Monday, December 23, 2013

2013: Another Trip Around the Sun

I've met a lot of new folks via blogging in the last few months. I'm enjoying catching up on the high points in your lives through posts like these that are beginning to crop up with the end of the year. I hope you enjoy catching up on my old pursuits, too!

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Starting the day the right way on the mountain with the National Anthem

I fulfilled a mini-dream of skijoring with horses. We had fun. I enjoyed many long weekends with ski patrol. I posted about the myriad of things in my saddle bags, and took time to dote on the pretty mare and her feet.

Joshua Tree; Photo by Mandy Weston

I skied more with patrol. Took an incredible trip to California to visit Mandy in San Diego; we also went to Joshua Tree! When I returned I embraced my horses "flaws" and reflected on Griffin's issue with a creek.

Climbing rocks with Q mare

March: Kenai demonstrated a valuable lesson to me. I celebrated his 3rd birthday, too! I took another trip, this time to Colorado to ski a lot. Griffin conquered his issue with the creek. Then I took another trip to NC to horseback ride in the Uwharrie where Q proved how awesome her feet really are. I tried to pony Griffin with Q as I'd done on past occasions, but after this incident I quit. Then, after a silly scare with what ended up being Q just shedding her frogs, I researched and reflected on a hoof for all seasons.

Before the injury at No Frills

In a quest to climb more this year, I made my first vertical escape this month. Spring also means foals, and this year we got to play with a Gypsy Vanner sporthorse foal (that Q later tried to steal). Q powered through her workouts, impressing me thoroughly. I also started some riding sessions on Griffin. And finally, Q and I competed in our first ride of the season: No Frills. It didn't go as planned, but I reflected on the things I learned and realized I had a lot to be thankful for.

Visiting Dom and Ozzy in NJ

The first of many busy, busy months! I climbed. All over. And went to a climbing festival! Q began to heal from the freak incident at No Frills. I celebrated her 7th birthday, and continued to monitor her healing. After a scary moment, she was released from stall rest early which gave me time to go investigate the rock that presumably caused her injury during the fall. Griffin exhibited that he is a shithead as he threw shenanigans at me all month; he has redeeming qualities though. I ended this month with another trip - this time to NJ to meet and play with Dom, her friend Margaret, and all the horses.

Such a pretty boy he's turning into!

June: June began with an anecdote about Griffin trying to kill small, defenseless animals. The kitten - Atticus - I brought home from NJ began and Kenai began their love connection. Griffin pulled a huge shenanigan that left me hurting after his first trail ride. I went climbing some more. Q healed up beautifully. I began working her again; we experimented with dressage and I got her back on the trails. I ended the month with a quick invite and acceptance to ride in my first 50! Scioto Run taught me a lot.

Saiph riding Q when she visited

July: I moved into my own place: a barn! Q gave lessons to my friends, enjoyed some LSD, jumping, was a parade pro, and shared riding with a friend who dearly missed it. Griffin turned 3 this month. He's changed a lot since I got him. I embraced a summer of stay-cationing in WV with many pursuits and explorations. The highlight of the month was hands-down the visit from Saiph and Charles though!

Completing my 3rd 50 on Siena; photo by Nancy Sluys

I competed in my second 50. Kenai's surgery date arrived and the beginnings of post-op were very trying for me. In one big weekend, one of my best friends got married and my new jumps arrived. I tested Q's trot to have a better idea about how to continue her training. Griffin continued his shenanigans as an angsty teenager. I had an impromptu bareback jump session on Q that thrilled me to no end. I competed in my 3rd endurance ride and loved every minute.

Me on Grffin and Dom on Q when she visited

Dom and Mike and the dogs visited WV; we all had a blast! Q continued to be amazing in her workouts and on the trails; we even did a 20 mile jaunt for fun on the rail trail where she proved how incredible a trot she has. These experiences coupled with reflections made me realize I'd overcome the hurdle of thinking 50 miles on a horse was an impossible feat. I took an interlude from horse play to climb Seneca for the second or third time this summer. While not working Griffin heavily or often, he was worked a lot this summer. September brought some great lunging sessions over jumps with him and two rides that showed me his best and worst sides. The big purchase of the month? A new saddle!

Me and the best crew ever (Charles, Saiph, Hannah) after completing Q's first 50

Q and I experimented with a jump grid/bounce setup some. Then I headed to the DC area to visit Saiph and Charles on my way to Cape May for my annual trip to band raptors. I had a blast on both parts of my trip. I was also quite crafty this month as far as equestrian thins went. Lots of interest in my craft pursuits led to a mondo-entry on how to tie your own rope halter. After months of rehab and preparation (including re-teaching Q to trailer), Q and I headed to Fort Valley for Q's first 50. It was amazing. Q was amazing. Our crew (Saiph, Charles, and Hannah) were incredible! I had few issues with gear for the ride.

Griffin exhibiting natural skill over a 3'3" vertical

This month I made an attempt to write every day. I worked Griffin a lot more this month, too. I began setting goals for him and getting him out to do something as much as I could. I introduced, belatedly to the blog, Hodor. I topped of my climbing season with a trip to the Red River Gorge and a final one to the New River Gorge where I finally managed to obtain photos of me climbing. Griffin's natural ability at jumping really became evident. What also became evident and obvious was the transition of his grey coat from dark to light over his 3+ years of life! I also confronted the problems each of my horses have had of late and the solutions I'm pursuing.

Blankenting during the continual wet or sub-30 degree-all-day-cold days this year since both horses have slight clip jobs.
Tail clamping and shivering is happening by ALL horses in the field on the days when its cold, windy, and rains all day.

December has become a whirlwind of activity for me. I'm back to working 7 days a week between my ski patrol job and my biologist position. I've gone on multiple 5-7 day stints without seeing the horses due to the intensity of winter that set in so quickly + being busy with jobs. I did celebrate 3 years of blogging. Both Q and Griffin are making progress with work in side reins though. I did get out in the frigid cold to do a 15 mile training ride with a friend and her daughter on their horses. But mostly its been snow and skiing and accepting that its okay to take a bit of a break.

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