Friday, January 2, 2009

Reflections on 2008

So, it would be great to actually be posting about the great ride I had today, but seeing as how it was raining ... again, that was not to be, unfortunately. So, thought I'd just reflect on 2008 as a horsey year for me, and how I plan to move forward in 2009. It all began pretty much the same way; sitting in front of the tv and moaning about how stupid people are to go stand around in 15 degree weather just to watch the stupid peach drop. I mean, whoop-de-do. Then I head to the barn and teach the kids in town that don't mind riding in the 15 degree weather, and politely turn down all the offers of coffee/hot chocolate since they do tend to just go right through me.:)

The weather improves, I hop on the schoolies a bit, dream about my own horse, go to some horseshows, and try to learn some new, fun exercises to keep my kids fresh and excited about horses. I got a new tattoo having nothing to do with horses, went on a cruise over spring break, and got the crazy idea in my head to go to Maryland to pick up a free horse.

So ... I did what any sane adult with a kid and a life would do; traded in my old 225K miles truck that was paid off on a new, shiny model with payments and the ability to haul a trailer, borrowed my boss's trailer, and hit the road! All for a horse I'd seen one picture of, and knew absolutely NOTHING about. Now, here's the kicker. I've been offered free horses before. A few fairly nice ones, a few dogs, and a few only a mother would love. All others I'd turned down and not really thought about again. This particular one, though, I stumbled across as a post on the COTH bulletin board, and obsessed over for 2 weeks before calling the trainer and deciding to go get him. We haven't been through that much yet; in fact, I've only ridden him in an actual ring twice in his little life, and have jumped maybe 8 times total. I haven't ridden him more than twice in a week in the entire 4 months I've had him, and it makes me sad that he acts like a HORSE and not like a lovey dovey dog. It's like that goofy comedy where I go out to his pasture and expect him to come galloping over only to lay his head on my shoulder and nicker softly in my ear. What actually happens is I bribe him over with a peppermint, and he stands still long enough to let me run my hand up his neck, then he takes off to go bury his head in the roundbale. I go over to the roundbale to love on him, he looks sideways at me, then takes off to the opposite end of the pasture to go graze. And I oughta mention that when he first came to me, he had NO idea at all how to graze. None. In fact, his mane sticks up now because his face is always buried in the grass or the hay. It's sort of funny. 2008 went out with our last disastrous ride, where he thought his new job was to be a bucking horse. Blech.

So, for 2009 I do have a few horsey goals. I want the arena to get FINISHED so I can ride a minimum of 4 days a week. I realize without a roof this may be difficult, but I at least want the intentions to be there. I want to buy a trailer so I can take him to PWF once a month or so, and do some solo trail rides, hacks through the lanes, and schooling over a course of jumps once he's ready. I'd like to get him going around 2'6 or so. I'd love it if we could get a lead change, and I'd like to be able to go with the ladies at the barn and ride on the trails for a couple of hours without fearing for my life. I'd like him to learn what a relaxed, supple trot is like, and for the canter to be straight and soft, not counterbent and hell bent for leather. I want to audit at least one clinic so I can continue to freshen up my eye, and would like to qualify for zone finals with my IEA team and maybe go to Nationals this year as a top 3 team at Zones. Fortunately, I've got a year to accomplish all that!

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