Monday, May 18, 2020

Riding, Lately

It's been stunningly beautiful this spring. My memories show me spring snow storms and mud, and other than some temperature drops, the mares have been naked and slowly transitioning onto grass. Trees are leafing out pretty spectacularly, the hay field grew 6 inches after the application of some nitrogen... life is good.

Riding has been happening, except over the weekend when it got very chilly and I just wasn't feeling it.

Bailey has been yawning over the jumps I have set, so it's time to reconfigure the field again, or move jumps into the ring for some variety. Right now I have a two stride combo through the middle, with my warm up barrels (because they're small and boring) on the diagonal, and a weird bending line of skinny metal barrels winding through. It's been fun to ride the accuracy questions with the 2 stride, which is set a bit forward, and also maintain turning. We've had three sessions on it now and Bailey yawned hardcore during our last ride - you know it's time to change your jumps when she's foot perfect through on the first or second attempt.

Dressage has been hard with her, not because she's bad (actually she's been fabulous) but because going right is like... really hard to do properly. I'm not sure where the heck my legs go wrong, or why I over bend her like crazy going right, but I've been putting the focus on it hard, and things are slowly getting better. We've been focusing on not just motorcycling and over bending right, making sure the left is still correct, and prompt transitions. I still am doing a prep and go cue for canter, but I'm trying hard to break that habit. Trot has been improving hugely under the "leg means go" regime - I no longer put my leg on, then harder, then kick. It's refreshing. We also are pulling groundwork back in, because I feel like Bailey has been lacking some personality shine lately. Maybe she's just more fatigued being out 24/7, but I feel like she has feedback that she's internalizing vs showing me and it's making things harder.

Arya has been... suspiciously good. I got on her the day of my last post about her, and she's hardly put a toe out of line since.

You think I'm naughty? The insult!!

It's highly suspicious, and I'm still coming to our sessions with a big stick, but perhaps she's going to start acting her age?? Maybe??

ETA: Yeah, I cursed it. Dingus tried to exit the arena backwards via rearing and scooting backwards with a few reining spin impressions towards the end of our last ride. And then it rained all weekend. So... square one begins again today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Fox Point Farm: A (long, rambly) 3 Year Anniversary

It just occurred to me that we've been on the farm for three years, and that I should probably talk about that. Because it's been a pretty great, and it's been really hard. Even this week has been a reminder that things can be beautiful and running smoothly, and other days every battery on the farm is randomly dead all at the same time and nothing works. 

Some things are coming full circle, like this is one of my favorite photos from the first month of farm ownership:

And I took these photos a few days ago:

 The farm is beautiful, in every season:

But it's never been without challenges. 

When we moved in to our "turn key" farm, the pastures were overgrown, riddled with gopher mounds and holes, and the paddock was a knee deep mire of standing/flowing water and years of manure that was not managed. The barn had two tiny stalls and a huge swath of empty unused space. The pastures had wandering, random fence lines.

And in three years, we've:

- Tilled under and re-seeded something like 13 acres, and fenced two new growth pastures from that number. 
- Straightened fence lines, completely redoing 99.9% of the fencing (the remaining .1 is the board fencing near the barn and the front paddock gate)
- Installed 1500' of drain tile, give or take, through the paddock, in the back yard and through the riding arena
- With the help of our hay guy (who does a lot of the work, admittedly, but we put up our portion: harvested 3 cuts off of our hay field despite two of the rainiest hay making summers in the history of ever (and yes, miraculously they were put up DRY. Blessed is my hay guy, despite his total lack of communication)
- Tamed the 3 acres of "yard" that we keep relatively mowed and cared for looking (including my jump field)
- Replaced the washer, dryer, kitchen appliances and water softener
- Completely overhauled the barn interior, putting in 5 stalls.
- Doubled the hay storage space off the side of the barn (three sided storage)

Sorry for the list, but I'm super proud of the work we've put in :) 

Gratuitous Arya photo to distract from my bragging

2020 has turned into a busy year in the last few weeks. We purchased a pump and have been using it to drain the small, man-dug pond between the arena and the paddock after heavy rainfall. This makes a huge difference for a lot of things, because the way our property's watershed seems to work is that the pond fills up with water flowing off the hay field, out of the riding arena and from the general area. Once it fills up to a point, it starts to flow across the paddock as it can't hold any more, and this small pond is above the second, larger pond behind the house. This causes the mud/mire/mess to form, and makes life miserable - like, I use a sled to get manure to the pile because the cart wheels sink several inches into the muck and take a Herculean effort to even begin to move. 

