We started the year treating Val for hay needles - a noxious weed in his hay that lodged in his gums, made eating very uncomfortable. There was some good progress in getting on the bit after a long stretch of bareback rides. And the coldest winter anyone could remember + a (for us) major snowstorm.
We rode - a lot. Made progress in the arena and out... with an eye towards reinstating trail riding. Worked on connection, half halts, and forward. I video-ed us for the first time - how revealing *eye roll*. Loving my horse...
Fine weather = feeling good + lots of rides. We rode bitless for the first time, lots more bareback and several mini trail rides. Got a lesson on a whirlwind hay trip - first in about six months, and one of the last as it turned out. A month full of progress.
A lesson with a different trainer who helped me get my horse forward. Not a dressage lesson, but very helpful. Shedding season, Val likes beer and plays a convincing dead horse. (no connection between beer and dead horse...)
A fall (sort of), more bareback with posting practice + mini trail rides, Val self loads, the farmette gets a garden - I made the raised beds and Val made the dirt. We break ground on the new arena...
The garden grows despite the drought making life difficult. I find the Shimmy Shack and start making moving plans. I travel to my trainer's farm for what turn out to be my last lessons with her....
Super hot - the arena footing deteriorates. We stay cool with frequent baths and watermelon snacks. The garden starts to bear, and the Shimmy Shack moves in.
Dad and I get the Shimmy Shack hooked up to utilities - and I clean it within an inch of it's life. Val spends much of the month wrapped and on bute due to a mystery swelling and then being stocked up. Sold produce to a farmer's market and a local restaurant until hurricane Irene tears up the island - just when everything was going so well. Found an injured kitten on the side of the road just before the storm - newest member of the household is christened "Seven". He has twenty four toes!
A month I'd rather forget. Trapped on the island with no road off, and about a billion mosquitos. Enough said.
We get the road back. My Dad and I build a kick ass deck around the Shimmy Shack and she's ready to move in, which I spend most of the month accomplishing. Val and I have a few good rides, and find out the break was good for both of us.
We make amazing strides. Val takes contact and works over his back - consistently. I'm having to manage myself less as a rider. I had serious doubts that we would move forward without a trainer. Riding has been an absolute joy. Still getting my living space arranged, but it's coming together.
My farrier gives me trimming lessons. Made contact with a potential new trainer. More great rides, a small step backwards, and then forward again. We end the year on a super high note with our partnership strengthening. High hopes for 2012 - Happy New Year everyone!!!