GHLHF 2019 in Review

The winter solstice is over. Every day will be a little longer than the one before it. A new decade will be upon us in less than two days (scratch that less than one day), and at the risk of being cliche, now is the time I reflect upon the past year. Every year seems to pass faster than the previous, but it feels like I blinked and 2019 disappeared. The last quarter of 2019 left me scrambling to do anything and everything, which is really not the norm for me. I’m usually very busy, but seldom do I feel like I’m dropping every single ball I’ve thrown in the air. I was totally unprepared for the holidays despite my best efforts to plan ahead for them. So true to current trends my usual week long deep reflection and goal setting for the new year will be condensed into two days.

2019 on the Gardner Hard Luck Horse Farm was a continuation of everything we started three years ago, but on a larger scale. Small seeds planted in 2016 exploded into big things this year. That rescued mustang (Battle) with PTSD three years ago resulted in an adopted BLM burro and two more project mustangs this year. The dream of a single trained cart pony became four trained cart ponies with two more in the training queue, and plans for a team of four when I have enough ponies that are similar in size. I need uniformity of size in my hitch since I probably will have a multi-color team. I’m OCD, but only to a point. Not only were ponies trained to a cart, but they participated in three parades and a Christmas light trail ride with Offspring as a passenger this year. While Comanche, Odessa, and I made some show appearances outside life events, the amount of time I dedicated to training ponies, and the unanticipated adoption of two mustangs derailed some of my competition preparation. There were several show events I dropped from my show calendar due to other social obligations.

Somehow I managed to start and maintain this blog throughout 2019. Although I originally wanted to write two posts a week, life happened. I did manage fifty seven posts this year which is at least one entry a week. Taking the time to write and then remembering to get photos for my entries was a little more labor intensive than anticipated (social media darling, I’m not), but was therapeutic in a way. I’ve decided to stick with it another year. Also, I completely forgot when the automatic renewal date for my account was. I’ve already been charged by the host site for 2020. I might as well get my money’s worth!

So I’m rolling into 2020 with unaccomplished goals from 2019, and endless opportunities for the new year. 2019 taught me a lot about myself, my goals for the future, Darling Husband, and Offspring. I never expected Darling Husband to take this Mustang thing so far or that he would convince me to adopt one. Working with seven plus animals on my training calendar, a full time job, and a toddler is a little too much for me I discovered. Several times this year, I felt completely drained/burned out, and working with the animals felt more Iike a chore or obligation than a passion. So I plan to scale back my training endeavors this year. In 2020 I don’t want to feel like I’m short changing everything in my life.

2019 taught me that a difficult Mustang takes more emotional energy than three difficult domesticated horses combined. So while Johnny Cash is earning his place in the GHLHF herd, he’ll probably be the last full grown mustang I personally take on as a training project. I would consider working with a yearling, but I’ll leave the adult wild things to Darling Husband. He gets a lot more fulfillment out of the wild to mild journey than I do. Then again neither of the two mustangs he selected defaulted to kicking or striking to show frustration/annoyance. Despite assurances from Mustang zealots, I don’t feel that my connection with Johnny Cash is more magical than my connection with Odessa and Comanche. All equine connections are magical. Mustangs are amazing creatures, and I continue to recommend their adoption. I just wasn’t fully prepared for the time commitment as compared to my other horses when I decided to “start from scratch” with an adult completely untouched animal.

2019 was full of blessings on the GHLHF. I’m blessed with Darling Husband who is never a voice of reason where horses are concerned. He pushes me outside of my comfort zone, and I realize that yes, we can handle another (or three more) equine. I’m blessed with a healthy exuberant toddler, and relive childhood through his eyes. I’m grateful every day for my family, and the experiences I had growing up. Without that foundation the GHLHF would probably not even exist and I would have completely different, normal, ambitions that require a lot less manual labor on my part.

We are surrounded by amazing neighbors and friends. When a random stranger asked for assistance with her pony, it was a blessing to not only assist her, but I made a wonderful friend along the way. It was a blessing to be in the position to adopt a donkey and two mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management. Despite my frustrations with Johnny Cash, having the skills to handle, train, and show him life with humans is where it’s at is a blessing. When a small and terrified pony went through the Cleburne horse auction with no bidders except the kill buyer, it was a blessing to make her yet another Hard Luck resident. Darling Husband’s fascination with mustangs turned into an opportunity to benefit more mustangs on a larger scale than the few we are able to adopt.

The last few weeks of 2019 made me glad the year is coming to an end even though it really was a wonderful year. I’m looking forward to beginning a new year and decade. I want 2020 to be the year of fun equine activities. Of course I plan on attending a few shows, but I may try some new classes. I know I’m forcing a square peg into a round hole asking Odessa to do western pleasure. So hopefully simply listing these goals will make them more likely to happen.

  1. Johnny Cash under saddle. #8seconds #WildHorseWildRide
  2. Expose Johnny Cash to different venues/indoor arenas. #RanchRiding
  3. Comanche cross country schooling and his first event. #Tokyo2020
  4. Get the Hyperbike on the trails with the ponies. #YeeHaw #WhereTheWildThingsAre
  5. A beach camping trip with the horses/ponies. #BreechesNotBikinis #SandEverywhere
  6. Do a few parades with ponies and Offspring. #TooCute #ShowThemOff
  7. Start Offspring’s riding education. #RaiseThemRight #RaiseThemWild
  8. Thistle’s training continued. #DonkeysRule #SmartNotStubborn
  9. Learn to rope a dummy calf from the ground. #WorldSeriesRoping #ForThe Win
  10. Learn to shoot a mounted archery bow. #AlreadyPreparingFor2021
  11. Fit in a vacay trip to Vegas/National Finals Rodeo. #RockOn #CowboyChristmas

As a sign of how depleted the end of 2019 has left me, it took ten days to focus long enough to complete my final post of the year. I wish everyone that stumbles across this post a Happy New Year! May your resolutions last longer than January, and may you see your blessings multiply!

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