Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 wrap-up, and looking forward to 2014!

Well. It would seem that I'm on a biweekly post schedule around here! :) At least you know what to expect, right? I actually have a lot of plans for posts to put in the hopper for when I'm busy, but ... um, I'm busy? Heh. Anyway. On with the obligatory 2013 wrap-up and the catch-up on what I've been up to.

The catch-up is quick and easy: I've been sick and doing Christmas. :) The usual winter ick has gotten me, though it's not as dire as it has been in past years. This year it's just bronchitis and the accompanying asthma-worsening. So I've been staying inside this last week and a half, out of the cold and dry air. I'm enjoying the break and the Leverage marathon, but ... I miss my pony.

Especially because it's been so dark -- I don't think it's very safe to go out into a pasture in the dark and try to catch my horse among a bunch of other horses. Not that he's hard to catch, nor that he or the other horses are ill-tempered; quite the opposite! But horses run around and play, and they get surprised by things in the night, and the ground is frozen and rutted, and overall, just a lot of things that can go wrong when wandering in a pasture in the pitch black.

I know, I know: lots of people go catch their horses in the dark. However, lots of people also ride without helmets ... I just don't think it's safe for me. And my livelihood doesn't depend on riding, so even though I'd rather ride, if it's dark by the time I could get to the barn, I don't.

ANYway: between the dark and the sick, I haven't seen Apollo since Christmas Eve. Blah. But I'll go see him tomorrow!! I am feeling enough better that I can wander on out and at least longe him. The last time I rode, he was feeling his Thoroughbred breeding ... heh. He doesn't always remember that he was a racehorse, but this winter, now that he's sound, he sure does. Fun to ride!!

So. 2013 in review.

Honestly, it was a tough year for the barn in general. Colic, lameness, abscesses, more lameness, and then an abscess, and some lameness. Ugh! A friend lost her beautiful mare just after Christmas, as well, so tough year.

Apollo and I had some great success this year: we went to a couple of jumper shows and conquered the 2'6 block I'd had for so long, won the crossrails division in our first derby, went to a recognized event with our resident European in the irons and performed beautifully, and jumped 3' for the first time.

We had some trials, too: the abscess ordeal and the colic, as well as realizing what shape Apollo's feet are in (TB shape, ugh). And of course, my general tendency toward sickness. But that's a constant -- that's not going to change without some serious intervention that I'm not sure I can afford, time-wise or money-wise. But we'll see.

I also had some job upheaval this year, ranging from me getting what I thought was my dream project to discovering that the dream project was a pile of steaming dog crap, from my company completely falling in the cash flow department to me losing all my benefits, from me getting a second part time job to me flipping the table in frustration and quitting my original job that had gone part time ... and so on. Right now, I'm going to be going full-time with my current part-time job in January, so I'm utterly thrilled and unspeakably relieved to be going back to a steady paycheck that will pay the bills and provide benefits. Big plus: I really don't mind the work. It's exactly the sort of thing I like, something I can just come to work, do for 8 hours, and then leave at the office when I go home.

So I am really looking forward to 2014. Here's hoping that it brings soundness and health to all our equine partners and health and joy to all of us humans!

I'm planning on hitting my own first recognized event this summer. The amount of money I have available will determine which event I pick -- if I have the money, I would really prefer to go to Twin Rivers or Galway, but that's an expensive trip. If I don't have the money for Twin, I might go back to Caber, or maybe to Aspen. I would definitely like to go to Golden Spike for sure, too -- that usually falls on an Aspen weekend, so I would have to buck up and go without the team. That is probably doable, though. I think. We'll see. :) I know at least a couple of people generally go, people I would trust to give me at least good advice, if not coaching, so I can make it work.

Other than that, I definitely plan to start the year with the May derby at home and compete at BN, depending on how the cross-country schooling goes. I'm willing to start at Intro to BN, if I need to, but really. I can totally do BN.

I'll also do the unrecognized event at home, too, if we can get that sorted out. Lesson from last year: Enter early. As many little jumper shows as I can get to will be on the list, too.

And just all through the year, ride as much as I can and play with my wonderful pony. :) I do love that beast, so very very much.

