Sunday, December 29, 2019

Blog Hop: 10 year picture challenge

Emily over at May As Well Event started this insanely difficult blog hop, and I thought it would be fun to play along. The challenge is to choose just one photo from each of the last ten years to kind of recap what that year was all about horsey wise. I've been struggling hard to get this post done. So many wonderful things have happened over the last ten years, but obviously most of them included either Rio or Jampy. Or both of them. And it's a little hard. But I love looking back and embracing wonderful memories so I'm not dwelling on the heartache. Instead, let's meander back in time and celebrate the good days.
Also, fair warning... While I chose just one photo for each year, I also wrote a small novel to fill in the blanks cause one photo definitely doesn't tell a full story!

2010 was a VERY full year. I took my medium pony to his first horse show over fences (I think it was his last one too, he has a job as a beginner teacher now, and I don't think they jump with him). This was also the year that I turned 30 which means it was the year I bought Jampy. My dad, stepmom, and I traveled to the Czech republic to shop for horses. It was my second time importing, but first time doing it without a trainer by my side. It's debatable if it was a success or not... but I found Jampy and made him part of the family. He didn't get home until fall though, so I spent the summer playing around with Mowgli the pony and showing Rio in the adult hunters. He had already stepped down from his jumper job.

2011 brought my first year showing Jampy and the only year we actually showed in the jumpers. We didn't have a lot of success honestly. I got jumped off at Saratoga when I made a poor decision in a tight roll back. He was still a stallion and I was terrified that he got loose, but fortunately he stayed in the ring and let himself get caught. At Vermont though, he got loose and chased a mare around the show grounds... It was horribly embarrassing, but I did blog that whole story awhile back... No one was hurt, but it did aid in my decision to eventually geld Jampy.
I rehomed my mare Aries this same year to what would be her forever home. A friend of mine was able to take her in and used her for some lessons. It was a wonderful situation for everyone and she stayed with my friend until she eventually succumbed to old age many years later.
Mowgli the pony was also sold this year. He went to a forever home a few towns over from me. He teaches little kids and has a tiny pony friend too. Many days I kind of wish I had kept him myself, but he's loved and happy. So no real regrets.
My horse Jasper ALSO was sold this year. (I am terrible about collecting horses, but apparently in 2011 I did a lot of letting go.) Jasper and I were never right for each other. He really needed to be in a more professional program than I could provide as a working amateur who didn't really have a trainer at the time. He was sold to a wonderful kid with a great trainer, and they had many years of successes together.
Rio showed some in the adult hunters this year as well, but I think he may have gone into the winter with a tendon injury that year. Hard to recall, he was king of soft tissue injuries!
2011 was the year I battled the flying squirrels in my house. And they brought a few friends, GRAY squirrels! It was chaos.

2012 was a year of starting over. Over the winter Jampy was gelded (poor dude) and then he switched from being a jumper to being a hunter/equitation horse. He wasn't the most huntery of hunters (we did the 3'3" A/O's) but he was really a pretty great equitation horse. Most of the time.
Rio spent most of the year rehabbing from his injury. He showed in the alumni class at the Saratoga show since the jumps were tiny, but otherwise had an easy year of mostly flatting.
I did a lot of running that year including my second half marathon and my first (and only) Ragnar Relay. I also managed to fall while running the 5K at the Boston Marathon which was pretty embarrassing. But makes for a good story at least!

2013 was another of Rio's many comebacks. He showed another year in the adult hunters, but lightly. Jampy was also doing the hunters and equitation. I made a last minute decision to show Rio rather than Jampy at our state medal final in August. It was the best decision, and we finished in second place! For sure up there on the list of best days we had together. This would also be the last year he would horse show but I didn't know that right away. The photo I chose above was from our very last horse show together. It was just a small, local one day show, but we finished up Champion, and I was proud of him. That horse was so special. Once in a lifetime guy.
Ducky joined the family in 2013 too. He was a challenge that hony! He was pretty good this year, he hadn't yet figured out how to be a stationary hony.
My first niece was born in 2013 and Artie joined the family too! So it was a big year for new family members.

