Knocking (Virtual) Tevis Off the “Bucket List”: Week 1

The Tevis Cup has got to be on a lot of people’s bucket lists.  It’s one of the ultimate dream rides that just about everyone I’ve ever talked to has spoken about someday wanting to compete in it.  Heck, I wanna ride Tevis someday.   I don’t know if I ever will because my knee can be a real bastard sometimes; and I definitely won’t ever ride it on my golden boy because there’s no freaking way Mitch would want anything to do with a 100 mile endurance ride and the way things are going right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the right horse for it.

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Mitch’s 12th Gotcha Day (Plus A Saddle Update)

Yesterday, Feb 12th was our official Gotcha Day; the day that I went to try him out at the therapeutic riding center all those years ago and loved him so much I brought him home (well, a few days later since they had to haul him over for me). It’s been 12 years now, and I’m really looking forward to the next 12!

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Adios 2019

Oh hey, I have a blog, don’t I?  And I’ve apparently forgotten to post anything since February and suddenly it’s December 31st and I’m all, OMG, year’s end, and stuff.  So without further ado … here’s a short post to show that I haven’t totally disappeared off the face of the earth.

I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted in horse riding this year.  We didn’t do any shows, or endurance rides even though I had hoped to, but things happened and choices had to be made.  My horses wanted for nothing, but I didn’t have a lot of extra money to toss around (series of bad decisions that weren’t horse-related) and it didn’t help that there was a minor vet crisis (more on that later) and while things were not the amazing year I’d anticipated, there is always next year (and the year after that and the year after that)

It’s been a year of ups and downs; we’ve had a couple of special horses pass at the barn, and my very first riding instructor passed away just before Halloween.  Among those special horses was the foster kid, Zaffiro, the Arab I was taking care of for a friend.  Things were getting kind of rough money-wise, but it looked like things had been smoothed out with a rescue being able to help contribute, but unfortunately he passed away from colic (and possible neuro issues).  It left me in a state of mixed feelings because I’d grown to care for him so much, but I was also relieved that financial concerns were gone for his owner, who has been in a nursing home for several years now.

On the other hand, I continue to be eternally grateful that Jet remains with us.  Things looked dicey for her last year, but she has been doing well, if somewhat gimpy (she’s retired, she’s on meds and she is still Mitch’s companion so I am continuing to let her choose her time).  She has gained a lot of weight this year compared to looking skinny last year, so all in all, she’s what you’d call ‘optimal weight’ for a DSLD horse (not too much weight or it’s harder on their pasterns)  She’s always been a bit ribby, but her butt looks great.  I am glad she still has the gumption in life, because she’s still willing to live (oh the noises she makes when demanding her hay net, plus she gets alfalfa for all meals so that’s a perk)

I graduated university in June, with a Bachelor’s degree.  Still trying to finalize plans for grad school, but not making any decisions yet.  I got approved with a new costume in the 501st Legion, and am now a Biker Scout (from Return of the Jedi).  I was approved in late July and have trooped 9 times with it so far, including several nights at the Zoo’s Halloween event, twice at the hospital, and also at some other charity events as well as the two local premieres of The Rise of Skywalker in last month.

Mitch has been doing fabulously well all year.   He’s terribly cute, of course, and color-coordinated because I’m OCD like that.   I did end up getting that Wintec Pro dressage saddle I’d mentioned back in January, and sold the Tekna AP later in the spring.  The Wintec Pro was $60 and I couldn’t pass up a deal like that.   It’s become one of my favorite saddles, in that I prefer riding in it.  I’ll throw the Abetta endurance on if I feel I need the extra secured-in feel, but otherwise, the deep seat on the pro really makes it comfortable to ride in.

  We did not get to do any dressage shows, and the one endurance ride I had planned was a no-go because he had an abscess.  Now, I don’t want to say he got Dryland Distemper, because we couldn’t be sure since the vet couldn’t culture it, but he got a pretty good sized lump on his chest for a few months.  Despite the lump (because at the time, even the vet wasn’t sure what it could be) we did haul out to our favorite stomping grounds in Ellwood.  My trailer looked like ‘abandoned derelict’ because for some reason, even being parked out in full sun, it got some moss and whatnot growing on it.  We had a great time with our friends, and Mitch had a wonderful time out on the trails.

However, a couple of weeks later, the lump ended up being an abscess, so that put paid to our riding plans for a while.  The endurance ride, even at the intro level, was out.  And I more or less didn’t feel like working him any faster than a walk once he finally healed up enough.

And then of course, the rain started…

So here we are today, on December 31st, 2019.  I ended the year as I began it, in the saddle of my favorite and bestest buddy.  2020 marks the 21st year of Mitch’s life (hey, he’s legally able to drink in human years now) and our Gotcha Day will be our 12th anniversary together.  It’s been a ride and half, when i look back to us a decade ago, we were just starting out.  And we’re still going strong.  I don’t know if we will do all the riding things I want to do in 2020.  My pocketbook is going to be the judge of that, but at least one thing I hope to do is more trail riding off property, even if it means going out by myself.  Thankfully, that’s only going to be the cost of gas.

I’m grateful that I still have Mitch in my life, thorough everything we’ve been through, and continue to look forward to many more years together.

Happy 11th Gotcha Day, Mitch!

Now, I really should have been writing my paper on censorship in children’s literature instead of taking a walk down Memory Lane, but February 12th is SUCH a big important anniversary in my life that I really need to take a moment and reflect on the fact that Mitch and I have been together for eleven years now.

He looked so little and young then!

