Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Goalpost


This post lingered in the draft box for ages and didnt feel like coming to fruition for many reasons. Its been chillin’ for over two weeks... Luckily, the norovirus seems to have left my body and B has been let out of his prison today for the first time in about 9 days (poor dude/IHATEOHIOWEATHER).

SIDENOTE--my babies turn a year older in one day..one day!

Back to goals and stuff.

I’ve always had a difficult time setting goals. And I think its SUPER clich√© to do it at the beginning of the year. I think people should have evolving goals that actually get accomplished,  not make giant yearly statements. But here I am.

Hello. Its me.
Its taken me some to get over my weird dislike for setting actual goals, but over the last year it helped me stay true and given me something solid to work towards. I guess I’ll stick with it *drags feet*

In 2015 I was still new to this goals thing and floundered a little on specificity. I also had just gotten Bacardi and had really high hopes, but not sure where we could go, or what I could afford. Most of my goals were seriously generalized and therefore hard to determine success or failure.



Failure is also a ridiculousy mean word. As long as someone is working towards a goal, I consider is a success, but for blogging means I will assign Pass/Fail to each *drags feet*

So to recap for 2015:

General Riding:

1. Lateral work

-->PASS?  We first had to work on not having meltdown when leg was applied. Getting over things slowly. I wont mention the massive meltdown he had yesterday (idiot!) when I asked him to move over in the crossties. I will say his halted “lateral work” has improved tenfold under saddle. Forward lateral work under saddle is still a struggle. Progress?

2. Proper carriage

-->PASS. I cant even begin to describe the hurdles we have overcome with this. It was a slow start to the year, broken up by everything under the sun, but I can fully say YES this was achieved.

3. Canter departs

-->PASS.  Again, rocky and slow beginning. But at this time, MOST canter departs are smoothe and without flailing around like he’s dying. I consider this a success.

4. Tentative flying changes

-->PASS.  This was my only “fancy”  riding goal and he somehow came to me with the basics of flying changes already nailed in his weird head. Under the flailing, tantrums, bolting and hollowness that was his canter for several months, there were actual real flying changes in there. I tried to leave them alone for the most part since this is a more “upper level” thing, but it was fun to poke with on a good day. I would say theres a 75% success rate at this time. Rarely does he give me attitude, just doesn’t change behind.  In time.

Show Goals:
1.   April schooling show debut
2.   May schooling shows
3.   June USEA show debut
4.   End of year USEA show

Well. FAIL. None of this happened. None. Sure, we did a SINGLE schooling show in December..sure, I took him to a USEA event as a NC, but nope, did not do a single thing all year.  Its okay. I’m regrouping, we spent some time here and there working on fundamentals and we will charge headfirst into 2016 (but without causing head trauma).



My personal goals were more easily specified, since I am wicked hard on myself and demand perfection.

2015 Personal Goals were as follows:

 1. Gym: at least 3x's a week, stick to WODs, motivate thyself however possible

-->PASS....kind of. For the most part, this was easy to do. I enjoy Crossfit and pride myself on being fit. The community helps motivate me and I actually look forward to working out at my Box. Sadly, I was injured/sick WAY too much and some weeks/months this did not happen. I will still count this as a win, since injuries and sickness usually should not and cannot be worked through at the gym.

2. Food: no more than 2 "eat-out" meals a week, drink all the water & don't get bored with meals and cheat

-->Actual PASS here. I was so strict with my diet this year. I fell off the wagon the last 3 weeks but ITS FINE. In case anyone wonders, I am “half-Paleo”. Meaning I try to eat non-processed foods M-F & Sunday.  This means real food, not packaged. But I don’t count calories or any of that dumb shit. I just eat balanced meals with real food. Saturdays are for eating whatever I want. BRING ON THE FRIES. Drinking water is still difficult. Working on that.

3. Alcohol: Saturdays only

-->PASS. IF I drank at all, literally was never on any other day than a Saturday. Go me. This was not hard though, my party hardy days are more than over. I maaay have drank a mimosa or had one beer on a Friday or Sunday, but that’s not “drinking”. If I don’t get buzzed doesn’t count right?

