Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year In Review

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!


  1. A constructive horse year and most importantly, a happy horse year. Happy thoughts from here remembering Noble - I think I identify with him so much because I know the love I feel for the horse, Baja, who got me back into riding again.
    You crack me up about Drifter (the "somebody please slap me" comment). If only we could have them all - right? Happy New Year Kate! One thing is certain, you have a nice horse in Pie to ride for the coming year and many after.

  2. What a great way to sum up your year with horses. Here's to another great year!

  3. I was just writing a very similar post in my head this morning. It is always fun to look back through the posts of the last year and see all the happenings.

    I am so glad you have Pie. He is a lovely horse all the way around and the whole package. Overall I would say you had a good year and ended on a very high note!

  4. You've had a busy year with horses but I'm glad that you found Pie. I think he and you are going to make a terrific team and 2011 is going to be a great year.

    Drifter was a nice horse too but no use second guessing now that you have Pie, unless you're considering another horse? Just kidding.

    Wishing a healthy Happy New Year to your family and horses.

  5. Sorry, no slap coming from here, Drifter is one gorgeous horse! Realistically though, it's kind of like looking at wedding dresses when you're already married.

  6. good summation.

    I really liked Drifter, but I dont think thats helping...

  7. You had a full year. That's what it's all about I guess.

    Sounds like you have some big plans for this coming year. Good for you. The Mark Rashid clinic should be very informative. I learn so much more when I take my horses to a clinic instead of just watching others.

  8. Sounds like a productive year, although sad about losing Noble. I'm glad you found Pie because he sounds like such a great horse. I can't wait to see what you two get up to in the spring and summer. :) Sorry I haven't been commenting lately. I've just been so busy and I'm trying to read the two hundred posts I've gotten behind on lately. I'm now to ninety so I should be able to start commenting again lol. :) Have a happy new year!

  9. Ooops. Just looked back at Drifter's pic and I liked him too.

    Pie is your perfect match, though, and I see a great future for the two of you.

    Dawn is your challenge and I think you enjoy working with her, despite all the "issues."

    It's been an eventful year for you. Here's hoping 2011 settles into a pattern of one wonderful horse experience after another!

  10. Slap,slap! Since I started following your blog after you got Pie, I wasn't around to read about Drifter. But, I was really surprised to read that you've only had Pie a few months. The two of you seem so perfect together that I assumed it was a relationship with a lot of time behind it. He is PERFECT for you and with you. Slap! Slap!

  11. Happy New Year to you and your ponies! Great summary:)

  12. Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2011.

  13. Sounds like a lot happened over the year and you got more accomplished with pie in two months that seems like you have had him onger than that.
    I like Drifter too, Im the same way, there are always horses I like and would want to own, but I resist (sometimes), lol.

  14. I refuse to dissuade you from adding to your herd! First of all I can't imagine a better home for any horse. Secondly trail riding calls for an occasional ride with a friend which means you need a guest horse! Thirdly, I was a Drifter fan.

  15. I've really enjoyed following along with your horse ventures and adventures Kate... Looking forward to sharing 2011 with you :)

    (If you're thinking about Drifter there's a reason!!)

  16. Yes, a very busy year in your horse world. You experienced the full range of joy and sorrow that loving these beautiful animals can bring. I'm impressed with your outlook and how you handled all of it from honoring Noble to welcoming Pie. I'm looking forward to reading about your progress with Dawn and Pie (and Drifter?) in 2011. Happy New Year.

  17. I've enjoyed your posts too and learned a lot, thank you for sharing your horse life with us all. Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year.

  18. Happy New Year Kate. It was great finding your blog in 2010. I find it informative and entertaining.
    Great summary of the year!

  19. It is definitely that time, isn't it? Time to think about the year past and what we'd like to accomplish in the coming months.

    I have no idea how you all do it in places where Spring is the return to consistent riding. Bar would a) hate me and b) explode! Though with the amount of rain we've had here, I am thinking Spring may not come soon enough.

    Happy New Year, Kate! And the same to all your equine buddies!

  20. Happy New Year Kate! Thank you for your comment on my blog. I'm not a great "commenter" as usually by the time I fit in some reading time, wrote own blog etc I am too tired to put together a meaningful sentence. The weather, as bad for business as it is, is sure good for catching up with other bloggers :)
    Hope Pie turns up a great partner for you.
    Btw, you probably have already but if not, have a look at Podhajsky's book 'My horses, my teachers'. I think you would really enjoy it.

    Once again, all the best for 2011!

  21. That was one special year with horses!
    I saw what Jules did with your Noble poster... really nice to way remember him with that fave picture.

    This past year now waning, the new excitedly looming. Hope it become molder for you to maybe steal a ride back or two. On to look at Drifter. (I second what Breathe said!)

    Happy New years of blessings and tidings Kate! The horse world is better for knowing YOU!
    KK w/Wa mare

  22. Ditto what Breathe said, although it sounds like Pie will be a great partner for you in 2011 and all you really "need."

  23. A year with lots of ups and downs; but it ended on a good note. Hope there are lots of good notes in 2011! Happy New Year- and I love your header photo.

  24. Thanks for posting this. It makes me feel like I'm getting to know you :) Happy new year!

  25. Wow--a lot has happened with you and your horses this year. Certainly, Pie was a good way to end it. What an exciting 2011 you have to look forward to now. And, Drifter??

    Happy New Year, Kate!


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