Apologies in advance, I want to do a 2014 recap before the end of the month, but it's been a long day and I am feeling far too lazy to link back to my original posts. We're just going to keep this short and sweet!
I was newly home from an 8 month work contract in Alberta and super excited to spend more time with my Ginger mare! Ginger arrived at the 'new' barn shortly before me, and was having trouble settling in.
|White knuckle riding|
Uh oh..the reunion party was short lived. Struggling with confidence issues on the big mare, and I got another contract away from home that was too sweet to turn down. I left home again partway through the month, leaving wonderful Ginger behind to enjoy her 6 month all inclusive vacation in pony paradise and really unsure whether I even wanted to continue riding her at all beyond laid back trail rides.
|Bye, Ginger. Enjoy the BC winter!|
New city, new job, homesick. Stress levels high. Missing my horse time. Sucked it up and decided to have another try at the wannabe eventer thing. Luckily, I found a barn to ride at super quickly and my sanity was restored! Barn was hunter/jumper rather than my then current 'safe' zone of dressage, but hey, you only live once, right? At least we started in the class with cross rails and 6 year olds?
|The beginning of my love affair with Checkers the wonderhorse|
Continuing twice weekly lessons on the world's most saintly lesson horses, riding with little kids who kicked my butt on a regular basis. And I started jumping 'real' jumps for the first time in a very long time! Took advantage of living in the city and attended the Farm and Ranch show/College Rodeo Finals, as well as The Mane Event/Rob Gage clinic. Also put a PSA out there if anyone was looking for an adorable and sweet welsh cob that was newly for sale:
|Baby Bridget :)|
Confidence levels were increasing, I was finding it a bit of a struggle physically and mentally playing musical ponies and riding a different horse every lesson, but sucked in up in the name of becoming a better rider. Riding was starting to become nothing but fun again, and I was super excited for riding days! I made it home for a visit with G and Ginger, and also went to a show in Edmonton and got inspired by the big jumper classes.
Continued riding fun. Got to move 'up' into an adult lesson group from the crossrail kids crowd and gained the confidence to canter full (baby 2') courses and was having a blast! Had attempted to find a rider for Ginger starting earlier in the year, after multiple rider trials decided her stress/my sanity wasn't worth it and she could stay on extended vacation. Started looking at sale ads and considering a second horse...
|Had some great lessons on Splash while Checkers was out for a few weeks lame.|
Due to the barn show schedule and the need for the lesson horses to have a bit of a break, scaled down to one ride a week on the ever wonderful Checkers. Still struggling a bit with how big she was and how big her jump felt, but overall feeling pretty confident and solid and pretty sure I wanted to steal her. Loved the idea of having a been-there-done-that 'safe' horse so much I started shopping for one of my own! After looking at multiple cobs, and not finding anything, I decided to maybe go with a different breed, After Ginger, who was advertised as on the quiet side for a welsh, I should have known safe/quiet/schoolmaster Welsh D's are like needles in haystacks :) Finally, I gave in and went on an epic road trip to try out the 'too small and plain' welsh cob Bridget.
|Adorable, and temperament was perfect, but small and very very green.|
Who is this girl? Galloping 'jump off' mini courses in a lesson and left wanting more! A total jumping addict. Dressage, what's that?;) Spent a couple of weekends at the races and as always, wanted to take a TB home with me,
But, after much soul searching and budgeting, decided to take a chance on a super green but sensible pony and bring the lovely Bridget home! Transport was arranged, I finished work, and after a sad farewell to Checkers, was home with the Bridget, Ginger, and G by the last weekend in August.
|Spoiling her with grazing as a goodbye treat, still miss Checkers so much!|
Loving being home! Enjoyed wonderful weather and lots of fun hacks with friends. For Bridget's 5th or 6th ride, went to an 'extreme trail' clinic, learned Bridget is a sensible pony indeed, but easily bored and very opinionated! Riding nearly every morning, and enjoying life to it's fullest!
Found a nice local girl to take lessons with and continued taking both ponies all over the countryside. Poor ponies probably didn't know what hit them - life of leisure in August then near daily outings all of September/October! Bridget's training continued to progress, she tackled her first 'jump', and I went on a girls weekend away and watched 3 full days of George Morris to keep me motivated.
The weather and a bad case of pneumonia started to impact my riding plans, but we still got out for regular rides on the trails and in the ring. Lots of posts recapping Bridget's progress and training - I do find the babies fascinating, and she does have her moments!
Monumentally bad weather and flooding, along with a new job, affected my riding time and I scaled back to two or three rides a week and lots of pony spa days in the comfort of the (warm and dry!) barn. Christmas brought some drier weather and some fun holiday rides.
Looking back, while this year was a pretty difficult one on a personal level, riding wise I'm really happy with things and am proud of how hard I worked to get things turned around mentally. The confidence issues are mostly a thing of the past - I would have never in a million years bet that I would buy another green horse to bring along, let alone start over jumps! It's so nice to be back in my happy place riding wise...I hadn't realized how far I strayed over the past few years and feel like the luckiest person ever to have the opportunities to gain back confidence and be back in the saddle having fun!