THE SKY IS FALLING! Run around screaming, the sky is falling!
Now that I have your attention, let’s bring the stress level back down and chat about horses on this Day Of The Horse. You guys, I was so extremely lucky this year! Did I meet a single goal I had set? Nope! Did I make it to a single endurance ride, either as a volunteer or a rider? Nope!
I was lucky enough due to a new job to be able to afford a steady lease on a beautiful redheaded Quarter Horse, which stabilized my horse access immensely and was the biggest contributor to how much I was able to just get on and ride this year. I still have miles to go to unlock all of Raymond’s abilities (more squats and two pointing, says the trainer!), but I trust him and enjoy him and look forward to another year of trails and more with him. The discovery that horse camping with a steady horse is much less stressful than endurance was a true eye opener!
Another big revelation this year was riding alone. As I’ve been catch riding people’s second string horses for several years, I haven’t ridden alone until this year. Thanks to my trainer’s amazing trust, I was able to take Ray for many ambles alone, just “My backpack, my pony (and dog!) and me….” style.
I was also privileged to keep catch riding a bit this year, racking up rides in beautiful areas on several other wonderful horses. I hooked up with Flynn, the smooth mustang at Whipple Creek, war mare Dahli at Crooked River Ranch, enjoyed a few meanders on Flash the Very Tall, and finally got out Lynn’s way to ride a much steadier Phinneas in the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge.
Hands down the best part of horses this year was finally, finally being able to really share them with Kade! He’s well on his way to being eventually hooked, due to our wonderful trainer and her easy way of bringing kids along in their riding. Just being able to bring Kade to the barn and riding while he rode his bike is hugely awesome, as well as just keeping him exposed to the hay and horse dust and slobber that makes up so much of my world.
I don’t have many horse related goals next year (I’ll only be riding for about half the year, more details to come on why), so my main focus is to keep enjoying Raymond and keep Kade in regular lessons, so he can work his way up to trail riding with me! The vision of moseying down some woodland trail with Cyrus sniffing along behind and Kade on his own horse in front is my current, almost reachable daydream, and I can’t wait!
My access to horses, all the fun trips and rides and slobber kisses is entirely due to the amazing sweetness and generosity of all my friends, and I’ll always be deeply grateful for all you (you know how awesome you are, right?)