It does give me time to think about my year. It has been a big one as far as personal stuff goes.
That was a tough month and as I struggled to come to terms with my loss and decide what to do next. To be honest it's a bit of blur. However, I learned to enjoy being in the barn again and Lexie was a sweet horse to help ground me.
Winter hit with a vengeance. Atlantic Canada was pounded by storm after storm. Roofs collapsed, fences disappeared and my barn was literally encased in ice.
Later in the month I got on a plane to try out three potential horses.
In the end I found Charlante and, while it seemed surreal, I bought her.
I worked on a plan to bring Charlante home. It turned out to be quite complicated and I was sure I was going to have a nervous breakdown. However, she finally arrived.
The snow finally melted and life could return to normal. In conversations with Ed we decided on 'Carmen' as a barn name for Charlante. It suits her and it makes Ed happy so it's all good. I rode her for the first time since she was mine. It became apparent that I was going to have to up my game if I wanted a relationship with her.
This was a big month for us. We had some lessons from a trainer from Spain- Johanna Beattie Batista. It was perfect timing as she helped me to understand what Carmen needed from me. It was the start of shift in our relationship
I also got her saddle fitted so we could start under saddle work. I also realized that I was going to need regular instruction if I wanted to ride this mare properly.
I also submitted my first article for a local horse magazine. I was asked to submit some of my humorous stories. That was a real leap- from blogger to writer. It was an interesting process and I found that it help me really hone on my editing skills.
I began the search for an instructor and a way to have regular lessons.
I tried one avenue but the door was slammed on that one. As I searched I kept persisting with Carmen trying to figure out what she needed and what I needed. At the time I was getting frustrated but looking back I realize it really helped me to develop ground work skills that were sorely needed. I don't think I ever really appreciated how much ground work contributes to successes under saddle.
I also dusted off my camera and started taking photos again. Irish and Carmen made great subjects cavorting in the field.
July & August
I found Roz Mozkowitz to come and help Carmen and I. I really liked her teaching style and she was able to stay calm even when Carmen was a bit tense. I also took Irish and Carmen and Cynthia over to Karens for a weekend away. It was fun and both horses were terrific.
My sister and her family came to visit. My niece, Caelan loves horses like I do and she and Irish had a lot of fun together.
Irish quite enjoyed playing with her as well. I loved having them visit- it's hard when your family lives so far away.
I also was learning far more then I ever wanted about mare heats and their impact on behaviour. I decided to try PRE MARE:
I wasn't sure if it would work but it seemed to make a real difference with her. I will be using it again next year.
Irish started head shaking and required a UV fly mask. I was happy though that that worked.
Sept & Oct
I kept on with the riding. I was able to ride 4-6 times per week most weeks which was good. I came to realize that I needed to stop trying to change her and instead work with her. While that realization seemed small, it changed how I approached everything with her. The riding and training progressed at a snails pace with small breakthroughs. But I celebrated each one. I learned that I need to clear in what I want and determined that she needs to focus on what we're doing. Not on the million things that may kill us.
|what horse training is really like|
In November we all headed to Karen's again for another weekend away. It was not only a terrific time with friends but Carmen and I learned a few things as well. Back at home we kept on our path and slowly began to conquer the ring. The transition from schooling the ring to schooling in the ring was huge. For anyone watching from the outside it was probably like watching cement dry. But that's okay.
Irish's head shaking also disappeared which was good.
In December the riding had to decrease due to weather. It was too bad because I was loving the work. I also came off for the first time in December. And it was fine- no one died and now I can say that that's out of the way. And it showed me our next project- keeping cool in the face of scary, flapping things.
I am not sure if I was able to capture the year very well at all. It has been quite the Journey with Carmen and it has been good for me- she refused to let me wallow or to baby me. It was just what I needed even when I really wanted a bit of babying.
Carmen has grown physically (I swear she's taller) and in confidence. At times she shows a playful side that is fun to watch. I believe that she's content becoming a Canadian.
So the year that started so horribly ended up in a good place after all. I have plans for next year with Carmen and our riding.
|Carmen: plans? what plans?|
Irish: you probably don't want to know