Thursday, January 29, 2015

SMtT: Equestrian Scavenger Hunt

Okay Lauren, here's the In Omnia Paratus version of your scavenger hunt...

The most magical Friesian of all the Friesians
My neighbor's stallion - Bart
A 10+ jumper
Q jumping for 300+ elementary a playground
A horse we can all call SHENANIGANS! on...

The (best) WORST clip job
When I hogged Griffin's mane down once and for all....eep
The cutest miniature horse on the planet
Charlie and his girl...not sure who is cuter.
Bitchiest. Mare. Ever.
Q's snake face. Yep. It happens.

Funniest horse meme/cartoon.
Griffin and Kenai when they were shamed.
The most matchy McMatcherson outfit
We win with the orange! lol
A most saintly creature
Odie really is the saintliest. Three idiots and he's all business.
The Black Stallion Returns....2015 style
Saiph has captured my Black and I. This moment was especially akin to moments Alec had with the Black throughout the books.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

All In A Week

1. A pipestrelle bat in its cave.  2. A cluster of federally endangered Indiana bats.  3. Finished my first book of 2015! Marching along with my goal to read a minimum of 20 books this year.  4. A different view of Canaan Valley than what I typically share - looking west from Twister at Timberline.  5. An actual SUNset with the SUN from my porch one evening.  6. Hodor begging for attention.  7. The lightest, fluffiest dry snow. Wish we had 3 feet of it. The skiing would be to die for.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Positive Baby Steps

What a weekend. What a weekend. *shakes head*

For those not in the know, I work my "real" job Mondays through Thursdays. 4-10s (four ten hour days) so I can always have 3-day weekends. During the winter months, I work at two ski resorts on Fridays and Saturdays as a pro patroller (red/black jacket with white cross if you've been on a ski mountain in the US). Typically I work double shifts of 13 hours or so. Sundays are my days to myself - often chores around home and horse time consumes these days.

This past weekend I took it pretty easy Friday during my double shift. I had a ski clinic (basically private ski lessons through patrol) scheduled for the following day. I didn't know how that would pan out, so I figured it would be in my best interest to take it easy.

I'm glad I did.

- My feet need to be more hip-width apart (left to right stance)
- My front to back stance needs to be more narrow (hips over rear ankle)
(it's not too bad here, I tend to be too deep usually)
- I need to loosen through my hips and be more forward; my upper body
angulation needs to match my lead leg angulation between knee and ankle
Positives? My hands are up! That used to be a huge problem for me. My skis
are also on edge. I have upper-lower body separation, too.
The clinic ended up being pretty rough. I'd not anticipated having instructors for telemark skiing (a free vs. locked heel style of downhill skiing), but I did! I was one of two involved in it, which was great for more one on one instruction. I'd anticipated on having my ass handed to me, but goodness, not quite to the level I did. I know I'm far from perfect, but I didn't realize (according to them) how bad I am. In so many words, one of the instructors noted, "You're a beautiful skier. So graceful. It's so fun to watch you ski. I don't know how you do it though, your stance is both too narrow and too wide, your body positioning is off, and you skid all of your turns. You do everything wrong but you make it look pretty because you're young and strong." ...oh.

So I have A LOT to work on to meet patrol standards for the next level. I'm happy I know and I'm very much going to work on things. But still... Receiving SO much criticism in such a short time period (6 hours) wasn't easy to take! It's always so hard to set pride aside and hear about all of your short-comings. I nodded and "okay'd" my way through, noting how contrary some things were to what I'd come to understand and been told from folks previously. I was certain to note that I didn't in any way mean that prior teachings were "right" and that the new-to-me information was "wrong", just that, wow, so black and white different. It's a lot to wrap my head around.

I was very downtrodden at the end of the clinic. I curled up in a mental hole for awhile. However, I'm out now, and the fire to improve is lit.

Another patroller put the whole thing in perspective for me:

You did good today, so don't be upset. It's not easy being on the river with 4-5 instructors observing and commenting.  If it was easy everyone would do it, right?, certainly doing it on tele gear makes it a whole lot more challenging.

Also, having folks who have never watched you ski, then being at the mercy of "critique" is something most folks never go through; or choose too. So I encourage you to forge ahead you have the ability, the toughness, and persistence.

I guess it is kind of admirable to have chosen to jump into the lion's den? Character building for sure.

