Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2013: A Crazy Year in Review


My, what a year it is has been.  So many ups and downs, twists and turns...  In short my life got flipped-turned upside down (yes I did just quote Fresh Prince).  But, for a year that started out so crummy, it really did end up pretty good. 

Now normally I prefer to keep my home life out of my blog posts... this is for my horse adventures after all.  But, if you look back at my posts in January and February of this year you can see the rumblings of an unhappy me.  A post about feeling pressured into selling Cash is perhaps the widest peek I gave my readers into the fact that things were, in fact, not well at home.

And, then on March 9th my husband did the unthinkable and took his own life, and it completely shattered my world.  I was awed though at the outpouring of support from not only friends and family but from those of you who read my blog.  I simply could not believe it.  And again, a heartfelt Thank You to all my readers for your kind words.

Why exactly he did it, I'll never know... but some of the motivators that perhaps led him to that decision I have shifted through in my head over and over.  That first month afterwards was perhaps the longest month of my life.  Feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, despair, sadness and then some have all paid me a visit this year.  Yet I am thankful that the grieving process has gone by much faster for me than what would be considered "typical".  Perhaps it is because of my personality type and how I naturally process things, and also perhaps because at the time of his death I had sadly already been grieving the deteriorating state of our relationship and the loss of the person I had married.  In short, depression is a sad thing.  It's been hard not to dwell on the negative, and often I have to force myself to think about the positive memories I have of him.  I have to remind myself that he did love me, and I him.

But, what it comes down to now, as we look to finish out this year, is that I am again truly enjoying my life.  The last couple of months have flown by.  My little girl is growing in leaps and bounds and is the light of my life, school is going well and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and  I have build an incredible friendship with my late husband's ex-wife (go figure!).  She moved in with me shortly after his passing and together we are working our hardest to provide a solid and stable life for all three kiddos.

So now I'm ready to move on, make new friends, have new adventures, and enjoy what God has given me.  Jeremiah 29:11 has been my motto this year, it reads "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"  And, He's done just that for me so far.  And let me tell you what, there is nothing like the freedom to have a good, genuine laugh that comes straight from the soul.

In the horsey side of things, as I look back over the posts from the summer and fall, there aren't many that stand out to me in particular.  I'm not a very frequent blogger, I seem to average though about 1 post a week.  That said, 2013 has been my most fruitful blogging year to date.  Hooray!

Cash proved to be very difficult for the majority of the year, and remained frustratingly hard to catch for most of it... I got bucked off, and shortly afterwards vented about his dip-wadded-ness.  I was frustrated with him to the point of considering selling him of my own accord.  Instead I decided to re-start from scratch and made a return to the roundpen (and sewing projects too!!).  I started experimenting with random training techniques, and started riding him in a stock saddle and rope halter.

As I lowered my expectations of him and decided to just do "whatever" in a sense and enjoy him, suddenly things started turning around.  I've not been worried about bending or where his head is... all I care about right now is that he listens to my leg and seat, goes where I tell him without fuss, and is forward.  And so far we are hitting all three pretty square on the head.  I picked up a calming supplement for him (SmartCalm) and so far, I have to say, I think it's made a difference.  He is still spooky at times, but the anxiousness/nervousness is greatly improved and he is able to re-focus much better after a spook.  My main plan for 2014 is to take him on some good "wet saddle pad" type trail rides.  This horse needs to get out in the worst way!

I've also had the pleasure and privledge to get to work with some project ponies throughout the year.  Shadow, a little hackney pony, has been a fun one.  I really have loved working with him, he's got such a funky personality and a great work ethic.  He's not much of a kid's pony though and he might be moving on to a more suitable home, I sure will miss him if that does happen.  Which, leads to my newest project, one of the other ponies named Sassy has had previous driving experience so I'm going to be working with her to see what we can accomplish.  Lastly, I've been riding Candy, a little appy mare owned by the student who lives in the studio apartment on the property.  I'm working on improving some training holes, and in exchange her owner is lunging Cash for me a couple days out of the week to give him some extra much needed exercise (both mentally and physically).

So really, as I look back at it, despite being crazy busy with work and school and the kids, realativly speaking I've really had a decent and productive year horse wise.  Guess I really can't complain.  I've given myself the expectation not to set many expectations and just go with the flow and take it easy.  Not having the mental pressure of meeting training goals by a certain time has been really enjoyable. 

As 2014 comes up (quickly I might add), I sit here thinking about what my goals will be.  Do I even want to set goals?  Or do I just see where life takes me.  I have been setting personal goals this last half of the year, like looking people in the eye more, or being more positive with my co-workers, and I've enjoyed the challenge of them.  But as far as horsey goals?  Well, I think the bottom line is that I just want to have fun.  I have at least another long year of college ahead of me so time with the horse will be at a premium (but guess what: after this spring semester I will officially be a senior! It's been a loooooonnng time coming, 6 years of college gets old folks).  There is a one day event though late in the summer with an Elementary division that I would love to take Cash too, but we'll see what happens.

In the mean time, I am ready to say good-bye to 2013 and hello to 2014.  I have grown a lot this year as an individual and I have learned so much, but I am ready and excited to take my gang and soldier onward to bigger and better things.  But, the important thing in all of this is that I am happy, and that really makes all the difference.