4. Riding: 4x's week. Lateral work (forward, straight), Transitions (esp UP), introduce baby grids

--> PASS?FAIL? Who knows…this is hard to narrow down. Again, thanks to injuries I wouldn’t say we consistently rode 4 times a week. And until September, didn’t really have a nice place TO ride, and once we moved, we still had some injuries and sickness to work through. Whomp whomp.

5. Horse stuff: learn how to make polos, quarter sheet, tack box (and make them), actually clean my tack and attach tags to said tack

-->Well. I cleaned my tack more? FAIL.  But I obtained lots of polos and a quarter sheet…

6. Non-horse stuff: start to learn spanish, travel savings account, organize music, make Etsy better, art more

-->Horrible, tragic, 100 % FAIL. I didn’t do a single one of these things.

PASS: 7
FAIL: 4
NOT SURE: 3

OVERALL: WINNING


















This brings me to the new year and new goals.

I want to say good riddance to 2015 and that it was awful and horrible and all the bad words...but despite the pitfalls, I dont have any ill feeling towards 2015. Sure, there were some really shitty moments, but nothing earthshattering. The high points really outweighed the lows, and I learned from the bad..which is good. Following?



Again I’m having a hard time specifically nailing down reasonable and attainable goals because the ribbon  whore/die hard inside me just wants to be perfect at everything. The realist is loling, knowing that you cant ever PLAN to succeed with horses, only have a battle plan to try and do so. I also have a tendency to really want for things I know I cant have. Like go to a USEA show every month. Monetarily, its impossible. I’m coming to grips with that. It’s a bit difficult among bloggers and barn friends who frequent shows without batting an eyelash at the cost, but I’m getting a grip with that side of me. Not everyone gets everything they want.



My loftiest goals with all the money in the world would be to go to one show a month, have lessons bi-weekly,  qualify for the AEC’s at BN and move up to Novice near the end of the year.

HAHAH.

Alas, this is most likely out of my reach. I’m barely scraping together board (which I have NORAGRATS about, ever), but that’s about all I have in regards to extra spending money. Also I know Grad School will sadly eat up some of my freetime. ITS OKAY. Its starts in one week by the way.



 I’m coming to terms with it and no longer denying that I am a peasant in the horse world.

Therefore, and unfortunately, I am reining myself in with my riding and showing goals.

At this time, 2-3 sanctioned events would be cool. I would need to become a member again with USEA, which I’m debating NOT doing since BN doesn’t require it, but I’ve never not been a member. Will most likely suck it up and become a member again. Luckily B is already registered! Lookout world,  Anejo Highball is coming for you! AEC’s would be even cooler, but we need to MAKE it to an event before we head down that wonderful road. Before we even think about dropping half a paycheck on an event weekend, we need to double-time our exposure at schooling shows. We have two in January already, and since they are more affordable, I am more than willing to flail at those until we get our shit together. No real number in mind, just as many as possible. If I had to choose a number, 1-2 per month would be spiffy until Spring. Specific USEA shows have not been chosen, My favorites are KY Classique and Champagne Run and participating in Area champs would be cool too, but most likely not possible. I would adore to not chill at BN forever, since I’ve competed through Prelim, but I am OK taking my time with B. If he does well, we move up. If he needs time to chill, we chill.


Training wise, I would like to add some more toys to our training arsenal. This means more lessons. Specifically, one a month. That’s reasonably affordable and gets us some training time. Better than nothing! Super trainer is always fantastic and the homework she gives us is actually doable and worthwhile.

The problem with B is that his talent far exceeds his experience and his pea brain tantrums. While we are schooling flying changes, counter canter and jumping 3’3, hes only been to one show. ONE. And it wasn’t sanctioned. The one show he did attend as NC he literally could not function near the show rings. Brain fell out of skull. Even at home sometimes, he is not mentally present and we have horrible days (less and less nowadays, but still) Therefore, I’m a little unwilling to even drop money on USEA entries without getting some smaller experience first…but then the other part of me is like, suck it up or you will never get anywhere.

