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Tracy and Sam at Barcelona


It’s official: Sam and I are engaged!

I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else; I am so unbelievably lucky to have found a man who loves and supports me the way Sam does.

For those of you who aren’t into mushy-gushy stories, just stop here; drop off a “Congrats” comment and move on to the next horse blog — I promise, I won’t be offended!


The entire event started on Thursday. Sam got a call from the employer he interned with over the summer, and they offered him a job post-graduation! After a little bit of screaming, clapping and hugging I decided we had to go out to celebrate. The next night we had free was Saturday, so we set up a date night.

Later that evening I had a lesson in which I was a complete idiot, crashed through a jump and fell off. Luckily, both myself and the horse were totally fine; got right back and and jumped the same line without issue. I was a little sore the next day at work, but mostly just pissed at myself for making such a bad decision.


We had tickets to a concert, so after work we went downtown. We had VIP tickets, so before the show we were treated to a glorious barbecue buffet, listened to Tyler Farr sing a few songs in a small venue and got our picture taken with him. And then we naturally stayed out late and drank way too much. For me, this is not a normal occurrence: I’m not really a big drinker, and usually only have a glass of wine or two when everyone else is partying.


So of course when Saturday morning rolled around, I paid for my wild Friday night. I was sore from falling off and pretty hungover… since you know, I have no tolerance. Finally made it out of the house around noon, went to the barn and bathed the pony and then came back for an early dinner out since I had promised my good friend N that I would feed her dogs around 5:30 while she was at work.

So all of this leads up to…

The Proposal

We got to Barcelona, the best Spanish-style restaurant ever, around 4:20 p.m. We walk up to the door and it’s locked. I look over, and the sign says they don’t open until 5 p.m. Sam replies: “Well, I called to make reservations and they told me they opened at 4:30.”

We take a short walk, come back at precisely 4:30 and the doors are open. We walk in, and all the servers are sitting in the dining room finishing their side work (folding napkins, polishing silver, etc.) I have a moment where I think Oh, that’s strange. Why are they doing that with the restaurant open? But me being me, I quickly dismiss it and move on to the patio.

Barcelona restaurant patio
Photo from the interwebz

Barcelona’s patio is drop-dead gorgeous. It’s full of lush plants, flowers of every variety and a small water fountain with a few coy. We sat right next to the fountain and ordered our drinks. We start talking, and I’m all “I’m so proud of you / Can’t believe we got the job offer we’ve been waiting for / This is amazing / Excited to start this part of our lives” because I think we are here to celebrate Sam’s success. The whole time we are the only people out on the patio on a Saturday night. Yeah, I’m pretty observant.

So after my soliloquy Sam says: “I couldn’t have said it better myself,” gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him. And I start crying, so he starts crying, and of course I say yes.

The manager brings out champagne, and we feast on an amazing assortment of tapas and grin at each other like fools in love… which is what we are.

Turns out that this entire night had been in the works for quite some time. Sam arranged to meet my dad (who lives 140 miles away) for lunch, unbeknownst to me. Sam arranged to reserve the patio for just the two of us for this exact date (Sept. 7) before he ever got the job offer. Sam texted N to make sure we could feed her dogs a little bit later. What a guy. 

The ring

In true blogger fashion, we all know it didn’t happen unless there is photographic evidence! The ring is Sam’s grandmothers first ring (she’s since upgraded) so it’s a bit of an heirloom, which I love. It’s got kind of a vintage feel, and instead of one big rock in the middle, it’s got six smaller diamonds in the shape of a flower.

The band has some etched detailing, as well as a few diamonds on either side of the centerpiece. The wedding band matches the engagement band perfectly. It’s kind of hard to make out all the detail here with my amazing iPhone photo, but it’s the best I could do on short notice.

Unfortunately the ring needs to be resized, which is why you get a picture of it in a box instead of on my finger. We’re taking it tonight to a local jeweler who can do all that jazz in house — no way I’m letting anyone ship this thing anywhere!

