Emily at May As Well Event posted a really fun blog hop. As we enter a new decade, I thought it would be fun to propose a challenge to you all! Let’s see ONE horsey picture for each of the last ten years.
I have always relied on the generosity and kindness of others. As an adult, I’ve never had a lot of money to ride. Lady was a horse I borrowed from my friend Amy, who coincidentally owns Manny who I ride now. It’s crazy how things come full circle: riding a horse owned by Amy at the beginning of the decade and also the end.
At the end of 2010, I got my first horse as an adult. A chestnut Thoroughbred gelding named Joker. He had some bad habits that took quite a lot of time to work through, but he ended up being a really cool horse who would do anything. One of my best friends, Caren, was an eventer. So I started tagging along with her. This picture was taken after my first combined test at beginner novice. Both of these horses have crossed the rainbow bridge now, so it’s extra special.
The first and only event I’ve ever done. Joker and I competed in Beginner Novice. Dressage was a bit rough, but it was my goal to score below a 40 (our score at the CT was above 40) and we did that. We had one refusal on Cross Country and some time faults. Stadium was an utter mess, but we were able to finish. We finished in 8th place. I sold Joker later that year.
2013 was a year of more borrowed horses. Shortly before I sold Joker, I began taking lessons at a local barn. Once I sold Joker, I kept riding there. First on a mare named ChaCha, then eventually on a gelding named Mars. I was able to borrow him for one show, which started off a little rough, but ended really well.
In 2014, my personal life really started to go down the tubes. I had a miscarriage in February and was subsequently diagnosed with a uterine birth defect. After my pre-op appointment in June, we went to look at a then unbroke Appendix gelding named Spencer. We bought him via a phone call on the drive home. He stayed with his owner/breeder for some training, went to another trainer for some additional miles and came home over labor day. We renamed him Dexter. He was the bright spot my life so desperately needed at the time. This was our first picture together.
On Christmas Eve, I had a bad fall off of Dexter, shortly after he came to live at my father in law’s. This was the point where I became afraid to ride him. I would occasionally suck it up and ride him, but I never fully regained my confidence while on his back. Since he was a green almost 7 year old, I didn’t sell him because I didn’t want him to end up in bad hands. We made slow progress and had some fun outings.
For living the first 6 years of his life on the same farm and never venturing anywhere else, Dexter was an excellent traveler. We had lots of fun adventures to local farms, a trail ride, a few local shows. Even with my terrible anxiety, he was always the best boy he could be. This was our first trail ride and solo too. My husband was kind enough to lead the pony while I rode.
2017 was the year of multiple falls and bucking incidents due to what we later found out was poor saddle fit. He would buck going up into the canter, or canter for a while, plant his feet and pitch me off. This caused even more fear issues. I eventually got a new saddle which made a huge difference, but my confidence was once again rattled.
2018 was a year of few rides. We had some decent rides, I stopped riding because of how hot it was outside and then I found out I was pregnant. I wouldn’t have had an issue riding in the first trimester, but I was so tired, then later completely miserable with morning sickness. So Dexter had the majority of my pregnancy off.
My baby, Hunter, was born at the end of March. I knew I needed to find someone to ride Dexter before I started riding again. In stepped a cowboy friend of a friend. The rides started off a bit rough after Dex had so much time off and I didn’t know if I’d get back on him again. I decided to list him for sale since I knew I wouldn’t be able to ride as much as he needed and asked a friend if she could take him for some more tune up rides after he came back from the cowboy. He was doing well and I did something I never thought I’d do: sit on my horse again. The rides were going well and I finally got an inquiry to Dexter’s for sale ad. A family came down to see him, loved him and made a full price offer on him the same day. He had a vet check the following week and then left for his new home. By all accounts, I should have sold him long ago, but my heart wasn’t ready. It was so hard to sell him, especially after learning to enjoy him again, but he couldn’t have ended up in a better situation.
This year needs 3 pictures: me riding Dexter, Hunter and I with Dexter and Hunter and I with our pony, Sassy.
Cheers to 2020 and a new decade!