One of the Lucky Ones…

A couple months back I had posted a picture of a painting I had just finished up on Facebook, and one of the comments was something to the effect of “Wow, you are one of the lucky ones!” That comment had me sit back in my chair and think to myself… Oh my gosh…its true! I really am one of the lucky ones!

   I am lucky in that I get to live in a truly remarkable part of this remarkable planet. One that allows for freedom of speech, will and expression. A place where with some pig headed determination, focus, and certain degree of “oh what the heck…I’ll jump, it doesn’t look that far down this cliiiiiiiiiiiiifff” I was able to achieve a childhood dream of working with horses for a living. And literally…what a ride! 


What stated so innocently as working with young and troubled horses turned me into a bona fide people lover as well. In teaching folks how to have at home success with their beloved horses, this shy and self-conscious girl turned into a teacher and ack…even a Public, microphone wearing, will she ever shut up chit chatting clinician of sorts. And I love it! And I am so LUCKY to have been touched by the lives of so very many incredibly good people. I have learned so much, been graced with such love and friendship over the years it compels to to wonder at who exactly the teacher even was…Thank you all for being a part of my life….I so wonder what is coming up just around the corner for us!

I am lucky in that I have my health….a body that seems to be able to quite happily heal itself even though I have not been the best at caring for it. I have been on a real diet awareness program since watching my mom pass away and saw so many of her poor eating habits (like say…not eating!) in myself and I made a vow on her deathbed that I would change this in me, learn from her lessons. And I really am. I, Stefanie Travers, now eat vegetables. Yep, its true…and whats worse? I like them! hahaha This combined with being Gluten aware( and if you haven’t heard about this…oh boy, better get reading!), my Bluegreen algae and tons of lemon water has shifted my energy and over all sense of well being un imaginabley. Sage and her toe nail dilemma really reinterated this for me as well in looking at what we choose to feed our dogs and yes, Sagey is eating her vegetables, too! (but don’t tell her:)

I am lucky in that after all this fussin’ and fightin’…I AM CREATING…..STUFF! The sculpture sits half patiently, awaiting my finishing touches before I finally Let Go of this process and tenderly cart it off to the bronzer. What a feeling that will be! So excited to see what it looks like in ‘real life’. And so excited to begin a new…BIGGER ones after getting settled into the new place. And how the painting just sort of took on a life of ts own and even now, as I really ought to be packing things up….I CAN”T HELP IT!!! I keep finding a paint brush in my hand…scratching my head and cursing the ridiculously poor light in here but really not caring…just loving the squishy feeling of the paint, the crazy colors as they mix, the bizarre way I forget about everything and slip far away as I paint and then waking up in the morning and trotting down the hall way to see what the paint fairies did at night….I am so lucky! 

Of Course a huge!!!!!!!!!!!! part of this was due to my very intrepid couch, Karen Lanser at for gently but firmly (hey Karen…want a job training horses!:) guiding me to keep digging, keep opening up trap doors, keep asking why, to find what was laying in wait under the poop with ice cream on top of it….”) Oh, and helping me to get good, real good with…”I don’t know”. Boy am I lucky…

I am lucky to be blessed with incredible friends. Wow…I just never really fully ‘got’ how precious you all to me…some of you have stuck with me for far to long ( not mentioning any names, Inet), some not as long, but journeys deep, and fun and scary and rich with fears and triumphs all. to know you all are just a call away….well, I am beyond lucky. Thank you….for putting up with me and helping us all to shine brightly! 

I am so lucky to have these incredibly special dogs in my life. Without Sage…well, I wouldn’t be doing what
I am doing, that’s for sure. And Griffy in his clown suit…so glad you stayed! Indy…my man, glad to have back ‘on-line again! Espada and Duende…how can a gal get any luckier??? IV…lol sometimes you make me wonder:) Cita and Querida…over there in the fat pens managing quite well on slender diets in sub zero temps…all a part of the wonderful
package. and Taos…not many folks kknow I have a cat. I very small cat surprisingly enough…but fierce and fiesty and SHE is going to love the new digs!   Not sure at all how I got to be this lucky to be surrounded by so many very cool animals!

