A look back on 2017

As far as this blog goes, one would have assumed I died sometime after June. That, however, was not the case.

2017 wasn’t a bad year, but it did bring some shifts to my perspective about horses, people and life in general.

2017 brought some loss, some joy and lots of horse time.

I kept track of all my rides, lunges, etc on my phone throughout the year and I rode/lunged 46 times. For a lot of people this would be their rides in two months and I completely understand that. It’s not a lot of rides by any definition, but we had some hiccups that caused my confidence and desire to get back in the saddle to take a major hit. So just getting back on at all was a huge deal.

We started back up with our riding in June and it was rough. I fell off at the canter once and proceeded to nearly fall off several more times. We started working with a trainer, my farrier’s wife. We’ll call her RS. She was willing to come to our place, which was a huge deal for me because traveling caused more anxiety than we had at home.

Dexter got several rides from RS, who helped me believe that Dexter was more broke than I believed and that I am a better rider than I tell myself.

I also road tripped to Colorado at the end of July to visit my best friend. My trusty companion Tank went with me.

Things got better before they got worse again. Dexter was looking sore behind, dumped me at the canter again and so I set up a long overdue lameness exam.

We also traveled to Alaska for vacation. I got to spend 10 days with my mom, Dad and some friends. My husband went caribou hunting.

I also got to ride twice. Once on my good friend’s dressage mare on a trail ride, the other time on my trainer’s 4th level dressage horse. I’ve never felt like I knew how to ride less.

The lameness exam happened after a 10 day vacation, so things were not as agitated as they had been while he was consistently working. Lameness exam revealed nothing, other than that he was not lame enough to do further diagnostics. Between vacation and the lameness exam, I had picked up a new saddle. I don’t know a lot about western saddle fit, but it looked like the old one could have been restricting his shoulders. Turns out I was right. One night I lunged him without a saddle and then put the old saddle on and lunged again. He refused to move forward with the saddle on.

Luckily there is a store about an hour away that has a ton of used saddles. The owner helped me pick one out and I traded my old saddle in. Dexter looked way better in the new saddle and while I thought I would miss the old saddle, I haven’t missed it one bit.

I also visited my sister in Austin the weekend before my 30th birthday and had a blast.

I also took Dexter to a local show and while I only showed him in hand, I got on and rode him in the arena. That was a huge step for me, particularly since I was by myself.

We had a few lessons in the fall, but once we lost our daylight, the lessons stopped. Rides are sporadic on the weekends because I can’t get much done outdoors during the week, so everything gets crammed into two days.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I shot my second deer. A nice 10 point buck, this time with a crossbow.

We had one lesson over Thanksgiving weekend where I also fell in love with a Tad Coffin saddle I had on trial. Dexter has never moved better. We still have the western saddle and probably will have it for a few more months, but I now know what I want to buy, so will be saving money for my very own Tad in 2018.

I had a few conversations with my trainer about how I felt I should have accomplished more in 2017, let alone in the 3+ years I’ve owned my horse. She quickly stopped me and reminded me what I have accomplished. It may not look like much on paper, but retraining my brain has been hard. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve reached some pretty big milestones for me.

I don’t like making goals for a variety of reasons, but I have some things in the back of my mind that I’d like to achieve this year. The main goal: continue to make progress and have fun.

2 thoughts on “A look back on 2017”

  1. Thanks, Liz! He and I have never loved a saddle so much. If I didn’t care about going into debt, that’ saddle would have been mine on the spot. At the very least, I know what I want to buy, so that’s a huge step in the right direction.

    Thank you on the buck as well. We were pretty excited when we found him and he was much bigger than I thought. He should be done at the taxidermist in the next couple weeks.


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