Bloghop: Favorites of 2018

This one is courtesy of The $900 Facebook Pony and I thought it was a great way to do a brief, photographic summary of the year while I work on my more detailed year-in-review post.

Only rules on this one are there has to be accompanying media (photo, video, gif, etc) for each category.

Favorite Show Ride Picture

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The ultimate Cougar Rock picture, of course. The photo makes it look so much more dramatic than I felt it was in reality, but that’s the beauty of a good photo…captures more of the moment than what you might have otherwise even realized.

Also, this is just such an iconic photo that is so representative of what endurance is to me. It reminds me of what I’ve worked for over the years, but also that the journey is not a finite point — this is but one goal along the way, with so many more still to come.

Favorite Non-Show Ride Picture

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That’s hard, because so much of my media is taken at rides, so I have virtually nothing of me riding here at home. But I love how this one came out, and it reminds me of probably one of the best “around the barn” rides I’ve had on Mimi.

Favorite Thing You Bought

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My equine-related purchases were actually pretty light this year, so I would have to say spending the $ to attend the first step towards my Masterson Method massage certification would probably qualify. Just learning the basics was really valuable, no matter what, and since this is going towards one of my big life goals, I’d consider it a pretty big deal.

Favorite Moment on Horseback

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Climbing on Flash for the first time. Mounting a horse I’ve never ridden before for the first time is probably one of the scariest moments for me. Between ones that have bronc’d me, or tried to, or the ones you just have to “get in the saddle and go” because they’re a bundle of nerves or energy, I’m always somewhat apprehensive of what I’ll be getting into, and there are only a handful of horses I’ve been able to mount up and feel instantly relaxed. This was one of those times. I was expecting a high-energy, fire-breathing dragon, especially in the face of 40mph wind gusts…and what I got was calm, settled, polite, and the instant feeling of safety and security.

Favorite Moment Out of the Saddle

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Hanging out in camp at the Strawberry ride. Yummy food, good friends, a beautiful setting.

Favorite “Between the Ears” Picture

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This was a hard pick, because I’ve got half a dozen amazing ears photos from this year. But looking out at the Grand Canyon is a hard one to beat.

Favorite Horse Book or Article

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This has been a fun thing for me to dabble with through the year, especially with Mimi. It gives us something “different” to do without being physically taxing for her.

Favorite Horse Ridden (or Groomed/Cared For) Aside From your Own

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Flash. Because that one wasn’t obvious at all.

Favorite Funny Picture of Your Horse

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Perfecting the Epic Opinionated Mare Face.

Favorite Fence That You Jumped or Movement That You Successfully Conquered
(Endurance Alternate: Successful Ride Moment)

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First time showing for Best Condition, and getting High Vet Score.

Favorite Horse Meme or Funny Picture

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Ahem, Mimi. 25 years old and still trying to zoom down the trail.

2017 Year-In-Review

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Sleigh bells, hot cocoa, Santa hats on saguaros…and my annual year-in-review.

January

A wet, wet winter start to the year. The Bumble Bee ride got postponed to April…which was fine because I spent a lot of time concentrating on my trail running during the first quarter of the year.

Managed to log 90 running miles for the month, and actually keep a mileage/activity log for the month.

February

More running. I paced Mel at the epic mud-rain-hypothermia-fest that was the Black Canyon 100k. I ran the Elephant Mountain 22k. That race, for whatever reason, was where things really clicked for me and things like hydration, eating, shoes, and apparel all came together. And then I capped off the month with a training run at Mt Ord — 7 miles straight up and 7 straight back down.

I also squeezed in a day at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show…but I brought the pups along, so spent more time wrangling them and failed to get any decent pics. Eh, we know the drill. Ridiculously pretty Arabians…some of which made my fingers itch to deck out in endurance gear and tote their butts out to the trail.

March

I feel like I was gone for a good part of the month. Oh, wait, I was. First down to Florida to be the Renegade rep at the FITS ride, then to Dallas to run the Renegade booth at the AERC Convention. And sprinkle in last-minute prep and lead-up to my first 50k.

April

The biggie: my first 50k finish at Crown King Scramble! And then the Dam Good Run 26k, just for fun. (Although “fun” is debatable when it hits 95° on the course.) I attempted to do the Bumble Bee ride, but due to truck issues (not mine, mercifully), Liberty wasn’t able to be brought down to the ride for me. So I volunteered. Which, long story short, had an end result of me being nominated to run for the position of one of AERC Southwest Regional directors at the end of the year.

