December 31, 2013

2013: A Look Back

It is New Year's Eve and I hope everyone out there had a great Christmas and that your goals for 2013 have been met.

I didn't have many goals in 2013 for Gem and what little I had kinda went to the crapper pretty quickly, but in the spirit of the last day of 2013 lets have a little recap.

January: Little Mr. W was in our life and it was bitterly cold up north in the near arctic land they call Wisconsin (speaking of which it is supposed to be -43F there tomorrow morning at 8 am for our friends running races to kick off 2014, so glad we moved). Gem had the month basically off and used it to get plump.

February: More of the same as Jan, but I was also out of town on job interviews a lot of this month. Landed a job down here in the land of the sun and warmth and then sent the hubs to find one of his own. Rode Gemmie about once every other week.

March: Cold and wet continued, but I managed to ride Gemmie more often = once a week. At least it was staying light a little longer.

April: Turned 31 (where does the time go??) and continued as in March. Gem continued to get plumper and the weather stayed cold.

May: Finally found a house to rent and a barn for the horses (Crabby Acres) and life settled back down a bit. Was getting out to ride at least weekly but some weeks I even sneaked in a second day. She began to get grumpy with the Ovation fleece girth and I began to search around for others to try.

June:  Passed the oral board exam for my license down here in the South. Preparations to move 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 horses, 2 adults, 1 baby and 3 cars were in full swing. Wanted to get out to our favorite trails one last time, but that never happened. Instead tried a solo trip to the experimental forest which was a disaster and then got out once with the hubs for a short time. Ordered the delfina anatomic girth which arrived right before we moved. Moved down south and got settled in before the month ended. Never reached above 60F the entire time we were up north.

July: Decided I wanted to start hitting the hunter paces down here and try endurance once more. The people down here are so ridiculously friendly it makes me want to join again. Thought through things and decided to ride Gemmie 1 hour 3 times a week. It was hot. And humid. And she was sweaty before we even began. Decided to do 2 30 minute rides and 1 60 minute ride a week. Succeeded mostly with this.

August: Continued trying to ride Gemmie in the evenings as much as I could and got some decent rides in. Rode around the property with Gem building confidence and working on some hills. Had fun but kept getting talked to at the barn for things I was doing wrong that I didn't know was wrong. Planned to hit the first pace of the season in September.

September: First hunter pace was cancelled due to wet conditions which was fine because I wasn't able to go anyway. Missed the second one as well. Things at Crabby Acres kept getting worse. The hubs and I hit Butch Kennedy and Isaqueena trail systems for the first time and had fun. Its great that they are within a half hour. By the end of the month we had the new farrier out who was ok and we reached our limits with Crabby Acres. We moved to FS Farms at the end of the month.

October: Got settled in at FS Farms and have loved it ever since. Went to our first hunter pace in Landrum and fell in love both with Landrum and with the hunter pace series. We came in 4th although my ribbon has yet to materialize. Gem and Pete ere fire breathing monsters and so we cut their grain back significantly. Finally decided that this saddle just isn't going to work and tried the RP which went really poorly. Also tried a new girth - the County Logic girth which was also disappointing. Went back to the drawing board again. At the end of the month I began riding Gemmie up at Butch Kennedy solo.

November: Our second pace which was great fun and we came in 4th again. This time my ribbon came in the mail :) Gem ended up with incredible raw spots even with a fleece girth cover and I called it quits with this set up. Continued with solo trips to Butch Kennedy to try to get some conditioning in, but she continued to have saddle issues and was slow, slow, slow. Tried a mohair girth which was too small and couldn't be returned. More wasted money.

December: Hunter paces got cancelled due to wet conditions which was fine because I called a hiatus until tack could be figured out. Researched saddle options that I hadn't tried before and found the Advantage saddle. Got it on demo and fell in love with the fit. Weather has been very wet and the trails sloppy, but riding as much as possible to try out the saddle.

Well, that takes us to the present. Tomorrow is 2014 and I have some hopes and dreams to put on paper and only time will tell what I will be writing this time next year!!! See you all in 2014 :)

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