|Bundles up in our woolies out for a ride|
I have finally had a little time to catch my breath and think about my past year , what I accomplished , what I wanted to accomplish and didn't, and so on. I also had some time to think about what I want to accomplish in 2015.
For 2014, the job and the stress of it was an overarching theme the first part of the year, coming to a head in June, when I contracted the H flu that had the same symptoms of Meningitis. I honestly don’t remember ever getting so sick for so long. It was SEVERAL weeks before I was on the mend BUT I learned some valuable lessons. The job is not life and I was not taking very good care of myself. I made some changes with work, got myself off the high stress project with the help of my manager,and got onto a healthier path.
My old knee injury haunted me a bit and kept me from getting into trail running but I did do some great hikes in the area that I have long wanted to accomplish. I actually did a lot of hiking. I have a whole list of new hikes I want to do this coming summer! See below for some visual graphics of those!
I attempted to purchase a new horse related online retail business but it fell through and as always, things work out the way they are supposed to. At the time, I didn't see it that way and kicked myself for dragging my feet. Hindsight is always 20/20 and as time has gone on, I think it would have been a bad move. In order for it to have been successful, I would have been traveling and working so much in my free time that it would have reaped me of more horse time, something I can't afford!
In November, I slipped in the ankle deep muck while crawling through the fence rails in the corral and in my attempt to not do a face plant , I managed to pull my hamstring. It was totally dumb and less than graceful. The good news is that I didn't fall, but the news was I tore ligaments. It was painful and when it first happened, I couldn't walk for several minutes. I just stood there, kinda of stuck.. Eventually, I limped into the house, Just walking was a chore for about two weeks. I spent alot of time sitting on an ice pack and taking anti inflammatories in order to stay comfortable. Even now, I still can't bend over with a straight leg, like to tie my shoes . Any attempts to stretch that leg or do any deep squats are still a challenge, but it's slowly getting better. I can atleast get myself into the saddle now. I never realized how much hamstring muscle is required for this.
As far as my 2014 horse related activities, they were pretty low key. I did a little trail riding with JB and Brego, did a little jumping with Brego at home, sold Maggie and found Otto . I got ok with the notion that I didn’t HAVE to ride anyone if I didn’t want to. When I did ride, it was fun again. I needed that break and glad I took it. 2014 ended on a sad note for me, having lost my buddy Rebel.
What's Ahead?? Who Knows.. !!! I do I have a few goals that I really want to accomplish. Some hose related, some not. Starting with the horse related;
1. Continue to work Brego over jumps:He started to come along last fall pretty nicely, finally learning to relax a bit more at a trot and canter. Maybe enter a local show if things come together right.
2. Ongoing ground work with Otto- He needs more work with his feet handling, standing tied, ground driving, lungeing,
3. Trick training for Otto: I have wanted to trick train a horse for very long time. I tried with Maggie and only got as far as a partial bow .I was able to train her to jump up onto a pedestal on a verbal command but that was as far as I got.
Otto seems to have a disposition for it so I want to delve into a bit more. I am looking into the whole Clicker training concept to achieve it. I am still in the research stage which involves doing a lot of reading up and watching video before I am comfortable enough to start. I have found some useful information from Alexandra Kurland , and I have also found a good resource at Catkin Farm out of New Zealand. I get their weekly newsletter about trick training horses and so far it’s provided some useful information.
4. Keep JB fit- He's an uncomplicated ride and is most suitable for pleasure and a little dressage to keep him strong. I might have a young girl interested in helping out in that department. She loves horses and used to come out to ride Rebel from time to time. She's a beginner rider so he would be fine for that.
5. Distance riding- I have this as #4 only because I am not sure its possible given I don't really have a horse for it. Tom has offered for me to condition Brego for that but given that Tom rides Brego a lot, it might prove to be a challenge. There are two rides that I have my eye on. One is in Washington and one is in Oregon. We have talked about doing the rides together, but that presents a bit of a logistal issue, considering we we don’t have two horses that are capable of that right now. I don’t really want to add any new horses to the herd, atleast not permanently.
There might be some other avenues to look into in order to accomplish that goal, possibly a care lease for a suitable mount. We will see how it all shakes out.
6. Get a good camera and get into some Photography, maybe take a course. I have always loved photography.
7. Hiking in Glacier National Park- Two hikes I want to bag this year for sure are Grinnel Glacier and Cracker lake. Grinnel is a 300 Acre glacier and sits just below the Continental Divide.
Cracker Lake has some of the most beautiful Turquiose colored water in the world, apparently.
The only down part to both of these hikes is the likelihood of running into Grizzly. Both hikes have high populations because of the high elevation and particular location. I will have to be sure to pack my bear spray .. that also leads me to another goal..
8. Obtain my concealed Weapons permit- I have been around guns all of my life. My dad has always been an avid hunter so guns don't bother me at all. however, I was used to shotguns and Rifles. He was never a big Pistol man so I never really got exposed to them. My husband is however . He has alot and shoots them alot. He has tried to help me with that but for some reason, whenever we have gone to target shoot, the pistol freaks me out. I think its the fact that the barrel is so small and close to my body or something.. So I need to take a class and try to get over this.
9. See Crater Lake in Oregon. If everything works out the right way, the ride in Oregon could coincide with a parallel vactation of sorts.
10. Ride my horses into the Bob Marshall Wilderness for a pack trip and see the Chinese Wall. The "Bob" as it is know locally, is a wilderness area with some of the most amazingly beautiful rugged scenery. But . its not easy to get to. You either have to hike or ride for many many miles to see its treasures. Some of the trails are not exactly easy two track either. One of the big attactions, possibly the most sought after for those going into the wilderness is what is known as the Chinese Wall. It is a 1000 foot Limestone Formation those goes for miles unbroken. I believe it's about a 60 mile trek in to get to it.
In all honesty, I doubt I will get there this year. It requires a minimum 2 week chunk of time. It's been on the list for a very long time.. and will remain so until it happens. I actually don't care if it's on horse or on my own two feet. I just want to see it. Someday.
11. Continue with outdoor house/property projects to prepare to sell the place. We are eventually planning/hoping to sell and move. We don't know where to yet.. just somewhere with less winter...and more riding opportunities. It's a process and isn't going to happen overnight.. especially for hubby as he is a teacher.. the whole retirement thing plays a huge part in that. We like Oregon, Idaho, parts of Arizona and Nevada. Part of the #9 above is to do some exploring of the southern Oregon area.
So there's my list..now that I have put it all down in black and white, its just a matter of working my way through it.Execution is usually where the difficulties begin !
Meanwhile, we are just slogging through winter doldrums. Riding when we can and keeping ourselves occupied with other activities when we can't.
Snow has arrived and lots of it here in the Northwest. We have over two feet right here in the valley. Some people had over 4 feet..It’s been a while since the valley floor has seen that much snow and while it makes things a little difficult, I will gladly take snow over ice, which is what we usually have by now.
I have been able to enjoy lunchtime snow shoe excursions with my dogs out my back door into the surrounding hay fields. It's good way to step away from the computer, get some fresh air and with such deep snow to slog through, gets my heart pumping and the dogs exercised.
Last night, I hopped aboard JB and we took a ride through the deep snow. I think he was having as much fun as I was. When I caught him up, he was literally vibrating with excitement until I got the saddle on him. I just love that little horse. He’s always happy to see me, and always so excited to go for a ride. He never gets irritable or scowly and being around him always seems to put me in a good mood. How can you not love this face???