Monday, January 29, 2018

Head, Heart, Soul

When I brought three horses into my life, I worried how I would manage to keep them all in some level of work to maintain a high level of fitness. I figured it may take some time and a bit of juggling, but I'd find a rhythm. And, eventually, I did.

But another worry still plagued the corners of my mind - would I be able to maintain a healthy partnership/relationship with each horse? How would my mind categorize them? Would a distinct "favorite" rise above the others? Would I end up spending more time with one vs. the others? Would three prove too much for me in terms of maintaining fitness and an individual relationship?

When I had just two horses, it was easy because of the dichotomy that existed between Q and Griffin. It was easy to think of them and work with them wholly and independently of one another.

I knew adding a third horse to the mix would be more complicated. And for awhile, it was. My mind struggled to categorize and find balance between not only each horse's workload, but the manner in which they fulfilled a certain riding need/niche for me. But as time went on, I found that my relationship with each horse settled very nicely into rather cliché categories...


Since Q entered my life in 2012, she has been - and continues to be - my biggest challenge. While she is a great work partner, she is also a very sensitive soul who fusses over the tiniest things.

Gallop through a river? Okay, sure, says Q.

Q doesn't give things freely or easily. She makes me work for everything. But that work isn't physical, oh no, it's something much more difficult. She makes me THINK.

Dolly Sods vistas

Q challenges me mentally. For years, I've categorized her as a "mental challenge" in my mind. She's a headcase and has drug me along with her for a wild mental trip more times than I care to count. I know that the issues Q has aren't so much her own as mine. She has baggage, certainly, but the trouble we continually run into comes from my inability to help her work through her baggage due to my own troubles.

L-O-L our very first LD. Carrying way too many things and wearing so many colors.

She challenges me and pushes me to the end of my limits, flushing raw emotions from me despite my every attempt to keep them in. I hate it, and I love it, and I recognize that it makes me a better person every time.

The day after I brought her home.

This little mare has caused me more grief and anxiety than any horse I've ever ridden or worked with. She has made me dig deeper as a horseperson -  and as a human - than any animal or human has ever done. Because of her, I've learned to read nonverbal communications of both horses and humans at an acute level. Because of her, I've learned to check my baggage at the proverbial door when I enter new situations. Because of her, I've learned - and am learning - to quell my emotions, especially my frustration, to a very zen level. Because of her, I'm much more self-aware and emotionally intelligent than I ever could have been without her.

Jump demo for elementary school kids on the playground I grew up playing on
and fantasizing about running and jumping my own horse. Talk about childhood dream come true.

For as many lows as I have experienced because of my troubles with this horse, I have experienced an equal number of highs. She's opened doors for me that I'd only ever dreamed of. The biggest accomplishment we've had together is the Old Dominion 100 - and it was no "gimme"! Reflecting on the final mile of that ride still makes me tear up. That horse made me work right along with her (mentally) for that ride, but she gave me her all.

And of course, the OD 100, the biggest and most amazing accomplishment I've tackled to date.

While I've threatened her with a new zip code numerous times (and promised myself I'd follow through if things didn't look up before the end of this year), I've never followed through. Despite every challenge she's presented me, Q fulfills my head unlike any other horse. And for that, I will be forever grateful.


"Heart horse" is a term that is commonly heard among horse people. Many have, or have had, a heart horse. Some are still waiting. And others still are lucky to have had more than one heart horse in their lifetime.

Younger versions of all of us in 2011, including a very dark & fluffy Kenai

I've known for over a decade, that Stan was my heart horse. The hours upon days upon weeks upon years I spent with that horse during my teens bonded us more than anything else could have. My rides with Stan rarely included spoken words. We simply flowed with one another. He was intimately attuned to my every thought, wish, and desire.

3 (2)
We'll ignore that I didn't wear a helmet for several years and
instead focus on those extremely loose reins and his happy ears...
The level of trust I had in this horse was insane.

My riding aids back then were largely what felt right more than what "should be". I didn't have enough riding instruction to know how to "properly" ask for a transition, a half halt, etc. I just did whatever felt right in the moment and Stan responded in like.

Never had a jumping lesson in my life, but I watched a lot of TV and read a lot of magazines lol

I imagine it's like how many Native Americans learn to ride. It's not so much about the minutia of riding as the overall mindset and relationship that develops between rider and horse. The connection is unlike anything else.

