Thursday, September 13, 2018

Gold, Platinum, and A Diamond

A few weekends ago, my sister and nephew T accompanied me on a quick barn visit after work. We couldn't stay out too late since the little guy has an early bedtime but my sister really wanted him to see the horses.


Quest was definitely curious but so gentle with T, letting him close the distance between them. Even when he nearly jabbed her in the eye with an excited outstretched hand, she did nothing more than move her head away.

Because of the time crunch, I opted to tack up and hop on Quest right in pasture. Despite the time between our rides, mareface was totally at ease so much so that my sister handed her kid to me and I took him on a short walk around the pasture. My nephew was fearless and loved the higher vantage point haha


Quest never put a foot out of line the entire time and listened so well. This mare is seriously worth her weight in gold <3


As for those big life updates....! I got engaged :)


W proposed this past weekend and my entire family was in on the surprise. I knew it was happening sometime but the specifics I wasn't as sure about haha

I've chatted with enough fellow equestrian ladies to know how important it is to have an SO who is actually on board with our lifestyle choice. I've seen the other side of that and if you ask me, any person who forces the love of his/her life to make that kind of choice isn't worth it.

Ever.

I feel very lucky that W gets that Quest means a lot to me. And even though he doesn't ride (...yet lol), he has been very supportive of my distance riding goals which is something I'm immensely grateful for. The next few months are going to be chaotic with wedding planning and other big life things and undoubtedly things will get stressful and overwhelming. But I'm looking forward to it. I'm simply glad and blessed to have a good mare and a good man at my side through it all.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Gotcha Day (belated!)

Last week was Quest's Gotcha Day! Four years since I saw a certain mareface at auction and took a leap of faith. Everything has changed for the better since then <3


With summer drawing to a close, we've been getting some decent breaks in the weather and humidity to get in trail time. Quest continues to do well (sound!) and our solo outings have been a nice escape from the constant insanity that has been my daily existence.

The level of busy isn't a bad thing though. I have some big life and horse-related happenings in the works and I'm very excited for what changes the next stage will bring.


All in all, things are good with us and for that I'm truly grateful and blessed. Taking a season off just to enjoy being with Quest and taking care of myself was really good and so very needed. But it's time to start getting back to work...because maybe, just maybe, endurance will finally be a part of our lives soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Ever Stronger

Life has been busy busy busy- nothing new there. Work has been keeping me on the road a lot (and giving me a ton of airline mileage lol) but whenever I do find myself back at home, I always make time for a ride. 


To her credit, Quest has been SO good despite the haphazard and sporadic ride schedule. It marvels me to no end that we can get right back to it regardless of the many days, sometimes nearly a week, going by between the last ride and now. Mareface still has her sassy moments obviously but those have been very few and far in between. Most of the time it's simple as tacking up, hopping on, and deciding what trail to explore together. 

Our rides have been 100% solo still (Mel is working through some feet issues and other folks at the barn are hard to coordinate with) but that's fine. Quest is very much okay with being by herself and eats up the trail happily. 

 
Last weekend I took L, one of the high school girls I mentor, out to the barn to meet and ride Quest. This was something we had planned since last year but due to circumstances (L tragically lost her brother in December and a few months later in May her dad also passed away), we didn't make it out to the barn until this weekend. 

We got an early start to escape the heat and had a great morning at the barn. L was eager to learn and help. After giving her a quick run-through of basic horse care and horse sense, I handed L a brush and she helped groom Quest while I tacked up. 


We headed to the indoor arena and I hopped on Quest first. Since I had been out of town all last week, it was a good mental check (and one that I normally do whenever I have guest riders) but  mareface was completely fine from the start. She was on her absolute best behavior and did so well for L the entire time. It was starting to get really warm in the indoor when we finished the riding lesson so we cooled off with a quick loop walk on the trails before heading back to untack, bathe, and stuff Quest with treats. After the barn, I treated L to lunch and we got ice cream for dessert before I dropped her off at home. L had a great time and it was just so good to see her smiling again. 