That’s all a little wordy.

Very specifically it boils down to this:

     1. 2-3 USEA shows. Start with BN. Don’t get eliminated.
     2.  1 schooling show a month
     3.  Jump a 3’6 course in competition
     4.  Jump 3’9 once
     5. Jump a training corner successfully
     6. Jump a combination line to skinny successfully
     7. Conquer water complexes
     8. Get clean single changes
     9 Begin Renver/Traver
    10.  Clean leg yields (straight/no head tossing)
    11.  Quite turn on forehand (no head tossing)
    12.  Define difference between Medium and extended trot
    13.  Learn 3 new tricks

Whew. That’s a big list. All things attainable IMO.

Personally, most of my goals feed off last year. Maintenance is key for me. I am a creature of habit. I do have a few specific personal goals though.

      1. Keep life perspective & try to show gratitude at every turn
      2. Obtain a pay raise
      3. Maintain a 3.0 GPA for my 1st year of grad school
      4. Clean out my email in box (holy 4,000 emails!)
      5. Learn SOME Spanish
      6. Add $2,500 to savings (not 401K, personal savings) (also LOL)
      7.  Squat 200 lbs (45lbs away!)
      8.  Deadlift 275 (65 to go!)
      9. One strict pull-up ( no assistance)
     10.  Run 3 miles without stopping
     11.  Complete a Tough Mudder
     12.  Pay off medical bills
     13.  Get another tattoo

Funny. I didn’t even try to make both lists number 13. Maybe TSwifts lucky number will be lucky to me too?

Heres to the New Year!

**The photography is from my photo session in the fall with the professional. They turned out pretty dang good! (Hilary Tebo Photography)





Monday, December 28, 2015

End of Year Reminisce

Its that time.

That time of year when we all get sick and do no riding and spend literal days secluded to the bathroom. Oh wait, thats just me? Well it been REAL FUN. And I hope my stomach flu vacates immediately because nobody got time to be sick for more than a day or two and we are comin up on day 7. Seven.

What I mean to say is, "Ahhh, its that time of year again"

The time of year where all of us with blogs re-cap and relive our own stories all over again while writing our year end posts, hoping some stragglers will follow along and re-read and et something out of our strange, weird, sometimes complicated lives with our horses.. Some of you guys are actually interesting and cool and did stuff and THINGS. But us over here at CTD are not those things and did no things. Nevertheless, I have painstakingly worked on this post so you bitches better appreciate it (or pretend to).

Without further ado, a severely summarized Year End Post:

2015 started off on a positive and hopeful note, as all new years should. I had lofty goals for my new horse and hoped for great things....

JANUARY:

I was sad about Yankee being gone, but dad and I hit the trails a bit with Lily and B. 






The weather was insane and therefore B was insane. I struggled with his explosiveness and combating the frigid temps with no indoor arena. 

hi. Im a horse and I want to kick your face in.
He was absolutely awful to body clip. I watched a LOT of Greys Anatomy. I got a LOT of flack for THIS (click to read) post. 

To quote a bit, “So to say my ride yesterday was the worst of my entire 24 year existence is no exaggeration. I realize I said that about Tuesday's ride, but I shit you not, yesterday, I rode a dragon from hell. Fucking hell.” 
I also apparently had dental work done that knocked me down for a few days, and the flu. I don’t remember this. Lily was having some extreme weight loss issues. We debated as group on what to do about it. I love all of you. People commented more back then too…hint hint

FEBRUARY:
We also commented and debated as group what could possibly be “wrong” with B. It was actually a really good post. If you want to read it it is HERE (click to read). I stayed sad about it. Like really sad. 

To quote, “I rode once last week and it was so horrible, again, that something in me snapped. I don't want to be done, but I feel so done. I want to ride so badly, but I don't. My mind is my greatest enemy, but who would want to ride, knowing its going to be shit everytime, no matter what. I'm so sick of it & I want it to get better. If this is how every winter is going to be with him I don't know if I can do this.”  
I remember it quite well. He was truly, truly, just the WORST. We couldn’t even hack at a walk without him rearing. We had a few fun things. An old friend took me on a trail ride wherein he only tried to kill me a few times and we brainstormed that maybe it was his tail being tied up giving him fits.