Gah, look how dreamily fit he was circa August 2007

Stan and I had, and have, a great relationship. We're both independent of one another, yet totally in tune with each other. He isn't as "up" as Q or Griffin, but he's still "with" me on our rides. The unadulterated joy I felt while riding him at RBTR 2017 is a testament to that! Q's gifted me with many amazing endurance rides during our years together, but the happiness I felt while riding Stan last year was on another level from the enjoyment I've garnered from my rides with Q.

July 2017

Stan is my heart. He has helped pull me out of more "funks" than I can count. Of special note, he's helped me regain faith in my abilities as a rider this past year as I struggled with baggage from Q's spooking habit. He's retaught me that it is fun to go fast and that I can put all of my faith in my equine partner to not drop or toss me when the going gets tough.

August 2017 @ RBTR

No matter how many horses come into my life, Stan will always hold a place near and dear to my heart.


Heart horse is a "thing", certainly. But what about a horse that goes beyond your heart? One that you not only connect with so well that the majority of your rides are incredible, but that also makes some deeper part of you feel home?

20170711 sunset
This scene is an accurate representation of the magical happiness this horse gives me

That's what Griffin is for me. Every time I see him in the field, a part of me just clicks into place and the world seems right. It's hard to explain beyond saying I just feel home when I'm with him.

2015 pole work

His temperament is unlike any other horse I've spent time with. I'm sure a lot of that stems from the fact that I've raised him from the ground up and literally taught him everything he knows. Regardless of that, he has an absolutely insatiable need to please. He wants to be with me no matter what. It doesn't matter if I worked the snot out of him the day prior, he's always the first to come to me in the field and, more often than not, he will walk halterless to the barn from the field with me and Stan or Q.

20170908 Griffin Goldenrod-7
Wildflower frolicking

Griffin is [almost] always on board with what I want to do. Endurance, jumping, dressage, games, bareback, trail riding, driving. You name it, he's up for it and will give me his best effort. He's got his preferences, certainly, but despite those he gives me his all with each thing we try.

He looked so sharp in that burgundy harness

Of the disciplines we have dabbled in so far, Griffin comes most alive for jumping. Since he was a little tyke he's gravitated toward jumps. I've taken my dear sweet time honing our skills within jumping and otherwise, but jumping is still the thing that makes his ears go up more than anything else!

At our last HT

Griffin has taken me places I never thought I'd go (dressage lessons, cross country schooling, dressage schooling shows, and unrecognized HTs) and has superseded all of my dreams as a rider outside of endurance. I didn't set the bar too high to begin with, but that's because I never dreamed I'd have an option to set the bar higher! But now I do, and now I am setting my sights on slightly more lofty goals.

Ditches ain't a problem

We may take awhile to reach those goals, but every step of the journey will be enjoyable. Every step of my 6 years so far with this horse has been incredible.

That expression is still the same, everything else is vastly improved. Oh Grif, you were so hideous.

I never dreamed that the ugly "free project" yearling would take me to these places, or that I would evolve and grow so much as a person and equestrian because of him, but here we are. Griffin has exceeded everyone's imaginations.

20170711 sunset-4
I love him

I'm so grateful for this gelding and all we've accomplished together. He is truly a gift and I'm so excited for all of the adventures to come.

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How about you? Have you had/do you have different horses that fulfill different niches for you? Did it take you awhile to realize they filled those positions, or maybe you knew right away the kind of relationship you could expect? Maybe you haven't thought about this at all before, but your mind is turning now - how would you classify your relationship with your current equine partner?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Miles of Fun

Until this past weekend, it had been 3 weeks since the horses were ridden and even longer since I'd had an opportunity to see them in the daylight hours. Working 10-hour days with my added 40-minute commute on either end makes it very hard to fit in barn time when the days are short - especially when you don't have an illuminated place to ride (or even a covered area to ride). I've accepted the difficulty over the years and have gotten a lot better at cutting myself slack from Thanksgiving until the second week of January when sunset reaches a point that I can fit in a quick ride post-work before it's too dark to see.

