Saturday, December 30, 2017

Year In Review: 2017

It's that time again! T'is the season of reflection and recounting what went down in 2017. It was a wild ride of a year - both filled with ups and downs.

Her ad photo.

January was a very busy month for me - it started out with blogging optimistically about my goals and aspirations for the year. As I did throughout the year, I kept Suzie's health and happiness as a forefront goal. Life kinda has a funny way of changing plans on us, and I soon found myself introducing the newest member to my herd - Annie. The rest of January was spent getting to know my new horse  and taking her new places.

Learning things.
In February, I started back up with my monthly goals and had a lot planned for Annie. I had a brief moment of panic re: buying a baby horse (which repeated itself many more times throughout the year). I did my best to be over-prepared and started trailer practicing with Annie, since she was not a fan of straight loads.

Amidst my panic re: buying a baby horse, I hauled out for my first official lesson on Annie and experienced some trailer loading issues despite our practice. We finished off that February weekend by taking Annie to a very crowded indoor arena to jump around and she did really well, even in the trailer. By the end of February, I had disappeared from blogging due to a busy work schedule, but updated on the few rides I was still able to have in that time period!

Our fourth year anniversary was celebrated in March!
The beginning of March featured our "second winter" and I did the best I could by participating in blog hops and riding bareback (for the first time on Annie) in the snow. Thankfully the icy roads began to melt and I was able to wrangle up Spud to pony Annie from his cart - wherein she was super confused about the little pony's job, but was content to follow regardless.

Mid-March I took Spud to his first ever 3 day event (just kidding, but still one of my favorite blog posts). And back on the Annie front, I started to get less and less anxious about ruining the horse (although this would be a theme for many more months lol). Taking the farrier's advice after a particularly bad appointment, I started to work with my mare vs against her and it felt really, really good.

Perhaps the most important thing to occur in March was my four year anniversary with Tooz, who was living the life of leisure as a pasture pet and occasional pony-ride for my nephews.

It started out super fucking fantastic - with Spud expanding his fan-club at a little kid's birthday party. And just as quickly, April turned into a bit of a nightmare with Annie's trailering issues (and my stupidness). A very large portion of this month was dedicated to salvage what little trust I had left in my mare and to regain ground in the trailering department. Some lessons were progressive, and others brought us two steps back. It was a frustrating, but enlightening process.

There were some fun things we did in April tho - like teaching Annie to pony Spud for the first time, and giving her her very first bath since arriving home.

Spud continued to be a cool little dude and I started legging him up and documented a nearly 8k drive. The remainder of my month featured a "week long" post that talked about almost everything: lunging, figuring out leads, ponying from Spud's cart, standing tied while I bathed the other horses, trailer loading, ground work, and her first introduction to clippers. Whew, we did a lot!

The month wouldn't have been complete tho without some super fun facts about my main man, Spud.

One of my favorite pictures of her. Shame it has
Snapchat stuff all over it.
May brought a bit of negativity, as I began to doubt being able to completely solve Annie's loading problem on my own. I did manage to get a lot of riding in, which is mainly why a large portion of my posts are "week long" entries. A lot of typical baby stuff happens in these entries - moving away from the mounting block, etc - as well as that time my horses got loose and scared the neighbors horse over the fence (ugh). I was able to get some great moments in the ring, especially at the trot and had even more positive ponying sessions with Annie and Spud.

One of the most exciting things to happen in May was FINALLY getting through to Annie re: trailer loading and being able to haul her again for the very first time! It was such a relief! After the trailer breakthrough, I blogged about changing the rules on Annie - upping my expectations (and the pressure) as well as one of her first chiropractic appointments.

My favorite blog post of the month by far was celebrating Suzie's 24th birthday.

Another "lazy" post featured many photos of our shenanigans and my pride in my little mare for hacking out on her own, as well as another recap of other Boring But Important Stuff.

Best baby!
Returning from vacation with my parents on the island, I questioned my sanity in riding Annie the morning after getting back. All was well and I started to piece together a game-plan for Annie's right lead issues. We continued puttering around and even had a play day with friends which included a Mountain Trail Course that we enjoyed.

Near the end of the month, I took Annie to her first low-pressure event and completely lost my marbles due to anxiety. Fun stuff, but the mare was still a good girl! We also made some important progress re: resistance to my left leg. Mare was not happy to comply, but once we got over that hurdle, she was much more amicable.

Happy Canada Day!