May

Mimi’s birthday month (24!), and we actually got to get out and ride. Dad and I ran the Renegade booth at The Mane Event expo in Scottsdale (yay, a convention thing in my own backyard!), and I got an invite to do the Tevis Educational Ride in July. A day trip to Prescott to hike and take in some cooler temperatures rounded off the month.

June

June kicked off with the Horse Expo in Sacramento for Renegade, which was a fun experience.  Then I proceeded to get a lot of saddle time in around the barn in an attempt to be somewhat saddle-fit and ready for the Tevis Ed Ride. Pony was quite happy, as it was hot. The hotter, the better in her world.

July

This would kick off a roller-coaster rest of the year as far as endurance/horse activities go. The highlight was obviously the Tevis Educational Ride with my friend Cathy on her Al-Marah horses Tempest and Dean. I floated on the high from this weekend for most of the month.

August

Crewing Tevis. Although Lucy didn’t finish this year, it was a really fun time with a lot of laughter and the chance to hang out with good friends. Once home from Tevis, I was offered the opportunity to tackle the Virginia City 100 the next month, so spent some time and rides getting to know Beeba.

September

My first attempt at a hundred-miler with the Virginia City 100. We didn’t finish, but it was an amazing experience and I feel really good about how the whole endeavor went. Artemis’s birthday is this month (4!).

October

Beeba and I took a crack at the 50 at Man Against Horse…and got pulled at the finish. Disheartening, to say the least. I retail therapied my way through eBay and scored a ridiculously good deal on a set of Hought Tack…because a girl can never have too much tack. Sofie’s birthday month (6) and “gotcha” month — 2 years with me now. Also Mimi’s “gotcha” month — 21 years!

November

Highlight was being asked to ride my friend Cristina’s little Al-Marah gelding Atti in the 75 at Lead-Follow @ McDowell…and finishing! That was a major, much-needed win, and a great way to wrap up the 2017 season. It also put me at my 500-mile mark for endurance miles. Artemis’s gotcha month (4 years!), thus proving that I have a tendency to acquire my animals in the fall, apparently. Did some more catch riding on my friend Barb’s horse Junior, with an eye on some rides with him this upcoming season. Thanksgiving weekend, we did a family hike up at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to admire the fall colors in the desert.

December

Vacation!!! Washington, DC, to be precise…where my best friend and I spent 5 days walking almost 40 miles, getting snowed on, eating excellent food, and engaging in all manner of plotting and planning that’s kept us friends for the past 23 years. On the horse front: although I wasn’t elected as one of the Sothwest Regional Directors, I did get asked to be a part of the AERC Membership Committee in 2018, so I’m looking forward to participating in that endeavor.

 

Happy New (Ride Season) Year

So the AERC ride year actually runs Dec 1 – Nov 30, rather than following the calendar year…I have no idea why. But I actually renewed on time this year, and am all set for 2017.

At the end of last year, I made some goal and vague plans for my 2016 season. Let’s see how those worked out, shall we?

  • Learn to properly ride a sitting trot. Fail. Not helped by the fact I didn’t clock very much riding time in with the pony. However, given the fact I tried and discovered I can sit Liberty’s trot, I’m inclined to chalk this one up to “very difficult to attain on the pony.”
  • Get to at least one endurance ride. Success. Actually got to three rides: Bumble Bee, Wickenburg, Tahoe Rim. And a weekend horse camping trip.
  • Finish (and not overtime) at least one endurance ride. Success. Tahoe Rim. Thank you, Roo.
  • Further my hoof trimming education. Sort of. Didn’t spend as much time on this or go an in depth as I wanted.
  • Do a better job of tracking training rides/mileage. Sort of. Started out the year well, and then about halfway through, got lazy and stopped tracking stuff again. Try again next year.

What’s on the horizon for 2017? I really have no clue at this point. I’ve got my truck up and running again, so my mobility and freedom has once again greatly increased, thus opening up the possibility of doing some more catch riding. Aside from that, AERC Convention in February (Dallas, TX), some running plans, most likely Tevis crewing, and from there, I’ll just see how it goes.

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As always, hoping for more saddle time with these two, and whatever other four-hooves enablers of fun I can wrangle up along the way.

2015 Year-In-Review

Well, this is one year I am not sorry to put in the rearview mirror.

