dancing horses

dancing horses

Monday, December 30, 2019

Retrospective: A Decade in Horses

This blog hop comes courtesy of Might As Well Event. The idea is to use on picture for every year of 2010-2019 to show your journey with horses. I've enjoyed reading everyone else's posts on this so I decided to give it a go. Even though it's really hard to A) settle on one photo and B) find photos/remember stuff from 10 years ago!

FYI, I might just break the rule of '1 photo'

2010
It felt like a big year to me. My son graduated high school and we bought the property that we now live in. At that point we hadn't moved- we spent the year renovating.

Meanwhile, I had Irish  and he was 10 at the time. We were showing but not a lot. He was a really solid horse by this point. I could hack him out and take him places. He might have been tense but he always tried to be a good boy.

Irish not sure what the fuss about with the ribbons. 

2011

We sold our house and moved into our farm and began building the barn. It was a the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to bring Irish home.



2012

Steele came to live with us. I started the blog to chronicle the adventures of raising a charming, intelligent and mischievous yearling. 


still one of my favourite photos
It was also the year I took Irish to his final show followed by a clinic with the judge who made me cry. She was highly critical of Irish's way of going and was really nasty about how she indicated that it was my fault that he had a lateral canter (despite me saying that he'd never had it before) and flatly refused to help me. I am still quite pissed about this to be honest. However, later that year Irish was diagnosed with neurological issues.

2013

I was spending my days taking care of the horses and working out the routines. Irish was getting ridden lightly and Steele was learning about being a grown up.

Steele not sure that this is in his job description but willing to try 

2014

This year was an epic one with the horses. 

Steele was fitted with a saddle and then backed. 

both of us so intent on the learning
 I spent the summer riding him and then took him to a show to hang out and then did the clinic with the judge. The judge was amazing, Steele was awesome and things were coming together.

Then in December my world crashed with the horrible, traumatic and fucking should-never-have-happened death of Steele.


2015

In the beginning I was still reeling from the death of Steele. To be honest, it has taken years to come to terms with it. At this point I was having trouble sleeping, everything seemed pretty gray and I was a complete mess.

I knew I needed to do something to help myself and Irish. Which led to a road trip with Karen and the purchase of Carmen. It was an epic winter and we had so much snow that it was a nightmare. Carmen came home to me in March and we still had like 4 feet of snow on the ground.

Carmen wondering what the hell is going on

It was a bit of a difficult year for Carmen and I. She was quite reactive to a lot of things and I was struggling to understand her and how to deal.

Irish had developed headshaking but I found he responded really well to Magnesium.

2016
I came very very close to selling Carmen. She was being really spooky and bolting all over the place. It was like there was no horse to talk to and it was frightening.  I ended up hiring a trainer to come and help me with her and that made a huge difference. While there might be some things I would do differently now, at the time he literally saved both of us and I would be profoundly grateful for that. He helped me to see a lot of holes that were in her training and we began to fill them.

I started taking clinics with Johanna and she was a godsend as well. I did a Centered Riding clinic which blew my mind and really started me thinking differently about my aids.

at the clnic with Johanna

You can ask me why I didn't sell her that year and move on and I honestly couldn't tell you. There were enough times that things were good that I could see how thing could be. I am also pretty stubborn so that probably played a role. To be honest, I think that whatever was broken in Carmen spoke to what was broken in me.


2017
This was the 'do all the things' year for Carmen and I. We did a few clinics, did a trail obstacle clinic that was amazing and has impacted my work with Carmen consistently since then. We went to four shows and we had scores that ranged from 4-8.


But it began to feel that our partnership was coming together and I was really happy with our progress.

2018

This was a mixed year for us. We started off with a great year at clinics and shows. In the fall the wheels began to come off again and I was in despair. I actually had to scratch a test while I was riding it because she became un-rideable. Again I thought about selling her. Then I decided to try ucler treatment and it was like a veil lifted. Carmen became transformed. Not that she was/is spook free but the mindless melt downs were diminished.

