Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011: The year of epiphanies

What a year, eh? I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's end-of-the-year wrap-ups, but in the meantime here's mine.

In February I sucked up my courage and sat astride my mare for the first time since my ankle was broken.

In March I had my first epiphany of the year: A diet of hay and forage are not enough, Gwen and Coriander were showing signs of mineral deficiences. My hunt began to find a diet that would keep them at their best.

In April I got my first trimming client, Zippy, a horse whose hooves continue to fascinate me.

In May I had another epiphany, this one was about the sensitive nature of Gwen's eyes, explaining her fear of everything white and bright.

In June I realized that I had been letting Coriander get away with too much under saddle, resulting in a horse that decided he could run off at any time. We had two weeks of awful rides before we got the running off sorted out and I finally figured out that the real solution was to keep him on his toes- to be a rider instead of a passenger.

Later in June I made a bad decision and got bucked off of Gwen. Fortunately I wasn't hurt but it did make some holes in her training glaringly evident. We commenced with ground driving which turned out to be fantastic for both of us.

In July it was hot, hot, HOT and I did a lot of hand walking my horses, getting Gwen more comfortable with the outside world.

I also figured out that I had missed some things clicker training Coriander and set out to teach him some new skills and make sure he understood the process.

In August I went to trimming school and well and truly learned how to trim hooves the right way, it was an awesome experience. Plus- donkeys!

In September I received my beautiful Ansur saddle that I am completely in love with. It's been on five horses so far and they've all liked it. It is amazing.

Unfortunately it also showed me something I had been trying to ignore for months- that my old Crosby was hurting Coriander, which he tried to tell me by running away every time I went to put it on his back. He still tenses up to run sometimes when I bring out the Ansur, which makes me really sad, but once the saddle is on his back he breathes a sigh of relief. He'll never wear the Crosby again.

In September I also got back on Gwen after the bucking incident and reaped the rewards of all that ground driving. It made a huge difference!

In October, I made an interesting discovery about impacted bars and decided that I needed to further my education so I can teach Coriander to carry himself correctly.

In November I started taking dressage lessons on better educated horses than mine so I could learn about contact and how a horse in self-carriage should feel. This has contributed to my last and ongoing epiphany of 2011- contact is important, and I'm learning how to use it correctly.

Also in November, I made the decision to put Coriander on vacation and focus on Gwen. Unfortunately, them living on a Christmas tree farm put a bit of a damper on my plans to ride her on the weekends but in the past week we've made a ton of progress- she trots under saddle now!

Sure it took 11 months to get from mounting to trotting, but life is in the journey, not the destination right? And this year was quite the journey. I can't wait to see what happens in 2012!

Also- not a bone broken, that's an improvement on last year :)


  1. I think you,Gwen and Coriander have had a very productive year. Best wishes for an even more wonder time in 2012. Happy New Year!

  2. You did better than me in the broken bones department in 2011! May 2012 be an even better year for you than 2011.

  3. Wonderful post, and I join you in celebrating no broken bones. Loving the contact epiphany - we're working on that one as well...

    You've done a beautiful job listening to your horses, and they have rewarded you. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings you. Best wishes to you in the New Year!


  4. Thanks GHM, I agree with that. Hopefully that trend will continue. I have grand plans for my Quarters!

    Thanks Kate, for you too. 2012 is going to be a good year for all of us.

    Thanks CFS, for your comments and for your part in my contact epiphany. Reading your posts has helped me quite a bit.

  5. You are definitely is ALL about the journey.

    Thanks for a great year of informative and fun posts. I look forward to following your progress with Gwen and Coriander and your trimming clients.

  6. I had quite a few epiphanies myself, some of them because of your help and super informative posts! Here's to another great year for you and your horses! I can't wait to hear how it all goes.

  7. Happy New Year! Best wishes and I cannot wait to read what you accomplish with Gwen and Coriander in 2012.

  8. Great recap. The saddle is gorgeous. You had a very productive year.
    Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading your blog and benefitting from your comments in 2012.

  9. Looking back is a wincefest for any horseperson worth their salt, you know. Best wishes and tell the Quarters Happy New Year!

  10. What a good year you have had. Best wishes for 2012. I hope it is as positive and productive as 2011 was for you.

  11. Thanks Val, I'll keep you updated :)

    Becca- I'm glad I could help you and Lilly.

    Thanks Allison!

    Carol, thanks, you too!

    Fetlock- too true. If you don't look back and see something you regret you either didn't do anything or you weren't paying attention. Live and learn.

    Thanks Wolfie, I know this year has been rough on you, I hope 2012 treats you a little better.

  12. Happy Happy New Year :) I so enjoy reading your blog

  13. What a busy year, but sounds like it was a good one. :)

    I LOVE the last photo of Gwen!