Light blue lines illustrating water flow across the property, with bad sketching of new fence lines in green
And yes, someone should shoot the previous owner who built the barn there

So yes, we've been pumping the pond. And the pond kept refilling, even without rain. Where was that coming from. And the hay field wet spot is much less wet. So we've been pumping the pond, and, last weekend, dug a hole in the lowest spot of the hay field (calf high standing water, even after about a week of basically no rain) and pumped that. And the field is drying. And my paddock is dry. 

The only unhappy one is me,sort of, because I have to wash mud off the dogs every day because they like to play in and around the edges of the pond, and the water left behind lots of nasty mud. Feet of it. But a pretty significant drying issue seems to be solved by the application of gas powered pump and lots and lots of hose. 

Breaking up a wall of boring text with non-contextual pretty pictures of the mares...

The other busy thing has been the changing of the guard in the equipment shed. The hay shed has had some standing water issues since... always. I lost the bottom layer of hay on the lower side the first spring, and while we haven't had that particular issue this year, we have had a lot of wet, sometimes standing water wet ground on the left side, in particular. The problem being that the left side is where the round bales live. We have some material on order to hopefully raise the floor up and prevent the water issue, but given the number of times we've had to call the neighbors to bail us out with round bales, we decided it was time to upgrade our hay moving equipment. 

So we own a skid steer now.

The tractor is for sale, and since we are selling that, we decided to sell our riding mower and just get one mid-size zero turn mower to cover the gap losing the 60" mower on the tractor and the 46" riding mower left. Our little hobby farm suddenly has lots of big scary-to-drive pro equipment! The skid in particular is intimidating; it's a track model so it feels to me like a little farm tank. I'm excited through, because that baby probably won't struggle to drop rounds come rain or snow or feet of mud... and that's nice to have, in case our mud control goes off the rails. 

It's bittersweet to think about where we started; I was so sure I didn't want to feed rounds, didn't think we needed a mower that big, didn't anticipate the mud or the work. We survived a trial by mud, and it's been a utter blessing and a total headache. We've learned so much, and also torn our hair out at the intrinsic knowledge that farm raised people seem to have that never makes it to the internet for desperate hobby farmers like us. On the whole, though, I love it here. I love being able to care for my girls the way I want to, and I love watching them enjoy their lives healthy and happy. I love listening to the frogs sing all evening in the spring, and I love looking up at the stars, no matter the season. 

So yeah, we're here, at three years. It's taken some time, but hoping we've finally figured at least some of the basics out?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Blowing Hot and Cold - Arya Update

Riding a lot has continued on, with a small break to road trip across the country and move the hubs home, which was... entertaining, given that COVID has made interstate travel a bit of a crapshoot, food and bathroom wise. We even had to call and make sure our hotel was open (it was not, we had to move to a different hotel). But, for all the stress, the solo horse farm experiment is over with. I am more capable and more gritty and slightly better at making lists and getting shit done. 

I mean, I still procrastinate like crazy, but I'm slightly better, at least. 

Before the roadtrip, I brought Arya into work slowly and had some really good rides with her, mixed in with a random swollen knee that has kind of... persisted, in a very mild, not enough to have the vet xray it once I saw my spring shots bill kind of way. My rules with Arya are that she doesn't get to trot unless she can walk relatively obediently, and she doesn't get to canter unless she can trot without shenanigans (at least, without major ones). She tends to get more explosive the faster she's going, and is more likely to unseat me (at least, she was, new update on that below...) so I feel like that's not too much to ask. Walk nicely. Trot nicely. Then you can canter, and please don't canter in a teacup. We had progressed to that, and I was happy to give her time off while I drove for several days. Getting back to it on the other side, I put her back into her lunge, then lunge with tack, then get on routine over the next week or so. She was naughty, and I picked a fight with her over side-passing and poles that ended up with a argumentative ride. And now we are regressing. 