And I am so lucky to have my family. Chris, my older brother…Saint in a 
Freightliner…honestly. I would be
completely lost with out you! Colin, my globe-trotting, hob nobbing, social lite younger brother…we DO NOT see enough of one another…and my bad! And our dad….Thanks, Pop…for just being there, a thread holding us still connected us a family….And  Todd and Christy…miss you both!

So….Yes. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. I AM one of the Lucky ones…

Aren’t we all???

Thank you, Leslie, for this gratitude provoking comment….:)

Flower Power

It was a thought form that drifted into my awareness early one morning as I was finishing up my 
yoga and ready to step into the chill Merritt morning to toss hay to my herd already staring
holes through the windows at me….but it demanded to be written. I wonder…where does this stuff come from?
Perhaps it came about through being pulled through the key hole backwards, you know, out of the fire for a little more hammering and finishing. Ah, the Grace of tension….
I’ve come to realize that a large portion of my life lesson homework package is about accepting and embracing my Power and I have been skipping out…alot. And so it was I was musing on this confounding piece of information that had been brought to me via one more pop quiz and assignment uncompleted when I had this very very cool metaphor wash through me.
 It went like this:
Not accepting all the good that flows into me by immediately sharing it to “empower” others or sharing your hard won and well deserved skill and knowledge before it has nurtured you is EXACTLY like not accepting a compliment. The energy just passes straight through you.
Think of a plant in a pot with over dry soil-the water when it comes, just flows right on through and the plant just barely gets enough, needs more right away and looks half starved and desperate. The problem occurs when we do not accept the nourishment(water, love,nurturing,energy…) that the Universe just pours out with ease and abundance. 
Would the plant ever put up an umbrella to keep out the water? Why do we, when we do something as ‘simple’ as deflect a compliment, or give to much of ourselves when we have not received the nurturing that is ours first by harboring a deep belief that we are not worthy of water…love…money…creativity…support…happiness…truth?

  I have been busy trading the universe’s gift to me of water for love and friendship, saying ‘no, I’m ok…I don’t need water’, sharing my ‘water’ ei. life force, time, energy, money skills, knowledge or love or maybe even taking other’s water in desperation, but the plant(me, in case you hadn’t worked that out) does not have to “be worthy”. “Do right”. “Deserve”. It just IS because it exists. 

That it is worthy is completely irrelevant.

Of course it is. And we are.  

Allow yourself to RECEIVE that which the Universe so easily shares and nurtures its creations. And so as the plant soaks up the water that flows to it with ease, joy and gratitude and the soil becomes rich and loamy, the plant….Blooms.

And right then and there it hit me square on the noggin. 

It’s not about sharing the WATER! Its about sharing the FLOWERS! 

It is not the WATER the plant needs to share…there is water enough for everyone, and indeed…it is the Universes job to provide the water. But, it is the unique, glorious, individual, beautiful FLOWERS that bring joy! What we grow into and become in all sorts of wondrous and unique ways THAT is our gift to share back with the world. WOW! No wonder I feel stripped, empty and dried out. I have been giving away my water and scraping by, barely shooting up a scraggly bloom from time to time…

Allow yourself to receive…Oh my God! This whole time I had it backwards! I assumed the order was to Give and then Receive…but it is
Because you are 
And then Give! 