These selfies were taken on December 13, that's the last time I saw my horses in the daylight hours

While I've missed riding, I haven't felt guilty about not riding. If endurance has taught me anything, it's that rest is just as valuable as work, and it takes much less time to get a horse fit than most people think. So when the temperature plummeted and the winds ratcheted up a level or twenty, I kindly flipped the bird to any and all riding plans. Riding in sub-zero temperatures with added extreme windchill is not my idea of enjoyment after a mentally taxing day at the office, moreso when I know I have a 40-minute commute over five mountains through the thick of snow-country in West Virginia on curvy two-lane and one-lane roads in order to get home from work/the barn.

Forever giving me kisses and face nuzzles, snow and all

Fortunately, by some grand coincidence, I wasn't scheduled to work on either mountain I ski patrol at during MLK weekend. With the knowledge that I'd be working every day of my following weekend, I decided horse time was a must. Bonus? The weather even looked nice with winds less than 15 mph and temperatures above zero and the promise of some sunny periods.

The best at selfies

Lauren's been relegated to really slow, menial work with her horse for a few months now due to a variety of circumstances, so I knew she'd probably be game to come ride one of my horses with me. As expected, she jumped on the opportunity and, bonus, was free both Saturday and Monday to put in some miles. When I offered Stan or Griffin for Lauren to ride, I was pleasantly surprised when she chose Griffin. She noted that while she loves Stan, his long back makes his canter a bit harder for her to ride and she isn't in great shape after so much time off from riding. Griffin needs the workout more than Stan, so this sounded perfect to me!

Yes, Stan, you heard me, you don't need to workout
right now, you lucky dog.

Both days, we headed to the rail trail. The minimal grade and easy footing make it great for the horses, but mostly it's about all I have access to at the moment without trailering out somewhere. I'll happily trailer out more once our world thaws, but right now, most trails I'd travel to are guaranteed to have some significantly icy sections. I have traveled a lot of gnarly terrain on horseback, but ice is something I have little desire to encounter.

Trotting along

On Saturday, we tackled 10¼ miles in 1 hour, 37 minutes. We trotted the majority of the time, though we did fit in some nice canter stretches in the second half of the ride before spending the final 1½ miles cooling out at a walk. Both horses were very good with lots of "go" left at the end - just the way I like it!

Each day, when we left the barn, Q led for the first mile or two. She was cautious, but forward and willing with some moments of oggling and balking, but no spooking, polite or dirty. #progress I didn't want to push her past her limit with leading and being good, so after we were officially off farm property and underway, I sent Lauren and Griffin to the front where they would remain for most of the ride. Q led again for about a mile in the middle of the ride and once more for the final 2 miles of the ride. Each time, she was looky, but very good.

Grinning like a fool

On Monday, we returned and tackled 16½ miles in about 2 hours, 20 minutes (my watch died partway through). Q led a significant (for her) amount this ride and totally blew me away. She's still a total looky-loo, but her reactions to things are so subdued to what they once were! She maintained a beautiful 9.5+ mph trot for multiple sustained periods.

In other news, I freaking love this riding skirt and will do a review
once I've put in some more rides in varied conditions

We had some "moments" on this ride when Griffin couldn't handle some very aggressive chained GSDs that people have along the trail. Frankly, I can't blame him because the dogs' behavior chilled me to the bone as they snarled and spit and thrashed about at the end of their chains. Fortunately, Q stepped up to the plate in a remarkable way. She "saw red" as I call it when she completely loses the hamsters in her brain, but remarkably, she got her shit together and came back to me with minimal fuss. I was then able to get Q to march forward along the trail as far away as we could be from the dogs.

With Q in front, Griffin was able to muster through and get past the dogs, though he then decided to spook at about a dozen inane things afterward due to his nerves being in a tizzy. Not wanting to deal with his behavior further - or subject Lauren to it - I pushed Q into the lead....where she'd stay for a few miles!

We reached our turn around point about 1½ miles after the dogs. We turned for home, put in a couple canter sets, slowed to pass the dogs (with much less fanfare on Griffin's part), and then proceeded homeward with lots of canter sets along the way before cooling out at a walk and trot for the final 2 miles (where Q led again).

Relaxed horse. Relaxed rider. What is this nonsense?!

I'm so pleased that I was able to get in 26+ miles with Q and Griffin over the long weekend. I'm also happy I got to put in so much saddle time after an extended break! But more than both of those things, I'm psyched because - wait for it - I had fun riding Q.

I honestly cannot tell you the last time I had fun riding that horse. Well, actually, no, I can tell you. It was the final 6½ miles of the OD 100 in the wee morning hours on June 12, 2016. That's 582 days for those of you doing the math. 1 year, 7 months, and 3 days.

