Kenai tried his hand at being a ski patrol dog during my NSP candidate training and loved it. I spent every weekend training for NSP on the mountain and loved getting in all those ski days, even if the snow sucked. There were a few phenomenal days and I really loved my first season as I learned to telemark ski. I found some time to try my hand at chasing cows and had a blast! I accepted the change in my life as a good thing and then adopted some more change in the form of a new horse, Griffin!
I had some difficulty coming up with a name for Griffin at first, but I eventually settled and posted a much-awaited (at the time) photo of him. He was so little! Mountain Khakis published their first catalog and I was the featured female ambassador. NSP training, despite difficulties, continued and I really began looking forward to its conclusion in March. I also found out that my summer plans to do a Leave No Trace Master Educator course with an emphasis on stock use in the backcountry would be happening!! I also finally got the edited video of me riding a horse I helped start the summer prior. Kenai had troubles with measuring, and I visited NYC for the first time for my birthday with my mom. I got to catch up with an incredible person while I was there, too. I learned to dance with a horse.
NSP training continued and I completed! Huzzah! I filmed a training session with Griffin and Kenai got to play with a starling after. We bid adieu to one of the greatest horses I've had the pleasure to know due to a freak accident. Kenai turned two! Griffin got his first trim, and I posted photos of his improvement. And the biggest thing of this month, I went to MONTANA! We squeezed in a car. We skied. And we frolicked. And we visited Yellowstone and saw WOLVES! 19 wolves from three different packs. Marked that one off my 30 before 30, big time.
I spammed you with more photos from MONTANA. And I shared a video of us skiing western powder (squee!). And then spammed you with videos of the horses. And Griffin started tagging along on trail rides. I took a moment to reflect on how incredibly awesome life is. Griffin discovered his inner idiot. I updated on my year of yoga (which failed miserably due to a shoulder injury) and gave yummy recipe ideas. Somehow I had a ton of time to read books. We went to the Equine Affaire, too. Oh and of course, there were a lot of Griffin updates!
I focused on the fact that I needed to be more present in my every day life instead of always looking toward the future. I scored a sweet deal on some minimalist shoes for running in a hope to start running more (which never happened because my ankles are whiny little bitches). I spent a fun week of adventuring and training with Griffin. I had a really big weekend of photography for prom, an engagement shoot, and finally went climbing. This Wordless Wednesday post got a heck'ova'lotta hits for some reason. I had another memorable weekend watching my good friend Chris graduate from college, taking photos for two of my best friends for their engagement, and ground driving Griffin. I went to a clinic/trail ride weekend in the southern part of the state with friends and met Q; I then proceeded to ask advice on her and ended up buying her. I think its safe to say she was a pretty good decision!
I threw myself into life with two horses full-force. I found out that Q hates bears, but really doesn't mind ground poles, and she really has a knack for jumping! I got to fulfill a mini-dream of mine and play with Freisians for a day (and many after, actually). I finally left for 2½ weeks in the Great Smoky Nat'l Park where I learned to pack horses and practice Leave No Trace concepts.
I re-hashed my pack experience gone wrong in three different parts (part I, part II, part III); it is the longest story I've told on my blog to-date, and was really hard for me to tell at the time. I went on a crazy-fast 20-mile training ride with a local endurance rider on two of her horses. And jumped back in action with my own horses, while finally pondering some of Griffin's potential TWH background. I continued to spend a lot of time with my horses, photographed one of my best friend's wedding, celebrated Griffin's birthday, and had an absolute blast fulfilling a childhood dream of riding my own horse in a parade!
With August came the start of the coveted 30-mile ride. I had some pre-race anxiety, but Q exceeded all my expectations for this ride and did AMAZINGLY. I was (and still am) so happy with her performance. To get my mind of horse things I went and saw Mumford and Sons the weekend following the race (THEY ARE SO AWESOME LIVE!!). I shared a huge post of new experiences with my horses and then went to fulfill yet another horse-related childhood dream (wow, I really fulfilled a lot of these this year) and rode at Spruce Knob.
I took some time this month to summarize the progress that both Q and Griffin had made during our time together. Q got a mystery ailment (which is still a mystery, though I lean toward a friction/heat cause) and I freaked out a bit and ended up not doing any more training or races this year because of it. I made the decision to really devote myself to getting into a better fitness routine for the upcoming ski season/life. I also dabbled with both horses lunging in a quasi-liberty exercise and decided it was something I would work on more this winter after I established both horses on the ground a little more. I embraced my favorite WV season (autumn) with several pursuits outdoors; this state is absolutely magical in the fall.
Q and I did our second parade; the weather wasn't as great, but she did phenomenally again! A friend came and photographed Q and I jumping; our form is really improving. I spent a lot of time on the rail trail goofing around riding with cyclists instead of other horses. Q continued to amaze me during our last trail ride of the season.
Frankenstorm (Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy) trashed my trails as over 3 feet of snow was dumped at the higher elevations. At this writing they are still clearing trees from roadways. I don't know if any of my summer trails will be the same for awhile. The horses weren't hurt, only a little sore. The weekend after the storm I put away studying to explore the woods with the ladies on horseback. Q and I had a blast. I worked on trailer loading with the horses some, and then goofed off with Freisian horses more. And then I went to Cape May with my bff Mandy and we caught some raptors and I met Dom IRL! Griffin's really gotten big and solid as of this month, and Q exceeded any expectation I had for her in our third parade of the year - a night parade.
I reviewed 23 things I've learned in my 23 year of life. Spent a rainy Sunday training Griffin; put in my first ride on him. I spent an unnaturally warm December day climbing (finally). I took some time to recollect resolutions and goals I had for the year and make some new ones for the upcoming year, and I finally updated everyone on fitness and what I'd learned from my readings.
Man, 2012 was a busy year full of fun adventures, welcoming horses into my life, and developing myself as a person. Here's to a new year, new adventures, building upon foundations I've laid, and making 2013 the best year yet.