You see when we little humans allow our egos to get in the way (cloaked nicely in humility, selflessness, spirituality, and martyrdom of course) and we somehow manage to convince ourselves that we are the Source of the water and doesn’t that just set us up for failure and a constant battle for control and quasi god-ness? Really? Who did I think I was trying to take over someone else’s job? No wonder the struggles, the seemingly hopelessness I’ve felt sometimes…my job is to be me. 
I am
I receive
I give. 
Of course we are worthy! We would not exist if we were not, so it does not even come into the question any longer. The Real question is    “Will you Receive?”
And accept with Grace, gratitude and allow yourself to bloom for it is our unique flower that is the truest expression of a Universe flowing in harmony and joy and creation. Allow others to see the beauty of your flowers, smell them…even have cut flowers in the kitchen, woven into the hair of our horses, flung up into a crazy blue sky. A healthy, happy growing plant just makes more, easy as pie.
Now, think about this. Sometimes the plant can become root bound, can’t retain any water, no more room to grow and again the water runs straight through, barely retaining any, requiring many frequent waterings even to survive. In this state we are constantly on the look out for our next feeding, sourcing out others energy again as we have no reserves of our own but this time because we have out grown where we are and have not yet ‘transplanted’ ourselves. Now what we need is a big, new empty pot (the unknown), lots of fresh dirt and fertilizer (usually a happy by-product of being stuck:), plenty of water ( Source and/or Self care) and pull ourselves up out of the old pot. Of course what often happens is we have left ourselves in that old pot FAR to long and have actually grown into the the fibre of the pot and can’t get pulled out. That’s when the pot needs to be shattered…
 To get us out, sometimes parts of us are ripped off, torn and we sure can have a set-back, get all wilted and have a hard time settling into the new pot. Hmmm, it’s pretty clear from this analogy that here is when we REALLY need self care, water, and thoughtful attention to help the adjustment…again the plant just receives. It cannot give at this cycle. But once the plant has adjusted, oh boy!
 Watch out! Just look at it grow now! Oh and was that tiny little buds I see popping up????  Ha! Might want to try re-potting a bit more often:) 
  Somehow, this epiphany has changed everything for me. To remember that the water is free, always available, joyously given of Source to nurture and feed us to bloom in a full and outrageously spectacular expression that is ours and ours alone, which then in return, feeds the world with all its glory…OUR Gift to share. 

Juego Del Duende

V Espada     Spanish/Portuguese Andalusian

What happens  when truly special black mare allows her human to 
Internet shop for a date for her? She finds a truly special White stallion
 and create a wondrous palomino Filly. (come on! Everybody knows white and black
makes yellow!  Sheesh)

“Saphiro”     Portuguese Luisitano

Meet Juego del Duende…


Juego del Duende     Purebred Andalusian S/P

Duende came into this world on a rainy morning, May23 2013. Right from the very first it was clear she had a mind all her
own and things were not to be controlled by the likes of a mere human mortal, such as I. I had so  carefully
planned the time of year so that it would be green, warm and DRY. ( It NEVER rains in Merritt, remember!) 
I had a tidy, safe pen built inside my herds pasture so mom and baby would be safe, yet still a part of the herd
while they got used to everything. Right….

‘spady was due on May 21st….On May 20th, the heavens opened up and it poured rain for three days straight turning all the pens, fields et al into soupy, slippery slimy messes! After a ton of head scratching, calls to my good friends up at Can a Mex farms (foal out a ton of TB’s every year) we decided to leave her in the field with her buddies as a best second.  So I awoke with a start on May 23rd. peered out the rain soaked window and as Erin was working with me at the time, I tossed a bucket of ice water on her and we both bolted out to the field where the herd was inspecting this tiny, damp, scrawny creature. Indy was trying to herd it away from poor ‘Spady and IV was standing guard whilst Cita was standing stock still from the shock of what was transpiring. We got all the potential Baby Tramplers squared away in the Mud Pen (too bad for them:) and scooted mama and Babe into the old barn in the field out of rain and began our inspection.

 Well now! With Saphiro a Cremello, and Espada true black, that left the only color option being Buckskin. Clearly that was not to be the case. We had us a baby palomino…and really? and what else would I have? I knew it was a boy and even sexed it at first that way, so imagine my surprise when he squatted and peed out the back end….What the Heck is going on here? LOL Welcome to the world, little one!

Espada has proven to be the most astonishingly good mother, tolerant, firm, sharing of her filly with visitors whose energy was good, and leading her away when she wasn’t comfortable. Completely at ease with the dogs and Sage in particular was fascinated and in love! Through out the entire process, ‘Spady has been a queen.!

 Choosing a name for the baby a daunting task that finally ended in Duende. Duende is believed to be the hardest word to translate form Spanish into English. Loosely it means ” the power of artist when creating their true souls art and it causes anyone witnessing that art to get goosebumps as a result” Or something like that.Usually linked to the bullfight or Flamenco dancing.  Google it and you will find Lorca’s Essay ” Teoria y Juego del Duende”The Theory and Play of Duende. Simply fascinating and is in the old Spanish/Andalusian dialect.  She so clearly is Duende! 