Certainly, she was out with her suspensory injury for the large majority of that time, but once she was healed I rode a fair bit. And each ride was a chore - more mental than physical - as I struggled to find the desire or joy in working with her that I once had. Her behavior and reactions and my accompanying behavior and reactions had spent so long swirling around in a bad place that it was hard to pull free of the negative feedback loops we found ourselves in. Of course, as the human with a larger, more complex brain, the burden fell on me to set things on a better path, but it wasn't easy.

Can't fake that smile.

But now? Now I can say - with a large amount of certainty! - that we have arrived in a better place.

The good outweighs the bad when I spend time with Q now. We've still got a ways to go, but I don't feel like the ultimatum I made to help stay sane these past few months of working with her (offer her for sale the end of the year) will come to fruition now. My little mare and I have found a good place again and while I know there will be some bobbles, I'm confident we can work through them.

And damn, it feels good to be able to say that!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Time Stan Joined the Army

For two weeks in September of last year, I lent Stan to the Army.

I've been regaled with tales of a special training exercise that several of my local friends have been involved with over the past few years. The multi-week training takes place in various remote places in West Virginia during different times of the year from the hot heat of summer to the bitter cold (and snow) of winter. The trainees are both from the US and abroad and learn how to navigate through rugged backcountry terrain both on foot, on horseback, and on skis. 

When the training involves a horse component, Dan, my friend and farrier, is been one of the instructors. He's one of the most skilled backcountry navigators I've ever known, versed both in contemporary and ancient (Oglala Lakota) methodologies; to boot, he's got a very natural hand with horses. Both of these characteristics make him a perfect fit as an instructor for this specialized training course.

Dan shared with me early on in the summer that a training course would be taking place in September, and they would need more horses than usual for it. The horses would largely be ridden by individuals with ZERO horse experience and would need to have temperaments that could handle loud, sometimes unexpected noises that would occur during training. The goal of the training was to prepare the human trainees for such a time that they would need to be adept at riding a horse through rugged terrain in a dangerous environment.

I would never dream of signing Griffin or Q up for dealing with newbies in this kind of atmosphere. They do not have the temperament for such activities, and I have no desire to subject them to riders that are unbalanced and unpredictable in their abilities as neither horse has a lot of patience for it past 30-45 minutes.

Stan though? Stan is as even-keeled as they come. I knew he could handle everything with aplomb. A bonus (in my mind) was that the opportunity would also be great conditioning for him during a month when I wanted to focus my efforts solely on Q and Griffin. The only way I can keep three horses in full work is through the help of friends!

And so, Stan was drafted to the Army!

Bye, buddy! Be a good boy!
RIP custom orange halter that Dan lost in the hubbub

Dan and others picked Stan up on the last day of August. At this time I was apprised of the general gist of what he'd be doing, though many details were still left out due to confidentiality reasons.
Largely, he'd be giving basic riding lessons the first days, and then would be ridden at night over rough terrain the rest of the days for 10-12 miles per night as they pursued night infiltration practice missions. The level of difficulty would increase as the course proceeded.

While Stan was away, I didn't hear too much from Dan. The area they were in is one of the most remote in the state and you have to drive a significant clip to get cell service. However, I did receive the following updates about half-way through:


Stan is left of center between the buckskin and paint; Dan isn't much for photos and this is all he sent lol

In case you missed it, or wondered if there was a bizarre autocorrect situation in there...

My horse is helicopter broke.

Don't believe me?

Stanley is the second horse from the left

How about now? Sure, that photo has the helicopter on the ground, but during their night missions the horses had to ride to meet a hovering blackhawk helicopter several times. As Dan stated above, Stan handled it like a boss.

In fact, Stan was so outstanding during his time at this training that the experienced riders and trainers bickered over who would get to ride him. From talking with them afterward, it sounds like Willie won out a lot. Hearing this pleased me greatly because he is a phenomenal rider and I'm grateful Stan didn't have to deal with newbies too much. In fact, after many miles and hours with Willie in the saddle, Stan came back to me lighter in the aids than he's been since I've had him! Another added bonus.

Because he was Willie's horse so often, Stan led a lot of the rides and night missions. He was the first to traverse rugged terrain in low light conditions, the first to encounter loud noises and bright lights, and a steady rock for all others to follow. I knew he was solid and good, but to tackle this with relative ease as it sounds he did was news to me and blew me away.