I'm planning on doing my town's Biggest Loser competition with a friend, so a bit more health and fitness is on the docket, too. :)

So yeah. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, sound 2014!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dream Wishlist

So I have seen a few people post this kind of entry lately: 5 things on my horsey wishlist for Santa. Right now, money is so scarce for me as to be on the Endangered Species list, so this is the stuff I'm dreaming about. I'm saving as much as I can, but that's just dribs and drabs here and there, nothing big, so these dreams probably won't come true for a while.
HOWEVER! We can all dream, eh?

1. County Conquest saddle. 18" or 18.5", medium tree, with a fitting from a County fitter included. Brown, with -- because this IS a dream -- short, forward flaps. I like my Collegiate saddle, but it doesn't fit Apollo well, and I don't love it. County FTW!

2. Two County Logic girths.
One for my jump saddle, one for my dressage saddle. I think the size for the jump girth would be 48" - 50", and the dressage would be 22" - 24". Would have to measure.
And thinking of dressage saddles ...

3. County Perfection dressage saddle.
18" or 18.5", medium tree, with a fitting from a County fitter included. Black, with short flaps -- again, this IS a dream. :)

4. FITS breeches. Moar FITS! :) Another tan pair, a white pair, and then any color from there. Just enough to cover a three-day event, since I have one tan pair already, and a few more pairs to ride in every day.

5. A nice pair of tall boots. It doesn't even have to be custom boots. Just something that looks nice, fits my calf, and isn't so tall that I can't bend my knees. These three things are difficult to find in one pair of boots, so much so that this becomes a dream.

So that's my main horsey wishlist. I think I'll probably pick up a set of black SoftGrip reins after Christmas, because I'm tired of the ThinLine reins freezing in my dang hands, and I did manage to score a ThinLine pad for a song at the FLTS. :) Super kind of them to let me know one had come in on consignment -- and I happened to have just the price of the pad in consignment money of my own, so I was able to get it for not much at all. Yay -- Merry Christmas to me!

But for the rest of it ... Santa? I've been very good this year, and more to the point, so has Apollo. He's been better than me, honestly. He deserves at least a jump saddle that fits him and makes his back happy -- he's the best guy ever, and he deserves everything in the world.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Blogging from the barn!

So I have a rule: I only ride in double digit temperatures.

I also have an observation: the weather app on my iPad is a lying liar!  The weather app said it was 12 degrees; barely in my double digit range. So I came out with the idea of longing and feeding Apollo.

Yeah, no. It's 7 here now. Definitely too cold.

So I am waiting in the warm tack room for Apollo's beet pulp to soak, and I'll not even bring him in - just feed him in the pen, pick his feet while he eats, and boogie on out of here.

In comparison to L. Williams' barn outfit for yesterday, I am wearing: expedition weight thermal bottoms and top, heavy sweat pants, smart wool heavy socks, Bogs, a fleece top, my heavy Carhartt jacket, a balaclava, and an earflap wool/fleece hat.  SEVEN degrees.

Even Hazel the sometimes evil barn cat says it's too cold for evil or for slashing, and she's in my lap, purring, as I type. Photo to come soon.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

18 degrees is way too cold to ride but ...

So this happened tonight:

I have no idea why my phone turns the indoor green, but there you have it. My favorite photo of the year!  I am thinking easy rides for this weekend and next week, then I hope to rejoin the jumping lesson next Sunday. Yay!!!

Apollo is, predictably, pretty stiff and rather up after, what, four? five? weeks of not being ridden. He starts out a bit off, but by the time I finish longing him he's moving soundly, especially to the right. Oddly enough, he's a bit off-er to the left to begin. He was entirely uninterested in taking contact on the right, so ...we have lots of ground to make up. Still, riding again!!  Hooray!

Also, I picked up a bottle of Equiderma lotion for his scratches. On first look I suspect that this will do what all that silver sulfadiazene didn't and actually clear it up. Initial signs are encouraging. I hope in a few weeks I can come here and give a screaming, enthusiastic OMG YOU GOTTA TRY THIS endorsement. :)