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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 25, 2011

Looking Back

The past year has been a roller coaster.  The year started out great, with Phebes in slow-heart rate training, pacing well, and my heart full of hope.  We completed the first ride of the season, riding both days. The first day had its own drama when horse separated from rider and I had a near death experience with a downed tree. Her vet scores were okay, she was a little tight day two, but still graded out as a B on her muscle tone and A's pretty well across the board elsewhere.  This ride was also my first ride in the rain.  Cold, interesting, but definitely not as bad as I imagined.  In fact some ways better as I tend to overheat.  Then two weeks of torrential rain, and Phebes unable to work.  First ride out, tie up.  I had to roll all my hopes around and decide what to do about her.  After consulting a performance vet I decided to not do the distance thing with her, at least not for a year, perhaps not EVER.  I've since had several people tell me that tie-ups in distance riding are not all that unusual, particularly in hot emotional mares.  So Phebes may find a job again at some point, or I may find her a "terrific" home that would work towards her strengths.  I have not decided.  Next came the decision to try another horse. It took a while to find one that I felt even had a hope of trying the distance sports within my budget.  Journey moved in with her crooked little ear, and alpha-mare attitude.  I had to get her capable of riding off the property which was a job unto itself.  Loading into the trailer (another big work out).  Three clinics later we are beginning a conditioning program, and have an endurance coach.  The year did not turn out in any way as I'd anticipated.  My goals were not realized (again).  But we have persevered!  Journey is building her LSD (very slowly), learning to rate consistently at the trot (getting there...), and working on uphill intervals (again at the trot).  She has boots.  They fit!  She has saddle, pad, bridle, and Myler bit, all working.  But she has a few kinks which we will just keep working to solve.   Our trainer is going to be in Florida until the end of January, so Journey and I are on our own to do the best we can with what we have.  Goals for 2012?  Whew!  My mind can't wrap around that yet.  I'm not even sure of a long-term vision of what we will do and nothing ready yet with the current horse.  A part of me wants to finally conquer the 50 mile distance, and the rest of me (my fibromyalgic body) likes the idea of sticking with LD.  But in fact, I'm starting overwith this horse at square one, from the ground up.  It will just be as it will be.  ~ E.G.


  1. Hmmm... it's all about the journey, right? I hope you have a great endurance year in 2012. And Happy holidays to you and your ponies!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  2. Yes Merri. Although I don't have a big "goal" on my horizon I'm feeling very happy with our little pieces of progress. I feel especially gratified each time I check muscle tone :) LIKE J-E-L-L-O.

    Journey rode out today without any drama to speak of, and she cantered the ridge line without bucking, she crossed a flowing creek that was almost chest deep, crossed a bridge that made spooky noises and dropped off fifty feet on either side. She's coming along. We have our "bad" days, but the good ones out weigh those. I think my little spotted pony has potential if I can get the behavioral bugs sorted out. It's going to take time and miles to get that done.

  3. Jacke, You have accomplished amazing things this past year! With both of your horses! Congratulations on your 2011! And the ride you just described in the comment above sounds amazing as well. Lots of progress made in so many areas. Hope you have a wonderful 2012 as well.