Well, it’s almost that time of the year again, and you know what that means!
It means I change the title of my blog from Life in 2012 to… well, you get the idea. I think I need a more catchy name. Oddly, though, I can’t think of one. And since this blog is about my life and the horses in it, I suppose it seems to fit.
Usually at year’s end, I like to reflect on the year past and take account of my goals I set at the beginning of the year, and see if I actually managed to achieve them. This year, I did not set any goals. I’m not a big “resolution” setter. In fact, I don’t like what “resolution” implies- usually that you’re giving up something. I’d rather not give anything up, just strive to achieve better goals.
However, at the end of 2011, I was looking on into 2012 towards the start of radiation therapy, my leg was hurting, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I didn’t “care” so to speak. I just wanted to take it all one step at a time (literally!) and not worry about what the future held. Thus – no goals.
But I can look back on 2012 anyway and see what kind of year it was for me. So what kind of year was it for me, exactly? Well, believe it or not, despite everything that happened – I would definitely 2012 was a very good year. Maybe not one of the better years I’ve experienced, but definitely a good year.
January/February and even into a little of March were pretty low, honestly. I was going through radiation therapy, still working at my job while doing it, and I managed to start the minis ground driving in tandem. By February, the weather was so warm that Luke and Chewbacca were already hitched and out on their first drives. By March my leg was so badly burned, I had to take the last 3 weeks of the month off. And while off, I got the minis driving tandem for their first time.
In April, I returned to work the first week of the month…. and lost my job by Friday (Good Friday, to be exact). What a week! I knew it was coming. Of course you see the signs when the business is failing, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. I was actually off work, driving Chewbacca when my coworkers (who were terminated on Thursday afternoon) called me and told me the news, so I knew what I was walking in to the following morning.
The rest of April, May, and the whole rest of the summer really, I looked for a job, all the while getting in TONS of extra time working the horses. I had set a goal of achieving 100 hours of pleasure driving time, as well as the hopes I had for showing Chewbacca and Jesse. I accomplished both! (woot, woot!). Even though I usually only drive for 1/2 hour each horse, (I know some people who drive their horse 2-3 hours each drive!), I was still able to get up to 133 pleasure driving hours, plus I did 4 shows! 2 with Jesse and 2 with Chewbacca. Luke did 2 shows as well, and I learned so much about each horse.
Jesse is an absolute trooper, and we together, achieved our first time being in a show ring with 20+ other horses simultaneously. I never have been a class that large in my life, and certainly neither did Jesse. He was great, and never did anything wrong. In fact, he did everything right, and I was a little disappointed (honestly) that we did not leave that show with at least 1 ribbon.
Chewbacca’s driving show debut was in June, for an ADT. It was a pretty lousy experience, lol! I have to be honest. He was not happy, and we did terribly together. We had the worst dressage test I ever rode (or drove) in my life, our cones were OK, but we didn’t make the times, and I killed a couple of balls, and our obstacles were nervewracking and then we killed the bridge. It was fun (and somewhat humiliating), but definitely not a show to be proud of. There were only 6 horses in my division, so we did come home with a ribbon – actually a 5th place, but we scored a 4th place. Someone got the ribbon colors mixed up when they handed them out, but I did not care to swap it out with the person who took home mine.
Our next event, in October, was a HUGE improvement, and we had a ton of fun! I loved it, and Chewbacca really proved that he can do it all. Just in his own time, lol! There’s NO making him go faster regardless of what I do, I think. Our dressage test was great, albeit “lacking impulsion” as the judge commented at least 4 times on our test (lol!!!!) All in all, we got a very low score, for what I thought really was a pretty good test. Our cones was excellent! We were only 10 seconds past time (woot!!!), but then I got a little lost on course and ran a cone over, causing more time faults (oops.) And our marathon was superb! We didn’t get eliminated, we did all the obstacles correctly, took some daring turns (and chickened out of some too-daring turns at the last second!LOL!), and overall, although we came in nearly 2 1/2 minutes late, we still did well and had a good time.
November and even into December still left plenty of warm and amazing weather to get in a few more drives, and a couple of haul- outs to a trail — which is something totally new for me! I’ve been on many trails (rides and drives), but I have always gone on trails which were right off the barn. I’ve never had to put my horses on a trailer and actually haul somewhere to go on a trail. In 18 years of horses, this was something totally new for me, and I really enjoyed it! Went on some trails I really loved, some not much, and had great experiences (and memorable ones) on all of them.
And then, December wrapped up with my landing what may turn out to be the best job I’ve ever had in my life. Great pay, wonderful people, fantastic benefits, and tons of room for growth and opportunity. I love it AND it’s less than 2 miles from home (dingdingding!)!!!! So how cool is that?!
Of course, there were some lows in the year, as always. My husband has had a slew of health issues, which started circa June. In October, he spent 4 days hospitalized, and he lost his job due to his health issues. So there’s been plenty of challenges to deal with over the course of 2012, but I look forward to leaving it behind me with nothing but hope and optimism for 2013.
I believe 2013 will be a great year for both of us. He plans on dieting and losing weight, which will improve his health dramatically, and I have numerous things up my sleeve I’d like to make happen….. Including getting another pony!
Yep, you read that right.
I am determined to get something I’ve always wanted — a training project. I’ve trained 2 to drive, I’d like to do a 3rd. I want it for purely “selfish” reasons – simply because I want to train another equine. And I’d like to work with another pony. The more I work with Jesse and Luke, the more I just enjoy working with ponies. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Chewbacca, but ponies just seem to have something that horses don’t. I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe it’s just a “go” mentality. Of course, maybe that’s just Chewbacca! LOL! Luke and Jesse are always ready to go, without “complaints”, for however far I want. Chewbacca has his opinions that I don’t always care for. But I think the most, I like how easy to handle the ponies are – in terms of “handling” around turns in obstacles. They are a little faster, have a little more zoom, and man, can those smaller bodies whip, zip, and spin around turns! (even at the canter!) that Chewie just can’t (or doesn’t want to) do.
So, one goal for 2013 is to get a 5-8 yr. old pony around 13h that only knows how to lead, tie, and that’s about it. I want a total “flip” project. If it knows how to lunge, or wear tack, fine, but I’m looking to do a complete training from nothing to driving, and sell it by the end of the year as green broke. Hopefully this isn’t too loft a goal. And of course, with all that ground training, I expect a good exercise program for myself 🙂
Another goal, is going to be to show Chewbacca AND Luke in some CDE. There are going to be THREE CDE’s near me in 2013, all of which I’d like to take Chewie to. I’d also like to try to get my husband to show Luke in one of those. And then, I want to show Luke in a much larger, more formal, full size CDE out of state in July. I also want to get Jesse out to 2 or maybe 3 pleasure shows in 2013. I have not taken him out on trails at all yet, so he has no distance training or stamina yet, so CDE is not in his future (not until he becomes my horse officially).
Another goal will be to reach 250 hours total of driving time. Since I’m at 133 already, that leaves about 117 more to get – sounds reasonable and realistic for 2013. I just can’t wait to get out and get driving!
I also have it in my brain to try to go to the National Drive in October, in Kentucky, with Luke and Chewbacca for 3 days, if I can. We’ll see how that goes. I have to plan for logistics of getting the horses there and back along with the carts, and so much more. Hopefully by June/July I will know if this will be a feasible thing. Probably not, but all the same, I’d like to try to shoot for it. I’ve wanted to go for a couple years.
All in all, I have some great plans for 2013, so we’ll see how much of those I accomplish! What is on your New Year Calendar?