Saturday, December 29, 2012

Year in Review: 2012

First trail ride, & 3rd ride back.  Didn't end well...
January started off with a bang.  I left the country for 32 hours total, and yet in that time Cadence managed to land herself in the Equine Hospital; this time she was 'admitted' for a bout of (antibiotic induced) colitis.  Cadence's leg continued to heal from her Dec 2011 injury.  In early Jan, she was started under saddle again and, after having her stitches removed, we began the LONG rehab process that accompanies over a month of stall rest.  About mid-month, a cough spread around the barn (and the area) and I panicked about EHV-1. We started cantering again at the end of the month, and enjoyed our first lesson back at the end of the month.

Miss L & I trotting... or should I say jogging!
I started off the month by buying myself a birthday present: a month's lease on my old pony Arty.  Then, a friend hurt her knee and I ended up riding her mare 2x/week as well.  So I'd gone from 0 horses at the start of January to 3 horses at the start of February.  Cadence and I shared our 1 year anniversary, she became quite sore in her back (and we were subsequently introduced to the expensive world of equine massage therapy) and we ended the month with another colic-esque episode.  In with a bang, out with a bang.

The ex-dressage horse circa Jan 2011.  Notice the neck curl...
March led to the discovery that Cadence's back soreness was due to a saddle fit issue, stemming from a poorly stuffed dressage saddle.  I took a trip to Ireland and gave the mare a week and a half off to heal and holiday, & I continued to ride Miss L. I basically picked up a training client, when a friend asked if I would please give her ex-dressage horse a basic refresher, and correct her of her tendency to come (WAY) behind the bit.  By the end of the month Cadence's back had started to heal, and we started to rehab from the back issues.

This is my favourite picture from the 2012 RK3DE.  I took it as she (Sharon White) galloped off from the Tobacco Stripping Bench.  There's just something about the way the horse is moving...
We gradually started to up The Mare's level of work again, and although minor setbacks and niggling things, we made progress.  Muscles began to re-appear, fitness levels were amped up, and we started back into lessons.  Things were going well, and at the end of the month we headed down to The Rolex!

May began with Fox-Pitt winning the Rolex, and me being gratified that I placed my money on the right guy ;)  Cadence had a freakout fit/spook and slipped, setting her back rehab back a bit, and then we entered the era of the evil mare.  After one disastrous XC school that involved 2 hours of Cadence leaping through the air, bolting, pawing, ripping the reins out of my hands, backing up, spinning, etc. and a similarly dreadful dressage school (in which Cadence was insane enough that I made someone else stand beside the ring (keeping them safely behind the fence) with me to call 911 when I died) Cadence spent a few days in remedial training with the BO.  She got a few ground work sessions with my barn owner to work out the worst of her attitude, and then my coahc and I began to tackle it under saddle.  We also had her teeth done, just in case.  However, I learned that although de-escalating situations is an important skill to have in one's arsenal, addressing issues is equally as important because eventually, the issue is going to need to be addressed.

After the ground work sessions with the BO, I never had to endure the same level of psycho-ness from Cadence, but it took most of June to truly conquer the behaviour.  She'd spin and leap into the air if I asked her for something she didn't like, or try to grab the bit and bolt if she didn't feel like doing what I asked.  However, we slowly worked through it and even managed to earn a 1st and 3rd place with scores in the mid-sixties for training 2 & 3 at a local dressage show.  Near the end of the month, my coach instituted the 'take Cadence off property at least once a week' policy, so we headed off to show jump schools, hunter shows, etc.

Yes its blurry, but this is one of my all time favourite moments- the second to last fence on Cadence's first full cross country course!  
In July, I amped up the number of hours I was spending at the equine hospital, and got a ton of experience volunteering there.  Cadence and I headed out for our first xc school since the disastrous one in May.  This went so well that we entered into a XC derby in which Cadence completed her first recognized XC course, took home a second place ribbon, got asked why we were bothering with this 'low level stuff' by our dressage judge, and kicked butt coming in clear & inside the time in stadium. Go mare!
First time at Entry
In August, Cadence and I completed our first event.  Cadence shocked everbody (myself included) by taking a twelve point lead after dressage, successfully jumped her first skinny in stadium and her second skinny out XC, and coming home with a pretty red (1st place) ribbon!  In fact, we'd done so well that my coach decided we might as well move up a level, AND try to qualify for champs (at this new, higher level).  So we ended off  the month by completed our first Entry level event, taking home first place. Again!  It was all my horse- I just went along for the ride.
We started off the month by booking it around our second Entry level event, earning a pretty pink 6th place ribbon, and qualifying for champs!  Champs themselves were wet, but a ton of fun.  Once again, Cadence wowed the dressage judges earning the HIGHEST SCORE OUT OF ANY LEVEL FOR THE ENTIRE EVENT, and achieving the exact same mark from all the judges!  Unfortunately, apparently Cadence put one foot back before hopping down the bank on our XC course (news to me, but the judge saw what the judge saw...) which earned us 20 faults, and dropped us to 13th place.  However, a... energetic... stadium round (in which Cadence put one stride in a 36 FOOT COMBINATION) put us back into the ribbons, so we came home with a pretty 10th place rosette!  We ended off the month by moving up to Pre-Training at what was the wettest show I've ever been to, soaking through 4 layers of clothing, and then getting eliminated (by poor riding on my part) out XC.

Cadence and I attempted one more Pre-training, which was also ill fated (I fall off when she spooked at a jump we weren't even jumping) and led to me panicking and thinking that I'd ruined my horse, so the day after I fall off we packed up and went out XC again.  Turns out I hadn't ruined Cadence after all.  She was stellar, and even jumped through her first coffin complex!  Near the end of the month, we stepped up our flat work and jumping work, introducing things like walk-canter transitions, flying lead changes, & corners.

Neatly cantering a 3'6 oxer at home

I participated in NaBloPoMo2012 again, went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to see the Indoor Eventing, attempted (and failed) to take some conformation pictures of Cadence, and went out XC for one last time.  We also got my dressage saddle re-stuffed after Cadence's back started to act up again, and I received the ultra-depressing news that my Childeric close contact no longer fit Cadence... and thus, after one last hurrah, placed it up for sale.  We forged on with the flat work, introducing shoulder in, haunches in, and eventually half-pass to The Mare Face, who took to it like kids on candy & wowed us all.  And to end the month, I fractured and sprained my foot... while standing up.
Cadence on Christmas day

I managed to ride through my break/sprain (with a little help) by riding without stirrups, then with dressage length stirrups, and finally (when attempting to purchase a new jumping saddle neccesitated it) with jumping-length stirrups.  By mid-month, my foot had returned to a size that allowed it to fit inside a boot, which expedited the process considerably.  After trying several types of saddles, I eventually fall in love with an Amerigo DJ, and my parents generously paid the difference between what my old saddle sold for and what the new saddle cost.  Then, in the new Amerigo, Cadence and I jumped a 4' oxer, marking my first time in that height bracket.

A little note about the post:  
I ran out of time.... there were supposed to be links to posts, edited month by month reports, etc. but as per usual, life got in the way. Nonetheless, I hope everyone who reads this has enjoyed their holidays, regardless of what they celebrate, and has a happy, healthy, and safe new year.  And sorry for the poor post quality, bad grammar, spelling errors, and dreadful photos!


  1. Great post, you did lots of things this year!

  2. Talk about a productive year, despite a rough start!

  3. You've had a really amazing year! I hope 2013 is just as good (minus the broken foot, hopefully!)

  4. What a great post and awesome year! :)