Real life. It's worth it.
Occasionally, my husband convinces me to do stuff that doesn't involve the horses.
Last Monday, we drove over to the coast with the dogs to get out of the heat. There is nothing more fun than watching your dogs rip around in sheer joy!
I joked about us being "those people" - the kind who do everything for their dogs. Seriously. We drove specifically to a dog friendly beach. There aren't that many on California's central coast. We ate lunch at a dog friendly joint on the pier. We finished the day by stopping at our favorite dog friendly winery for some tasting. They hand out doggie treats! Plus the wine is really good.
Dog friendly gets tiring though. It's a lot of work wrangling two large dogs through crowds, especially when one is still a juvenile and both are wet and sandy. They're both so friendly though (and actually well behaved) that they make friends wherever they go. Nobody kicked us out, and everyone invited us back!
Real life. It's worth it.
As a last ditch effort to squeeze out a little more summer vacation, my husband took me (and the dogs) over to the beach on Friday. Whenever we take the dogs with us, we always do a Google search for dog-friendly venues. For this trip, we planned to visit a few past favorites while checking out a new place.
The dog beach in Avila is amazing. It's huge and protected from traffic, which gives the dogs plenty of room to run as fast and far as they want. Of course, tossing 150 pounds of wet, stinky dog into the backseat of the truck does diminish a bit of the previous enjoyment.
Our next stop was lunch on the pier in Avila. We chose Mersea's because they claimed to be very dog-friendly. When we saw other dogs sitting politely under the tables, we knew we had a winner. The waitress even brought out a bowl of water for the dogs. We had brought our own of course, but we love dog-friendly businesses.
Once the dogs were good and wore out, we headed over to the Riding Warehouse in San Luis Obispo, or as it's known locally - SLO.
My plan had been to pick up a Union Hill Dressage Pad. Riding Warehouse just started carrying them for $17.95, and if I was already going to be there, why not, right? Except they weren't in stock.
I wasn't too disappointed though as I already have two of them and was just picking up an extra one to keep in reserve.
I had made a list of other things that I was hoping to pick up, so I set about searching for those. Of course my little pile grew the longer I shopped.
I spotted these beautiful breast collars and almost wished that I was still competing in endurance. The western model is pictured below, but it comes in an endurance model too.
Then I looked higher up the wall and saw that it comes in a rope halter too. Best friend has been searching for a red rope halter, so I gave her a quick call and asked if I could buy this halter for her. Who says no to that? She didn't!
Of course, I picked up a few things for myself as well ...
I've been watching this Ariat shirt for a while, but at $35, I couldn't commit. Even when it went on sale, I wasn't ready to pay sale price for a white t-shirt. At $15, I couldn't say no. And actually, I really like it!
My endurance roots will be showing through here, but I ride in the Nunn Finer Rubber Spur Straps. I've only had one pair wear out, and at under $10 a pair, that's a pretty good deal. I have two sets of spurs, one for each horse, so I like to keep an extra set of spur straps for when my current set wear out. I am sure it will be a while.
I am also on a tall sock kick, so I grabbed this pair of Noble Outfitters Printed Peddies for the clearance price of $6.88. I should have grabbed a few extra pair to save as Christmas gifts, but of course I didn't think of that at the time.
Since my husband and the dogs were sitting outside in the shade waiting for me, I kept my visit short. Besides, we had one more stop to make.
We discovered Saucelito Canyon Winery on a previous trip. They love dogs there and are well-prepared. There's a large orchard behind the tasting room so we let the dogs run around and potty before we chose our table on the lawn.
The outside lawn is set up for wine-tasting with plenty of room for the dogs. Both dogs were given treats and shown a water bowl that is kept filled and waiting. Both times we've visited, most of the other patrons have come over to chat and visit our dogs while we sipped our wine. We've found that people are so much friendlier when we have the dogs with us.
My summer vacation might be over, but I think we gave it a pretty good send off.
You might remember that we added another dog to our family - a yellow labrador retriever. While she is unbelievably cute, Brienne is also a holy terror. I haven't had a solid night's sleep in over a month.
Since bringing her home, we've worked on potty training - nearly there, not barging through the door - mastered, sitting on command - pretty solid, only chewing what is appropriate - good girl, and fetching the morning paper - nailed it!
My husband takes her out into the foothills every afternoon with our more mature lab, Tobias, so they can play and burn off her puppy power and his need to stretch his adult legs.
It has been a number of years since we've raised a puppy; we've forgotten how exhausting it can be. All the doors in the house stay closed so that we can see her at all times. Dog toys, of which she has at least 15, are strewn across the floor like so much carnage.
While we are especially grateful for those quiet moments when she's napping, we are equally distressed by them because we know she's only powering up for the next round.
The worst of puppyhood is the sleepless nights. On a good night, she gets me up twice. Last night was a real doozy; she had me leaping out of bed to let her out no less than four times. To her credit, she did potty each time, but that's not going to make it any easier to explain to my colleagues and students today why I feel the need to lie down and take a nap.
We haven't been to our cabin since bringing Brienne home because there was so much snow, and she wasn't house broken. It's been so warm the last week or two that we think most of the snow is probably gone by now, and Brienne is now nearly potty trained. We've decided to head up for the weekend.
And truthfully, after all the riding I did last weekend, a few days away with the dogs and my husband sounds kind of nice. I just hope she'll let me sleep a little longer!
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you all on Monday.