I actually took video of her with my phone (not with my Pivo, just setting it on a fencepost) and I don't know if it's just knowing I have a camera on even if I never have to keep the footage or let it see light of day, I tend to not have good rides when I video. She was very bad - less rearing than her previous badness, but a lot more foot planting. The next ride was almost worse, because, as I babbled to her "I came to a sword fight with a sword this time" (aka I was carrying a whip) and the whip, of course, causes drama when used, and tightness when she does start moving. I got on her several days in a row, trying to end my rides on positive notes, keep the rides short and basic. After our first bad ride, my next ride was (as I suspected a sore back from a bad heat) literally getting on her to walk two circles in each direction without nonsense. This took around 20 minutes, because nonsense of course happened. The next ride, she must have caught some anxiety from me or else she's just a Velociraptor of a mare, and decided to rear, back, and fling herself sideways all the way out of the arena gate, which doesn't have an actual gate on it. And she also tried to back into the fence once, which brought back major nightmares of "what if she rears and loses her balance and kills us".

So she's lost privileges to use that end of the arena. She also went sideways over the mounting block, because #drama. 

I'm pretty burned out and fed up with her, to be honest. She's on the last few paks of that mare supplement I tried out last year, trying to weather this heat out (and decide if it's actually heat related) and I'm giving her more magnesium, which she isn't excited to eat. It's tough to get on and walk and maybe trot, and not even get full circles without her trying to either start shit (I use this term a lot, so starting shit = pushing my leg around with her shoulder, popping her shoulder, going sideways, swinging her barrel and seeing if I react and ask her to fix it, trying to stop or randomly leaping) or actually... pulling shit. I try to hard to be a stone. I don't react to her bad behavior, and praise good behavior like she just ran around Rolex. I'm being unbelievably whiny, and if you made it this far, a gold star to you. 

I don't want to give up on her, but also... she makes me want to tear my hair out.

At least Bailey is being good? 

I plan to keep working with her, and keep trying new things. We'll be moving her down in the arena, and I have a new beating stick that seems to make an impression (and it's all hers, I realized after it arrived it's too long to carry at a show at 31") and I'm still using a breastcollar and oh shit strap to keep me out of her face when she rears. I just want her to be good!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Shameless Distractions

With a lot of my coworkers struggling with WFH, which makes doing my job relatively... slow... I have been allowing myself a certain amount of distraction. Distraction is my friend. Distraction keeps the anxiety at bay, and keeps me from thinking about the fact that my diet, habits and general idea of normal has kind of evaporated.

I have been riding.

In my last jump school (snow pictures) I really struggled with bulk under my thigh; this is probably a symptom of the saddle being too small for me. It is a 17" saddle, but has a monstrously forward flap, so it generally works. I like the blocks, I like the balance. I don't like this new awareness that I'm being stabbed in the inner thigh by a wad of nylon lined stirrup leather and buckle. In general on Bailey, I have been struggling with sitting down and putting my leg on her, and keeping it on. I feel like I get tossed loose, or come to the awareness several times during my rides that my thigh or lower leg is off the horse. In the jump saddle, I was taking my thigh off, which robs Bailey of support to the base of the fence. In my dressage saddle, I've been generally noticing a number of things; I feel like I need a different length stirrup for trot than for walk and canter. I feel like I'm constantly pulling my knee and lower thigh back and off the block and resetting behind it. I also felt like I had to reposition myself constantly. I struggled to get myself into a better position and hold it.

The jump saddle problem was my main concern; I decided, after sitting on the internet for a hot week, to solve it not only with mono leathers, but to give the Total Saddle Fit Slim Stability leathers a try. I really wanted nylon lined, not having much else in my life for a long time, but I am hoping these leathers hold up and resist stretching (several used leathers, mostly Stubben mono leathers without a nylon core, showed strong issues with stretching). The bottoms are nylon lined, but the wide stability part are not.

I excitedly slapped them on my jump saddle and ran outside to try them when they came last weekend, and I was pleased. I didn't feel like I was getting my shit jumped out of the tack on an enthusiastic and forward Bailey, and I also felt very secure in general. I didn't get bounced loose throughout spooks, bounces and some of that delightful teeth induced head tossing.

I rode the next day in my dressage saddle and had, honestly, a really shit ride. I've been using my Myler combo as bolt insurance in the ring (because that gets old SO FAST) but I still had a fussy, disconnected horse, and I felt uneven and unstable and unable to get my leg around my horse. I don't know if I can put a finger on when this started, but I think it's been a problem for some time, and has been highlighted by the new dressage saddle.

