It has been incredibly busy for me lately. Nearly every day, I feel like I am going non stop, and exhausted!
It’s been both good and bad. I’ve been so busy in some areas that I haven’t been able to make the time for much desired activities in other aspects. But, I did manage to hit 3 horse shows in 3 weekends! Busy, but fun! I can’t say I haven’t been putting having the horse trailer to good use! I went out a total of 7 times this year, and enjoyed every minute of it!
Although I bought a horse trailer that was a little “overkill”, it was still a good trailer and I made good use of it while I listed it for sale after I painted it up inside and out. I had bought the trailer with good intentions – with hauling Chewbacca & his cart to parks & shows, or with the intent in mine that it would suit me for years to come as I fill my life with hackney pairs and mini teams and a marathon carriage.
Well…. it only took a couple weeks for a reality check. Chewbacca was retired due to lameness, and the likelihood of my getting a marathon carriage, a pair of hackneys, or a team (that’s 4!) miniature horses…. and then actually hauling all of said creatures to shows is definitely not probable in the foreseeable future. So, while the lovely 16 foot stock trailer was suiting me just fine, at the same time, I made the decision to sell it.
I managed to keep myself busy tinkering with it, painting things and fixing up the inside and outside, and between that, photography, and a keeping the lawn from looking like a jungle, I’m amazed (and slightly sad) to say that with September halfway gone, my driving hours for the year are basically in the tank.
While I normally work Chewbacca, Luke, and Jesse 2-3 times a week for anywhere from 30-90 minutes each, and I would typically rack up around 120 hours per driving year from roughly March(ish) through roughly Thanksgiving(ish), this year, with 6 months of driving under my belt already, having started up right around mid-March thanks to some fine weather, I barely have hit 40 hours as of yet this year.
Although my time on the box has declined horribly this year, I’ve actually been quite busy this year, and I’ve been getting in plenty of barn time. Despite low driving hours, the horses still have done shows – Jesse has done 2 shows and 2 trail drives and Luke has done 3 shows as well.
The last show I did was a fun show with Jesse. It’s the second time I’ve done this show, and had Jesse both times with me. I signed up for some different classes and tried my hand at barrels, plug, and poles. Jesse was awesome! Too fun!
(Jesse contemplating his plug race – and yes, it looked rather ridiculous pulling a single mini and a cart out of that trailer!)
We got 5th out of 15 in both plug and barrels. He ran the barrels in 31.5 seconds. Considering this was like the 3rd time in my life I’ve ever done barrels (and Jesse’s first), and he had to pull my big butt through sand while competing against some minis that were slightly larger, heftier, and had younger (and skinnier!) drivers – that was pretty impressive!! We did the pattern right, too! We were definitely doing great on our pole bending pattern, too- which was just so much fun. Unfortunately as we rounded the 2nd turn to weave back through the poles, and Jesse, working so hard, digging into the dirt to keep the turn as tight as possible, a trace popped off the singletree. No big deal, I stopped him grabbed it and popped it back on – but those 5 seconds it took to that most definitely dropped us out of any chance at a ribbon. There were very speedy miniatures at that show! Had our little technical failure not happened, Jesse probably would have ran the poles in 5th place as well.
The very next day, someone came and bought my trailer. I had Luke signed up for one more show (coming this weekend), but with the trailer gone, and the trailer I was supposed to buy to replace it having fallen through (long, but not-terribly-surprising story), I’m trailer-less so I’ll be sitting out the show I signed up for this weekend.
Chewbacca’s cart and harness are also sold and life is making many changes around me this year. Some of things I hoped to accomplished this year and did not think I would be able to may not be exactly as off the table as I thought, and I’ve also accomplished more than I thought I would, too. I still am hoping for more good things to come as the remaining months of 2015 tick on, but I have to say, although I am missing out on one scheduled show for this season (which isn’t the end of the world), 2015 has definitely surprised me! A new car, a trailer to get around in, even if only briefly, a trip I’ll remember forever, a huge improvement in my photography, and major changes – 2015 so far as definitely been a very fulfilling year.
Dixie has had the recent opportunity to instill an enjoyment of driving and a love of miniatures into the hearts of two young girls (future drivers, I do hope!). Luke has been helping to educate a more experienced teenager as she progresses in her riding and driving skills.
Chewbacca, though not sound, is doing pretty well. In fact, he was running like a fool playing with Luke the other morning in the arena, and it was good to see him bucking and rearing (of course I didn’t take photos!).
You may know that Chewbacca is quite the full-of-himself fighter that will attack other horses. When I put him out in the arena for play time, he often rears, strikes, squeals, and shows off with the horses in the paddocks that share a fenceline with the arena. Mostly it’s just all show, but sometimes he goes in for an attack and has in the past seriously bit and injured another horse. He was feeling good enough the other day to launch himself in for a good bite and managed to hook his right front leg over the round pen fence! Ugh!! (That fence is 5 foot tall!!! Chewbacca knows no bounds when it comes to showing off that he’s the king of the castle.
I had a massage lined up for him (lucky horse ~~~ I could use one myself!) just a few hours later, and he clearly enjoyed it, although he was painful on his right shoulder (can’t imagine why :/ )
It was a busy weekend, with horse shows, lessons, photography, selling the horse trailer, the replacement trailer falling through, and lots of running around in between, but it was a good weekend, and I hope for more good days in the coming months before the snow hits.
I’ll have to watch Chewbacca during his next playtime to keep him away from the fences. There’s a new mare in the field – she’s 3 and pretty and he’ll be a little too keen on showing off for her.
Chewbacca has been a wonderful horse, he’s given 5 years of the very best he could during the prime of his life. He was my hunter that learned to jump courses with me, my dressage horse that learned to be soft, supple, and carry himself, and my driving horse that hauled to parks, shows, reenactements, and all kinds of events. With hundreds of drives and hundreds more miles driving experience on him, he was always kind, sweet, and willing. He’s earned a happy retirement, and I sure hope I can keep him feeling his oats (although off the fences would be nice!).
Likewise Luke and Jesse, both getting older and wiser, have given me years and years of their very best. They are both so experienced with their jobs that they are beyond “training” at this point.
Even little Dixie, the capable old lady that she is – got pulled of the pasture for the first time in nearly 2 years and delighted young girls, safely carrying them around the arena for their very first drives.
They’re a good bunch and there is no end to which I love this wonderful collection of horses! As it stands right now, many changes have taken place in 2015. Many more changes will come in 2016.
I’m not sure I will be driving next year at all with any of them; we’ll just have to see where we are at after their winter hiatus. I have no plans to purchase any more horses in the near future, but I do hope for some major changes in 2016 as well, so I’m hopeful and optimistic that the rest of 2015 and the beginning of next year will lead to very good things!