My saving grace in it all will definitely be my stubbornness. I will only stay down for so long before I jump up fighting again out of spite and pure stubborn ferocity. It's the redhead way!


Sunday I made a goal of getting Q out on a mini trail ride. I wanted to do the 3.5 mile loop. I didn't care how long it took, I just wanted to do it with a horse who had a better mental status than the last time we'd done a solo ride in September or October. (Yes, it has been that long!)

Attributing factors building up to a mare with a better head on her shoulders:
  • time off since Fort Valley 50 in October 2014
  • ground driving work
  • hiking with her on trails
  • dressage rides
  • a jump session
  • a trail ride with another horse
  • ponying session
Additional changes to the old norm for Sunday's ride:
  • S-hack
  • I carried a dressage whip 
My thought with the dressage whip was to help encourage her to go ever forward. She respects it a lot, reminding me so much of Stan who used to act up and test me unless I had a crop in hand. I rarely had to use it, but its presence in his mind meant that there would be no nonsense and he would work. Q isn't as extreme as Stan, but the presence of the dressage whip certainly seems to help.

Leaving the barn, Q was hesitant (as always) to leave her friends. *tap tap tap* on her hind quarters with the dressage whip and she settled into the forward direction. Her body language dictated that she wasn't thrilled with this decision (head and eyes shifting often toward the herd, gait hesitant and awaiting the tiniest opportunity to stop and turn home), but she was going forward.

As we crossed the creek and entered the back field she pepped up a lot with regards to leaving home. She picked up a trot through the back field, popped in a few strides of a slow, collected canter until I brought her back to the trot, and then kept a slow (5 mph), steady trot for the next mile or more. (Through our first year to year and a half of training, I could count on her entering "work mode" once we had entered the woods on the far side of the back field. She knew then that there would be no turning back.)

I had a thought during these first few minutes of the ride that in the past I would have acted on, She's doing so well! Wow! Maybe we'll just tack on a few extra miles and take advantage of it. Except, with my previous day's experience having my ass (and pride) handed to me 10-fold coupled with the past several months of working this little mare into a better mental place, I followed the first thought through with, No. Best to keep it short and sweet. We're more likely to have more success that way. I want today to go well so that she attributes good things with solo riding again. She needs to build up. She needs to have the reward of doing a good job and not experiencing something negative. I don't need to be so hard on her; after all, it didn't feel good to have people coming down so hard on me yesterday! I'll make today as good as possible for Q so that the stage will hopefully be set for even more success down the road.

Any time she was hesitant about something on trail, I *tap tap tapped* her with the dressage whip encouraging her to keep moving forward and praising her as she did.

We had two bursts of canter on two steep sections, trotted all the good footing, and walked areas I knew to be slick and areas following a burst of canter.

She hesitated a fraction of a moment every so often, opening the opportunity for me to allow her to turn for home; I denied each time. Her hesitation in these moments was so slight that I don't think it is something I would notice if I didn't ride in the treeless saddle where I can feel the slightest of changes in her back and body.

Two grouse flushed as we linked the ridgeline trail to the haul road. The flushed as politely as you could hope a grouse to unexpectedly flush, and Q was a star about it. Her head went up a fraction and her ears strained forward hard, but her step didn't falter. She was very attentive about the areas they'd flown from after one and then the other flew up out of the scrub, but she was still forward moving. Good mare.

As we hit the haul road and struck out on our return journey, Q pepped up considerably. I expected as much. This was the reason I'd taken the loop in the direction I did; I knew this wide-open haul road area triggered more spooking behavior for Q and if we were going to take advantage of the good footing, I wanted her very focused on moving down the trail and not on looking for monsters. Striking out toward home would definitely provide her with more purpose and incentive to move forward down the trail and not seek out monsters. I set her up for success the best way I knew how.

And, by and large, it worked! She was forward and motivated and not seeking monsters.

Except this one dead wingstem stalk...

It wasn't even on my radar. I had my eyes trained forward and up, listening to my music, refusing to even look at the ground and let myself form a thought like, Oh there's something. Will she spook? What about that? and throw her off with my own subconscious body language.