So I went out to ride yesterday feeling kind of bad about myself, and my riding. I was out of shape, I was weak. My left leg was going rogue, I was bouncing and making noise on my horse's back, and she was ignoring me, and faking contact, and I started to joke about selling her again. And then I randomly was like, what the heck. And I slapped those new leathers on my dressage saddle.

And promptly had the best ride I've had in some time. I was able to feel and influence inconsistencies in Bailey's body. I could straighten her out, and was able to focus on straightening and softening, vs sitting on her. I didn't find myself inching up my knee blocks, and the minute I got on, I had this great moment of "wow my stirrups must usually be super uneven". And that feeling went away, and my body didn't feel uneven after some time. I didn't feel like my leg was flapping from the knee down. And I felt like my thigh was able to stay on her so much better.

So, um, I am sold. I didn't think they'd make a difference for me, or at least not really much of one. But they are. And they're bringing some much needed light and feelings of competence to my riding.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On Gratitude

Inspired by Liz @ In Omnia Paratus, I can't help but be extremely grateful for the farm these last few weeks. Despite all the anxiety and worry, I am lucky in a number of ways;

- Both Hubs and I are able to work remote, and are doing so
- My horses live at home, and I don't have to worry about losing access to them
- The dogs are thrilled, and haven't seen their kennels in forever and sleeping on heated blankets all day is the best.

We have all we need, at the moment, and mostly it's just battling sedentary work schedules and dogs who seem to think any time after 1 pm is game for annoying me into playing with them.

Farm wise, everything is wet, with standing water, but we have only the barest areas of snow left in the shady spots. The ring is slowly emerging from being generally unrideable (I swear, it sunk this winter. UGH) due to being wet, but the paddock is a muddy puddly mess. The horses are fine with this (especially Arya) but Bailey has a bit of thrush so we need to be treating that. I've been enjoying my Evo Hoofcare rasps a lot, and feel like I'm making slow, but positive changes to certain things, like hoof balance side to side.

Riding wise, things have been slowly continuing. I'm still struggling with Bailey and her fake connection, which has been something I've been playing with off and on over the last 6 months so far. It's been especially slow when I couldn't video myself over the winter, and Bailey is so short backed it's harder for me to know what I'm seeing and feeling, because she just looks so much more naturally compact. Especially my last few rides, which have been SPOOKY and excitable, it's been frustrating. I wish I could go take lessons, but alas... I will have to continue to struggle on.

Those tires are HAUNTED and the wood pile next to them is the HOME OF SATAN

Arya has been coming back to work with ground work, and now two walking rides. She's the riskier creature to ride when you definitely don't want to fall off and get hurt, but I've been trying to be fair to her as she also has a need to be Not Bored and I'd like for her to progress. So far, the walking has been uneventful. Yesterday's walk was more of a cool out after a Arya-emotion filled line session where she wanted to charge around, challenge authority and blow through my directions to do what she wanted (be a kite). She was sweaty and puffing hard, and once I swung a leg over, I did feel like she wanted to pick at me a little bit, pulling on my inside rein vs giving, occasionally moving her shoulders against what I was asking, jigging a bit. Nothing felt super dangerous, and she defused down, but we'll likely wait for trotting until she can be a bit more obedient and not pick fights.

Hopefully the ring dries out more so I can do more jumping, and also ride Bailey NOT next to the scary side of the arena. Today is kind of cool and misty, so not exactly what I was hoping for, but I'm here, I'm able to keep moving forward, and working from home for the foreseeable forever is a gift in these otherwise trying times. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

2020: What we have been up to thus far

Hey, bloggerland. It's been a hot minute, for sure.

I'm not sure if anyone bothers to keep up with this blog anymore, because, well, nothing ever happens. The weather is starting to move towards the first of what is generally many iterations and variations of spring in Minnesota, and I'm starting to think about getting my riding back on track.

Winter has been a surprising lot of this
But mostly this.

I started a new job back at the end of January. I got some riding in over the holidays for sure, but we were also dealing with cold temperatures, so I didn't do quite as much as I wanted. As I mentioned in my last post, S (aka Bailey's mom's mom) came and sorted Arya out, and I definitely made a lot of progress with her. However, when the new job started, my riding has been confined pretty exclusively to weekends, and that schedule really doesn't work with Arya's behavior issues. Until the light comes back and I can ride mid-week safely (because we also gained some sketchy footing over the last few months off and on) I have focused on Bailey, and lunge Arya. She continues to have reminders that she needs to be obedient and wear tack and not be a giant asshole, but getting on her and fighting with her for two subsequent days, and then letting her sit for five isn't productive in my mind - we make progress for ride #2, and then back slide over the week, wash, rinse, repeat.