Again, I am blown away by how brave a horse that can be terrified by a goldfinch can be! We did another trail obstacle clinic in the summer and she was a rock star. I joined the TRT training website and it helped a ton with our groundwork and learning to deal with scary things.

more of this horse please

and less of this one

2019
To be honest, I spent a large part of this year waiting for the wheels to come off. While there were periodic issues things have been on a pretty steady trajectory (this will be a whole post/recap).

not for sale
In the past 10 years I have grown as a rider, caretaker and human being. I have come to terms with my dreams falling to ashes and starting over.

I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?



34 comments:

  1. I started following your blog around the time you got Carmen (so about the halfway point of the decade) and I can't believe how time has flown! You have created such a wonderful partnership with her 🙂

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    1. the word 'journey' really does describe it!

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  2. It has been such a pleasure to watch you and Carmen grow together! Those sensitive mares, tho'

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  3. Ahhh barn construction photos! Eeee! It's nice to see photos of someone else's progress and not my own after this year lol.

    The 4-ft of snow totally blows my mind...

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    1. Oh yeah. Watching yours took me down memory lane....
      And that amount of snow blew my mind as well.

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  4. Smart mares are hard but worth all the work.

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  5. I've been following you since the tragedy with Steele. I'm glad you could put that devastation behind you. I didn't realize how long you've had Carmen. But you have both really formed a wonderful relationship in your journey together. Only good things to come from now on so the next 10 yrs. should be amazing!

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    1. I can’t believe how much has happened in the last 10 years.

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  6. “ whatever was broken in Carmen spoke to what was broken in me.”
    Sobbing.

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  7. I've been thinking lately that every time I get a new horse/donkey/puppy/etc. that I have to grow up all over again. I learn so much from every animal, yet each one makes me step back and start over from the start. It's been nice watching you two grow up together:)

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    1. You are so right. It is exactly like that! Keeps us young, right?

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  8. I love your comment that whatever was broken in her spoke to what was broken in you. I think that is very true and true in general of our relationship with horses. I’m so glad you didn’t sell her. You’ve come a long, long way over the past ten years.

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    1. I am happy that I didn't sell her either. I quite love her, quirks and all.

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  9. I wish I could express how much this post encouraged me today. I was at the "sell him now" moment on Thursday with as you put it, an "unrideable" horse.

    I remember the turning point for you and Carmen, it was a trainer you hired that had an unusual name (?). At least I assume that was the turning point.

    I told my husband all about this post because he got to see me crying about my horse this week and you helped. I'm trying to find the courage to blog about it, but it's just awfulness.

    Thanks for taking the time to document your decade for us.

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    1. I am really sorry that you are going through a hard time right now. It is never easy to be in the position of deciding to sell because of behaviour. It was Royce who helped me a lot.

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  10. This was great to read. Steele was so beautiful and I didn't follow your blog before his loss so it was nice getting some back story on him. You've come a long with with Carmen since then.

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    1. Thank you. He was a great horse. Carmen and I have definitely progressed.

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  11. I think I started following you some time in 2015. Or maybe I'm just remember that snow picture - we don't get snow like that where I am!!

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    1. We don’t normally get that much snow either. It was a hellish winter.

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  12. Nice to see some of the backstory I had missed. Lovely post!

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    1. Thank you. I’ve enjoyed reading others back stories as well.

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  13. I started reading your blog when Steele died. That was the very first post of yours that I read and all this time later just thinking about that post still makes me choke up...coming back from something so terribly awful happening to one you loved so much, and working through letting it go in order to move on, is so very hard. But you did: you came out on the other side of it. It's one of the many things about you that I admire.

    You've done a beautiful thing with Carmen. It has been wonderful to watch your perseverance, dedication and clear, careful consistent analysis of both her and yourself throughout this journey pay off in your growing relationship with her. <3

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  14. I'm so glad you stuck it out with Carmen. I really think you two were meant for each other.

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    1. I think so too. And I'm glad I stuck it out.

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  15. I knew you struggled, but did not realize that you had thought of selling Carmen. It makes your success today so sweet! I am so impressed by your journey, and love following your blog. And, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the drone pics and particularly the first one. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you. In that first time she was quite dangerous and scared me often. Those drone pics are so cool.

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  16. Time has really flown! I hope the next decade brings you lots of joy and happiness.

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  17. So happy to see where the journey has led you.

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