So, when she slammed the breaks and dodged hard (but not as hard as she is capable of) left, my body rocked forward and onto the far right of her neck. She didn't drop her shoulders/neck/head as she's done before, but I still couldn't stay on. She took a hesitant step to the side as I was forming the thought, Can't save this. Hitting the ground. and I did the slowest motion front somersault over her right shoulder to the ground, making a very conscious decision to NOT LET GO of the reins or dressage whip as I went. *flop*

I jumped right back up, furious at first because things had been going So Well. The prideful side of me wanted to scream and hit and yell at her for spooking, but I forced myself to exhale, reminded myself that I throw her off MORE by staying silent and hopping on and making her move out as if NOTHING happened than if I lose my temper. And so I hopped on as fast as I could (the mental decision process taking milliseconds), and gave her a hard *pop* on the rear with the dressage whip and we launched forward past the offending wingstem stalk.

Gazing toward her friends upon our return to the barn; blanketed in preparation
for 12 hours of rain --> several hours of freezing rain --> many hours of snow.
No shelter on those 40 acres; I'd rather my horses be dry and warm and use their
hay calories to keep weight instead of keeping warm through shivering!
Part of me wanted to circle her back and go past the damn thing a second time for emphasis, but I cut that thought off as soon as I'd formed it. This horse needs to learn to go FORWARD at all costs. No slamming on the brakes. No stopping. FORWARD. And so we continued on our path.

Q asked to canter and tried twice, but I brought her back into the trot both times. Clearly if she could let her mind wander to find a monster and spook, she didn't need to be moving forward faster. Her goal was home. My goal was steady forward motion sans spooks.

As we neared the last of the good footing, I slowed her to a walk. We maintained this walk for the next mile or so, only picking up a trot when we were in the back field at home. Here, I popped her over a cavaletti twice, just to remove from her mind the idea that she would get to go STRAIGHT home and cease working once we'd returned to the property. She wasn't as "up" upon our return as she'd been the last ride where I'd schooled her to not rush home, but I didn't want to provide an opportunity for her to associate the idea of  being "done" with being within sight of the barn. It was an extra 60 seconds of work, but it seemed to do the trick.

Despite hitting the dirt, I'm calling the ride a Huge Success. By and large I had an unspooky, forward moving mare who was much more confident than months prior. It's a baby step, but it's a baby step in the direction I want to go. Bonus? She didn't even break a sweat! She's retained some kind of fitness it seems...

I'm going to strive to get in one trail ride a week on Q for now. The length of the ride isn't as important as the Getting Out and Doing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A week in the life

A snapshot of my time this past week from 1/12 through 1/19 goes something like this:
  • 40 hours at my "real" job
  • 39 hours at my ski patrol jobs over 3 days time
  • 1 night at the gym
  • 1 night at yoga
  • 1 night riding
  • 1 day fully to myself to do chores and yoga and ride (1/19)
It's no wonder I'm not writing more on the blog.

Work is work. Canaan is forever beautiful. I am forever busy. And the horses are forever good.

On 1/15, I did a short ride where I rode Griffin while ponying Q. Both horses were very well behaved. It was a nice evening ride to end my day.

On my day off, I did a fair bit of yoga outside despite the cold, wind, and snow. The sun was out and the temps were slightly above freezing so I waved my "fuck it" flag and did yoga outside.

I also wore sandals. *waves flag furiously*

Griffin and I did a small jump school yesterday. Including the time spent first moving and later resetting the jumps, it was a 35 minute session. The GPS estimated we covered 2.45 miles. A moderate to moderate-heavy workout for the little grey horse.

We started with ground poles and slowly ticked our way up to a max height of 18" using the cavaletti and jump standards. I set the jumps up in what I hoped would be a very forgiving slightly bendy course. It worked very well.

Griffin presented with a lot of try and honesty throughout the exercises. He was balanced and calm and took his breaks as seriously as his work. After 3 to 4 circuits through each height, I would raise the jumps a little, until the final round when we ended after 3 circuits. Griffin had a walk break after each circuit and ground tied (and even grazed) while I would reset the jumps between heights.

During his breaks, he would relax completely, taking full advantage of the opportunity to rest. Once I signaled it was time to pay mind and work, he pepped right up and took his job seriously. I was so very impressed and praised him oodles. I think he was rather proud of himself.

It was so fun to finally let this little guy do what he's wanted to do so long: jump. In the past, when I would flat Griffin near jumps I'd been doing with Q, he would always try to head for them. It wasn't a one or two time thing either. It was an every time thing. If there was a jump up in his vicinity, he was hunting it.

Bottom line? A very busy, very fulfilling week of many things.