Jumps, Mahm.

So Bailey has been the focus in 2020 thus far; she has worn mostly dressage tack, and we've worked how we can with the footing melting down and icing down. She's been doing more work in the front field, which generally has been more rideable than the arena ice wise, and has been a shockingly solid citizen. Once we have footing where I can do more (i.e. I don't need to punch down a riding path in the ice topped snow and then stay on it to prevent massive tripping) I am going to put her back into a routine of lateral work on the flat, dressage based focus and hopefully jumping again. We haven't jumped in the new year until last weekend, and it was a delight. Bailey lit up like Christmas to see jumps, and was extremely excited (read: there was lots of zooming) to play with them. I kept this first session pretty short - just my metal barrels and the culvert covered show jump in the front field, and I didn't harp too much on her, other than trying to break her down into some form of vaguely ride-able, adjustable, stoppable type horse.

One of the big wins of this year so far is a great change (at least by feel, it's been too cold for the Pivo and my phone) in Bailey's canter. I feel like she's always looked upright due to her neck and the way it attaches to her body, but she doesn't naturally sit and flex her hocks at the canter, and she naturally seems to move much more daisy-cutter-esque than I really want. Particularly in the new dressage saddle, I'm feeling much more able to really sit her down behind and lift her up in front. We had a particularly magical breakthrough the last time it snowed nicely, and I've been able to recreate a really lovely sitable canter (which, bounce bucket pony isn't always sitable) that feels super and uphill.

We've been nibbling away at other skills, but a second win of 2020 so far is hacking. I've been making a point to hacking out as much as I can after my rides. We tend to ride the same track, but I feel like familiarity is fine at this point, as Bailey still gets very up and wired depending on the day, despite the boring familiarity of the hack path. We go out through the front field, around the pastures and the hay field tree island, and then back up through the house's back-back yard, around the barn to the doors. It's not a massive hack, but Bailey seems to be building confidence I'd like to keep building on out in open spaces. She's been a horrid trail horse or road horse to date, and while I never seem to have problems XC schooling, she has always been a little wild to take down a road or trail and I'd like to improve her abilities there.

So here we are, coming in to spring. Or it feels like it, at least. Arya's mane got roached down over the weekend, and I am starting the (obnoxious) process of shortening Bailey's back into a less feral look. I'm really looking forward to coming opportunities to ride during the week more regularly, and hope that this warm weather stays long enough to melt my riding arena's crust of annoying ice. I like field riding, but that will have to stop if the ground gets soft enough, as I don't want to destroy it for the year with hoof marks. Plus I don't yet trust Arya in the front field, so I'd love to have the time and footing to get her started again.

Oh, and Bailey has developed a love affair with Mrs. Pastures cookies. Unfortunately I am an idiot and left the bag within reach of her overnight, and came in to do AM turnout to a basically brand new 5 lb bag of cookies empty on the shelf, and a very self satisfied BB. She's had no fallout from her cookie pig fest, other than her mom being too indignant to immediately go buy more fancy cookies.

Life is hard at the farm, if you ask her :)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Decade of the Fox Rider

I am loving this decade reflection stuff, even if I think I'm going to be really bad at it, here we go:

2009: I was blogging (badly) over at The Fox Rider Blogs. Foxie was my one and only, ride or die girl, and I was starting my college adventures. We were boarding at a ritzy heated fancy hunter/jumper barn, and Fox was retired from jumping after her DDFT injury.

2010: I continued to be bad at blogging, and met a new trainer. I brought Foxie back into work and started chasing the eventing dream. Foxie came back into showing and went "home" to our old barn for their Fall Fun Show, and earned a bunch of red ribbons.

2011: Fox and I went to our first USEA-sanctioned event at Otter Creek Farm. We stopped out on XC in the pouring rain after four fences. I started to get annoyed with my trainer, and we went to Roebke's Run, where I got stopped for jumping into the water vs using the BN entrance. In late fall I had basically broken up with my trainer, and went to fall Roebke's and finished a real event, placing 7th. As the year wrapped up, I actually started to learn how to put my horse into the bridle and ride on the flat.

