dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Lessons Learned: A Recap of 2022

 I can't believe that 2022 is over. It has been quite the year and I always find it helpful to review some special moments in a single post. 

January was a bit of mess, with Irish falling on ice and coming to the realization that he couldn't handle winters anymore. It is when the back of my brain began to think about what would be next. Other than that (and having to get an emergency repair to the well) the rest of winter was pretty typical. Spring was a little early and I was back in the saddle and resuming lessons pretty regularly in March. 

I was able to have regular lessons all year and they have made all the difference. It's hard to believe but Carmen and I just started with Jane last August. I believe that we have both transformed. Having a regular lesson program where I'm being pushed has been so helpful. Having a Pivo has also helped. As they say 'seeing is believing' and I've learned a lot by watching us (even when I have cringed). 

August 2021

In May I won a small bursary to put towards riding lessons. It was a small amount but felt like a nice boost. I definitely made use of it. Looking at my calendar I had approximately 14 lessons. It felt like I had more than that but it's probably pretty accurate. I will do a separate post about my goals and how we did, but what I did like was how steady our progress was. Jane said to me "I remember when you said to me that you were waiting to hit the plateau and I told you that wouldn't happen. Was I right?" Yes, Jane, you were right. I learned so much this year- mostly about myself and Carmen. Basically forward but with rhythm is the key. 

In June Carmen and I did our one and only show of the year. Overall it was a very positive experience until the we encountered the Pigeon of Doom. The learning from this was Carmen still has a pretty solid nope in her and I was not able to get her through it. This lead to a whole new plan with Jane showing me how it all starts in her neck and that is what I need to target first. I did enjoy that whole experience and it was wonderful to connect with horse show friends. 

Also in June I bought a horse off the internet- a 2 year old 3/4 Lusitano/ 1/4 QH from Alberta named Quaid TNT. 

my gosh he looks so little here

I realised that I wasn't done with horses and, to be honest, I have zero regrets about this purchase. He's just such a great horse. This opinion was solidified when I took him to an Obstacle clinic in August and he totally rocked it. 

In late August/early September Ed and I went on our trip to Scotland and Ireland. This trip had been planned for 2020 but, well, you know what happened to plans that year. It was an amazing trip and highlights included riding in both countries. 

I like horseback riding because you can see places you might not see doing the regular tourist things. But I do struggle riding horses that feel less responsive than mine. I do enjoy the smoothness of Carmen. I also learned that I love Scottish Whiskey cream. Like Baileys, only better. I also bought some gorgeous Dubarry boots. #noregrets

In mid-September I gave my notice of retirement for March 2023. It was a big decision but I am looking forward to seeing what this next phase holds. Hopefully lots of pony time. 

Then in October I said good bye to the best, red headed gelding. It was hard but the right thing to do. I find myself completely at peace with it, even while missing him terribly. It is pretty self-evident that a planned, gentle euthanasia is less horrifying than a traumatic event but I didn't realise how different it could be until I experienced it. 

Such a great guy

If anyone is struggling to make this decision, I will share that it is far better to do it when you can make sure it's kind and gentle. 

November and December were quiet (at least on the horse front, not the work front). That was okay. I tried to enjoy the time I got to spend with the best mare and baby genius. Right now the weather is warm and the sun is shining. It was great to have a little reprieve to ride and be outside. 

post ride graze. In December!!

OMG, this face. Can you stand the cuteness?

I don't know what 2023 holds but I'm looking forward to it. 

Screw that- I plan to be rambunctious

Friday, December 23, 2022

The Gradual Return of the Light

 December 21 marked the Winter Solstice. Even though it's now officially winter, it also means that each day there will be an increase in daylight (approximately 2 minutes per day). Our weather has been pretty rainy rather than snow in the past few weeks. However, on the 21st the sun actually came out, the wind was light and it was a balmy 5 degrees celcius. 

I love this photo so much- just two horses feeling relaxed
and chilling. I rarely see Carmen lounging outside.

I took Quaid to do some work in the ring. The day before a riding halter I had purchased from Counter Canter designs arrived. I love the quality of the work. If you are looking for something she has a variety of colours to choose from. I decided that burgundy and navy would look great on himself. Tell me if I am right:

Quaid: How do I look? 

He had a lot of energy but I like how he doesn't get super foolish with it. I try to balance letting him go without making it like it's okay to run wild on a lunge line. What I like about Quaid is that he really tries hard to figure things out. He's sensitive but curious and likes to figure things out. 

Here's a video from last week of Julia playing with him at the mounting block. I took the video from Carmen's back so forgive the quality. 

I like to mix up the mental and physical work along with the new and familiar. At the end of our work I took off the line and asked him to play with me a bit at liberty. I've done a bit in the field, just games of 'come to me'. I did a wee bit a month or so ago in the ring and it went 'okay'. This time when I set him free he trotted up to the ring by Carmen and was really keen on finding grass or being close to her. All I did was add a bit of pressure with the whip and stop the pressure when he looked to me. It didn't take long for him to figure out to be with me. It took literally 3 minutes. I took out my phone and did a little video while working with him:

At the risk of sounding like 'that person' isn't he the best baby genius?! Don't get me wrong, he does highly irritating things too. But they are not deal breakers and I am careful to not spoil him. But it was a good way to celebrate the solstice.