Monday, December 31, 2012

Thanks, 2012. You Were a Good Year.

The last day of 2012 finds me sitting in the waiting room of a huge automobile sales and repair place, one crutch propped next to me and a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup by my hand, mulling, as my car is routinely serviced.

A lot of people review accomplishments and set goals at times like this -- not at the mechanic's, but at the year's end.

Goal #1: Don't embarrass my horse.
I'm not usually one to proclaim my goals.  I learned my lesson years ago, first with countless failed new year's resolutions, then by announcing overly ambitious horse goals, and not meeting most of them.  I hate the way that feels!  Now, I don't set myself a big list.  Instead, I just point myself in a general direction, then fill in the details as I go. 

But I do think this is a good time to review accomplishments.  2012 was full of accomplishments for me and my horses, and while they might not be all that dramatic to many, I'm pretty happy with what we did this year.

My happiest horsey accomplishment is the progress of my sweet paint mare, Starlight -- so sweet her registered name is actually Sweet Starlight.  We put on a lot of miles this year, and attended one clinic and one show.  

This was her first year of receiving expectations for performance from me beyond just learning how to carry a rider.  And while she is still green at that, she started to realize that there is more to learn, and started to work with me to learn new things (about at that same time, she started running away from me in the pasture).  We also tried our hand (legs) once at herding sheep, and she took to this so nicely that we will definitely be pursuing some cowy activities this coming year (Oops, that sounds like a goal). 

Here are some things I learned from Starlight this year:
  • Feet with nice, strong hooves can still get sore, but hoof boots are a great remedy.  They also can prevent future pain.
  • Conditioning a horse is not easy or quick and should never be underestimated.
  • Horses will keep trying to do what you ask and sometimes seem to feel satisfied when they know they got it right.
Another big event for me was selling Dee.  When I got Dee, she came as a package deal with Starlight, in trade for a buckskin quarter horse mare.   I got Dee and Starlight as two-year-olds and told my husband I would train them both, keep the one I liked best and sell the other.  Four years later, after I'm sure he gave up on my ever selling either one of them, I actually did just what I said I would do.  It's not that I didn't like Dee, though.  I actually liked her a lot, and still do, but it was time for a change.

Of course, it took a serious injury on my part to realize that I was not well equipped to finish training Dee (hence, the crutch).  Oddly, I did not get the injury working with her, but with her little brother, Stormkite, and it wasn't, strictly speaking, caused by him (just in the ensuing chaos he created).  But the injury made me realize I had too many green/unbroke horses and had to move one along, and Dee drew the short stick.  

She is now a most beloved and most pink-bedecked pony, living in Greene.  She has a pink halter, a pink massager, a pink saddle pad, and, oh, a bunch of pink things, and (as you could have guessed) her own girl. 

For many horse people, such accomplishments and events would seem so minor, but they mattered a lot to me, and these, along with many others (not all horse-related!) helped make 2012 a good year.

And while I'm not in a hurry to list my horse-related goals for 2013, I will say that continuing to simplify my life, so I can focus on what I love -- especially, horses and husband -- will definitely be in the future.

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