We started out with another chiro appointment for Annie, this time with a new chiropractor who I ended up loving and continued to go back and see. Of course, I also blogged about my newfound fear in riding Annie, as she began to execute problematic behavior (mostly as a guise to see what she could get away with).

Trying to keep positive, I took Spud to the Canada Day parade and he totally rocked it like the super star he is.

Knowing I was a bit out of my element with Annie, I ended up taking 3 lessons from Trainer K and ended up making a ton of progress! Annie was also hot-shod for the first time and did incredibly well. I struggled to emulate those "clinic feels", but managed to eek out a lot of quality work and was proud of my mare.

Annie and I celebrated out 6 month anniversary in July, which made me step back and realize just how far she had come. I was proud of our progress, esp since I had never ridden a horse as green as her, but knew that enlisting the help of a professional may be the best option for us to continue to understand eachother and put the puzzle pieces together easier.

July saw a lot of small changes in Annie; some not completely noticeable until I realized "oh my god we are doing X, Y, Z", but I appreciated them nonetheless. We also went to a second Clear Round/Percentage Day with N and AJ - wherein Annie exhibited some herd-bound behavior but still did the thing and was a very good girl. We finished out the rest of the month with more rides, some road bumps and frustrations re: canter transitions in preparation for our first show at the end of July.

Her first show did not go so well in the Dressage portion thanks to me overfacing her with a Training level test (when we should've been doing walk/trot), but in the end, redemption was made and we were successful in the Walk/Trot flat classes and in the Hunter ring. I carried a lot of guilt in pushing my mare, but also was glad for the experience and Annie's efforts to feed me some humility - because boy did I deserve it.

And we had fun!
August was a fun month. It started out super hot, so we hacked out bareback lots and even tackled trail riding over some *real* terrain. As that last of the media from our first show trickled in, I reflected over the way it went down and how I felt about it.

Hilariously enough, nearly a week later the temperatures plummeted and Fall was on it's way. I began prepping Spud for the BVX show and laid in some good drives, as well as began to take the pressure off Annie and started to trail ride more. Although the pressure was off, I explored the importance of having a horse that is accessible through all of it's body parts.

As we all know, the BVX cancelled the driving classes and I ended up filling out an entry form for Annie. I knew better than to overface her and selected classes that were low pressure and easy for the both of us to compete in. A lot of the weekend went off without a hitch - we did Dressage and In hand as well as some Flat walk/trot classes. Despite some wiggles and anxiety, Annie did really well and I was pretty happy with her first "big and busy" show in the books.

We celebrated 3 years together <3

September was busy in the work-front, so horse time suffered exponentially. I was able to ride, but Annie was a bit of a fire-breathing dragon in some hacks. She started to pick up her leads more and more and more I realized how cool she was, even after having a lot of time off.

I also blogged about my disappointment in being unable to show Spud - the wildfires caused a lot of event cancellations, as well as dwindling numbers in competitors at certain shows. I couldn't be too upset tho, because sometimes shit happens.

I continued to do the Boring Baby Stuff with Annie and saw some progress and regression in the matter of two weeks - t'is the way it is sometimes! Patience, I learned, is a virtue!

This month also featured three years with Spud! Meanwhile, Annie and I continued to toodle in the waning daylight hours after work, which was a lot of fun. Taking a break from ring-work was well needed.

I also updated on Ty and his medical issues, which made me incredibly sad.

At the very end of the month we had a rainy schooling ride wherein we returned to the sandbox and although had issues at the canter, I was happy to see a lot of Annie's previous schooling was retained!

Rest easy, my sweet lady.
I wouldn't want to say October was a terrible month - there was some good information that came out, but it also was a very hard month emotionally.

With Annie starting to say NO more and more in our rides. And after experimenting with it a bit more, I did what any other rider would do - I booked a saddle fitting evaluation (wherein we found my Dressage saddle was a No Good Very Bad fit for the both of us and possibly caused some soreness issues), a lesson with a professional (who stated our issues were probably an accumulation of pain and naughtiness), and an exam with a veterinarian (who found swelling in Annie's spine and recommended a very neat supplement to help broaden her weight bearing area across her back. The Vet also stated her thoughts on saddle fit and naughtiness, stating it could surely be a bit of both).