My engagement ring

Susie and Frame

Labor Day Weekend at the Barn

As many of my co-workers discussed their three-day weekend plans, I noticed a few trends: visiting family, grilling out, sitting by the pool and sipping margaritas were all popular choices. Me? I had a barncation, of course! In true horsewoman fashion, I spent the holiday weekend happily at the barn.


Saturday I woke up early and hacked Vinnie. He was filthy, although I’m sure the overnight rain didn’t help much. The horses are still on evening turnout to try to beat the end of August heat. But rest assured, Vinnie and Dax (his partner in crime) have a beautiful, large run-in shed so they didn’t get too wet.

At 9 am, it was already hot but I dragged out my gear and went to the outdoor. We mostly just putzed, as Vinnie isn’t really into my nit-picking (which is shocking and horrifying!) We warmed up at the walk, especially to the left, which is his weaker side. He has been starting out rigid that direction, so every ride I make sure to do lots of bending, sometimes asking him to exaggerate the movement just to get some elasticity.

We moved on to some trot work, although not much to report there. Only reason we trot at all is because I insist on a proper warm-up, like the old lady I am. We did lots of circles, changes of direction and went over a ground pole once or twice before moving on to the canter. There were two ground poles set out, along with standards, so to change things up, I practiced tight turns to and from the poles, and tried to mis-match as much as possible, constantly changing what I did and where, just to keep things interesting. And of course, Vinnie was a star. He just loped along and was handy through all the turns.

After my ride, I headed out to a show, where a bunch of my friends and trainer were showing. Normally, I would have attended this show too, but I decided I’d rather focus on my horse search. Regardless, I was excited to watch my friends. L (far left in the photo) moved up to 2’6″ on her mare this weekend, and while they had kind of a rough go of things (her mare can be very difficult), they looked great! I was so happy that she got to move up and proud that she stuck with it, even when things weren’t going her way.

N showed the new project (far right in the photo) and had some great trips in the jumpers. It was only their second show together and the horse’s third show ever! Anyways, all of the riders did great, and it was fun to relax and watch my friends without worrying what class the other ring was on, or having a horse to fuss with.

Susie and Frame


Sunday I got to hack Dax for his owner, since she was out of town. Dax is a super fun horse, a big bohemuth of a horse, really, who does the jumpers. I just flatted, but he was a good boy and it was fun to ride something different! Dax struggles with giving through his back, lifting and packaging himself… probably because he is so large. But his owner has done really well with him, so I just tried to keep things going for her. And I was super grateful for the extra day of riding!

Lookit how big the Daxosaurus is!

What did you do to celebrate Labor Day and the three-day weekend?After that, I gave Vinnie a bath because he was so filthy the day before. I felt like when I brushed him, I was just moving the dirt around, not actually accomplishing anything and he has such a beautiful, rich coat — it’s a shame not to see it! So after I rode the Dax Beast, I popped Vinnie in the shower and once against enjoyed my Abraxas Shampoo that made the scrubbing and rinsing a painless adventure.

hunter princess blog hop logo

Blog Hop: A Circuit Horse You’d Love To Own

It’s no secret that while I might dream of showing in the regular Amateur Owners one day, I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get there. So which horse would I love to own? Ashley Wilson’s Soho is definitely at the top of my list:

Currently showing (and winning!) in the 3’3″ Amateur Owners up and down the east cost, this guy looks just my style. A little chrome with great expression, it would be easy to look at that face every day, for sure! It doesn’t hurt that he has gorgeous movement, since I’d kill to have a hack winner.

Plus, if you watch some of his rounds, he certainly can take a joke. And let me tell you, I need that in spades!

But of course, if we’re going to play the game, I can’t leave with just one. Now that I’m getting older, I find I’m enjoying watching, almost as much as I enjoy going in the ring myself. So my other horse would be my pro horse… maybe something like Appeal S:

A young jumper with loads of talent that I could watch grow up. I don’t have any desire to do jumpers, but when it’s done well, it’s awesome to watch. I would love to see my horse zooming around jumping the big stuff without having to go over the jumps myself! Plus, it would be pretty awesome to see them come up through the levels!

Make sure to join in on the blog hop: