The year of 2019 was all about opening my heart, and my life, to new possibilities and new opportunities. I am excited to see where things go from here, and I am looking forward to continuing to grow and move forwards with the end goal of bringing my horses home. It has always been the dream, and we are edging closer and closer to it happening one day.
But instead of looking forwards just yet, let's rewind and see what we were up to in 2019!
The New Year started off much like year's previous - the ice and snow meant any kind of riding was off the table. Unable to really ride much, I busied myself into writing up my yearly goals for the horses, as well as myself. I also celebrated mine and Annie's 2 year "Annie-versary".
Still, January was pretty cold and I didn't get much riding time in other than a few little bareback toodles and some hand-walking around the sub-division. A bitterly cold month that made outside chores and any additional horsey interactions pretty miserable and borderline unbearable at times. But, such is life in the snowy Northwest rainforest.
Towards the middle of January, things got a bit busier, with the addition of our newest family member - Cedar Peter Pants! It had been a solid seven years since we'd done the whole "puppy" thing, and it took some time to adjust to our "new normal" so the horses took a bit of a backseat (which worked out well, given the weather).
The month of February was much of the same, as several arctic storms blew through, but I did find that Annie did some growing up - literally and figuratively. Things chugged along on the puppy front and I continued to do some hand-walking and managed to eek in a few rides here and there.
As February drew to a close, I started to do a bit of planning in regards to outings, clinics, and shows for the year. A lot of things were "up in the air", as I opted to be a bit more spontaneous this year than in years previous. If a clinic managed to sync up with my schedule, we'd do it. If not, we'd move on to the next no biggie.
Much like March's-past, I hauled the horses for our annual Spring-time arena visit to let them blow off some steam in the indoor arena and to also get a bit of a "first ride of the season" in. It was doubly-awesome, considering I met a friend with her horses there.
The following weekend we had a bit of a full-force horsey weekend with riding, annual vet visits, meeting our new farrier, and even more riding. It was a busy, but good weekend, and I was glad that winter started to disappear.
Of course, with the warmer weather, we had dragon-y horses, but it thankfully didn't last long. And how awesome that the outdoor arena was free of snow at the end of March and we had our very first and formal schooling session! Yahoo!
April was a month of chores - constantly cleaning and clearing manure from the Winter, sweeping out the tack room, and eradicating mud puddles. With the addition of daylight and our unseasonably warm weather, I was able to hack out pretty early in the month and had a sour reminder that the Spring brings FRESH horses when an old 4-H mentor fell from her horse whilst riding. Thankfully, neither rider nor horse were injured, but it served as a learning lesson for the subdivision Facebook group - a loose horse with a saddle and no rider is a cause for concern, people!
The weather trajectory of April continued to trend ever upwards and I was able to bathe the horses quite early in the month - in fact, the weather reminded me of Summer in a lot of ways, as I was able to school Annie in a T-shirt on April 2nd!!
I also blogged about my newfound attitude and promised readers (and myself) I'd remain "Zen as Fuck" for the remainder of the year. Annie tried her best to drag me into her Drama Llama Shit, but I prevailed and am proud to say that I managed to hold fast onto this for the remainder of the year (and as such, have since changed my mental trajectory when it comes to training/ schooling/ showing).
We had our first clinic of the year with Anthony Lothian, which was a lot of fun and I managed to work on stalling Annie a bit more at the grounds since she has a tendency to get nervous stalled at new locations. It wasn't for long, but it was good practice regardless! On the second day of the clinic we jumped quite a bit and did a lot of filler work and oxers - I was pretty proud since Annie rose to the occasion and we did more jumping than we have ever done with Anthony!
We finished off the month with our first "real" trail ride of the year, which was done solo-style and was both beautiful and fun! We also played around with jumping at our home arena, driving Spud, jogging Spud, and a number of hacks. Riding season was ramping up wonderfully!
As part of incorporating fun and variety to our routine, we played in the bitless bridle and trail rode a bit to garner more confidence in Annie hacking out on denser trails. I still played in the ring a bit and also did a big update on Spud - showcasing all the driving and jogging we had done, as well as a weight-update photo!
Mid-May we were busy trail riding and driving, and we took part in the TSC's Clear Rounds and Percentage Days wherein Annie was not too amicable in the sandbox, but more than willing to play in the jumper ring. Still, it was a good day and I got A LOT of jumping confidence on this day.
Towards the end of the month, the clinic I have been so eager to take part in for years approached and I managed to tag along with two other friends and we made the trek to Trainer K's for Ladies Camp. The three day long camp featured 5 lessons and Day 1 was both arrival day and Flat Lesson time, wherein we rode at nearly 10:00pm in the midst of a thunder and lightening show (we were in an indoor). Day 2 was another Flat lesson where Annie was fucking ON it - she felt great and despite her antics at the trailer I was pretty pleased with her. Unfortunately, our jumping lesson did not emulate the same feelings as I could not get my body to work in the way Trainer K wanted. Regardless, Annie was good (despite the trailer bullshit) and I was having an amazing time.
Day 3 I blogged about in June, and we took part in a Cowboy Challenge and another Flat lesson - Annie was a bit anxious but overall did really well and I was proud of her. We were both ready to sleep for a week straight after all the lessons and late nights though!!
Starting June off, we took some time to recover from Ladies Camp with some low-key hacks and ended up hosting a Cowboy Challenge at our local outdoor arena since we had had so much fun at Trainer K's with it.
As always with the summer, the blogging was more sporadic, especially since I was eye-balls deep in school work and regular work! I did a generalized update to catch everyone up, which included the following: grazing in the back paddock, schooling at the local arena wherein #feelings occured, showing off our new pad, more trail riding with friends, ponying Spud, more grazing, and a bit of bridleless hacking.
The grind don't stop tho, and we found ourselves in yet another Anthony clinic wherein I had Anthony ride her on Day 1 to see if I could glean any additional information. We found that the cross-firing is the "last resort" when Annie is showing her discomfort or disinterest in something - I miss a lot of the early "warning signs". Anthony also commented that he feels as though Annie is quite weak all over, which made me pretty sad, but also made me strive to work harder and do whatever I could to get her feeling 100%.
Day 2 was kind of interesting, as I had taken a rather serious tumble from my mountain bike down an actual mountain and was adamant that I wanted to ride my damn horse, haha. Annie was pretty tight and resistant, which was unfortunate, but we managed to have a good lesson once we greased the wheels a bit and got to work.
Whew... only 6 months down and we did a heck of a lot! Stay tuned for Part 2 :)