Perhaps the most difficult day of my life was when I had to say goodbye to my sweet red mare and buried her on our property, beneath a cedar tree. Her comfort level was unable to be maintained and I knew it was best to let her go, despite wanting to hold on for as long as I possibly could. In her memory, I commemorated a Blog Hop on First Horses and enjoyed reading each and every post from other bloggers.

Lots of road riding
In November, I started little by little to ride Annie again and spend more time with her and Spud as my heart healed from the pain of losing Suzie. My mare surprised me by being a complete doll for our first hack out since Suzie's passing. I was proud and started to see the glimpse of what she would one day be like, which made me excited.

We visited Amanda (the chiro) and had Annie adjusted - she was given a week off to marinate in the changes. In that time, I reflected on our season and what we achieved throughout the year.

As we approached the 30 day mark of Annie being on her new supplement - Equitop Myoplast - I shared the changes with my readers. And as daylight is completely drained from this section of the world, I do my best to go back to the basics with my mare and make our road-walk hacks full of education and questions. All in all, I am ready for Spring.

And that time I didn't blog about hacking Annie out bareback in -23C weather
with Ty following in his cart. The weather has been completely miserable
the last few weeks - hopefully this wind chill warning breaks soon!

The beginning of December brought about an fresh pony who started to play up at the mounting block. From there, I began to introduce treat-training into our regime (and blogged about my plans for Annie's continuing education with Trainer K). The treat training would not only help me deal with the mounting block problem, but also the standing while mounted issue that seemed a theme throughout my history of owning Annie. We also began to use this technique with our "farrier practice".

Additionally, I blogged about some of my favorite things and encouraged others to do the same. At the two month mark of losing Suzie, I blogged about some very personal experiences during her absence and how I am overcoming her loss.

Of course, it wouldn't be a horse blog without awkward horse Bloob photos - complete with animated faces and everything. Onto less awkward things - I participated in the Blogger Gift Exchange and reviewed the 60 day change in Annie on the myoplast supplement. I also wrapped up the shenanigans of the season with a media heavy post of mine and Annie's lastest ride and Christmas photos. The best thing about December, though? When I received my memory bracelet for Suzie.

I am looking forward to another year of being involved in the blogging community and reading everyone's fun adventures. Thank you for welcoming me into this online community and embracing mine and my horse's journeys.

See you in 2018!


  1. Great recap of your year and i am excited for adventures with Spud and Annie in 2018!! I am still sorry about Suzie but am glad you have so many other critters to spend time with and blog about : Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much <3
      Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. Nothing like putting it all in one place to see how much you've been through in just one year. You accomplished so much despite some dark times, and I loved following along for the journey. Also love all the photos in this post! Here's to a big, bright 2018!

    1. Thank you so much, Dom. That really means a lot!

      I really hope good things are to come in 2018 :)

  3. So many good things there, even with the sad. Here's to a completely fantastic 2018!

  4. Every year is full of ups and downs. So there were some very good times along with very sad times. I wish you and Annie and Spud wonderful times in the coming year!

    1. As always, can't have the highs without the lows <3

      Thank you Grey Horse <3

  5. Your Suzie photos are some of the most beautiful I've seen. Your love is so clear in them and they are just perfect. You had one heck of a year and I can only hope that 2018 treats you amazingly. Looking forward to what you, Annie and Spud accomplish!

    1. That is so sweet of you to say, thank you so much Alyssa <3

      I hope so too! I can't wait to see what you and Bacon get up to :)

  6. You have had a real roller coaster of a year. I have admired your resilience. Here’s to 2018

    1. Aw, thank you Teresa!

      Courage, strength, and a little bit of faith <3

  7. baby horses have such a way of turning simple things into a bit more of a roller coaster! you and Annie really finished out the year in a good place tho! congrats! wishing you a happy and healthy 2018!

    1. They certainly do, haha! Thank you Emma - you and Charlie as well!

  8. Definitely a roller coaster year. I'm glad I found you, though I'm sorry it was through the blog hop for such a sad reason. Hopefully 2018 is full of great things for you, Annie, and Spud!

    1. It was - I am ready for 2018 to be a bit brighter!

  9. Spud is my favorite. It can't be helped. You know I'm always here if you want to have a sob/rant/vent fest about October. Fuck that month.

    1. Spud is everyone's favorite lmao!

      Aw, thanks Carly <3 October was such a shitty fucking month.

  10. A year of ups and downs but lots of growth.

  11. What a roller coaster year. It sounds like overall, you had a lot of growth in many areas. I hope 2018 is a better year full of more positives than negatives for you.