“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
I was on my way to a friend’s birthday party when I saw the listing for the ranch. Typical me, impatient and rather curious, I took a drive up there myself, climbed through the ramshackle wire fencing and walked about 50 feet before I stopped. 2 beautiful horses and a donkey picked up their heads through the 5-ft. high overgrowth and stared at me. Heels were definitely not my footware of choice given the chance, but alas here I was, and I wasn’t leaving until I got a good look at the place.
Overgrown with trees, weeds, and materials, I stopped at what looked like a pipe fence originally. I couldn’t really tell what it was, but I knew it was something special to someone at some point. A structure like that was built with care by someone and they intended to use it for a very long time. There was a door sealed shut by vines and some kind of cross bar attached to a pulley among other odd things. I would come to find out through the abstract that dates back to the 1890s, that is was a 1950s-style cattle corral for loading and doctoring cattle.
Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE old things and an adventure. This was certainly both. I remember reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett when I was little and it was a story about this little girl who stumbles upon what used to be a beautiful garden but it was locked up behind a stone door, neglected and left to be forgotten. She eventually takes the time to give it some care and allow the beauty to grow once again. At a time in my life that I really was looking for an adventure, something to throw myself into and build something wonderful, this was it. Every piece of that property had a story to tell back to the 1890s and I wanted to know all of them and keep the story going myself. It was perfect and the idea of that I had the opportunity to take something in this state and possibly bring 100+ years of history back to life was enough for me.
Ironically, one of the first projects we thought would happen turned out to be one of the later projects we did. But maybe that was by design, it was the last piece of the original state that I held onto. To some, its just a white fence, but to me it is so much more than that. So, here are a few pictures of before and after of the cattle corral that all our clients pass through to get to the arena and round pen.
I’m 6 ½ months pregnant and have only been limited on riding for 1 day and I’m already going stir crazy. I even got rider envy watching Dynaerus Targaryen climb down off of her dragon on the season finale of Game of Thrones. Added to bucket list…check. In the meantime, while avoiding my 10 page term paper due on Sunday, setting up the new nursery, or you know, showering etc. I did find time to put together this short list of must haves if you’re going to take on being a full time equestrian. If you’re a horse(wo)man, here are 5 items that I TRY to have on me anytime I’m at the ranch.
TEQ Recommends: They have a ton on Amazon in all price ranges.
TEQ Recommends: Literally, take any rope and tie a knot at the end. Or feel free to spend $10-$15 on something branded "catch rope". Your call.
TEQ Recommends: Aloe Herbal Horse Spray - Espree
TEQ Recommends: Yeti Cup or Walmart sells a version of it that I’ve heard works pretty well.
TEQ Recommends: Ariat Terrain Endurance Camo Women's Riding Boots
Enjoy the rest of the summer and get out there and ride for all those of us that can’t! T-Minus 4 months and counting.
This past weekend we threw our end of summer celebration for all our clients, their parents, and our friends. The horse and their owners have been working hard all summer, training, competing and traveling from competition to competition. This was the perfect opportunity to give these horses a chance to PLAY with their owners. The turnout was incredible and I was too busy racing around with our 30+ guests that I got very few pictures! However, I will say it was an incredible feeling to finally throw a party and use everything we’ve built thus far. The arena was full of people and their horses riding around and the round pen was the perfect spot for everyone to congregate and watch the pony rides go on for the kids under 5. From 7 months old and up, we had people riding and playing with these incredible creatures. Some people haven’t been around horses before and some have been around them their entire life, but one thing is for certain, the respect the horses received from everyone is highly evident.
Horses have the ability to quietly inspire respect. Maybe it’s their size or maybe it’s the power they have when you see them thundering through the pasture, but I can tell you it will generally take some time for even the bravest of kids to feel comfortable horseback. Many parents will say to us “I’m surprised how attentive my child was.” With a living breathing GINORMOUS animal beneath them, they have to learn how and when to direct them to elicit a favorable response. If they’re too harsh, the horse will tell them. If they’re too meek, the horse will ignore them. They start this process by respecting the animal for the powerful force that they are and by recognizing very quickly that horses require trust and respect from their human handlers to perform at their greatest potential.
Horses teach children respect in other non-riding ways too. With 100+ degree heat, all horse kids know that their horse’s needs come first. They made sure to find spots for their horses to rest in the shade, get a drink of water, and cool down properly after prancing around. The idea that at such a young age, they are learning to look out for the needs of others before themselves is such a gift that will serve them well in the future. I can’t wait till the next play day!
Confidence is trust in one’s self. If I were to walk into a room and ask everyone if they currently have or ever have experienced insecurity, how many people do you think would raise their hands? If you answered everyone, you’re right. One of the most formative times for our youth is middle school into high school where teenage insecurity is about as common as finding gold fish crackers under the seat of my car. Thanks, Chase. I could go into a long explanation of why teenagers experience this, but I’ll save you the psychology lesson. Cut me some slack, I just spent 2 weekends back to back in class learning about human behavior theory. Man was Freud out there. Anyway. Let me explain to you why horses are a unique opportunity to overcome insecurities of any kind.