Yes. I do have a problem sitting still. ;-) However, it is important to note that despite all of the hours logged being busy, I still feel so very rested and ready to tackle this next round of weekly chaos.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

TOABH: Wish We Could

Let's pretend that financial restrictions don't exist and logistics isn't a nightmare.  If you could do anything with your Ponykins, what would you do?

  • Attend more endurance rides than I already do. I keep my schedule to a measly 3 or 4 rides a year right now because of finances and logistics, not because Q isn't capable of doing more. Throwing the two things holding me back out the window? Oh goodness, I'd be at so many rides! Beyond the obvious "I love to ride my horse as much as I can" thing, the biggest draw of endurance (for me) is getting to ride some absolutely remarkable terrain and see some stunning landscapes from horseback.
  • Fox hunt. Cantering across the country side and jumping obstacles has been a pleasing thought since I was a child and ran through my elementary school hallways and playground riding my imaginary horse and jumping imaginary jumps. The only thing that would make the dream come completely true is if I had my imaginary pet cheetah to hunt with! (Don't judge. The mind of a seven year old is what it is.)
  • Ride on the beach. I got a taste of this in Costa Rica (at sunset at a full out gallop for nigh on a mile) and it merely whetted my appetite for more!
  • Backcountry trips. I'm totally capable of doing this now, but the logistics are so daunting that I don't. Because Beka is majickal and told me logistics aren't a nightmare means that we're goin' on a pack trip through some of the most beautiful West Virginia landscapes - who's in? Dom, Ozzy may still have a future as a pack horse! ;-) He can carry the kegs. Because alcohol. And I know how to pack a keg on a Decker style saddle.
  • Dressage. Because it would build foundation of all of the above. The closest instructor to me is a 2.5 hour drive over the Appalachians/Allegheny mountains. I would so very much love to do dressage under the watchful eyes of a knowledgeable instructor.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Miss Manners

Ah, what a whirlwind of life! It's winter in West Virginia, and long-time readers will recognize that this is the season in which I work two jobs - my typical biologist position with added ski patrol for the snowy months. Except you know, this year it's three jobs instead of two because I'm working at two resorts instead of one. *shrugs* C'est la vie.

I would like to state for the record that despite the three jobs I am *not* working myself into the ground. This past weekend I pulled a double between the two resorts on Friday and had Saturday and Sunday all to myself. I've taken Sundays off from everywhere for the season and am gifted with the occasional Saturday, too.

Saturday was spent being domestic, but I pulled double-duty on Sunday and skied at a third resort in WV for a few hours before heading to the barn to work the horsebeasts.

Griffin: I've come to the conclusion that working two horses in one day is best done (for the winter months, at least) by riding one and working the other on the longe. Today was Griffin's turn for ground work.

I ended up working him for 25 minutes mostly at the trot. He'd get to do a lap or two at the canter to energize him and really motivate him to move forward, but no more. I put him on a loose setting in side reins coupled with a polo wrap tied to the surcingle that went behind his bum to better motivate him to step under himself.

I'd never tried the polo wrap before and was curious to see if it would make a difference. Verdict? Yes, for the first 5 minutes. After that though? *shrugs*

I focused on really having Griffin move forward with steady rhythm. By the end he was tracking up nicely and reaching into the bridle, though not quite as much as I'd originally desired. I decided to take his best efforts as "good" and quit there before he became tired and cranky. I haven't done a lot with him lately, so I wisely shelved my higher hopes for the day.

Q: I crave saddle time a lot lately. Especially behind these dark bay ears. I've decided that I will work the little mare under saddle on trails, but only if they are trails we've previously had a successful ground driving session on. This motivates me to do good by my ground driving goals and also rewards me for seeking out the effort to ground drive more.

Q has been so confident lately both ground driving and under saddle. I've kept my agenda clear beyond having sessions that are good for her mentally and curb her herd-bound tendencies. (Like when she tried to rush home during ground driving and I double-longed her until she'd settled.)

Yesterday's ride went much like the ground driving session with a few different tactics. I'm not 100% pleased with the tactic I chose yesterday as it had some flaws, but I had to stick with it at the time.