Since the conclusion of the training, I've continued to have multiple people involved reach out to me to tell me how incredibly outstanding Stan was for everything. I even heard tales of some of the older horse-folk who helped out arguing that Stan was one of the best built QH they'd ever met. Hearing all of this made me feel so happy about my boy.

This experience was not only great conditioning for Stan, but the experience showed me (even more) what a gem this horse is. Stan is so special - a fact that is now evident to not only me as his very biased owner, but also others. I'm so grateful to have him in my life. 💙

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals & Intentions

I've set some solid goals for each animal and myself, as well as some stretch goals (+) that, while they should be achievable, I'm not banking on their completion to feel success in my yearly achievements. 


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Build strength, power, and finesse within dressage and jumping
- Take > 3 dressage lessons (and become more confirmed/comfortable with shoulder-in and lateral movements)
- Take > 1 jumping lesson
- Feel confirmed at beginner novice
+ Compete in the novice division at one HT
+ Compete in either a dressage or jumping show
+ Put Grif on cattle to see if he works them as he does the dogs around the barn

I hope to have a year focused on eventing with Grif. He absolutely loves the job and now that we've gotten our feet wet, I'd like to hone our skills. Clearly, what I've done with the horse alone over the past few years has been working, but it's time to get some professional eyes-on-the-ground guidance to really help us develop as a team. Eventing becomes more and more technical with each level, and the foundation and skills we work on now will help us to be prepared to tackle the increasingly complicated questions we're presented with as we (hopefully) move up.

More ditches in 2018, please!

What I really want eyes on the ground for more than anything else is our dressage. There is so much to learn! And so much of it depends on "feel" which is a lot easier to develop and hone with eyes on the ground to guide and teach. My first focus of the year will be making it over to Virginia for some lessons. I'm confident that our take-aways from these lessons will help not only our dressage but every other aspect of our riding. I'm really excited to not only build Griffin's knowledge, but my own through lessons.

And more of this feeling after XC

The pie-in-the-sky stretch goals would be wonderful to fulfill if time and money allow. If our season goes well at BN, dabbling our toes in N isn't too crazy a notion. A schooling show for dressage and/or jumping is also not a crazy notion if the opportunity presents itself. And working cattle? Well, I've been saying for awhile now that I'd really like to get this little gelding on some cows. That's a discipline that I'm surrounded by here, so mostly it's taking the time to reach out to some folks to see about coming over and playing. If Grif showed a penchant for it, I'd absolutely jump into those competition waters with some of my close local friends; team penning anyone?!


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Build more trust and confidence in our partnership
- Take > 1 dressage or centered riding lesson
- Build better balance and abolish her sidedness, especially with trot diagonals
- Hone lateral movements under saddle
- Complete a conditioning ride >20 miles over mountainous terrain (rail trail does not count)
+ Compete in a dressage show
+ Return to endurance competition

Building trust

As much as I'd like to say I plan to return to competition with this little girl by next fall, I can't guarantee it. I'm sticking to my word to not put hard goals on her this year. If things fall into place, I'd absolutely love to get back into endurance competitions with her, but there is no rush to do so. The goals I've set for us all revolve around strengthening her body and mind; if we find achievement within these, competition stretch goals won't be difficult to achieve.

So we can enjoy more moments like this

My biggest goal with Q is to get our partnership back on track - and then keep it there. We've already made leaps and bounds, and the future is very bright. One thing I believe will help us out is getting some professional eyes-on-the-ground guidance. I'm not certain if I will take her to Virginia to the same trainer I hope to work with for Griffin or if I'll stick a little closer to home and work with a centered riding instructor, but one of the two will happen at some point.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Keep up conditioning levels to a degree where striking out on a 20+ mile conditioning ride over mountainous terrain is a walk-in-the-park
+ Compete in a 50-mile ride

Stan's got no problem with rough terrain

Oh, Stanley, my love. Stan is as solid as they come. He had the better part of 5 years off from any kind of work and reentered life as a riding horse like no time at all had passed. He's got the greatest brain ever and such a kind heart to match. All I truly want for him is to keep him healthy and fit enough to enjoy some zoomy trail rides around home.

