January started off a bit rocky. I was still recovering from a knee injury. We had some girthiness issues, a small colic scare, and our boarding facility was so poorly maintained that we couldn't ride or even longe with any regularity. But we had some good too: I got my lovely Stubben jumping saddle, I audited a clinic (and watched others online), Bohemian went barefoot, and I went a tad silly with the clippers.
|'Mom, why did you clip pac-man on my neck?"|
"Uh...it's a half-moon...?"
February was very hard, with the unexpected and abrupt loss of my God-horse, Storm, and subsequent human drama which tends to come with extreme grief. Hemie and I moved to the beautiful Castle Rock Farms and therefore got back into the swing of regular rides.
|Blame the Champagne, aka Storm.|
March saw the real kick off to our year. We had some excellent lessons at our lovely new facility, with a string of "aha" moments. We took a dressage lesson with Chemaine Hurtado of Symphony Dressage. We did a cross-country schooling at The Meadows. Hemie came up a tad lame, but then recovered in time for us to compete in our first competition of the year: a combined test derby at the Meadows. It did not go well (we had a major freak-out), though with the passing of time I now can find humor in the memories.
|TK on Roxy and myself on Hemie at Meadows XC school.|
April was great. We did another XC schooling at the Meadows. We had our first bareback jump and came along in our training, especially with dressage. I started dabbling with "touch-ups" to Hemie's hooves. We had some wormy fecals but took care of them. We did two shows: a hunter show at the facility next door, and another derby at the Meadows. Both were fabulous outings (with no freaking out).
|Our first bareback jump.|
May was fun! Amid late rain showers, we did a hunter show at Camelot and Hemie was great. We got our first blue ribbon together at a Ventura CDS dressage schooling show, and did a cross country schooling at El Sueno equestrian center. Plus Hemie turned 8!
|2 Sarahs with their winning OTTBs =)|
June saw a pause in our show schedule. I finally had our vet out to do a thorough exam and radiographs of Hemie's legs, and all went well. I added supplements to Hemie's diet to help with weight concerns. My husband rode Hemie for the first time. The weather was perfect so we hit the trails quite a bit.
|Trail ride, with Reagan Library in the background.|
July started off with a mess. Hemie gashed his leg so I played nurse twice a day for what seemed like forever, and we had to cancel our participation in a clinic with Debbie Rosen (which I still audited) and a schooling show. I did a 21-day "paleo-esque" elimination challenge to help me kick-start weight loss. When Hemie recovered we had a great time XC schooling at Shepherd Ranch.
|Hemie winning at hide-and-seek.|
August was mostly consumed with preparation for our first official horse trial. We kept a consistent lesson schedule and did a final cross-country schooling at the Meadows. I also changed farriers to a barefoot specialist and added an extra flake to Hemie's feed schedule. I crowned Hemie an official pleasure horse since I finally felt comfortable riding him bareback outside of the confines of an arena. We competed Intro level at Shepherd Ranch Horse Trial and it was a very mixed experience, though we technically achieved my goals.
|Screenshot of us facing the wrong way at jump #2 in stadium at our first HT.|
September came the crack down! We developed a plan to address our issues at the show, which included changes in tack, training, and trying to find more crazy warm up arenas. We did 2 shows: the first was a hunter show at Elvenstar next door, where even though we had to do the 2'6" instead of 2'3" due to scheduling, we came away with a blue ribbon (the first blue where we actually beat other people! amazing!). Soon after we went to El Sueno for back-to-back combined tests (Dressage & XC/Stadium), and did very well. Hemie of course was perfectly behaved at both shows.
Video of our BN XC/Stadium jumping round at El Sueno, 9/14/13.
October was a busy month, what with my birthday, hubby's birthday, a wedding, a baby shower, guests visiting from out of town, and -oh yeah- our 2nd official horse trial. We had an awesome XC schooling at Twin Rivers in Paso Robles, and had our first real gallop together. We participated in the 2-point challenge as we prepared for our event. The Fresno County Horse Park H.T. was quite a drama-filled weekend, but overall I was very proud of mine and my horse's improved performance. We even got a team blue ribbon and completed one of my life's goals: finishing a horse trial on my dressage score.
|Having fun on course!|
November was 30 Days of Thanks and no-stirrups month (my thighs still cringe in recollection). I took a week long vacation with my husband which was an excellent recharge mentally and emotionally. Knowing we were done showing for the year, and due to my trainer's surgery, Hemie and I took it easy together. Workouts shortened due to after-work darkness, and I'll admit I got more laundry and dishes done!
|No daylight, and no stirrups.|
December is almost over! We've been focusing on dressage mostly. I audited a clinic, which renewed my enthusiasm and re-freshened my perspective. We finally got Hemie's ribs covered up, but unfortunately he tested positive for worms again. Plus his hind legs stocked up, though he's healing quickly. We just had our first jumping lesson back with Laurie and are looking ahead to fun in 2014.
But no ribs!
All told, in 2013 we:
- competed in 3 hunter shows
- competed in 1 dressage show
- competed in 3 derbies (dressage + combo stadium/cross-country)
- competed in 2 horse trials (3-part competition: dressage, cross-country, & stadium)
- That's 9 shows total!
- did 6 cross-country schools
- That's 15 outings total!
My 2013 goals were:
1. Get through a horse trial with a score (ie, don't get eliminated from any section) at any level.
I've had this goal for 3 years and am so happy that it finally was accomplished. We achieved this at our first horse trial, at Shepherd Ranch in August. Though it wasn't the best show experience, we got through it.
2. School XC at 2 places we've never been to before.
We accomplished this as well by schooling at El Sueno, Shepherd Ranch, and Paso Robles. We topped it off by competing at Fresno County Horse Park without having schooled there previously, so all in all we got to try 4 cross-country venues Hemie hadn't seen before.