We had a great mini-trail ride on the trail we'd previously ground driven with success. Kenai came with us on this mini-ride and I realized something that changed with rides on Q between the first year I had her and last year: Kenai was with us a lot on the first year. I am more focused and concerned about Kenai's whereabouts than what Q is potentially concerned with in regards to monsters on the trail. As I watched and tracked Kenai yesterday, I noticed Q looking all about for things to spook at. Because my attention was primarily elsewhere and relaxed though (intent on Kenai), she never balked or bunched up to erupt in a spook. Not all that surprising really, but an interesting observation all the same that will help in future rides.

Once we were back in the field tracking toward home, Q became very motivated and drawn like a magnet to the barn and her friends. While I accept that this is a tendency of many horses and is instinct to many degrees, she must learn to dampen that instinct when a rider is aboard and mind her manners. With every indication of interest toward "home", I turned her away to do work in the opposite direction. Circles mostly with some trotting away until her focus settled calmly in the "away" direction.

When we were at the peak of our distance away from the barn (my boundary for the day's ride), and she was still demonstrating more motivation toward home I tried a trick Daryl recommended that Mr. Crandell told him to do with his horse: make them hate their own ideas and they might start to think you're right! Granted, more time and many repetitions (and modification to the way the idea is used) are needed. 

Because I was in an area on the landscape that was conducive to creating "more work" for Q if she wanted to go home (I was at the bottom of a hill that stood between her and the barn), when she motivated toward home I made her book up up that hill as fast as I could, and then at the top I turned her around and went the "away" direction at a nice, easy walk. See, mare? Home means more work, going away from home is much nicer.

With a calmer horse, we finally descended the hill in the "home" direction....except she passaged the whole damn thing. And so, she had to run up and "away" again. She did a walking march down the second time, not the calmest, but marked improvement nonetheless. 

From there, she was still expected to walk home. Every moment she broke from the walk into a trot or a hybrid walk/trot, she was circled "away" until she calmed. And then, as we reached the flat, she motivated hard for "home" again. 

(And here is the point where, in hindsight of course (d'oh!), my idea to make her hate her own idea reversed a little. I should have made things easier away from home and harder toward them if I was keeping with the original idea. I did the opposite though. Even as I was pursuing it yesterday I realized there was some error to the approach, but felt I should stick with it for the time for consistency's sake. Noted, and will modify for the future!)

A tired mare after our ride.
I turned her "away" on the flat part and cantered her to one end of the field and back until she'd settled. Then we tried walking again. She pushed the label, so we cantered away and then settled to a slow trot. We tried walking home again, she pushed to go faster, and so we trotted off "away" again. This was repeated until she was much more motivated to walk.

On the final approach across the field to the barn, if she walked, she got to keep going. The moment she broke into a faster gait, she was turned and cantered AWAY to the same place every time where she was then expected to stand calmly for several seconds time while facing away from home. Each attempt to walk home we would get a few steps further (snow is a beautiful thing for tracking progress!) before she'd try to rush. Each time we reached the You Must Stand area, she stood calmly more quickly (didn't fidget before giving in to standing). 

(While she seemed to be grasping that there was less work away from home in the area where she didn't have to move her feet, I still was pursuing the opposite of my original intent. Not altogether bad, but not good either considering my original intent.)

With time, she deigned to walk home. It wasn't on the buckle, but it was a marked success from the beginning of the session!

The funny part through all of this for me was how sassy Q was about not getting her way. On Griffin or another horse I would have been put out with a sassy attitude, but from this mare who was relatively meek about things in the past I am highly amused. She was just SO ADAMANT about trying to do what she wanted every time, so much repetition of the "wrong" answer. Each time I redirected her "wrong" attempt, she would let her breath out in a staggered grunting/groan noise for the space of one exhale. When that exhale ended, she would refocus on the new direction and settle. As she grew more tired, she wouldn't make the noise, but the breath was still there. 

I fully admit that the sassy, headstrong tendencies have potential to be no bueno if not honed well, but for now, I'm just eager to see this side of this horse. I hope I am able to hone the behavior into something beneficial for the mare and myself with regards to our working relationship!

I hope I am able to stay as cognizant of training sessions in the future and continue to improve upon them. Clearly, I must be making some strides considering that we've not had a session with a bad spook yet since our return to work. I know it will inevitably happen, but I hope that this practice of being diligently aware of how we're training, what's going on in both my head/body, and what is happening in the environment will aid in my understanding of why future bumps happen and how I can move forward to resolve them and try to prevent their frequency of occurrence into the future.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: Cheers to a New Year!

