|Don't let his ears fool you, he begs for these cuddles and smooshes his nose into my shoulder/face to assure he gets them|
Stan had a tragic (for him) abscess in his left hind that sidelined him for 7 to 10 days and ultimately resulted in me pulling his front shoes. If he was going to be lame, he may as well be barefoot and lame so his feet could have a break from shoeing cycles. He came sound shortly afterward and we're now into our second and final shoe cycle for the year as I know the weather and temps will take a dive near the end of this cycle. I've enjoyed a handful of carefree rides on the big guy of late. Nothing makes me smile quite like a ride with him.
|Post-ride one day right before fighter jets buzzed us 200 feet off the ground for their usual training exercise through Canaan|
Are your horses fighter jet proof? Mine are! lol
Q is doing great! Big spooks seem to be a thing of our past and she's much more reasonable about life these days. We're in a much better place with one another and it feels so good to have arrived here. Every ride we have is better. We still have a lot to work on, but now those things are more fine-tuning and actual physical work as opposed to confidence-building mental exercises. I'm excited to work through new exercises with her in the very near future.
Griffin is also doing well. I've slacked off on his workload partly due to lack of great facilities to work in, but also because I don't have a future competition on the calendar to help motivate me to get out and structure my rides with him as much. These days, we head out on happy meanders, maybe some gallops, perhaps a bit of structured dressage playtime or a jump here and there, but mostly just enjoy time spent with one another. He hasn't forgotten anything, we're just enjoying this little plateau for now instead of continuing to climb the many mountains on the horizon.
|This is what so much of summer has looked like here! I pulled Q and Stan's fly leggings right after this photo.|
Grif and I had just returned from a ride in which we were thoroughly and completely soaked by a pop up storm.
While the horses are all 50-75 lbs lighter than I'd like to see them, they seem happier overall this summer than in past ones and my relationship with them is better than it's ever been! I moved them to Canaan for good in June. We were at one place for the month of June and part of July, and then we moved down the road 'just a titch', as we say in these parts, to another friend's place where they've been to date.
This is the first time in my history of owning horses that they've been on anything other than 28 acres of amazing pasture. This time last year, I had them in a diet pen for about 2 weeks trying to get control of their weight! Now, they're on 2-3 acres of pasture and, not surprisingly, they definitely don't need a diet pen!
They're not in the sorriest of states by any means (despite my continual stress over it), but they certainly don't look as plump as I'm accustomed to and are not where I prefer to keep them weight-wise. Anything beyond what I consider "normal" makes me fuss and fret. But the good news is that I'm learning, and I'm definitely grateful for relatively easy keepers whose weights bounce back quite quickly with the proper amount of calories! They've been maintaining/slowly gaining for almost a month now which is a great indicator that I'm nearly "there" with a feeding regiment that works for them! Despite the worry figuring this out has caused me, it's been a pretty fun puzzle; nutrition is so very fascinating to me!
I finally made it out with my riding club for a ride this past weekend. It was in Dolly Sods which made it much easier on me to attend! I had a prior commitment in the morning that meant I would have to play "catch up" to the ride, but that was fine by me! It enabled me to ride fast for a time instead of walking the whole day.
Dan asked if I would mind if LC, a new trainer to the area who hopes to stay long-term, rode one of my horses for the ride. I happily agreed, eager to finally meet this woman I'd heard so much about from Dan, Chris, and Aimee who are smitten with her. Long story short, riding with her was WONDERFUL - and she adored Stan (just like everyone). Everything she said about horses and training resounded strongly with me, and her resume is impressive to boot with ample experience in hunters/jumpers, eventing, dressage, sane natural horsemanship, and some western disciplines. I'll consider myself lucky if my knowledge of horses is where hers is in another 30 years.
|SETTLE DOWN, Q! (She stood here for 15 minutes calm as a cucumber.)|
Dolly Sods interior stretching out behind her. Reminds me of the Badlands
Pending a more permanent living situation, LC is hoping to remain in Canaan for the foreseeable future. She sees a niche she can fill with horse training and lessons; I couldn't agree more! She'll not only benefit beginners, those seeking someone to start young horses, and those with problem horses, but she also has a skillset that will benefit more advanced riders and horses. It is my hope that I'll be taking lessons from her in the very near future - something I am absolutely over the moon about.
I love living in this area so very much, but it definitely makes improving my horsemanship and riding much more difficult because my access to quality professionals is very limited and comes at a cost (both time and money). It seems I may have the very thing I've hoped and wished for for so long plopped right into my backyard. Fingers crossed that LC can find a good place to rent and ample clientele to remain here for awhile!
Beyond horses and work, I've found time to bike a lot, climb a little, hike with the dogs, book some photoshoots, travel a little for work/play, and spend a copious amount of time with wonderful people who make me smile and inspire me to be a better human.
|A moody landscape. Seneca Rocks is just behind the tree in the foreground down in that valley.|
Photo taken from Roaring Plains Wilderness in Dolly Sods.
|Dave and I from our campsite enjoying the above view.|
|Kenai (and Taiga!) ready for an adventure.|
|She is the posing-est little dog. Golden hour light looks so good on her.|
|Yeahhhh... I'd been inside working and came out to the porch to find this. Dave reports they'd been this way for 30 minutes or so.|
I've got a bit more travel coming up for my best friend's wedding in Moab before settling into late fall and early winter. Dave and I have a garage project we're hoping to finally finish before we leave and when we return I'll have a handful of commitments to follow through with - one of which will have a very huge effect on my future! Positive vibes from now through the end of October are very welcome.
It's going to [continue to] be a whirlwind for another few weeks, but every part of that whirlwind is something I'm looking forward to. Best of all, autumn is here, which is my favorite time of year to get out and ride! And you can bet I'll be fitting rides in as much as possible amidst the controlled chaos I love to live.