Friday, July 29, 2011

Middendorf's: A Must Visit

It was the only thing off the Exit, about 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans. It's a quiet place on Lake Maurepas that is accessible by car or by boat. And it's famous for the thin-cut fried catfish.

Personal Photo


Middendorf's was one of my favorite restaurants and it definitely lived up to the hearsay. The fried catfish was so thin that it melted in your mouth! It had just enough breading and I'm so glad I got to try some. I had opted for the peel-and-eat shrimp with a cup of turtle soup. It was my first time ever trying turtle soup and I loved it! It reminded me of vegetable beef soup, but better!

Mom and Dad both got soft shelled crab, and since I was making the food rounds, I tried a few bites and it was very yummy! Rebecca (the token seafood hater) had a hamburger and proclaimed it delicious. Her exact quote was "You know it's a good seafood restaurant if the non-seafood stuff doesn't taste like fish!" It was her favorite restaurant of the trip as well.

All the portions were generous, but we still saved room for dessert! I ordered the bread pudding, which I've also never had and it was amazing! They made it with banana bread and rum sauce and I could barely finish it. Other desserts that were ordered were key lime pie and the white chocolate pecan pie. I definitely recommend saving room for dessert!

Personal Photo

After we finished eating, we headed out to the pier where we watched a breathtaking sunset over the water complete with a double rainbow. And funny face pictures commenced...

You should definitely check out Middendorf's if you're ever in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area!

Friday, July 1, 2011

-Should've Been a Cowboy-

Color, 2011- Happy not being ridden...

I rode my horse for the first time in about a year. Well, technically I tried to ride her two days ago, but it didn’t go so well. She hasn’t been ridden seriously probably since 2008 which is completely my fault and is so sad! Granted, she is accident prone and was out of commission for a little over a year due to hoof problems. Then I had my own surgery. Thankfully, both of us have been healthy for the past few months, and I’ve missed riding!

I don’t think Color did…

She has earned her semi-retirement, but it gets to be a little annoying after a while to pay for a horse you can’t ride. And it was rather depressing to hear about all my friends riding and getting ready for summer shows. I have a great horse just sitting in the pasture, so it’s about time that I fixed her.

Earlier this week, I saw the documentary Buck which tells the story of master horseman Buck Brannaman. It delves into his background, his philosophy with working with horses, and several situations he encountered. There were many details that I have never even realized, but those difficult times really made him the horseman he is today. I definitely recommend the documentary which coincidentally has won many major awards at independent film festivals across the US. Anyone who has even a passing interest in horses should go see it.


I’ve always loved Buck, Ray Hunt, and other similar trainers. I was first introduced to their style of horsemanship and colt starting when I was 12 years old. We needed professional help with my 3 year old quarter horse, Dune, and were referred to Mr. Gary Townsend who ended up being an answer to prayer. I learned so much about training horses from watching him, and his methods influenced the way I still ride and train today. I still use the original Double Diamond rope halter with the extra long lead. Mr. Gary taught me that to be in control when riding, you have to be in control on the ground.

After seeing the documentary, I was inspired- and also a little depressed. Buck had a quote in the film that your horse is a reflection of yourself, and that most of the time, people don’t have horse problems… horses have people problems. I know I’ve made mistakes with training and riding, and most of Color’s bad habits are my own fault. We’ve done a lot right, but I’ve also created some problems and allowed them to continue.

So, in 100 degree weather with a 20 year old thoroughbred, I pulled my rope halter back out.

Color, 2008

Wednesday was a bit of a disaster. I did about 20 minutes of groundwork with her, and I was pleased to see she remembered how to move her hindquarters, respond to my cues, and still respect me on the ground. It was a further starting point than I had anticipated. I had optimistically brought all my grooming supplies, saddle, and bridle into the middle of the ring in case things went well. She was listening, responsive, and stood ground-tied like a pro. So, I saddled her up, did about 5 more minutes of groundwork and led her to the mounting block.

As soon as my butt hit the saddle, kids descended onto the farm, people started feeding their horses, the wind picked up, and Color threw a temper tantrum that resembled the Tasmanian Devil. I quickly hopped off, did a few more minutes of ground work, and hosed her off slightly annoyed. I was on her back a total of 4 minutes. Wouldn’t you know… everyone disappeared as soon as I fed her! I also could hear a little voice that sounded an awful lot like Buck and Mr. Gary telling me I ended on a bad note. I needed to remember to control my emotions and anxiety, or else not ride.

This morning I was a little more determined. I dumped all my stuff unceremoniously in the middle of the ring, trekked through the pasture, and led my reluctant, old mare back to the ring. Ground work commenced just like last time, and I was a little firmer in how I worked with her. I pushed her a little further, and she was just as good. So, I saddled her up again, and tried to breathe deeply as I stuck my foot in the stirrup.

We rode around the ring for almost 30 minutes practicing circles, walking nicely, and we finished with a slow trot. She threw a few small temper tantrums, but for the most part was very well-behaved! It was a pleasant surprise! She was a little anxious, but quickly responded when I asked her to come back to me. I rode her with a kimberwick, which I know Buck would not approve, but I really don’t want to be on a bolting retired racehorse, so we might go back to our snaffle next week to practice one rein stops and start completely back at the walk. I definitely need to remember to be patient. Ahhh, my arch-enemy…. Patience.

Me & Color, 2009