Trial and Error

To begin I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! As I’m sitting here writing this we are a few hours into the start of a huge blizzard expected to drop at least two feet of snow. With all the big, old trees around here power outages are a common occurrence so I will most likely not be posting this the same day I start it. Read on to the end to hear about the aftermath, and knowing me there will be pictures!

Our winter thaw

Our winter thaw

And this snow storm is coming off of a thaw we had last week successfully creating huge puddles that then promptly froze! Our outdoor arena turned into a skating rink and we had fun sliding around on the surface in our boots!

Skating on ice!

Skating on ice!

I pray you had a blessed Christmas surrounded by the ones you love, especially that of Christ. I was able to fly home, if but for a few days, to spend the snowy holiday with my family doing a whole lot of nothing, which can be nice for a change. Although, I was able to upgrade my phone, apply for a passport, sing in the choir on Christmas Eve, complete a puzzle of lighthouses around the Great Lakes, and tromp through the snow on our property measuring the circumference of our resident giant white pines! All in all it was a short but sweet trip!

Christmas at home

Christmas at home

Unfortunately, it was finished with delayed baggage and once the bag was finally received I discovered that several items had been stolen from its contents….never to be seen again. Well, there went the Christmas present I just received, oh, and the one from a few years ago…rats, that one was my favorite….oh, and all the accessories for the new phone I just upgraded, ah, and my laptop power cord….and the list goes on. The first thing I do is file a claim for the lost items but the bureaucracy requires original receipts for all missing items otherwise the claim is not processed. Of course I don’t have original receipts for all the items, nor can I get them. So, I was screwed. In beloved retail terms: “that’s a write off!” Little me knocking on the door of the big bureaucracy produces no results…go figure.

Well, there was an error. While typing something a few paragraphs below this current point an unintentional button was hit and I lost all my content back to what is written above….sigh. So here we go again with the lesson learned of hitting the save button more often! Trial and error!…. I’m just going to take a moment to recollect myself. Excuse me.

Winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

Meanwhile back at the ranch, training with the horses is proceeding splendidly! I’m gearing up to make my 3rd level debut this upcoming show season with the additional goal of attaining my USDF Bronze Medal! This past week I have started riding Rio in a double bridle and it is very exhilarating! For those of you who do not know what this is, the bridle houses two bits instead of just one, a snaffle and a curb, and is the common outfit for horses schooling 3rd level and above as it helps to refine the rider’s aids. This results in the rider having four reins in his or her hands, and with the addition of a riding crop, demands a lot of coordination and dexterity for just 10 fingers (and winter riding gloves, this time of year). Before this my experiences (if they could thus be called) of riding with such a bridle could be counted on just one hand. But here we come into the arena, myself pretending like I know what I’m doing, and the horse contemplating how he is going to get that peppermint navigated around all that metal in his mouth. We proceed, not with a ride to allow me to acclimate myself to the feeling of all that leather in my hands, but with a normal lesson chocked full of medium gaits, lateral work, flying changes, and canter pirouettes! And guess what? I nailed it! At least I’m taking the fact that Mary did not mention anything that I should or shouldn’t be doing with the reins as a sign that I was doing well. Plus, it was an excellent ride! I’m calling this one a trial and success! Now that the double has become our everyday bridle of choice I’m looking forward to it becoming another aspect of riding that becomes second nature. I still chuckle every time I hear the all familiar sound of the crunch of the peppermint a few minutes after it was offered!

A light snow

A light snow

With Pepper up to several minutes of trotting daily, I have turned my focus toward finding a saddle that fits the pair of us. There is a saddle shop here in NH that allows a seven day trial on up to three saddles at a time. Armed with my tiny working student budget I happily bounded into the store and emerged with three to try for the upcoming week. One was awful, and the other two were decent but just didn’t fit my ridiculously long leg well. Disappointed, as my options are limited with my tiny price tag, those saddles return to the store and it’s off to another one for me. A few saddles later I have settled on a synthetic with exterior thigh blocks that allows my leg to actually make contact with my horse’s tiny barrel. I have the correct size ordered. Now, if that phone would just ring…..

I think he's posing

Standing out against the snow

Saddle-less, I see my opportunity to inject Pepper’s poor hock to provide more comfort as he is going through arthritic changes due to the trauma suffered. The vet rolls up, sedation is administered, Pepper is sleepily hanging his head, hair is shaved, site is scrubbed, and all is ready for the injection. Hurriedly putting up a horse I was riding so I can witness the grand event, I mosey up to find the vet struggling to get the needle into the joint. With so much remodeling taking place in the hock she couldn’t even inject all the fluid let alone get into the joint to be treated. Reassuring me that it was worth a shot to try and possibly some of the fluid made it in, I still came up disappointed that it was not successful and the check still had to be written for services rendered. I guess it is all trial and error at this point. Except for occasional shortness on that limb, he is serviceably sound and I can only hope that improvement continues. I was hopeful that the injection would rid him of the shortness and provide more comfort. That has yet to be determined. So what’s next? Radiographic guidance of the needle? General IM injection? Fusion? At this point I don’t know, but I do know that Pepper is feeling well and wants to work with all the kicking up of the heels he has been doing recently! So I will just continue and see what comes. Who would have thought that a kick from a barefoot gelding could cause so much time delay and long term issues… comes the sigh again.

Good news! I have located a chiropractor and dentist in these parts and gotten back onto maintenance schedules with all of them. It’s a sign that I’m settling down here, and I rather like it! Although, this blizzard could let up and save my back and shoulders of all that shoveling. Ah well, I have a chiropractor now! Trial and success!

Oh, there's the door!

Oh, there’s the door!

I am writing you now post-blizzard and thankfully the power stayed in tact! We got about three feet of snow dumped on us, more than we expected! We are officially buried! The snow comes up to the horses bellies and we had many good laughs watching them attempt to maneuver in such a depth. It looked like they have no legs! This, however, has produced giant snow banks and thus I look forward to the spring day when their existence is no longer…wonder when that will be?

We have two more horses moving into the barn in full training and so I will just be getting busier here on out. But, no complaining for me! I love it!

The morning after the blizzard!

The morning after the blizzard!

With the turn of the new year I have started reading through the Bible again, having stuck with my resolution of doing it last year. It takes only a few minutes to read the passages for the day but I added the extra challenge of writing a prayer based on what I read. I now have two notebooks full of 365 prayers and this year I am adding to them and unveiling a theme the passage seems to be supporting. I am loving it all the more this second time through. If any of you have made New Year’s resolutions I encourage you to stick with them and see the results unfold before you. Diligently pursue it and turn your trials and errors into trials and successes! And it is never too late to read the Good Book! Join me in learning the truth!

This posting seems to be a comedy of errors as I attempt to compose it as now I am having issues attaching photos! Eventually I will get all in order and be able to post. Never have I taken this many days to procure an update! This is sure a lesson in patience!

I entreat you all to stay safe this winter and if a blizzard comes your way, enjoy it as much as I have and happily don that shovel! Oregonians, I don’t want to hear it. Frankly, the rain is depressing and the lack of sun even more so. I’m thankful for my snowy, sunny winters! Tomorrow, however, we are expecting 8 to 12 more inches…perfect….just what we need!

Here’s to all of your trials and errors culminating in successes!

Until next time.

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