Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Hello 2019

Wow, I can't quite believe we're already halfway into January. But yes...happy belated New Year everyone! I hope you had a great end to 2018 and a wonderful start to 2019 so far.

Quest and I are doing well though there have been some big changes at the barn recently. Last weekend, A moved Mel back to the Dust Bowl barn. There were a lot of things that factored into the decision but bottom line A was never quite happy at OF. Also our barn schedules didn't coordinate for us to do as many rides together as we had hoped so Quest and I were solo 90% of the time. Oh well. 

With Mel now gone, Quest has been without a pasture mate for the past few days while the barn staff figure out a new arrangement. Hopefully whoever they decide to place with her will be a compatible fit with little to no drama so fingers crossed!

Asides from that, Quest and I have been getting in some good solid rides. The weather has now become bitterly cold so we've been doing pretty much all bareback rides both on the trails and in the arena. Gotta make use of the fuzzy butt heater lol

Trail stuff is very limited and we only go out in certain conditions though due to the melting snow or rainfall that freezes right into ice, making the roads EXTREMELY dangerous. In fact, I had to emergency dismount once a few weeks ago when Quest took misstep and started slipping on a hidden patch of ice. She didn't go down and I hopped away quickly to safety. We came out of it totally fine but that was a reminder to exercise more caution.

That being said, the indoor arena has been our usual fare so far this winter and fortunately, it is not all that bad. My goal this season has been collection and better seat communication. We have been chipping at it slowly at our own pace doing simple dressage stuff and fundamentals. Quest is getting the gist of it and looking pretty good for our efforts I daresay.

The undersaddle work has seem to transfer to a better relationship out of saddle as well or for whatever reason Quest has been surprisingly more snuggly with me. When I fetch her from pasture, she often leans her head against my arm and just breathes me in. In the arena, she follows me around while I toddle back and forth with a laden manure fork cleaning up after her. It's also good to see that she's maintaining her weight too. The whole lack of pasture-mate thing might set us back due to her running around and worrying but I hope that will be resolved quickly.

As for riding/event plans for 2019, things are VERY much in the air at the moment due to all the big life things that will be taking place this year. W and I are in the throes of wedding planning and also just restarted our efforts in looking for a home together. We'll also be attending 3 of our friends' weddings before ours in July and have several trips to do all before summer happens. Things are chaotic lol but it'll be fun.

Its in the crazy moments that I fully realize how lucky I am for Quest being as steady and constant as she is. While mareface does have her Arabian moments, being able to just swing up for a quick, no fuss bareback ride on the trails or arena when I need to get away from life is a immeasurable gift of relief and solace itself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Moments In Between

Hi and hello from Team Mareface! Quest and I are doing well and have been enjoying the quickly fading daylight and frigid evening temperatures. Not.

But really, we have been getting in some great rides despite all that! Earlier this month, I celebrated a milestone birthday and took a couple days off to indulge and self-care. I managed to fit in two trail rides that week and did a long ride out to Hawk Watch.

The trails were really busy as we had several days of rain and the weather finally cleared up for everyone to come out of the woodwork. We had several leashed dogs lunge at us but Quest was totally fine and just moved along.

Autumn held on for quite sometime this year but we finally got our first snow earlier this week. It caused a huge headache and rather dangerous conditions for the homeward commute (my usual 7-minute drive turned into a 2-hour ordeal), however I didn't get into any accidents and am incredibly grateful for that.

The snow stuck around for Quest and me to enjoy it, safely, on the weekend though. I tacked Quest up in the bareback pad and we started in the indoor first before headed out onto the snow-laden trails. Despite the cold, it was a lovely day to be out and riding bareback kept me nice and warm.

Mareface was fantastic and still seems to enjoy being out and about in the snow which is great news for me. I love snow rides so much.

Things like this definitively reassure me that taking this year off to mentally and physically rest was the right choice. Simply being able to enjoy time together has done good things for us and our relationship. The changes aren't super noticeable to most, but for me they speak volumes.

I miss distance riding to be sure and we'll get back to work when life allows. But for now, we're both happy and that's what matters the most.

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.


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.