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She's Not a Baby Anymore!

Early spring saw some immediate changes in how Ellie carried herself and our dressage work started to truly improve.  There had been times last year where flat work felt like a fight and I wondered to myself if she was ever going to just relax and listen to me haha.

Thankfully, as the title suggests, Ellie has suddenly grown up in front of my eyes.  We have had some really stellar lessons lately, where I feel like I am suddenly able to make things click.  We also had an incredibly frustrating dressage lesson a few weeks ago where Ellie was in rip-roaring peeing heat (not normal for her) and we worked through 45 minutes of her refusing to bend right.  So, ya know, as much as she is improving, she is still an opinionated redheaded mare!  ;-)

But, I have to give her credit because she is really working her little butt off for me!  Sadly, I had not been able to schedule in a jump lesson before our first three-phase, which led to me riding her ridiculously backward at a slow trot the entire …

2017 Goals Review

Man, 2017 was certainly the year of the unexpected in all ways.  Looking back, I realized I never posted anything specific about my goals, but I know what they were!

  1. Attend the 2017 Area I Schooling Horse Trials Championships
  2. Get Snappy's canter to the point where we can move up to Training level dressage tests
  3. Keep the mares happy and healthy
Dreamy and Snappy
My goals were pretty simple.  I knew Snappy wasn't quite ready to canter in public, so I decided to not show (for a second year in a row) at Intro level dressage shows.  Instead, I kept my showing goals limited to just horse trials in order to qualify for the Area I Championships.  

Of course, we did end up having a wonderfully fun five events (complete with five first place finishes) and did make it to the Championships.  I was slightly underwhelmed by the VERY low expectations at Championships, and we ended up in sixth place.  I admit, we never had been first after dressage in our qualifying events, but the reason we won so many times was because Snappy always went clean in both XC and stadium.  So when I saw the SUPER SMALL jumps at Championships, I knew immediately we had no chance of winning.  The jumps were literally six inches high, and I knew there would be no refusals by any other horse to help us move towards the top.  Ah well.  It is not all about ribbons, but it was slightly frustrating because I knew had there been real questions on XC, we could've done much better.  Add to that, I knew this was really going to be Snappy's last show because she was starting to become completely unsound behind, so it was sort of a bittersweet letdown to be honest.
What I did not know was less than a week later I would be putting Snappy down.  I had wanted so desperately to keep her just as a retired pasture puff, even if I never rode her again, but that was not meant to be.  Her tired and worn out body just couldn't do it.  I couldn't watch her spend the majority of her days laying down in her pasture to escape the pain.  She was so young and I still had so many things I wanted to experience with her! 
Celebrating a wonderful final year of showing in 2017, after I thoroughly groomed and stuffed her full of cookies while waiting for the vet on her last day :-(
But, in the end, you do what is right for your horse and not for your own heart.  Putting her down still completely devastates me, but I have to remind myself I did what she needed and I put her needs first.  So did I keep Snappy happy and healthy?  No.  But I did my best and she was NOT happy and healthy being alive in the end.  That's a tough thing to wrap my head around.
Our last trail ride, the day before Championships.  After Championships, I never rode her again.  :-(
And then to even more completely overwhelm and surprise me, life brought me Ellie.  I always knew there would be a redheaded Morgan mare in my life someday, but I NEVER dreamed it would be now.  She's truly the horse of my dreams.


And through it all, Miss Dreamy has been there, living the life of luxury and retirement.  I know I don't write a lot about her (or post her on my Instagram), but she is doing exactly what I had hoped for her, which is to be happy and healthy after everything she has given me.  I am so grateful I have been able to keep my horses right until the end.  Dreamy is going to be 27 years old this coming year, and I hope she will be chilling in her stall and pasture for a long time to come.
Late summer, Dreamy looking damn fine for 26 years old
Hacking out on Dreamy, who plays along and lets me remember every so often how well trained she is, though we mostly stick to trail riding and playing in the Christmas tree fields at a walk.
Overall, while I can say I experienced intense heartbreak in 2017, I also experienced a lot of fun and happiness.  I am eager to see what the new year brings for my horses and our little farm!  

Comments

  1. such a sad and unexpected good bye to Snappy :( i hate that, no matter how hard we try, or how carefully we plan, horses will always follow their own plans. i'm so glad tho that the horsey universe saw fit to bring you Ellie tho!

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  2. You did the best thing possible and yet it is still the most difficult thing. I’m glad life brought you your red headed dream boat Morgan this year and I can’t wait to read about where you go next year.

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  3. you are the best mom ever to your horses and you deserve an Ellie to counter all the pain! (And i dont think of her as red-headed more like chestnut LOL).....and wow Dreamy does look fabulous for her age. Kudos to you!!

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  4. You did the right thing by her. She got to go out happy and without any drawn out pain. And Ellie is such a cutie.

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  5. 2017 was a rough year, but I'm so glad you found Ellie at just the right time. Hopefully next year brings more success!

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  6. It always sucks to have them pulled away from you before you expected. But, it's exactly as you said, we do it for them, not for us.

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