I now have a bachelors. Even though I will no longer be in college, I still will post tips and college experiences, because well, because college is really damn hard.

Since I just finished a huge task, aka mastering the science of animals, I decided to take some beautiful pictures to mark the monumental feat. Since there aren’t many senior picture examples with horses, I thought I’d share the photos that I had done. I didn’t take any of these photos (obviously…), so I give all credit to my amazing photographer, Asia Croson! If you are looking for a bad-ass photographer to bring out the best in you, I linked her website; you can find her here.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

I originally booked a session with 3 different locations. I did the first two locations with just me at the beach and on top of a hill. If you’d like to see those, and the different poses that came along with them, comment below! These are from the last session I had.

Anyway, I love this photo because of the trees. They look so daunting, and really emphasizes that Raven and I are on this journey together. Which is completely representative of our relationship through college, and even through the 7 years that we’ve been a team. Plus we look like we’re dominating the world.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

And of course we had to get a couple shots in the grass, so she can chow down! Playing around with the sun and how you’re positioned in relation to your horse really makes the portraits interesting. Even though my beautiful town is more brown than green, I love the contrast between her dark coat and the golden grass. Whenever I get pictures taken, I always try to angle my body and move my limbs so I don’t look awkward. It’s hard to master, but practice in front of the mirror or something if you’re worried about it!

These two are beautiful. This is the exact reason I wanted a professional photographer with me. They know how to capture the sunlight in the best way. I  absolutely love that I am casually focused on the railing while everything else is slightly unfocused! Having your horse in the background will not only put the spotlight on you, but also showcase your love for horses, in an artistic and adorable way.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

Like the cover photo, I just had to get some photos of us with my graduation attire! The cover photo has me wearing the sash, but I also put it on Rae. Play around with your props, like your cap and sash, because it makes the photos more interesting and unique.

I LOVE these! I saw pictures of some people signing a heart on their horse like I’m doing here, and I just had to do it! These are some of my faves (I feel like I saw that with every portait…) because she looks so content and happy. You can just see the strong bond we have with each other.

I also brought my best friend along to appear in some photos. She and I have been riding together for almost 12 years, so I figured it would be cute and fun to have her with my horse. They kind of turned out like our engagement photo, but I don’t care!!  I love the ones where we’re resting on the railing, because you can see our jewelry. We decided to wear pieces that had meaning for us.

I also got some photos of how I decorated my cap. I am in love with them because its somewhat original and totally applicable to my life (I am doing the MBA program in the fall).

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Lastly, I wanted to talk about your outfit/props/makeup and stuff to be thinking about when you do your pictures. Since my horse is black, I wanted my outfit to be light colored. I chose a simple white tank top, jeans, and boots because I wear an outfit similar to this everyday and because it complemented my horse. When you choose your outfit, make sure you are comfortable and confident. The same is for makeup, except you could get away with exaggerating. I wore three times as much makeup as normal, curled my hair to enhance my natural curls, and wore fake eyelashes. With all of this, everything looks pretty natural, right? Just keep that in mind 🙂

Just as a disclaimer, most of these photos are completely candid. I thought of poses on the spot that I thought would look cute, but I literally had no idea what I was doing. That’s where Asia saved my life. She made me feel so comfortable goofing around and having fun.

I hope these pictures provide some inspiration with your upcoming photoshoot with your horse! I know I had a blast and they turned out better than expected.  I will always have these pictures to remember me and my girl, and I am forever thankful to have her.

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On that note, did anyone have a similar experience with graduate pictures?