I'd love to appreciate more beautiful views from behind those ears

If I can find the time to get and keep him conditioned, I'd really love to pursue a 50-mile ride with him this year. I may employ Lauren to help in this endeavor. We'll see how that goes. I would choose a spring or fall ride if I did pursue this, as hot hot heat will do us no favors. An even stretchier stretch goal would be to have Stan's biggest fan (hi, B!) compete him at an endurance ride and/or bring her QH stallion to ride with us. I can't think of anything much more fun than spending 50 miles goofing off with her as the boys eat up the miles.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Get some answers to his hair loss
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet with whatever supplements keep him moving well

So much more hair only a few months ago!

As the new year begins, I am working closely with my vet to pursue some very conservative options to try to resolve some of the rapid hair loss issues Kenai is experiencing. At a recent vet appointment, I ran her through everything we've tried in the past year. I've been ready for awhile to throw in the towel and give up to alopecia X, but my vet thinks we're missing something still based on the evidence and observations to date.

Hi, I'm Kenai and I'm here to party.

So, we're pursuing some very conservative new options (that are incredibly budget-friendly!) to see if we can resolve some of what's going on. Yes, his issue is mostly cosmetic, but for a husky who lives in the coldest, highest elevation area of the state, not having hair during the cold months is a bit of a problem! Nothing seems sadder to me than a bald husky in winter.


- Stay happy, healthy, sound
- Hone recall and obedience training
+ Begin pursuing training necessary to become a therapy dog


This little girl has so much to learn about life! As of this writing, she is 18 weeks old. Other than the stereotypical husky characteristics, she's a very different personality from Kenai when it comes to training. I'm still figuring out the best way to help her find success, but I'm confident we will come to a happy place before long.

Bold as brass riding the ski lift for the first time

One of the mountains I ski patrol for has a big interest in her (and Kenai) becoming therapy dogs. We have a lot of nervous and scared patients (many children) on the mountain; a dog on scene and in the aid room could really help assuage fear and anxiety for many of them. I would love to be able to lend courage to folks during these moments by providing a calm, fuzzy, loving dog for support. I'd really like to pick the brains of local folks who have dogs in therapy positions to see what kinds of things I need to work on to begin setting the stage for eventual certification.


- Stay happy and healthy physically and mentally
- Build a stronger and more flexible body
- Build/maintain my photography skillset and business
- Lead climb above 5.9
- Bike Canaan Mountain without hike-a-biking
- Really push forward with finding a living situation for the horses that is closer to my home
+ Be able to do a split & feel comfortable with inversion poses

I've been following through well with my yoga goals these past couple months. I've signed up with and have been taking 1-2 classes a week through that site. I am absolutely LOVING it. The instructors I've been doing courses with are incredible and I'm finally getting the instruction I always wished for in yoga. Each class presents me with more advanced or modified options for poses that is helping me grow and develop. Additionally, I'm finally grasping concepts that I knew must be out there, but couldn't quite wrap my head around with regard to my core and feeling stability within poses. Some very small adjustments have afforded me so much more balance and stability almost instantly. With any luck, my goal of being able to do a split will be reached in the next year. I also think my longer-term stretch goal to be comfortable with inversion poses will be reached quicker than I originally anticipated.

Yoga in my loft - modified pigeon pose; hoping to nail that spilt within the year!

With yoga practice comes strength in other areas of my life, primarily riding and climbing. My hips are developing more range of motion than I've had in years (which will help in the saddle), my lower back is in less pain after a long day (benefits riding and other aspects of life), my posture is improving (benefits across many disciplines), and my rotator cuff injury is feeling so much better (I can begin re-introducing climbing to my life again). My goals within climbing and mountain biking will be more easily achieved by maintaining my yoga practice.

Eclipse-day adventures with some cool cats

I think the biggest goal I'm setting for myself this year (that I refuse to make a stretch goal because I really want to make this happen) is finding a living situation for the horses closer to my home. When they were in Canaan for a month this fall, I saw them 5-6 days a week which proved to me that if they're closer, I will find more time to ride/care for them. I freaking LOVE my boarding situation right now, but the commute kills me and makes it so that I primarily ride after work Mon.-Thur. which makes conditioning so much more difficult. If I can get them closer to home, I'll have the opportunity to fit in weekend rides easier, be closer to lesson and show venues, and have some incredible trail riding in my immediate backyard.

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Happy New Year from our family to yours!

I'm really excited for 2018 and can't wait to see what the year brings.

Cheers to all!