Rider Dairies: The Truth Behind my Passion

edit1editThere’s something about horses that I can’t describe to people who’ve had no interaction with these animals. You love them like you would a dog- I guess. Though it seems like much more, because they aren’t just your pet or your family. They’re your hobby, your sport, your pet, and then your family. It’s on a whole different level.

People always laugh about the crazy horse girl they knew in school, and I can tell you that I’m a crazy horse girl, but nothing like the one you knew in school. I don’t have posters of horses in my dorm. I don’t collect horse statues or horseshoe decor. I don’t even really own many items with horses printed on them, I have a shirt or two, perhaps.

But I am in love with this animal, with the art of riding. I’d rather be at the farm then the college party and I’d rather spend my money on horse medication then on new dresses. I’m in love, not obsessed, but that love is so much more powerful than obsession. These animals teach dedication, grace, hard work, patience, an active lifestyle, responsibility, propriety, and so much more. So yes, I’m a crazy horse girl- and yeah, I think you should be too.

Dogwoods: A Flower of My Own


© Anna Katherine Oates, 2015, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sometime last year, I had a friend tell me that if I were a flower, I’d be a dogwood. I didn’t exactly know what to make of it, but my friend expressed that the dogwood was simple, elegant, and not romanticized. She said it was a “down to earth flower.”

So I guess I’ll take that as a compliment.

The Turning & The Burning:

DSC_0664 DSC_0667 DSC_0670Barrel racing has always been a passion of mine. The wind ripping through your hair, the sideways motion of the horses body during turn, the red dirt plying, and clock ticking by the sixteen seconds. It’s an adrenaline rush, the sport that made your mother so nervous when you were younger, and it’s the absolute fluid movement that combines you and an animal you’d give up most in your world for.

The story of how I started racing isn’t that interesting, nor is the fact that I quit my first few years of college for studying. What is interesting is that my sport is one that is unknown to most the world, it’s a minor section of western horseback riding that most people who aren’t into horses have never even heard about. I get “you race horses? Like a jockey?” and I most certainly do not ride anything like a jockey.

This is off the topic of my normal posting, but I thought I’d give you an insight to an incredible world full of very kind hearted people. I thought, since this blog is titled Anna Down South, I might show some of my very southern hobbies. So here is a link that explains barrel racing, a sport that was originally created for bad ass women and bad ass women alone.

Little Joys: On Insta this Week

Untitled-1Some weeks are more colorful than others, but the good news is most of them (even lacking the color) are as beautiful. This is my last week in a glance (via my instagram @anna_katherine_o). It wasn’t till after I made it that I realized how well this fit with my “down south” theme. Just a nice reminder of the little everyday things that bring joy. For me it can be restaurants that serve drinks in mason jars or really insightful journal posts by my own hand. Social media has its negatives, but it has definitely helped me find the beauty in my everyday life. I think it’s important that we use social media for the right reasons, not for what will get more likes but to share our joys.

Why I identify so strongly with the south.

Recently a college friend (who isn’t from around here) asked me why I identify as a southern girl through and through. She made sure to state that she wasn’t asking about my gun shooting, God fearing ways, but rather the location, the people, and the culture. I went ahead and ignored that the gun shooting, God fearing could be part of the culture & instead I started with the first element she asked about.
The location.


I’m not going to pretend that we don’t have cities, but we also have: Fields of green, wild flowers, back roads, red dirt trials. I can reach either, and if I drive across my state, it’s the latter I see more of. I love that. It’s quite beautiful to look at.

Not to mention all the things that tend to be in them.dart goat

& The heat!
It causes some beautiful things and amazing summer days.
The cold actually hurts my soul.
Plus our flowers bloom so early compared to up north.


Oh, and my favorite, the older buildings in the “traditional” southern style. Those are always Swoon worthy. This one was in New Orleans. But I swear my main goal in life is to live in a white house with a front porch.


I’ll skip onto the people.
People in the south, it’s a tricky subject to handle because it deals into stereotypes and we’re working against them, and we should be, by all means. But some of them I found true.
Southern hospitality anyone? I went to New York City when I turned 18, and yes, there were plenty of nice people there (I’d like to confirm that one of my best friends is from NY) but I found that it wasn’t so normal to strike up a conversation with everyone and anyone. It wasn’t so normal to chat with people in an elevator. & it was clear that in a city that big no one was on a friendly bases with their neighbors. (which was a really odd thing to me, because I know all of mine so well) & if we go outside of the US: When I was in Switzerland visiting my cousin who lived there at the time, she told me I needed to stop waving at people who drove past while we were walking the dog. What?
“It’s rude” she stated, “And super weird because you don’t know them.” Waving? Rude?
Plus Good Ole Boys. The world has never seen anything more beautiful than a good ole boy. I’d swear by that, dear sir.
Now onto the culture.
I’m trying to find a way to cover this in more than: butter, yes ma’am, hard working, home grown, craft centered, sweet tea, sport loving, darling/sweetie/honey, cotillion, debutantes, mason jars… Actually we could just listen to country music. That would answer her question completely, wouldn’t it? But for now here’s a quick glimpse:

IMG_4763 IMG_4710 IMG_3070IMG_3789unnamed (1)I said I’d avoid the God and Guns, but I lied. Here’s my granddad hovering and instructing my shooting.