2010 was quite the year in my horse world - many changes and developments. Here's a summary of some of what happened.
In January, the weather shut down any riding. I started riding Maisie again in March, and did some ground work with Dawn starting in April - I had started doing a little work with Dawn the year before.
I did this post back in April, expressing my doubts about my work with my horses, and the suitability of the horses I had for me at this point in my life - "I'm Losing the Thread . . .".
In June I did this post - "Day of Delight and Mystery" - talking about how my work with Maisie was going - much better - and about finally getting back up on Dawn. Working with Dawn has been an enormous challenge for me, and not always one I'm sure I'm up to, but we've made some good progress together, step by step (see the post "The Horse Is Thinking About Leaving . . . " for some of the work Dawn and I have been doing and the challenges this has presented me).
In July I audited a Mark Rashid clinic and learned some new and interesting things - see the sidebar for the clinic write-ups that I did. I spent a lot of time thinking about where I was in my horsemanship journey, and where I wanted to go and did several posts about that - see the sidebar Steps on the Journey for more about that.
And then at the end of July, I lost my sweet Noble at age 30 after a brief illness. He was the horse who got me back into riding as an adult, and I owe everything that has come after to him and his sweetness and intelligence.
By August, Dawn and I were really making some good progress in our arena work. Maisie was on-again/off-again lame and finally in September we determined that the extent of the adhesions and scarring in her hind tendons and ligaments was such that she would never be able to stay in work and reliably sound. I make the decision to retire her at age 13 to Tennessee to join Lily and Noble at Paradigm Farms.
In September, Dawn ran into a fence and had some minor injuries, and then in October she had a brief lameness episode - probably a tweak in a front leg. Then in December she somehow managed to cut her tongue. In between these episodes, we continued to get some good work done.
Once Maisie was retired, I started to think about a new horse - here were my thoughts in early September: "My Next Horse". And then I was off on the great horse search, which took a lot of time and effort, and numerous phone calls and several visits to see horses (search the label "horse search" for the extensive and tedious details).
The end result of my search was Pie! He came home at the end of October. Since then, we've gotten in more than 25 rides, mostly just getting to know one another, including a fair amount of trail riding. He's exactly the horse I needed and wanted - smart, mostly calm (although still a very young horse at age four) and sound - and I really like him, more every day.
Now, other than occasional rides on Pie as the weather permits, we're into deep winter here and riding time will be limited until spring. I'll be waiting to work with and ride Dawn again until the weather permits - the challenges she presents me are best addressed with frequent work sessions to allow us to build consistency and mutual confidence.
I'm sure that 2011 will give me the opportunity to continue to work on my horsemanship, which for me is primarily about my relationship with my horses and learning how we can better work together. Pie and I have lots to do and enjoy together, and Dawn and I will continue our work and see where it takes us. In May I'm planning to take two horses to a Mark Rashid clinic. And I keep thinking about Drifter . . . a horse I looked at and passed on (somebody please slap me! - but use the search box for "Drifter" if you're interested in his story).
A very happy and healthy New Year to all of you and your equine companions!