  We had been scheduled to do a Bridle Horse Demo at the Andalusian Show in July, and were all prepared, but 2 weeks before, Duende came up dead lame on her left hind and after a corse of antibiotics and wrapping, I made the decision to forego the show to not further stress it as it healed. So next year we try again! As you may have noticed, I shaved her mane and forelock off for the show. Spanish horses are presented shaved…even their tails…but I couldn’t make myself do that! It sure grew in thick and curly…its the BEST to ruffle your fingers through…:)

 Its now November and I made yet another decision to not wean until spring. With a single foal who has great manners and a stern mom who is slowly weaning her anyway I thought ” Why add stress?”  She ponies of Espada, leads around the yard by herself, has her feet done, brushes and is learning to tie. All in all….this has been a delight and after losing two foals with my old mare Mia, incredibly healing and rewarding for me. I feel so blessed and excited for our future….and pausing to consider all the “Airs Above the Ground” she now seems to be growing into….:) 

What a delight. What a journey. What a Gift….

Santa Ynez Vaquero Days.

Its now two days since I have returned home to the Great Frozen North after a simply perfect weekend in California at the Santa Ynez Vaquero Show and Sale with Bruce Sandifer being the Honored Vaquero this year and all my “Colorado” sistahs  in attendance as well made for the perfect reason for jumping on a  plane and heading south for a few days…

And what a brilliant time it was! Friday was spent ogling all the trade show vendors with everything from 18th century bits and spurs, turquoise and silver jewelry, hats, new gear and saddle makers, books, music and laughter by the bucket load. Add to that a glass of California wine, great friends and sunshine, the day sped by. The evening gala dinner and auction celebrated Bruce’s enormous contribution to preserving the traditions and passing on Classical Californio Bridle Horsemanship. Truly one of the great ones, and yet humble, humorous and inspiring. 

Saturday was an eclectic mixture of wine tasting in one of the seemingly endless venues for this favored pastime in the picturesque town of Santa Ynez, more shopping, Bruce’s presentation on the gear and its use in the balance/signal system, and then a BIG treat. We were permitted to tour a private collection of Vaquero tack and art and to say it was completely overwhelming was an understatement! Every millimeter of hanging space, standing space, wall space, air space was filled with silver bits, spurs, saddles, artifacts, books and artwork that would fit! To see and touch the beauty and memories held in each of the many thousand pieces was an experience I’ll cherish for ever!

Sunday was back at the show, and I ordered a new felt hat (yay), visited with Bruce about reatas( preferably ones not chewed into seven pieces:), shopped, more wine tasting, and by now it was getting bad! When you are wine tasting in Albertson’s Food Stores, its getting bad…….and then over for dinner to Karen and Wally’s new place for supper. It was Karen and Wally’s place I have ridden with Bruce the last two years and they  recently moved from Colorado to California (the winters are better…or more wine, not sure which) and imagine my surprise when we drive up to a gorgeous property with log homes on it! and Canadian flags on the gate! It was Pioneer Log Homes out of Williams Lake. What a place! Simply stunning and perfectly suited for entertaining all their very cool friends.

Monday. Monday was lesson day. Overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara. 

Under swaying palm trees and blooming bougainvilleas we once again were treated to Bruce sharing his knowledge and humor with us. I LOVE one of his statements. “Do less, WAAAAAY less. Just do more of it.” Just another piece of subtly, refinement, feel, and awareness. So breathtaking when its right…what a treat! this journey of immersing myself in the exploration of this fine old Art has been so intensely rewarding and never have I felt so at peace and excited to be riding and being with my horses. It just flat feels GOOD!

Linda’s “Magic”, 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saphiro and the reason Espada is bred…

Then, hugs all around and it was scuttle of to the airport ( even their airport was beautiful!) for the journey home. And even that was very cool, having had an unexpected and thought provoking conversation with another passenger on the joys of this brilliant woven tapestry we call life. I stumbled off the plane full onto midnight West Coast fog and rain, and pointed my faithful Dodge home thru the Canyon and home, home again to my very welcoming Sage and Griffy and horses all. What a trip………….Thank you:)