2014 was the year Rio got sick with EPM. It affected his cranial nerves which isn't the most common presentation. He stayed up at Cornell for almost three weeks getting diagnosed and working on his recovery. I really thought I was going to lose him, but he was such a fighter!
Ducky moved out for awhile this summer to spend some time at Cowboy Camp. This was the year of the stationary hony! Not a good trait in a riding horse. He came home early fall and seemed to have learned something while away.
Jampy continued showing in the hunters and equitation. We didn't show as much as I was reluctant to leave Rio for too long. But we did well and qualified and showed at New England Finals again.

2015 was another transition type year. Ducky started back to work in the spring like a solid citizen, but soon reverted back to his stationary hony games. I decided to look into finding him a job he actually enjoyed and wound up giving him to my stepmom's sister.
This was the year that Rio had the crazy foot issue. We thought he had an abscess but when my vet tried to dig it out, it just turned into proud flesh. It was very painful for him, but with the help of my vets and farrier we got him through it!
This was also the last year I showed Jampy. We had a good year, but mostly stuck to the 3' equitation. We were 10th at Ct finals that year.
And the day after Thanksgiving that year Romey joined the family!

2016 was a pretty big year, just not for showing. Badger joined the family, but he would live with trainer since he was such a green bean. But the best part of 2106 (or maybe my life ever) was this day pictured above when I got to ride Rio again after two years of recovering from EPM. No lie, it was the best moment of my life. It felt like I had finally come home. And clearly, he didn't miss a beat either. LOOK AT HIM! So handsome.
I also threw Rio the most epic 20th birthday party, complete with a nearly life sized cutout of him and a pizza truck. Fifty of his closest friends came and even brought him presents! It was a great time!
Badger spent the summer doing some shows with trainer and gaining experience. I met up with them when I could and got to take some lessons on him in VT.
Jampy stayed home this year. He wasn't really unsound, but his age was catching up with him. We did plenty of schooling and having fun at home, but he didn't show.
I had really hoped to have Romey and Badger both showing with me in the baby greens that year, but it never came to fruition. Badger was a bit sassy for me, and Romey just never got sound enough. Those things were kind of a bummer, but I rode that high of getting back on Rio to balance things out.

2017 was the year things really started to fall apart. We got Jampy pretty sound and I was able to jump some real fences at home with him, but I had decided his showing days were behind him.
Rio started out the year doing some riding, but by the fall he was pretty unsound and earned his second retirement. I would sit on him from time to time, but mostly just to walk around and eat grass in the yard.
Badger started the year well in Florida, but once he came north and went to his first show up here at HITS Saugerties, his summer of showing came to an abrupt end. He pulled a shoe there along with half his hoof. He was never horribly unsound, but he was very sore, and stayed that way all summer. It was pretty frustrating.
Romey was basically in the same boat. After several vet visits, we finally discovered that at some point, probably during his racing career, he had fractured his leg way up high near his hip. He wasn't in any pain, but he had a hitch in his get-along that would always be there. So obviously, his career as a hunter was over before it started. Romey never seemed very happy at my farm, so I started looking for another job for him. Fortunately, the lady I got him from took him back and she was able to place him in a trail riding home where he is loved and spoiled rotten by a vet tech mom and her daughter.

I kind of feel like this post is super depressing, and unfortunately, the proverbial poo starts to really hit the fan in 2018. But there was lots of good too!
The worst part was Jampy foundering in early May. That put an end to his riding career. That meant I had two officially retired horses in my care. And zero riding horses. It was really hard getting Jampy through the first month or so of the laminitis. I worked from home for a few weeks so I could change his ice boots every two hours. I slept in four hour blocks to make sure the boots never got warm overnight. But we got him through! Eventually he graduated to hand walking and going out in the smallest walkout.
Badger stayed in Florida for the first half of the year. He was really starting to get going again, but I had finally admitted to myself that he and I were not a good match. I sold him in the fall to a wonderful lady who loves him to pieces. They've done lots of fun things together including showing at the KY horse park in the adult medal finals.
Rio actually had an okay year in 2018. I didn't ride him, but we lunged once in awhile and did a lot of grooming and grazing. I missed riding him, but really loved spending time with him. He really was the sweetest guy.
My neighbor up the street was kind enough to share her horse Eddie with me some this year, and I got to go to two small horse shows with him. It was a ton of fun, and felt great to wear show clothes again! My friend Katie shared her horse Bradley with me quite a lot too, so I was really lucky to get to keep riding some throughout the year.
The best part of 2018 was welcoming Eros to the family. As you all know by now I'm completely smitten with him. Definitely the highlight of 2018. Oh and I got the trailer too!