There's no denying that horses can do things for people that other humans can't though. In fact, I began riding because I needed something, anything to get me out of the mental state I was in. Even now, I go to the barn on a bad day and just spending time with Quest-the things that burdened me somehow seem to go away, even for a moment and that's sometimes all the reminder I need to make it through another day.  

Those reasons and more are why I realize how truly blessed that I resolved to learn how to ride and followed my gut instinct that day in August four years ago when I bought a certain mare sight unseen at a feedlot auction. I'm grateful that I can share Quest and my love of riding with those who otherwise would have not ever had the chance. Horse ownership is not without its challenges but this is one of the many reasons why I do what I do. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Hello Summer

Quest turned 14 this past weekend! Unfortunately we haven't been able to properly celebrate yet since I had to attend and help friends at their wedding but you rest assured the mareface will indeed get her traditional horse birthday cake ;) I wouldn't be so cruel to deprive her of those moments of joy in life.


Thanks to the longer summer daylight hours, we've been getting a good number of weekday evening trail rides in. Quest has been so delightfully steady and sane that I've been doing about 50% of those rides bareback. The benefits are plenty from riding without a saddle too.  It doesn't take much time at all to get her groomed and tacked up so we make the most of our time and whenever I find myself getting lazy while riding, nothing cures that instantly like a bareback trail ride. No lack of core, poor posture, or being lazy with your seat here haha

With summer in full swing, my weekends have been filled with too many things to do but on those days that are blissfully unspoken for, I have set aside for longer trail rides. The main goal for those outings has been having a safe, fun time while getting in some quick, cardio-filled miles. It satisfies our need for speed and it makes me so happy to see mareface charge up those hill climbs easily with happy ears up and forward.

Best of all, Quest has been sound sound sound.

Since we aren't actively training for any major events, I've decided to keep mareface barefoot for as long as possible and am watching her feet (especially that pesky clubfoot) like a hawk. The farrier I'm currently using has been amazing with communication. He calls/texts me schedule availability and has even sent me mid-trim pictures of Quest. It's super wonderful and I'm satisfied with his work so far. Most of our trail outings are done barefoot but for rocky rides like the climbs at Hawk Watch, I boot her fronts and that setup has been working out well.

As for events, I had fully intended to do a number of off-site trail adventures and fun hunt paces but with gas prices being such a travesty lately and my truck cost-sharing partner being in bad financial shape, it doesn't feel like a prudent adult decision at the moment. Endurance is still in the books for us, though probably not as soon as I had hoped...but know what? That's fine. The sport will still be around when Quest and I are ready.


Right now, we're just enjoying our time together and that's totally okay :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

As of Late

I think the weather has finally decided that it'll stick with spring. Work business trips and friend weddings have kept me from enjoying the nicer weather lately but Quest and I have gotten in some solid rides still.

A few weeks ago, we did a fantastic 8.5 mile morning solo meander to Hawk Watch one weekend. It was 80 degrees(!) and our trails were unusually crowded with hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers out enjoying a brief respite from the cold. Despite the high foot and road traffic, mareface handled herself quite well and somehow kept it together when two guys on dirt bikes suddenly came up behind us with engines revving at full tilt :/

We've also explored our rail trails again and worked on hill canter sets when the footing allows.


Quest still does her jig-dance from time to time but I've figured out how to deal with that for the most part and she comes back down to earth after a few moments realizing her antics are way too much work than it's worth.

On the art front, I decided to finally upgrade my decade-old, secondhand art tablet and took on few art commission projects to celebrate the new purchase. One of my friends on FB asked me to do a portrait of her thoroughbred mare- I was quite happy to have such a pretty subject to work with!


Hopefully my work travel schedule settles down so Quest and I can get more consistent trail time together. Gotta work to take care of the mare and me though- we'll enjoy each day and each ride as it comes.