Winter Solstice…Goals!

This is officially the 100th post for the GHLHF. It seemed fitting to celebrate the Winter Solstice! Yes it’s several days after the fact, but every single day until Summer Solstice will be around 2.5 minutes longer than the previous. That means I will have gained over an hour of daylight by the end of January. I love shorter days, said no equestrian ever! Who likes waking up in the dark, working all day, and then its dark by the time the day job is over? For those lucky souls that can ride throughout the day, I envy you. I once thought my remote working situation would make me one of you, but Ha! Joke’s on me, because apparently meetings scheduled during normal lunch hour windows are apparently a “thing” now. Don’t get me started on people that only live to work…

My stadium lights are ok, but for some reason night rides don’t hold the same appeal they did two years ago. Maybe its because I’m 40 and I’m officially becoming old (just kidding, I’m no where near old…in my mind) or maybe the novelty of finally having the ability to ride at night has worn off. I’m not a fan of jumping in the dark, even with the stadium lights, there are weird shadows that mess with my vision and ability to spot a distance. I’m going with that as if my day time distances are that much better. Whatever the case, I’m so excited, that the days are getting longer, at least giving me the option between night and day riding.

Winter Solstice is also when I really begin thinking about my plans for the new year. Not resolutions, but definitely goals I want to accomplish. I ended last year saying 2020 was the worst year of my lifetime that I can remember, but along came 2021 to top it. Ironically, 2021 was a year of joy, blessings, and adventures for our family, but the constant fear mongering surrounding Covid is soul sucking. Yes, there is a virus that can be horrendous, even deadly, but throughout human history there’s always been “something.” The one constant, is things don’t get better until you stop living in fear and worrying all the time. Our family isn’t living in fear. We haven’t changed a single thing because of the virus. Darling Husband and I are survivors of the virus. It took longer to contract than I would have liked, because I was all for getting it over with and enjoying the natural immunity that came with it. I’m just exhausted with the non-stop media coverage of the freaking virus and the pointless mandates!

I set some goals last year, and achieved most of them. Last year at this time, I was anxiously awaiting the return of Johnny Cash! This year, Johnny Cash is already signed up for his first dressage show. I wanted to take Comanche out to more events. I ended up throwing Odessa on the trailer with him, because why not? Turns out she was a pretty decent eventer for a horse with not much scope. She makes up for lack of scope in bravery. Her motto is literally “If I can’t go over it, we’ll bust through it!” Comanche and Odessa ended up 3rd and 4th in our region association in their division despite cancelled shows and me skipping the last two shows of the season for the beach and a trip to National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. I wanted to begin training Sage, the baby donkey, but with three horses in work just wasn’t able to squeeze him in.

I’ve temporarily given up hope that Johnny Cash will be much of an eventer in the near future. For one bravery is not his thing. Secondly, he tends to be a flatter jumper, which may improve with more training, but he definitely doesn’t possess natural scope. 2022 will most likely not be his year over fences. I’ll admit, I did plan/spend most of 2021 chasing ribbons/points. Mainly because I had never given it a try. I proved to myself, that when the stars align, my rescue Appaloosas aren’t half bad, and that I can really trust them. I also started to get bored by the end of the season, hence skipping those last two shows…The property owner at one of my favorite venues gave me a look that suggested I had sprouted a 2nd head when I told her that I was heading to Las Vegas for the rodeo instead of going to an eventing clinic with a four star rider. The truth is, I just can’t stomach only riding one discipline all of the time. I need variety. Riding in the sandbox, jumping in stadium, and galloping over obstacles on cross country just isn’t enough variety.

So this is the year the GHLHF farm plays around and has some fun. We’ll hit up some events. We’ll do some dressage only shows. I’m going to check out a working equitation clinic and see if I think JC will lose his shit in the pen or with the pole obstacles. The fact that I can ride working equitation in a western saddle, with my custom chinks, and my new flat brim, is super exciting. I’m kinda bored with breeches, show jackets, and the typical western pleasure attire. I’m going to drag a few horses to ranch sorting events to give Darling Husband some show experience without having to focus on equitation and appearance. I’d love to take Comanche to an endurance race. There’s a part of me really eyeing up Tevis as a bucket list life goal.

Tater Tot and Summer Cloud will begin solo and then progress to team driving. I’ll be on the look out for another pony to add to the string and complete my “four” and anxiously await Apple Jack’s foal, Tater’s full sibling, that will hopefully be a carbon copy of Tater. I would like to pair it with Tater eventually. If not, we’ll find some place for it in the team of six. I might even finally get some donkeys working and then we could have a mixed species team! Wagon construction will begin in the early spring! Maybe, I’ll purchase my first bow, learn how to shoot, and get ready for some mounted archery in 2023.

Finally, I’ll start getting Offspring on some horses. Like Johnny Cash, he isn’t super brave, but he has shown more interest in riding. Getting Darling Husband on a horse more, and checking out some cowboy church playdays should go a long way toward encouraging an interest in rodeo. It’s a win-win, more horses and more Jesus in Offspring’s life. We’re going to test out some saddles on Moonshine and see how well she steers and stops in a rope halter. She might just be the perfect starter pony. I’m also going to pony Offspring on the my appaloosas more. With any luck Mesquite or Thistle will be riding by end of year as well. Boys are easier to teach to ride than girls in my experience, if you can get them interested in horses in the first place.

For the first time in fifteen years, I purchased a day planner. I’m not good in keeping up with these things, but I will be using it as a training journal. I really want to be more purposeful in my training schedule and activities. As usual I’m hoping to keep up with this blog better. I always say that and then fail to meet expectations, but I did write more in 2021 than I did in 2022. I’ll try to top that in 2022.

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