When I first saw Mitch, he was eight … going on nine. And now … in 18 days, he will be twenty years old. I know I’m a lifer when it comes to my horses because I had Flair for 12 years, but it seems just like yesterday that I was pulling into the parking lot at the local therapeutic riding place to try out this little golden critter. I had never seen a Haflinger in person at this point, much less ridden one, and I just fell in love.

A Trip Down Memory Lane … Some Memories (among so many more)

Sure, I got him on “trial” but I knew deep down that was just a formality and he would be staying. We’ve really been through a lot together. Trail rides, rescue helicopters coming down near us, runaway horses and play day events. We’ve experienced driving a cart, and hauling out on our very own trailer as well as riding in other people’s trailers too. We’ve gone through having a broken leg (me) and saddle woes (him). We’ve had our moments where I was sure we’d never make it as a team, and then we went to our first dressage show and won a third place ribbon. It’s been one heck of a ride.

And it’s not over yet! He might be turning twenty, but Mitch has still got it, as seen from this video of us two weeks ago (do ignore the date on the video, I hadn’t formatted my new helmet camera yet.) Hopefully soon this rain will finally end and we can hit the trails again!

Happy Gotcha Day, Mighty Mitch!! Here’s to another 11 (and more) years to go!

Muddy Pens Redux

The atmospheric river parked itself over Southern California this week, and since early Monday morning, we’ve been getting a pretty steady downpour. It’s been muddy muddy muddy and muddy. I’m sick of rain, the ponies are sick of the rain and I haven’t been able to muck in days because there’s no way I can even get a muck cart into the corral and I’d be scooping up what is dry ground in summer and that’s the last thing I want to do. Luckily, horse poop is just grass and disintegrates easily, so as it starts drying up over the next week or so, I’ll be able to scrape and scoop and get everything cleaned up.

I was going to do a “what we are wearing” post, borrowing it of course from GoPony but all my stuff is at the ranch, in my tack shed which has been closed up since the rain started and I don’t have room to take pictures of things in there, so that’s just going to have to wait. In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of odds and ends to post about, as I am trying to make a commitment to post at least once a month, even if it is somewhat meaningless.

Sunday was the last day I was able to ride before the series of storms rolled in. Since I got that used full sheepskin seat-saver, I found that it’s actually meant for an all-purpose saddle, rather than dressage, and I set out to find an AP saddle on eBay. Success was achieved. I made an offer for a Tekna Club saddle, and I got it last Friday. I haven’t ridden in an AP saddle since before my accident in 2015, so I was a little apprehensive about how my knee would feel. I didn’t have to worry though since I seem to be getting enough flexibility back that riding with a slightly long stirrup was very comfortable, and thus I have a third saddle with which I can alternate around with while riding Mitch. I might very well use the Abetta for group/conditioning rides and use the dressage or AP for endurance rides. Either way, I have lots of choices.

And of course Mitch looks super snazzy in his royal blue Zilco tack. Since I’m a Myler junkie, I put his MB04 kimberwick on that headstall, as he loves the MB04 mouthpiece. I’ve discovered recently that I’m enjoying riding Mitch on a very loose rein, and minimal contact and he’s been really quite well behaved. The brakes are there if needed, of course, but I’ve been wondering if he’s starting to feel his age and doesn’t “spunk” much anymore. It’s kind of hard to believe that he’s going on twenty this year and that I’ve had him for eleven years. but I really feel we’ve come a long way in the time we’ve been together and look forward to many more years.

In any case, the rain stopped earlier today, and by early afternoon it was dry enough that I went out for a ride. We stayed on the gravel roads and only went from the end of self-care up to the show barn and back a few times. I half expected Mitch to be really spicy, but aside from feeling a bit strong at first, he settled and we got to meander around for a while.

Tomorrow is likely going to be spent trying to get a start on cleaning up after the rain, and getting the ponyface out to walk some more. I’m also supposed to meet someone to get a Wintec Pro dressage (I know, I know … another saddle, but it was on Facebook for less that $100 which is a super deal and I just snapped it up before anyone else did.) Guess that’s all for now!

So Long To Ye Twenty-Eighteen

So here we go, the year-end recap.  2018 wasn’t really the year I had hoped it would be, but it was also the year I got things done, so I can’t really complain that much.  I never ever did any yearly goals for the year, so maybe it was better that way, and less stressful.  I might go ahead and do the exact same thing for 2019, because just winging it turned out better than freaking out that I wasn’t doing anything I had planned on doing.  But moving on …

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The Fault in My Stars

With the weekly forecast in the mid thorough upper 70s for the next few weeks, and an XP ride on our calendar, I felt it was time to kick things up a notch and commence the annual ritual of Shave-A-Pony.   Ormally I wait until No ember 11-ish, but we’re likely to be out on the ride that day, and thus, I wanted Mitch to have a few weeks of growing in his coat from my sucktastic clipping job.

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Totally The Last Post of 2017

Cuz I won’t be posting anything more tomorrow or Sunday because reasons!

Anyway, this was a thing today.

I was originally going to just lunge him, but I had my tackroom door open, and his brushes out, and was brushing him off, and then decided what the hell.  I was gonna lunge anyway, so why not tack him up and then lunge, and then if he was good and quiet, hop on.

So I guess I will have managed to have ridden my horse before the end of 2017 after all.  We only did a few laps around the round pen at the walk, as I’m nowhere near ready to try a trot, but he was good, and then I rode him back down to his corral, where we stopped briefly to chat with another rider, and he stood patiently until it was time to go home.

What a good pony.