Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new...


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!!!


  1. Happy New Year to you and Val! Great photos and good recap - glad the trying times are over and hoping for more good ones on your horsey journey!

  2. Sounds like a great year!
    Did Erin tell you that she will be coming down every 6 weeks. Maybe you could bring Val up to Horse Spa and still take some lessons with Erin. Just a thought. And if you do then we could ride around the property together. :D
    And what is the trainers name and number? Mom told me that you ran into each other today and she wanted to know if I'll be interested. Of course I'll still take lessons with Erin, but I just wanted someone to teach me in the mean time.
    Happy New Year!(:

  3. Sounds like a pretty good year (minus the hurricane parts) - may 2012 be even better!

  4. Happy New Year to you and Val. Love your recap and all the pictures. May you and Val and the rest of the gang have a great year in 2012!

  5. Love the recap - happy new year!!!

  6. Knowing you through your blog has been wonderful! I have really enjoyed reading about you, Val, and your menagerie. Happy 2012!

  7. Great recap. You're inspiring me with the progress you've made. Happy New Year!

  8. Whoo, you had a crazy year weather-wise didn't you? EEK

    I'm glad you didn't let the weather get you down and you made progress with your horse and your life, exciting!

    PS- Love the photos of Val eating watermelon.

  9. An excellent recap of 2011, the Shimmy Shack always makes me smile when you mention it. Happy New Year to you and to Val!!

  10. Love the recap-happy happy New Year!

  11. This was so wonderful. All of those pictures tell an incredible story. I love that you are a person who truly LIVES all year long. Can't wait to see what you're doing in 2012!

  12. Happy New Year to you and your gorgeous beast! I especially love the photo where he is flat out on his side. lol!

  13. Happy New Year to you and Val! I love the photos of Val enjoying watermelon. So glad that 2011 ended on a good note for you - may it continue to get better and better!

  14. Best wishes for a fantastic (and hurricane-free) 2012. Love the photos of the melon-gnoshing Val. You are living a dream.

  15. The watermelon photos get me every time!

  16. What a great year (well most of it lol)!! :D


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