There’s something intrinsically magical about little kids and horses. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s an experience every little person should have. I’m sure I have parents second guessing their choices when I have their 4 year old in the saddle, but I have to just laugh to myself. It’s sooooo good for them! This past week I had the opportunity to introduce these gentle giants to my nephews ages 4, 4, & 1 and was amazed at how their little personalities take in the experience. I take it for granted that my son, a 3 year old and a regular monkey in the saddle, has zero fears about horses, enjoys riding, and pretty much will climb all over them if I let him. Not much different than going to the zoo, learning to swim, visiting a museum, or the water park, I see a horse interaction experience to be just as valuable to his development. Now hear me out… as parents, part of that job is to try and expose our kids to as much as we can safely so they can go into life prepared. It always interests me how many times I’ll talk to someone about what we do here and I’m immediately met with the response of “I’m scared of horses.” When I see Mr. Darcy bow down so a little girl can reach his nose to pet him or when I see Dunny shift his weight to allow an aspiring vaulter to do a round off from his back, it’s safe to say that the right 1200 lb playmate can be just as educational as anything else!
Over the next 3 weeks, I’m going to give you my top 3 reasons to add horses to your kid’s childhood.
REASON #1 - PHYSICAL WELLNESS
So my old background as a Total Rewards gal is coming out. Corporate America spends a TON of time and even more money on wellness in the workplace...
Oklahoma City Metro has been experiencing our usual brazen summer heat, but this is my first summer actually working in it. 100+ degree weather is no joke, especially when you’re working horses. But lucky for me, I don’t have to carry 200lbs on my back and trot around the arena. Because if I did, I promise I would buck you off. (Thank you Mr. Darcy for not).
Because we opt not to climate control our horses with indoor arenas and stall board – we tend to watch and let them regulate themselves. Let horses be horses. After all, they’ve been regulating their own body temperatures and doing so efficiently for thousands of years without our meddling. But when we do start to meddle, i.e. ask them to perform in a lesson or work them out, we’re meddling, and with that meddling should come some sense of responsibility to understand how to properly care for them in this heat. It starts with understanding how they do it themselves.
RULES OF HEAT ENGAGEMENT
Rule #1: Mist their legs first. First of all, horses sweat to cool themselves down, just like us, but did you know that’s their secondary line of defense? One of their primary lines of defense is dilating their capillaries and pushing them close to the surface so they can...
I’ve been meaning to start this blog for quite some time now… I guess it took being 5 months pregnant to force me off my feet, away from my never ending to do list and spend some time looking back at the past 2 years that seemed to spin by at warp speed. I can genuinely say without reservation this has been the hardest two years of my life. In September of 2015, while working full time in Corporate HR, pursuing my Masters, and enjoying my 1 year old shadow that calls me Mama, I decided to buy a 12 acre junkyard and convert it into a working equestrian facility. It would come to be known as the “Tesorino Equestrian Center.” Tesorino means little treasure in Italian and you can see why we call it that. After having so much fun juggling all of that, I thought I’d take a whirl at quitting my job in April of this year and pursue this full time. Solid timing on the pregnant part, but everything happens for a reason right? Lets take a look back:
In 2015, we used every spare minute we had to get the place cleaned up. It was sold "as is" which if anyone is in the real estate industry means "you've got a lot of work to do." We sent out 4 40 yard dumpsters of trash, broken down cars, scrap metal, miscellaneous items. We brush hogged and mowed for what felt like years. And then we were ready to start. We got the arena put in, cleared an area for the horses to live, and cleaned up the office and built the tack room. Truly, no one will ever know how many hours of work went into simply cleaning, throwing stuff out, and reclaiming the ground.
In 2016, we finished up on the arena, put in the round pen and built the stalls in the horse barn. Separated the pasture into 3 pastures and finished putting in the layover run ins and paddocks. 170 cedar posts were delivered from Arkansas and we used every. SINGLE. one. That little tractor and post hole digger worked harder than anyone ever could. All while maintaining our own day jobs, we spent every spare minute we had working on this place.
In 2017, I quit my job! We officially opened up for layover business. Booked solid for training March through May, we took June and July off to redirect our efforts, we still have SO much we want to do for the place. We finally tore down the dilapidated 1880s house after careful consideration that it couldn't be restored (it really was super cool), but rebuilt it as a shop house with a pretty sweet covered patio still using the hardwood floors from the original construction. By the end of 2017 we plan to finish the house and the barn.
I know that anyone that comes to see the place now, will never understand the journey it took to get it here, but I can't begin to tell you how proud I am to be a part of such a hardworking crew.
I've been waiting for the perfect moment to show off this place, but there is always something I want to do or fix or tweak. September will mark 2 years of literally busting our butts to eventually be able to do one thing: Take care of horses and their people. I've learned very quickly that ranches are a constant work in progress and after everything we've been through in the past (almost) 2 years, done is better than perfect. Its not perfect yet, and it probably never will be - but thats what makes this such an incredible journey. No matter how far you've come, there are always miles ahead of you.
And there you have it. From trash to treasure... Tesorino Equestrian Center.