At this point I had started looking for boarding barns. I made THIS (click to read) post about hunters and their positions over fences and people lost their shit over it. We almost froze to death, with constant -10 temps. Lily ripped her legs open (like really bad) somehow and the temps did not help healing. 

Except snow was a mighty nice icebath for the wounded and swollen leggies
It was cold. Did I say it was cold? I also got a new job. PLUS. MONEY GOOD.

MARCH:
I decided not to board at EME. Not having an income does that.  I did buy Rolex tickets though, obviously. I bought giant round bales. There was mud everywhere. If it was possible, B was acting even worse. Like, so bad. He actually laid down with tack on. I got really pissed at some people on the internet, like actually offended by it. Specifically I was told “I NEED a coach and need to put B in training”. My response to that hate HERE (click to read) if you want to scavenge. Yeah that was rude. Did I mention so much mud everywhere? B was loading in the trailer pretty well at this point, but not really unloading. 

Halp. How do I get offs.
Yankee was doing really well though at this point and had a few nice jump lessons, XC school &  got second place at a dressage show.




APRIL:
Started off with a bang and a great dressage lesson at EME. This is my first experience with Supertrainer and I fell in love. 

A quote “I was beyond stoked to find a trainer in my area that I meshed with AND specialized in OTTBs. I will FULLY disclose, I was skeptical at first because I had never heard of her before but I didn't judge too quickly. Her facility was amazing, I had an excellent referral and my first impression of her was fabulous. What. A. Doll. Just picture like, the cutest & sweetest horsewoman you can muster and that is my new trainer. She's a gem! I hope I can continue to afford bi-weekly sessions because we galloped through so many barriers last Sunday.”  
We had a major breakthrough and cantered for the first time since October. Later in the month, I made paddocks for the ponies. There was still mud everywhere. Yankee competed at Holly Hill and had a few rails in stadium but double clear XC. I went to Rolex and it was amazing despite all the rain. I met a wolf and we saw some badasses. I bought some things.






MAY:
I lost my phone and it was horrible. Then I got an iphone 6. I also got a mild case of rhabdo, which can be a pretty serious issue. Also painful.  I found the Goldenwings bit on Ebay for super cheap. We had a few really nice rides at home considering of mostly flatwork and coming out of winter fluff phase 



We also visited Amy and Steady and had some good fun jumping at her house! He adulted like a champ. 



We also had a group jump lesson together with Supertrainer and Bacardi was still not sure what he was supposed to do with jumps. But we discovered that he is a phenom jumper. Like, phenom.  



We celebrated gotcha day on May 29th too! Then 2 days later he ripped his face open (quite literally) to the bone on the trailer, throwing a classic B tantrum.




JUNE:
B was recovering from said face bashing and the weather was torrential in the form of rain. We barely rode. When we did ride, Bacardi was full of tantrums when it came to loading and he flipped himself over twice. Awesome. Logically, I signed up for 2 schooling shows. We had some pretty amazing jump schools (for the time) at EME though . We made plans to travel to KY to see Yankee and school B. I got REALLY irritated at people on the internet and almost gave up blogging. 

A quote “I've said this before, but apparently there are those it there offended by me calling my horse a lunatic or insane and feel the need to demand I do this or do that. Fucking lighten up.”
We never did make it to the schooling shows, (surprise surprise someone wouldn’t load) so that was a loss of entry fees.  Whomp Whomp.

JULY:

Got some seriously epic 4OJ pics. 



                                                                    Pure badassery. 

Bacardi started to get on the trailer OK, but in a sweaty, rundown mess kind of way. 

do, not, like, this, thing
We headed to KY to meet up with my EME Team, my leaser & Yankee and hopefully get some good schooling in at a real show. B got on the trailer (yay) and we had a very eventful weekend. 