As always,

Finally a day with the ponies


Is it seriously Christmas Eve already?? YIKES.

Anyway, this past Saturday I was finally able to escape for a couple hours to the barn for some much needed R&R horse time.  Man oh man did I ever need it.  I had only been out to the barn twice since Thanksgiving, and each time only for about 15 minutes of feeding treats and giving cookies before I had to scram to work or school or homework or something.

So I bundled up and took the mutts with me and went to have some fun.
Fiona is ready!
After teaching a quick lesson I pulled little Sassy pony out.  Rosemary wants me to try and get her going in harness.  She is their solid (yet ornery) lesson pony and we both think that she'll be significantly less skittish than Shadow in the cart and thus a safer option for farm school activities.  I grabbed her, put the harness on, and went to town... and about got pulled off my feet... !!!  The little snot is a freight train!  I messed around with bits and adding a noseband and got some mixed success.  She should be fun though (ha ha!).
At least she's cute!
Then it was time for Cash.


Granted I lunged him for quite a bit, haha. I'll havta get the video up, he has finally figured out how to MOVE and my word, he has an amazing trot.  Fiona kept ducking in and out under the fence and each time she'd do it her jacket would rub on the bottom rail and make this loud "sshhhrrrppppp" noise which Cash was not a fan of.  He was constantly on the lookout for that noisy pink dog.  

But still, he was a rockstar!  He settled down however just wanted to keep going, going, going, going on the lunge.  Energy much?  And when I got on him he felt so solid.  I'm finally starting to trust this horse a bit and it's an awesome feeling.  In turn, he's starting to trust me and is questioning my decisions less and less. 
Man I had missed this view!
After toodling around in the arena a bit I opened the gate and we went for an extra-mini trail ride out to the driveway, a quick turnaround on the road and back to the tie rail.  We probably went a whole of 15 yards one way!  But, he didn't freak out, he didn't snort, he didn't try and rush back, he didn't try and spin... I felt in total control and never once questioned the fact that I was riding him in only a hackamore.  Considering how he's previously behaved outside of the arena I was one proud momma by the time I was off his back.
Cookie monster! I love this beast, I really do.
So yeah.  Christmas is now upon us and starting tomorrow I have four days off in a row and plan to get my fair share of horsey time in.  Oh yeah and the Winter Solstice is past and we can now make our way back towards the sun, that always makes me happy. 

OH! And on a completely non-horse related note but still pertinent to blogger-dom: GOOGLE READER LIVES!!! You know how your phone will do those auto-app-updates thing?  Well, apparently gReader got updated (I had never removed it from my phone) and I was flipping through available widgets the other day and noticed some gReader feed widgets and though "Odd, I never saw those before." So I decided to pull up the gReader app and lo and behold, there be my rss feeds, all happy and back to how they used to be. Apparently it's listed as an "unofficial Google Reader for Android", huh.  Regardless, it made my day. (I'm sure I'm probably one of the last people to get this memo but oh well.)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Done with the semester!!



Fall 2013 is officially in the books.  My first semester as a full time student and first time doing 300 levels courses (and of course, I was a rockstar and unintentionally picked out 4 of them) and I will be getting at least a B in all of them (potentially two will be As, crossing my fingers!!).

Now... I have no idea what to do with myself for the next month without any *gasp* homework.  I have been going a million miles an hour for the past 4 months that it's just this blank feeling of "now what do I do with my time?"

Maybe I'll start with getting caught up on laundry, ha!

In the mean time I'll do things like partake in Ugly Christmas Sweater contests at work...

And, oh yeah, that four legged creature called a horse who gets a chunk of my paycheck each month! I'm going to actually go DO something with him tomorrow.  They are calling for snow but I kind of don't care because I deserve some horsey time! 

Uhhh... Christmas shopping needs to be done too because I'm rather un-ready for Christmas. Whoops!

Anybody else ready for Christmas or are you the last-minute scrambler like me?


Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm alive yet!


Phew what a busy fall it's been.

Finals started as of today, so I have 1 final down, 2 exams and 1 group presentation to go.  My last final is next Friday at 7:30pm....  Oh boy.

Weather wise, we have finally come out of the deep freeze... days straight of barely making it to double digits gets old.  Reminded me of winters growing up in the San Luis Valley, I sure don't miss those!!
Brrr!!! Subzero temps make for a looooong 1/2 mile walk
to class in the mornings
It did make for some beautiful sunrises though!
Work has been nothing short of insane with the holidays going on.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday were NUTS.  Then last weekend we had a 20% off sale that was Friday through Monday... and we thought the previous weekend was crazy... then on Tuesday I was slammed on the helpdesk/supervisor line as they had to pull our other 4 Level 2 agents to help with the masses of emails so it was little ol me on the help line dealing with everybody's issues... I was so ready to go home!!  Selling makeup is not as easy as it looks guys.  But, regardless, I love my job and I thrive on the environment, I really do.  The BIG NEWS though is that we finally hired on and successfully trained our 5 new Level 2 Helpdesk agents!  Yahoo!!!  It'll make life so much easier, and couldn't have come at a better time right before the holiday rush.

Needless to say, I have not ridden Cash since Thanksgiving :(  I do plan to take full advantage of a whole month off from school to ride and love on him before I return to more of the craziness. 

Life is good!