Here’s a video of Ava’s journey from when I bought her to this year.
Avandarre Training Overview from 2011 to 2014:
2014 in Review
This has been a year of extremes for Ava and I.
It started off slow due to the artic cold and massive amounts of snow we had last winter. I had some negative people in my life that were good at causing drama. And my work life was a constant series of missed deadlines.
The snow melted, I cut the nay-sayers out of my life, and I got a new boss who set realistic deadlines. Things got better after that.
But I had felt like I was treading water with training Ava. I hadn’t had a lesson from September to May. I had feared that I was getting worse instead of better.
My first lesson of the year was May 16th. My fourth lesson total with the new trainer. I had worried I would embarress myself with my bad riding and poor posture, but other than adjusting my elbows and some reminders to sit back, she said I was fine. The lesson went great. Ava was a rock star. And, as it is every time with this trainer, I had a ton of homework and new exercises to play with.
My first show was May 24th. A schooling show. My nerves almost got the better of me. My normally placid mare was strung higher than a kite. But in the end, we got it together and our scores were respectable. We were even able to show a touch of that fabulously bouncy trot Ava can do when she’s swinging through correctly.
Our success at the schooling show helped convince me that a rated show might be doable. I signed us up for our first rated show in July. I focused on training from May to July.
In July, I was convinced I would bomb out at the rated show, but it was a massive success. I met a ton of wonderful people, we used the new LQ trailer for the first time, and I learned that I need to exercise more if I want to keep moving up the levels. It was so much fun and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
August 1st, Ava cut her right hock and was gimpy on it. I gave her time off for the cut to heal. I started planning out next year’s show season and goals. I started getting really excited about being competitive at the regional level and competing at Regionals next year. And who knew, maybe even nationals would be attainable for us?
USDF announced Betsy Steiner as the clinician for the USDF Adult Clinic series. 2015 would be my year to get in on this. I knew Ava had the training and ability to make the cut to get in. I wanted to ride in it badly and started getting things ready so I could enter as soon as it opened.
August 15th and Ava was lame on the other leg. Called the vet out and he diagnosed it as arthritis and left.
Over the next two months the lamness came and went. Some days were fantastic. Other days, Ava would be so lame even non-horsey people could tell. I believed it was arthritis and only rode Ava on days she was sound. I didn’t give Ava any pain medication for fear that masking the pain would cause more issues down the road. I wanted to know if it hurt so I could back off.
In September I had a lesson with my trainer again. Ava was, as usual, a rock star doing half-passes, collected work, and working on true medium trot. Ava felt like a million bucks, and offered up her fun bouncy trot. She showed no signs of lameness. My dreams of Third level and flying changes were just within reach.
By October 1st Ava was lame all the time at the trot. She wouldn’t pick up the left lead canter at all. I stopped riding her. I took her to a different vet who diagnosed it as a menuscus tear. I put Ava on stall rest for November without any improvement. In December I turned her back out to pasture.
December I learned Ava won Series Grand Champion at Waterloo. It covered all nine rated shows and we won over warmbloods. I still pinch myself to see if that was a dream.
December 30th: Ava’s new career is pasture puff.
I’m hoping by March we’ll have a couple thousand set aside to purchase a new horse. I really want the Farasi mare, but she’s 4,800 and there’s no way I’ll have even half of that saved up before spring. Everything is in flux at the moment, so I’m not sure what is in store for the coming year. Hopefully it goes better than this year.