Spring Training and Sister Time

Wow- I’m waaay behind on blog posts for Sugar Sand! I have been focused this past year on getting the word out about a cookbook I recently co-wrote, but I am back now to, hopefully, a more even balance of main employment, cookbooks, and photography. I’m going to try anyway!

Last month, my sisters and I all met back up (after a hiatus last year) in Phoenix for our long weekend of fun, sister time, and Seattle Mariners Spring Training. We stay at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort (I love to say “tapatio”) which has great landscaping and colorful architecture on the grounds, and also has a variety of great pools to get in as much sun as possible! And these white Seattle legs needed it that’s for sure! In addition, the resort is located right next to the North Phoenix Mountain Preserve, so we can go on our morning hikes before we hit the sun and baseball. The beautiful hiking trails and the proximity of them to the resort make it one of my most favorite parts of the vacation. Within a few minutes you feel like you’re really out in the middle of nowhere and able to really relax and enjoy the beauty that is Arizona.

Here are some photos taken of the hotel grounds, on our hikes, and at the baseball games and practices. I’m already looking forward to the next trip!



Recent Horse Show Weekend at Little Bit

I was back at my favorite place last month: Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center! They were having their annual horse and dressage shows, and I was honored to be a part of these special events. The riders were adorable (as always), the staff was wonderful, and the horses and facilities just sparkled in their first shows at the new Dunmire Stables.

My most favorite moment of this years’ shows happened after one riding group received their ribbons. As they were exiting the arena, one rider came up to me and, without saying anything, grabbed my forearm and held up their ribbon for me to see. It was such a pure, sweet, and very special moment for me. Saying nothing at all said so much to me.  I even get a little choked up typing this now. It’s moments like these that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world and why I feel so lucky to be a part of Little Bit. Can’t wait till next year!


Weekend at Little Bit

Holy BUCKETS I’m behind on my blog! This whole work thing (I’m a Data Manager at a science non-profit) is really getting in the way of my blogging!! The nerve! 🙂

Anyway, I digress…. I have many other posts in mind that will be coming up, but for this one, I want to talk about an event I went to this past weekend. The facility is called the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center and they use horses to provide therapy to children and adults with disabilities. On Saturday, they had a Horse Show, and on Sunday, a Dressage Show. These are a chance for all the students to show off what they’ve learned and how hard they have worked over the past year.

Little Bit has 2 main areas of focus: adaptive riding and hippotherapy. Adaptive riding focuses on improving physical strength, balance, hand-eye coordination, etc.. Hippotherapy (apparently “hippo” is Greek for horse!) is more intensive and involves a physical or other type of certified therapist. I was told by one of the volunteers that this Center is based on the fact that the movement of a horse is very similar to human movement, and so this is used as a type of treatment strategy. That is just so interesting and amazing to me. Very cool.

The whole weekend was a great experience and lots of fun! There were many aspects I thoroughly enjoyed. Most importantly, the most fun to see were the riders! From young to old, they were out there showing off their learned techniques and doing it with a big grin on their face!  You can tell they have been working hard and it showed! What a great group of students.

Secondly, the staff and volunteers there were wonderful as well. All those that I met were very nice and extremely welcoming. They run a wonderful program and I hope that this facility is around for many, many years to come.

And last but not least, the horses. All so sweet and mellow and just clomp clomp clomping around having a grand old time! Beautiful animals.

There were many great moments for me, but one of my favorites was when I saw a young rider  (whose picture is in the gallery below) who was just standing by the paddock and her mom was working on fixing her hair under her riding helmet. I was trying to casually take other pictures nearby because I didn’t want to upset her or make her uncomfortable in any way, but as soon as she saw the camera in her direction, she just hit this fantastic smile! It’s just one of those truly innocent and happy moments and one that I’ll not soon forget.

Enjoy the pictures, and if you have time, check out Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center: www.littlebit.org.