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!

Quit Stalling and Pony Up Those Goals

Puns … again?! Whatever is my life coming to?

I still haven’t written my 2018 goals for the blog yet, and I don’t want to let January go by with just a single post, since I’m trying really really hard to make this year be a year when I actually write things on the blog (so I guess that could be a goal … )

Anyway, life has been somewhat hectic.  I’ve started winter quarter classes, and am plotting madly about how to make sure I get my first research choice for my Prehistoric Food Production class since we have to write research on a domesticated plant or animal, and we all know what my first choice for animal is.  I miiiiight even have written in my submission choices that I have 3 … and could possibly bring one to class.  So fingers are crossed there.  My other classes are all exciting and awesome, and I hope to do well in all of them.

On the horse front, I’ve been working Mitch, trying to get the both of us back into shape from the whole enforced idleness due to surgery.  I got my AERC membership card, and we both have our numbers, and we’re aiming for a few LDs this year.  I’ve been riding, but we’ve usually just been sticking to the barn trails because I’m still not feeling 100% about trotting with this rather large surgical scar.  I have to strengthen my core more, and that’s going to require some work off the pony, so I’d better get cracking on that.

I’ve been doing a lot of walks with Zaffiro, slowly increasing the amount of time he’s been out daily.  He’s doing well, and I think he’s starting to muscle up a bit, although he’s got a long way to go in getting a meatier looking back end.  He really dropped a lot of muscle from all the standing around he had to do thanks to that bowed tendon of his, but I am being very careful about bringing him back into work, and am optimistic that he’ll make a good recovery for reasonably light-to-average riding.

I plan to continue his walks thorough most of February.  He’s doing well, as we’re almost to the foot of the hill that goes up to the upper pastures.  I’m debating adding a lightweight western saddle as a bit of weight to help muscle him up, and if all goes well, I hope I can start ponying him around the middle of February to start putting a bit more distance on him because what we’re walking now is about as far as I can really walk.   I’m tossing around tack ideas for him.  I have a cob-sized english bridle he has worn before, but it’s kinda big on him (he’s got a teeny face compared to Mitch or even Jet) and the trail rider in me absolutely insists on dressing him up (maybe not as fancy as Mitch) with a breastcollar and a halter-bridle.   He’s going to be an interesting fit anyway.  He’s maybe 14 hands, barely bigger’n a minute, and I tried a Arab/cob breastcollar on him yesterday and it was too big.  Maybe he’s a large pony size

Still trying to choose a color for him.  I like red, but he’s more of a blood bay that looks like it might clash with the red tack.  I’m not a huge fan of purple and while his halter is a green color, I’m a bit ambivalent about it. Teal and turquoise are right out as that is Mitch’s color, and the same goes for pink since that’s Jet’s.  I might do yellow, as it would look striking on him, as would blue.  Whatever color I choose, I think I’m likely to order from Two Horse Tack based on prices (Mitch might wear ATG or Taylored Tack, and I might like The Distance Depot, but it’s still pricier than I really wanna spend), so if anyone has any coupon codes from recent tack reviews, I’d probably love ya forever.

Jet’s been living up the retired life.  She’s doing really well this winter, as I’ve been blanketing since she’s old, and it’s cold.  She gets her beet pulp and pellet mash twice a day and has a great little hay net that she works on all day.  Her weight has been great, even if her topline will forever more be an atrocious mess.  She tends to nap around the middle of the day, sometimes for as long as an hour, where she alternates between lateral recumbent and sternal, but she’ll hop to her feet when she feels she’s had enough and head right back to the hay net to continue to munch.

It’s not a bad life.  I wish she had a real green pasture to doze in the sun in, but I’ve given her what I can.

Un skunk le pew!

And today, we had a visitor.  Showed up while I was getting Mitch out, and we kinda booked it past him/her in a hurry.  Was gone by the time I got back from lunging Mitch in the round pen.

I guess that’s all for now.