There’s this little anecdote, the details of which I’m probably horribly butchering, but the gist is, a kid asks for a pony for Christmas, and wakes up to a pile of horse poop. Instead of being all depressed, the kid grabs a shovel and starts digging, and when the parents ask why, the kid’s response is “With all of this manure, there’s bound to be a pony buried in here!”

2015 = manure pile, and I’m still digging.

Granted, it wasn’t all bad…had some fun times interspersed with some other more trying, disheartening times…still not entirely sure how the balance between the two ended up shaking out.

Running

I had one good trail race, and then it all went downhill from there, culminating in an injury-induced pull at my first attempt at an ultra (50k).

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San Tan Scramble 26k on my home trails. Probably my best trail race ever.

I’ve basically sat out of doing any real running since April, and have now gotten totally out of the habit and will have to start almost back to the beginning in terms of fitness and cardio to pick it back up again.

Endurance

FAAAAAAIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLL.

One big ol’ pile of NOPE for the year in terms of riding, and one more  round of Tevis crewing. (I am seriously starting to develop an “always the bridesmaid” complex in regards to Tevis.)

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Travel

This would be the carbon offset to the other areas of fail, since travelling pretty much rocked my year.

It started with a New Years Day trip to Catalina:

 

And then there was a day-trip to Prescott in January:

 

A weekend in Portland in February for my best friend’s birthday:

 

The AERC Convention in Reno in March:

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And then a Grand Canyon backpacking trip in April:

 

Camping trip to Big Lake in July:

 

Tevis in August:

 

And then another camping trip, this time up on the Mogollon Rim, for my birthday in August:

 

And finally, Moab in October to pick up Sofie:

 

Eyes to the Future

I honestly don’t know at this point. There’s a whole universe of things I want to/hope will happen…but planning and getting hopes up too much didn’t do me any favors this past year, so I just might try for a round of ambiguity and winging it with regards to 2016. (And see how long it takes the lack of planning to drive my Type A self absolutely crazy.)

2014: That’s A Wrap

I so very badly want to say “and good riddance,” but any year that sees me turned into an actual trail runner can’t be all bad.

Many things certainly did not go as planned, and I’m pretty sure I spent the least amount of time in the saddle that I have since I started riding. I think if I hadn’t had the trail running, I probably would have gone absolutely out of my mind climbing the walls, but hitting the trail with my own two feet kept me (reasonably) sane.

As far as 2014 goes, it may not have gone as planned, and I may have spent far too much time dwelling on that the past few months, but looking back, it was actually pretty decent.

Got to ride Libby again. We may not have
technically completed, since we came in
overtime, but we had a good time and got in
a good training ride.
photo by Susan Kordish

Still got some pony time in. Sensing retirement is imminent, but
will still keep taking advantage of the good days when I can and
when she says she’s feeling good.

my girls

Fun times meeting with fellow bloggers at the AERC
Convention in Atlanta. 

“Answer”
And did I ever! Some riding, and lots of
running!

Lots of time with my favorite running buddy!

Another epic Tevis crewing adventure!
(That’s Artemis’s full younger brother Spike I’m holding.)

One of my best friends got married, and I was
one of her bridesmaids. This is probably the
first and last dress pic that will grace this blog.

Seeing more of the Tevis trail!

Ran a road race (15k) — as in ran the whole
thing — and didn’t die!

But these were way more fun! Ended the year with 48 race miles
total…racked up way more run miles than ride miles. *shrug*

Semi-swimming in the Salt River.
May not have ridden much, but the
times I did, it was usually pretty fun!

I’m not one to make resolutions (“inebriated declarations of good intent”), and quite honestly, I’ve thoroughly embraced the “no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy” mentality when it comes to trying to plan things out too far in advance, since it all falls apart anyway.

I’ve got my spring roughly mapped out in terms of trail runs (which you’ll find out about as they happen, lest I alert the universe to my plans and jinx myself), and it looks like I’ll probably be doing the Bumble Bee ride again…just the fun ride this time, since my saddle muscles aren’t in shape.

Beyond that, my only immediate plans are to snore in the New Year…I generally have a rule about going out on New Year’s Eve — I don’t — and have no plans to break it this year. (Currently chuckling a bit at the all-day rain forecast, and the 29* overnight temps…that’ll put a crimp in the Fiesta Bowl and block party celebrations. And it may even put out the dog-and-pony-startling fireworks. Love fireworks, but prefer to see them in a place and environment that isn’t disturbing my animals…like Disneyland.)

Hope everyone has a fun and safe New Years Eve, whatever your plans may be, and we’ll see you in 2015!