2016 Year in Review

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write as the”year in review” type of post that I normally do. I don’t feel like we made any progress toward anything. Not riding, not trailering, not showing, not toward lessons…

I was so gung-ho this spring. I had it all planned out. I was going to take lessons, start hauling Joy to new venues, hit a couple of shows…  but then it came to a grinding halt when she mysteriously came up lame in May. It took nearly three months to resolve that. After that, it was like starting over. I had a butter ball pony that had regressed back to a scaredy cat anywhere off the immediate property (even on the next-door neighbors property).

I spent the remainder of the year in a “Screw it” mentality. No expectations, no pressure, no goals that would drive me insane when I didn’t hit them. I focused on increasing Joy’s suppleness, attempted to get that hind end directly behind her instead of off to the left, and help her find a better balance.

I spent more time with Ava. Ava’s feet were finally grown out enough from the bout of laminitis that I could start working her again. I put my time into increasing Ava’s fitness to see if I could get her back into some semblance of “dressage” shape. And even if dressage wasn’t possible, we were still having fun crashing through trails and galloping around the fields.

Things were going swimmingly with Ava. She was getting more and more fit. She went from barely able to trot more than 100 yards in early spring, to galloping the entire length of the field by end of fall.

December hit and Ava went lame again. I thought it was laminitis, again… that weird stance.. but by day two it seemed to oddly be affecting only one leg.

Abscess.

 

So, overall, a rather unproductive year with lots of annoying problems. And I have the dubious honor of experiencing my first abscess. So there’s that.

Here’s hoping 2017 is a bit more productive!!

Joy’s Year in Review Video Recap (6:33 mins long):

 

Goals for 2017

  1. Lessons
    1. I have a line on a local instructor who has agreed to (try to) help me this spring.
    2. I’m going to go watch a friend take a few lessons this winter (better than nothing until I can haul the pony there).
  2. Fitness
    1. I’m going to work on increasing my overall fitness and decrease my weight.
    2. I need at least 30 minutes of cardio 5x a week.
    3. I need to increase my flexibility and symmetry (greatly) so that I stop falling to the right.
  3. Get Out and About
    1. Get Joy hauling safely.
    2. Start hauling Joy off property
    3. Start taking Joy to lessons.
    4. Take Joy to at least one small show
    5. Take Ava to one of the state parks for a group trail ride with friends.
  4. Tack Room
    1. Figure out how to prevent all my tack from molding!!!
  5. Arena
    1. Increase length of arena
    2. Continue work on making it somewhat level

New Year Eve – 2015 Recap

Well, this past year has been really non-dressage related. Rather mundane, and yet quite exciting and stressful. Disappointing, yet exhilarating!

I like to keep my lows and highs in balance.  😉

My Year Overview:

I bought a house and almost lost everything because I couldn’t afford two houses at the same time, and couldn’t sell the old house.

ABHouse

Finally sold the old house. Yay!

Jessie got caste and I thought she was a goner.

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Jessie bounced back!

Jessie stuck a stick in her leg and the tendon sheath got infected. I thought she was a goner.

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Jessie bounced back!

Ava got laminitis. I thought she was a goner.

Right Front

Right Front

Ava bounced back!

I bought a pony! Pony tries to brain herself on the trailer ride home. Pony is scared of everything.

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Pony over comes fear and is awesome Pony!

Giant spiders attack us!

Giant spiders disappear to wherever giant spiders go….

I bought a saddle for Joy!

Wintec 250 Pony Dressage Saddle Flocked

My butt doesn’t fit it.

Joy Overview:

This is Joy a month after I brought her home.

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Joy in August (I don’t have any good current pictures):

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When I first got Joy:

Current under saddle:

I know that right now Joy and I look like ass. I know this. But I’m so thrilled with how far Joy has come since April. I bought her in April. I rode her twice that month. I haven’t been consistently riding her since I’ve gotten her, and she’s really come a long way with very little work. When I brought her home she could barely steer. She had no real ‘go’ buttons. There wasn’t such a thing as an outside rein, leg aids had no meaning, and the seat was just the thing that sat on her. When I asked for a halt she would jut her chin out and brace her entire neck against the rein. And the ever present curl of the chin to chest when I touched the reins for steering.

And yet now? We have an outside rein, we have go buttons (better than before), we have leg aids and can do lateral movements, and we have some semblance of contact now. She’s beginning to soften and come under when I half-halt now. She’s no where near as wobbly underneath me. And her curling has subsided to only occurring only during the most stressful of situations.

We went on our first group trail ride together in August. We’ve gone on our first of several solo trail rides together. We’ve over come tarps and plastic bags under foot and trailing behind us. We can canter on the trail! We even took a really small jump! We’ve seen deer, turkey, squirrels, and a chipmunk (that ran beneath us).  We’ve walked calmly past incongruous semi-trailers, blocks of stone, and a lady who suddenly appeared from within a hammock in the middle of the woods.

We have manners when leading now. She’ll walk beside me on a loose lead and a flat halter, stays a polite distance away, AND she’ll even back up if I just lean my upper body back when I’m next to her. She moves over (on the ground) from finger tip control, she stands still for mounting from a mounting block now, and she’s figured out that saddling from port or starboard is no big deal (although this seems to need consistent re-enforcement).

I still need to work on trailering, clippers, going to new places, and show environments.

And Ava… I have to get Ava back in shape and start riding her consistently (3 days a week). It’s been two years since the stifle injury. She trots and canters fine in the pasture now. I’m wondering if she would stay sound under consistent work, or if she’d buckle under it. She may forever be a light riding horse, but I’m still loath to write her off completely…

Thank you for following me this year!! You guys are the greatest, and I’m so happy you’ve joined me on this journey!!  I hope that this coming year I’ll have more exciting and happy things to share with you. And hopefully they’ll be more related to dressage. 🙂

Thank You!

 

p.s. I just heard of this band, and I LOVE their songs. It’s probably the donkey that did me in.