Thursday, December 26, 2019

The 2010's Picture Challenge

Like many other bloggers, I saw May As Well Event's picture challenge and knew I wanted to take part. As per Emily, the premise of the challenge is simple - post one photo per year for the last ten years. What a super cool idea and it certainly took my down memory lane - I mean, I don't know how I could possibly choose just one photo for each year, but I'll try my best!

Thank you for the wonderful bloghop idea, Emily!


I cannot relive 2010 without remembering and sharing the
wonderful horse Cheyenne was. I was being bullied pretty badly in the
equestrian community and him and I were a team of misfits - we jumped
in an old, creaky (and borrowed) Dressage saddle and he was an unlikely
candidate for the Hunter ring. We didn't win anything, but this horse
will forever and always be my heart horse. He also died in 2010, from a suspected
heart attack. I miss him terribly.
In 2010, I had just graduated the year before and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with myself. After failing to get into Vet Tech school, I kinda regressed into myself and just rolled with life for a bit, which featured: a provincial judging rally for my local 4-H group, the leasing of a wonderful Percheron X who I miss terribly, and a few months working at an equine rescue 14 hours from home (where I met Suzie ;) ). It was an interesting year, as things kind of lined up for the future and I just didn't know it yet...


He was a bit sketchy to canter because he'd blow up and buck. 
In 2011, I had a hard time getting back into riding after Cheyenne's death in late 2010. In the Spring, however, I started riding a fiery and spirited chestnut named Geronimo who hadn't been ridden much in his entire life. He was athletic, spirited, and hot. He bucked me off more times than I'd like to admit and sent me to the ER several times with severed muscles and torn ligaments. He took a long time to relax, but by the end of 2011 we were working as a team and I managed to borrow the same Dressage saddle I had ridden Cheyenne in for Geronimo.


By 2012, I was still riding Geronimo. Unfortunately, he had choked during the year and was never the same since - he sporadically gets heaves as the pollen-count increases and if his hay is mildly dusty. We had some lameness issues as well, and since I was considering him as my first horse, I chose to walk away as the owner was reluctant to sell despite not riding him. Thankfully, he landed softly with a friend (who turned out to be the woman who boarded him).

Still, we managed to show (both schooling and not) quite a bit and we won a lot during that summer.


In 2013, after a particularly bad fall off of Geronimo and not making any headway in being able to buy him, I had my friend from the Rescue message me about Suzie once again, as we had kept in touch over the years. I purchased Suzie that Fall and started up my blog, initially called "That Red Mare". I had blogged in the past, but it was not very good and it was a bit of real life/ horsey life mixture. I had wanted to do a purely horsey blog to recount memories and collect photos/videos of my equestrian journey.

With bringing Suzie home, it would be my first foray into horsey ownership and I wanted to capture every moment. For those who don't know, Suzie was a 1993 AQHA mare primarily trained for Reining and Gymkhanas. Why me, an English rider, bought her is beyond me, haha. But I loved her endlessly!


Ownership of Suzie was hard, as she battled many lameness issues related to an old shoulder injury and since moving her to my now-barn, she was lonely. I leased a friend's jumper mare for the riding season to keep Suzie company and allow me to ride a bit harder and focus on my riding goals without impeding Suzie's health. I did ride both mares quite a bit, and perhaps the highlight of the year was taking part in the BVX for the very first time before returning Tally to her mom at the end of the year, as I had bought Spud late 2014 and brought him home that Winter.


In 2015, I worked towards getting Spud more broke to harness and took him to several clinics  throughout the region. Suzie was doing really well and I managed to show her pretty much all year without issue - and even earned some AQHA points!! And last but not least, I purchased my very own horse trailer and with help of the Boyfriend, started to restore it.


I will forever be grateful to his mom for letting me ride and love him.
To this day he remains one of the best trained horses I have had
the pleasure to ride <3 Rest easy, sweet Finn.
2016 was not a great year - it started off with Suzie having even more lameness issues and being diagnosed with a very large and uncomfortable knee hygroma, in addition to navicular in both fronts. After several vet visits, it was determined she would no longer be riding sound and devastated, I managed to lease an older gelding from a riding friend so I could at least play around during the Summer. I was able to ride around a bit and managed to win a High Point award with Finn before returning him to his owner, as he was struggling with the workload and I felt it was unfair to push him since he was an older dude. He went back home and was loved on by his momma.

Spud helped me get out of my funk by absolutely dominating the BVX and came home with multiple ribbons. He started to really come into his own, and I blogged a lot about how much this little guy's confidence had grown.


Our first ride together!

2017 was, of course, the year I bought Annie. As a coming 5 year old with 30 days training, something drew me to her and after seeing a handful of photos and two videos, I arranged shipping and brought her home January 11th. She was awkward, green, and lacked a lot of life experience but it was more or less things I could fix or introduce. Annie was my very first green horse and oh boy did I learn a lot in our first year together!

At the end of 2017, I also made the heartbreaking decision to say goodbye to Suzie, as her health was deteriorating and she was ready to be free from her pain and multitude of health issues. When I brought her home, I promised her she would have a home with my until the end of her days and I meant that. Rest easy, sweet firey chestnut mare <3


2018... what a giant heart-ache this year was.

It started out with us saying goodbye to my sweet old Shepherd, Ty. He was the absolute light of my life for 13 years and after battling degenerative myelopathy, we chose to say goodbye before the disease progressed any further.

As fate would have it, we began fostering a shelter dog who ended up becoming a foster failure and we had many amazing adventures and she taught me how to let go and have fun. I will forever owe her for reminding me to smile and to not take life for granted. Of course, Spud also did amazing and yet again pulled off an amazing BVX wherein he earned Driving High Point and Arena Driving Trial Champion.

Just as I thought life was getting back on track, we lost Ella in a tragic accident.

I honestly cannot put into words what each of these dogs meant to me, as both of them played integral parts in my life and shaped me into the person I am today. I don't think I will ever be OK from losing either of them, especially Ella, as her time on Earth was cut tragically short. Life is a really mysterious thing although I said goodbye to both of them in 2018, I carry both of them with me each and every day.


In 2019, I started to heal. I don't think I'll ever be okay but we brought a bundle of chaos and love into our life known as Cedar and Annie and I started clicking more than ever before. We still had issues with our leads, especially at shows (specifically in the Dressage arena), but things were starting to really chug along.

I also brought my long-standing goal of owning a Tristan baby to life by buying Maizey and bringing her home.

So... well... some years have one photo haha. But, a lot of pivotal moments too difficult to share in only one! Thank you for this idea, Emily!!


  1. It's really mind blowing to me to how much can happen in ten years. You've had plenty of heartbreak, but also some wonderful changes too. I hope 2020 brings only great things for you and the herd!

  2. I still get teary when I see photos of you with Ty and Ella. I hope the next decade is a wonderful one for you <3