I'm breaking the rule for 2019. I earned that for this year. It's just impossible not to pick a photo for everyone. But I'm going to talk my way through them, so get your popcorn. This might take a bit.
This year was the worst. Seriously. And it's sort of ending the same way it started... Only different. I started this year with two unsound horses, Rio and Jampy. And then Eros also was off for much of the winter. So three unsound horses. Which is not a good ratio.
Anyway, things started looking up for Jampy at the end of March. He got x-rays done that cleared him to start turning out in the ring and getting back to work under saddle. It was really exciting!
I decided to let him have his turnout first, and then slowly start adding in riding. Unfortuantely, I should have done that faster as I never did get to sit on him again. Exactly one week after getting cleared to go back to his old life, Jampy's kidneys failed and I had to say goodbye. But my friends, family, and you guys, my blog family rallied around me, and helped me through.
Now I had Rio home alone and that was pretty upsetting to me. So just about a month after losing Jampy, Shiny joined the herd.
She and Rio got along well. And it was really fun to have a horse to ride every day! Eros came back from his limpy winter well, but I mostly rode him just on weekends through the summer. My stepmom did him during the week. And she also welcomed Fefe to our herd in the spring!
Shortly after Fefe moved in, I found Pammon. Things were really looking up!
I had a bunch of lessons and we were really finding our groove.
And then the thing finally happened for Rio. I came home from work one night and he didn't want to stay on his feet. I really didn't think it was that serious, but at 4 in the morning, I had to make a decision I knew would come one day, but didn't expect so soon.
My heart is still broken, and I'm not sure I'll ever really get over losing Rio. But we carry on, don't we?
Not long after losing Rio, Pammon tore his check ligament, and then proceeded to somehow make it about 100 times worse. He's finishing the year at the vet's clinic. I'm really starting to miss him, but I think he'll be home in the next few weeks.
Shiny is fighting through her abscess. I'm hoping by the time I get home from vacation she'll be on the mend. Poor girl.
Eros has been the constant for me these last few months, and I'm probably developing a really unhealthy attachment to him. Fortunately, horses don't care about that stuff.
If the last ten years have taught me anything, it's that new beginnings regularly fall apart. So I'm not looking for 2020 to be a new beginning. Rather, I'm just hoping it will be a continuance on a more positive trajectory.
I really am grateful for all of you for helping me through this year (or decade maybe). It's been a long ten years, and I really never would have guessed how it would end. But here we are! Starting the decade with two red heads and a blond! (And Fefe!)
See ya 2019. Won't miss you.


  1. Here's to a more positive trajectory for both of us in the next decade!

  2. You had a rough end to the decade đŸ˜­ but hopefully 2020 kicks off for you in a much better way!!

  3. You are right- there is no straight line in life and things can (and often do) always fall apart. What should be celebrated in your persistence and resilience. Like they say, it'snot how many times we get knocked down, it's how many times we stand back up.

    1. What's that song? I get knocked down... but I get up again! Sorry, that's in your head now.
      The one thing about life is that even though the bad times happen, it always gets better again! Hopefully sooner than later.

  4. Great to read all these!! Sorry about your ups and downs this year. Come on 2020!!

    1. That's just how life rolls, gotta take the bad with the good. Hopefully 2020 leans more to the good side!

  5. Cheers for a better 2020....goodbye and good riddance, 2019!

  6. Wow, that was quite the decade. I hope you have a sounder 2020 than 2019.

    1. I know it! You don't realize just how much happens and changes in ten years!

  7. Lots of ups and downs. I'm so sorry about the losses in 2019 and sincerely hope that 2020 has a better outcome for you and the ponies.

  8. I hope the next decade is bright and wonderful for you and yours <3 Thanks for letting us follow along.

  9. Oh man. You’ve been through the ringer this year. I’m glad you have Eros to help you. Here’s to hoping there’s more ups than downs in 2020.

    1. Thank goodness for Eros! I'm hoping the same, new decade, new memories!