2012: In 2012, I continue to over fitness my bay horse (she was so, so fit, omg) and train myself, but in March, I left the heated fancy barn (and the angry trainer and barn owner) for a less fancy barn that also didn't have staff that hit my horse. So, trade offs. I bought my little trailer, Foxie settled in at the new barn and magically didn't have tons of problems with her weight when I started feeding her what she needed. Foxie went to Carriage House and placed 7th. We XC schooled with an old friend from my first barn and I first noticed some (fateful) swelling in Foxie's hind, but she was sound, so we schooled and had a great ride. In July, we diagnosed Foxie's suspensory injury and I fell off the grid for a while.

2013: Foxie came sound in January, and I celebrated by getting on her bareback over her blanket, and riding her bridless in the round pen. She got fitter and we figured out a new normal of mostly sound flatwork. I graduated from college, and got a grown up job. And spent my First paycheck on Bailey. I got busy putting more rides on her and started her jumping.

2014: Bailey and I started working with the on site H/J trainer and did some baby jumpies. Bailey alternated between being good and forgetting she had legs. After a lot of struggle in the late winter and spring, Bailey learned to load, though she also attempted to keel haul me through the trailer that one time. We cliniced with our local biomechanics guru and with Lucinda green. Bailey finished her first starter event in July at Roebke's Run. In August, we went to our second horse trial, and finished second. and in September, won the starter divison at Roebke's Run. Foxie hangs out and is fabulous and does nice dressage this whole year, and in December, models for some family pictures with me and the now husband.

2015: I got engaged, and Bailey and I started to struggle, especially in the indoor. I was estranged from my parents and had the horror of seeing them hiding in a clump of bushes as I came down the center line for Bailey's final starter test at Otter Creek. I ended up laying down a really lovely test that I'm really proud of, but the show jumping fell apart; The XC was the baby horse olympics, and Bailey was great, so ending on a positive note. We rode with Lucinda Green and struggled to go forward with a tired horse. Bailey did her first BN at Roebke's Run in late summer and we got in trouble (again) as I battled my spooky horse with a somewhat excessive use of my crop behind my leg. Schooling at that venue after, we had a mostly positive ride with a big old struggle bus of stopping at a bigger table fence towards the end of the ride.  We struggled more and more as winter came again, and Bailey started going back to her spooky ass ways.

2016: I got married. Bailey started to get better, and I started to ride better. Chicken Egg. We moved to the (new) fancy heated barn, and some things were good and some were not so good. Bailey jumped a lot of jumpies there, and that was great. We rode with Dom Schramm, and I launched my photography career with the help of a fabulous barn owner who used my services a lot. Fox got to see an XC course for the first time in years, and was sooo excited. We struggled with Foxie's weight, and she and Bailey got to live together for the first time in a long time. I continued to chase down XC and Jumping demons into the winter, though Bailey did a lot better in that indoor than in the previous one.

2017: We bought a farm, and moved the girls home. Bailey and I showed at Carriage House at BN, and brought home a red ribbon. Arya came home in July, and was a conspicuously good baby horse. We also got the Knox puppy and I had a hell of a time managing the farm (and Arya having a tendon injury) and new puppy for three weeks on my own while Hubs was away with the military. In late August, Foxie went through the fence, and we put her down the first week of September. Ginny and the Donkey came to live with us; Ginny left us in December when Arya wouldn't stop trying to kill her / make her cede dominance.

I am aware that's Ginny on the left. I apparently took no pictures in 2018.

2018: Kahlua gets to go out with the mares, and I bring home Bizzy. Life continues to life on. I learn a lot of farm lessons, and they aren't always easy. Between hay and finances and life, Bizzy went on to her new, awesome career as a nurse mare at the end of the year. Arya and I make progress, and regress. Bailey starts to step into Foxie's shoes and becomes more of a easy ride.

2019: I fight a lot with fear and a lack of toolkit with Arya. I feel like we're making progress early on, and then Arya is quicked by the farrier and spends the next three months abscessing. Bailey does dressage, and jumpies, and is a good girl. We school at Otter Creek and I lay some major demons to rest. We find her a good bit, and go saddle shopping. Moose comes back into work, but continues to have some major attitude problems.

Exciting end of year update: My dear, slightly crazy friend S came and rode Arya, and showed me how to ride through her bullying attempts to scare you. I still struggle with some fear issues, but Arya and I have had several productive rides since then. The footing has gone a bit to shit, but I am so excited to continue this into the new year.