2013 was a great year. In 2011, Pie and I had our Very Bad Accident (three broken bones, a severe concussion, a multi-month recovery and serious loss of confidence in my case), and we also entered into a period of dealing with EPM (all three horses) and Lyme (Pie). 2012 was a year of big changes - new barn (with an indoor and where I didn't have to clean stalls or do daily turnout) and where I really rededicated myself to becoming the better horse person I needed to be for my horses. Red and Pie went to stay with Heather, and they and I trained with her - for about 45 days in Pie's case and 90 days in Red's case. Pie and Red and I rode in the Mark Rashid clinic that spring. Substantial progress was made by all concerned, but particularly by me in terms of my body position and mechanics. In 2013, I was able to ride consistently all year, with all three horses, and we made great progress in terms of connection and softness, and I continued my exploration of how to ride better so I could stay out of my horses' way. Here are our rides for 2013: total rides: 673; Dawn: 200, Pie: 223, Red: 250. Some of those rides were short, or only at the walk, but we showed up and we did it together. In June, I also had the wonderful opportunity to take a private lesson with Mark Rashid, and I've been working on his "less is more" assignment to me ever since.
My horses continue to be my best teachers, and every time I ride, they help me ride better - we've been working a lot on my body position lately and on freeing up their movement.
Updates: Red's corneal abrasion healed up without incident, in less than a week - whew! And I've purchased a new saddle for him - an About the Horse #2 tree light trail saddle, 16" seat - very much like the one I've already got, but a #2 instead of a #1 tree, and black instead of brown. I dealt with a very nice lady in Minnesota, and the saddle was shipped last Monday and should be here soon. This is my second purchase of a used saddle over the internet - in both cases through the used saddle section of the About the Horse web site, which makes a big difference I think - and my experiences with the sellers have been excellent. I have 7 days to try it out once it gets here, so I'm keeping fingers crossed - Red will let me know if it fits, but Heather has a #2 tree saddle that fit both Red and Pie well, so I think it'll be fine. If it's good, Red will need a new, black, bridle . . . I don't get to shop a lot for new horse stuff as I have so much already, but there are exceptions . . . Here are some pictures of the new saddle:
The saddle looks to be very well cared for and in very good condition. I think Red will look very good in black, don't you?
My goals for 2014 are more of the same - more riding - every chance I get - and more improvement in my position and softness so my horses can offer me more freedom of movement, connection and softness. I feel a very strong bond with all three, very individual, horses, and I'm looking forward to spending as much time as possible with them in the New Year.
I think there may be some posts coming on my answer to a boarder's question to me last week: "why are your horses so calm?" . . .
A very happy New Year to you and your equine companions!