My baby boys. My heart! My soul!
Torrential downpours caused some hell for a lot of riders and XC schooling ended up canceling, fuckimg hell. B was an awful too, a spastic  hot mess and we didn’t really get much done in the ways of schooling.

This was in between random bolting and bucking spurts
Gave us things to work towards amirite? *eyeroll* Yankee also retired on XC…good weekend. After a lull in no-riding-land, we had another BANGIN jump school with Amy. 



A good way to end a semi-crappy and disappointing month.

AUGUST:
This month started off lame. Literally. B had an abscess  from hell and it would not die. It was about 3 solid weeks before the farrier was able to pop it. In classic dude formatting too, he milked it like a giant wuss.



TWO FUCKING weeks into healing and coddling the abcess, B also ripped off a GIANT fucking chunk of heel and was officially DONEZO with the show season before it even started.  WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY HOW WHY HOW HOW WHY WHY WHY WHY



My luck. THEN, I was hospitalized. I guess that happens when you ovaries explode. Fun.

hashtag hospitalselfie

Positive note, I blogged a TON. Readership was up and was very encouraging.  At the very end of the month, we tried to do a walking hack together and realized we were too broken to do that. Oh and I sold Lilly. 

MISS YOU BOO

                                         *****Super great month. A real winner.********

SEPTEMBER:
In a flash, I ended up moving B to EME boarding facility. It happened so fast I didn’t know what hit me, but I was grateful. Still recovering from hospital, I was loving boarding at a full care facility. 

Inspecting...

.....
...Approved

I was having a hard time blogging in this month though. Also riding. I paid my trainer to ride him a few times, and he went XC schooling for the first time EVER with her aboard. I went whitewater rafting (really good idea fresh out of the hospital, fun though).



OCTOBER:
The month of lunging. We lunged, A LOT. 

Fer real ma?
Lunge right
Lunge left

Wat we doin today?
O, lunging

For the majority of the month while I healed and B continued to heal. His foot was looking much better, Mid month I couldn’t wait any longer and we dabbled in jumping again. I was weak AF, but it was fun & and he showed his growing maturity. 



More lunging.  I also body clipped for the first time since it was still about a thousand degrees outside. We had a terrible dressage ride. And that was about it for October. Sorry we are boring.

NOVEMBER
Both of us were feeling better, exponentially. We jumped again and it was majestic.




 I was overcome with emotion regarding how much he had grown up in the last month. I truly and finally felt like he was “MY HORSE”. You know, only almost a year and a half later. I broke the news that Yankee;s lease ended, unfortunately, and BFF Extraordinaire was taking on Yankee (and saving me). 



Then, I tore my rotator cuff muscle. WOULD IT NEVER END. B got a few weeks off, I lunged more. Clipped again. Added chevrons. It was spicy.



 I contemplate life in general and selling B (what was I thinking??). Yankee went to a dressage clinic. I bought a lot of stuff with Black Friday deals. I still wasn’t riding. I also noticed readership and involvement was way down in comparison to other traffic on other blogs. Makes me le sad

DECEMBER:
Which brings us to a close. There was a REALLY great, documented ride near the beginning of the month where we played around outside, courtesy of The Boy (who has requested a blog name change). 





Then several other fantastic, uplifting and encouraging rides (wow, right at the end of the year too). Then we jumped a little. Then we went to our FIRST SHOW together ever. Better late than never, right? I was so proud of B! 



My homies

Then, got our butts kicked in a dressage lesson ( I haven’t blogged about this yet) by Supertrainer, but it was insightful and also encouraging. Then I got the SuperFlu and almost died.

And here we are.

If you made it through that, congrats.

Overall, a tumultuous and trying year. No joke. Injuries and disappointments abound. I am up to my eyeballs in vet and medical bills, but as a pair I felt we NEEDED those failures to come closer as a team. Super corny, I know. While 2015, like almost every other year since 2010, has been pretty shitty and didn’t really go “anywhere” by showing standards, I’m coming out of it feeling empowered. If we can get through 2015, I believe we can conquer 2016 in style.

Here’s to the new year, and less injuries.

Please.



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