I hadn't really thought much about setting goals or resolutions for 2015 until a friend asked me in an email. I'd formed some half-assed ideas, but mostly figured I'd strike forward on the path I set out on in 2012 and keep marching because I did really great that year to do really well by myself mentally and physically which led to everything else falling in place. I'm still in a great place, but it is time to dial in some finer tuning for 2015.

1. Happiness. I want to be happy within each thing I do. I want to be able to relax within my passions and not be so hard on myself. I want to be able to smile at the end of every day and be proud of what I've done be it large or small. I don't want to sit around dwelling on what "didn't" happen or be so hard on myself about every tiny thing.

2. Health - for me AND the critters. For me, this means maintaining my trips to the gym and once weekly yoga classes to supplement yoga/meditation I do at home. And, of course, maintaining my riding/climbing/skiing/adventure fitness habits; I'd really like to carve out a little more time for climbing this year! Health also means making a conscious effort to eat cleaner more of the time and resist making/buying meals that while quick and easy, are often lacking in nutritional value. For Kenai, it means getting the musculature and strength back into his hind end for good and kissing goodbye to this lameness issue that has been reoccurring for nearly 2 years. His knees are no longer the issue, his overall fitness as a result of me thinking we were done from rehab when we really weren't IS. For the horses, it means keeping them on supplements as needed to support the work they perform. It means not pushing them harder than necessary and providing them plenty of rest both mental and physical. For the cats, it means getting them off such a grain-induced diet and back to a high-protein diet with more structured meals as they should have. 

3. Budget. While I've been tracking my money flow for the past several years, my recent changes to precisely HOW I'm doing that will help me to really budget better. I need to find a better balance with my spending and saving than I had before. The organization of my spreadsheet pleases my anal-retentive side greatly lol

4. Slow down. While I've been doing more of this as the year has wound to an end, I want to be certain I continue to do more of it into the new year. This means more reading as I very much miss the amount I used to read and I don't know what happened to that! I have so many books just waiting to be read, I need to find my reading mojo again. I would also like to do more knitting, more crafting, and more cooking. For the knitting, I want to knit something that isn't a hat for once (my mother is grinning about this). The crafting? I've got a lot of ideas, I'd like to actually commit to doing a handful of them this year. Cooking? I'm doing more of this lately and I love it. Nothing super crazy, but flavorful, simple, and delicious. And finally, I'd like to slow down and get back to photography some. Nothing crazy, but I'd like to take a couple big dives this year and really learn some new skills within the field and have some fun.

5. The horses
     - Q: I want to get this mare to a better place mentally and into a better partnership with me. We seem to be on a very good track lately, so I think if I continue from here I will be good. Additionally I'd like a successful, happy, healthy competition season with this little girl. I am not going to give a specific number of rides that I hope to accomplish or a set distance I hope to accomplish. I just want to enjoy the trails with my mare this year. I plan to buckle down hard in the beginning of the year to really put a strong mental (focus on this primarily until mid-late February) and physical foundation on Q so we've got solid ground to depend on, and then ease back on our workouts and focus on weak points primarily while still maintaining her overall fitness throughout the rest of the year.
    - Griffin: I want to keep this guy sound, strong, and happy this year. I want to further develop his consistency and skill under saddle and pursue at least one competitive event on him. I don't know what discipline that competitive event will be, but I want to pursue at least one because it will provide a concrete goal to work toward in some capacity and will serve as a very good learning situation for both of us.
    - My Riding: I'd really like to buckle down and get at least a 1x month lesson this year. The only local instructor doesn't have an indoor area however, so I'll be waiting until the weather breaks most likely. I'd like to get several rides in with her on her stallion (or maybe he's been gelded now...) before I start taking lessons on my own horses so that I can focus on me for awhile. She told me her big boy won't let me get away with doing the wrong thing which I think would be great for me. I'll really have to learn to do things correctly! The one lesson I managed to take before life and weather spiraled out of control this past year was fabulous and I took SO MUCH away. Want. Need. More.

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30 before 30 goals I would like to work towards completing this year:
  • Do a split
  • Practice yoga consistently (will help with the split thing)
  • Skydive
  • Maybe begin to learn the mandolin?!
I chose the above because I believe they are very doable for the year. Other non-travel-related goals may occur, too, but all travel-related goals will have to wait until 2016 and later.

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Cheers to you and yours for a happy, healthy new year!