I figured since the year is coming to a close, it would be best to do a quite recap of my year with the horses and my journey of personal development throughout the year. It has been an interesting year, and I feel like I had a lot of personal growth with all the cards life threw at me. With great challenges comes our ability to adapt and make the most of it!
Before I get started, I did notice a slight post decrease from last years, but I feel as though that was attributed to the fact that a lot of things went awry. Still, the content of my blog (I feel), has gotten much better and more interesting.
Beginning in January, I could barely contain myself and immediately posted about my goals and aspirations for the year which I quite literally just reviewed and went over in a previous post. I also posted about receiving a beautiful Hamer and Clay ornament of Suzie from a close friend, which happily sits on the bookshelf year round and I revealed the hilarious name I would be showing Spud under.
January also saw some cold weather purchases, the FINAL trailer restoration post, and a post about discovering Suzie's arthritic "growth" on her knee. Weirdly enough, after a sudden onset of lameness wherein I found the bump on her knee, she was sound as a fiddle the following morning and subsequent days afterwards, which prompted the first maiden voyage in the new trailer.
February was a fun month; I recollected why I should avoid hacking Suzie in halters when she isn't in regular work, arranged a show and event schedule for the year, and hauled into the middle of town just to ride on some grass while the riding arena was still thawing out.
Towards the end of Febraury, Suzie, Spud and I fell into a sink-hole during an evening hack which resulted in some seriously strained muscles. Thankfully, everyone recovered and after some time off all was well again.
The month of March brought a very unwelcome colic episode wherein I thought I was going to lose my mare. It really showed just how alone we are up here without a Veterinarian. Thankfully, Suzie recovered well and Spud enjoyed the fact I bought him a little saddle. After some time off from the colic, I started to ride Suzie again and did quite a few Dressage rides that were promising and Spud was ridden for the first time.
Since I had a trailer (and will travel!), I had a horsey-sleepover at a friend's place with my two pones and enjoyed a nice trail ride and Suzie enjoyed a therapeutic kinesiology taping session. This would be my first interaction with kinesio taping and it's affects on Suzie's knee.
End of March, I celebrated mine and Suzie's 3 year anniversary and that is where the good stuff ends. The rest of March was chock full of frustrations due to Suzie's on again off again lameness and my attempts to figure out what was wrong sans a Vet.
As far as shit months, April took the cake... except for a small highlight wherein Spud and I went to a gymkhana. Aside from that, I fought and fought to help my mare with some promising results, but nothing too revealing. I tried to not obsess, but that was pretty impossible.
Finally, at the end of April during a Vet visit from the Traveling Vets, it was determined Suzie had arthritis and caudal heel pain and would no longer be a riding horse. Re-reading the post I made about it, I can feel just how raw my emotion was and I can feel myself tearing up like I am back at that appointment all over again. My favorite post of the year, though, is the follow-up I made to Suzie's diagnosis and what it all means. I attempted to pull myself out of my self-induced pity party and made some goals for the month of May.
I posted the most in the month of May, which included: a rant after I was attacked via social-media re: Suzie, a hack with Spud, and an update on the property. Most importantly, however, was the celebration of Suzie's 23 birthday complete with photos of her wearing a floral crown.
Mid-May I blogged about riding a friend's... erm... expressive Arab and falling off of him during a jumping exercise. I continued to work with Spud and drove through a lot of puddles and introduced a new face to Blogland. Finnegan joined the herd to become a free-lease during the Summer since I couldn't ride Suzie much anymore.
Spud continued to just slayyyy every drive I put into him and I put my first few rides on Finnegan. And as things seemingly were going well... they started to fall apart. Finn's hooves were quite sensitive to the gravel roads and he ended up going lame at one of the Percentage Day events after I had ridden him the day before on the gravel road.
Pressing on into June, I attempted to remain positive, but the hits just kept coming. In addition to the hoof tenderness in Finn, Spud started head-shaking quite violently during our drives. Thankfully, Finn recovered well and I was able to start riding him again, but not before he succumbed to a mild cold. I kept my spirits up, though, and ended up cantering Suzie through a barrel pattern after working with Finn one day, and signed Spud up for a driving clinic in June.
Mid-June I went down the worm-hole and mused about my future in horses and what I wanted to do (spoiler alert: I still don't know). And by the end of the month, I partook in an enlightening 3 day clinic with Spud which really made me excited for his future and blogged about Suzie's Summer Vacation. And although I was late posting about it, I also took Finn to a Percentage Day and Clear Round Day where I really fell in love with his honesty.
July brought about Canada Day and in true Spud fashion, he showed up ready to own the entire thing. He was a hot-mess, but manageable and made me excited to take him again next year. I also blogged about the frustrations I was feeling after a pretty discouraging show with Finn, but also blogged about the things I am thankful for.
I blogged a bit about Spud and all the km's we had logged so far for the year (well, since I started tracking it) and about Finn's chiropractic appointment after an onset of unexplainable lameness.
The month finished off with a salute to three horses; two who were a large part of my foray into the wonderful world of horses and the other was a young foal who I had intentions of purchasing before he fell quite ill and subsequently was put to sleep.
August was one of the best months of the year, as Spud and I were part of a friend's wedding. In somewhat sad news, I returned Finn to his mom and ended up bringing Suzie home a few months earlier than planned. And just before the end of August, I blogged about Spud's BVX experience and the results.
September came and I went away for work. I blogged a lot about Spud and how he has changed, and my future plans for Spud and my driving career. I also talked candidly about making the decision to keep a pasture pet and what that means for Suzie and her future.
Mid-September I blogged about Spud's 7th birthday and Gotcha-versary which featured more photos than anything.
October brought about another interesting topic, and I candidly shared my thoughts with my readers. I also shared a rather vulgar painting I made, a photo of Spud and the flower girl from the wedding, and the amazing transformation from Suzie getting another kinesiology taping session.
November came and I made the decision to haul Suzie to a Vet to get a more concrete diagnosis. It brought me great relief to finally know what was going on and how I could manage my mare for the future.
I also posted my Christmas wish-list which alluded to something that may be arriving for me in June next year. I did a product review on Spud's harness and why I love it so much. I also did another blog hop of before and afters. And lastly, Spud and I partook in the annual Light Festival.
December brought my favorite hop of the year and my hilarious attempt at Christmas photos with the horses before I fell off the face of the Earth.
This year was pretty trying, in more ways than one, but I feel like I made it out the other side even stronger and more self-assured than before. I feel like I really floundered at first with Suzie and second-guessed myself more than was necessary, but in the end I really realized that I know my mare better than anyone else in this entire world, and I have to do what I think is right for her regardless of other people's thoughts.
I don't want to be one of those people who say "I can't wait for 2017, I am so over 2016", because this year really pushed me through a lot of emotional and physical barriers. It wasn't the year I had planned, but it was strangely thought-provoking and grounding at the same time.
Bring on 2017.