Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween with the Horses

This Halloween I decided it would be really fun to throw a party at the barn. The kids signed up for horses and I gave them free rein to dress them up however they wanted. I have been planning this Halloween party since August, so it was really fun to finally have it all come together. We did a costume contest and parade, horseback riding games, bobbing for apples, pumpkin decorating and of course a bunch of Halloween candy and treats were involved.

The barn decorated for Halloween:

Costume contest and parade:

Ribbon Race
Egg and Spoon

Carrot Temptation


Musical Stalls

Upstairs deck with lots of Halloween goodies:
Pumpkin decorating table:

Bobbing for apples:

I hope everyone had a very happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I was on the road right outside of our gate and I decided to turn down one of the side streets, just to check it out. Well, I just kept driving in the direction of the water and yup, I eventually got down to it! This is quite and exciting thing because the ocean is a stones throw from our base, but we can't get to it because of the giant fence. I love running on the beach, near the beach or anywhere I can see the ocean. I'm excited to find this new spot. After all the Halloween treats mentioned in the last post I need to make sure I'm running!

So here are a couple pictures from my new little spot:

So, it turns out my little detour was quite worth it!

Halloween Treats

Happy Halloween!
This morning a friend of mine sent me a message saying that the coffee shop on base finally got pumpkin lattes. You better believe I went over there today to get one. Best Halloween treat ever! I took this picture with my iPhone, and it's blurry because I was trying to hurry before the crowded coffee shop found me out for the crazy pumpkin obsessed person that I am.
Today I was going to go off and do some sightseeing, however I got sidetracked with some serious retail therapy, or as serious as you can get out here. I spent a few hours shopping for upcoming birthdays, Christmas presents and a few last minute things I need for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the barn Halloween Party! I have a bunch of fun things planned for the kids and I'm pretty excited. They are going to get to dress up the horses and I can't wait to see what they come up with!
So, tonight I was getting everything together and just had to take a picture of the Halloween-ness of my kitchen table! Love it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Horses - Good for your Health

I love horses and the fact that I get a workout while riding and working around the barn is just a bonus point. I've heard it many times: horseback riding isn't hard/a workout/exercise. You just sit there, the horse does all the work. Well, for someone who often finishes a ride panting and drenched in sweat I've known this not to be true for some time. Many of my first time riders will tell me the next week of how sore they were in muscles they didn't know they had. Riding is physically and mentally challenging and a great cardio workout that burns fat, strengthens, tones, boosts flexibility, quickens reflexes, reduces stress all while having fun. No boring workout here.

This is a great little article by a physiotherapist about the health benefits of horseback riding. In summary, riding intensely is cardiovascular exercise similar to jogging and cycling and works both the respiratory and circulatory systems burning 315-480 calories per hour. The rider is constantly using muscles to balance and “this exercise reaches the deep postural muscles of the trunk and pelvis and the abductor muscles of the thighs. Also, depending on the speed of the horse, other sets of muscles are working strongly such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutei’s during rising trot. Riding requires a great deal of coordination in order to get the desired response from the horse. As well as improved coordination and relaxation, riding stimulates the vestibular system by the movement of the horse and its changes in direction and speed. Proprioception has also shown to increase due to activation of the proprioceptors in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint.”

The article concludes by saying "horse riding is a wonderful form of exercise, which stimulates the cardiovascular system as well as all the body systems. Although riding is a strenuous exercise, it is perceived as enjoyment, therefore the rider has increased tolerance and motivation to lengthen the period of exercise."

The article does also briefly mention what a stress reliever the horses are. "The mere act of patting a horse is proven to lower your blood pressure." Sometimes I really think the only time I can get my mind totally clear is when I'm riding and totally focused. Riding is a life saver for my mind and body.

I'll tell you what, after a long dressage or jumping session I'm sore. Not just my legs, but abs, arms, back, and shoulders. Riding also really works the hips, pelvic floor and sacro-iliac joints. And you have to use each group independently without being tense. A friend of mine who wears a fancy watch that keeps track of her calorie burn told me after our ride that she burned more calories riding than during her P90X workout! For me, horseback riding is challenging and the absolute, most fun I could possibly have while working out!


Okinawa has yet another typhoon coming it's way. Hopefully this typhoon will be as uneventful as the last 2. However, the typhoon is bringing lots of clouds, wind and rain. Total bummer.

Lessons were totally cancelled today and most probably will be tomorrow as well. I went to the barn for a little while and gave Woods a nice hot bath and hung out with the horses for a little while before being wet and wind blown and the thought of my nice comfy apartment drew me away.

Driving home in the rain, wet and cold I decided I would make chili. There is just something so comforting about a nice hot bowl of chili on a rainy day. (Of course, since Brad is still away I will be having quite a few bowls of chili since I'll be eating the whole pot myself.) I love this super easy recipe of my mom's. Pretty darn healthy too.

Mom's Chili Recipe:

1 lb. ground turkey (I use turkey, I don't eat beef)
1 onion, chopped
2 cans of light/dark kidney beans, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 bullion cubes
1 large 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes (I cut mine up into chunks)

Brown onion and meat. Dump off any excess fat/liquid. Add beans, green pepper, garlic, spices, bullion and tomatoes. Let simmer for at least 45 min.

I like to eat my chili on brown rice and to top it with light sour cream and low fat cheddar cheese. Of course if Brad were home we'd be having corn bread as well.

So, this rainy and windy night I'll be hunkering down with my delish chili for dinner, a glass of wine and a movie.

What's your favorite rainy day comfort food?

Monday, October 25, 2010


This past Saturday was such a beautiful day I decided that I just had to go venture out somewhere. I decided to go see the famous elephant nose rock at Manzamo Point. (I got directions from here.)

The drive was very easy, straight up 58 and had some very nice scenic views as well as a nice stretch of palm trees lining the road.

The parking lot was lined with vendors selling all sorts of things.

There were hoards of Japanese people touring Manzamo on Saturday. It's a very popular spot. A paved path takes you around to see the Elephant Nose Rock and some very pretty views.

According to this website: "The name Manzamo stems from the original Okinawan Hogen dialect, meaning ‘big enough for 10,000 men to sit on this field by the cliffs.’ It’s true, as 10,000 people can sit there, as referred to in historical accounts of Okinawan songs and literature. Historically, Yoshia Chiru, and young Okinawan poet, is said to have felt the special inspiration necessary to write a poem for the then-Ryukyuan king. Her writing style has been praised as valuable to Okinawan literature and history as haiku is to mainland Japan, and a monument has been erected at Manzamo to pay homage to her contributions to Okinawan culture."