It's amazing. I've lived through my first decade! Ten years ago I was legitimately riding a horse for the first time. A little Shetland pony mare named Jiffy, more because of her peanut-butter coloring than her actual speed (if she was to be named for her speed, she would likely be called "Molasses".) My very first lesson not only did I walk and trot, I also cantered, just to see how much gutsy I had and how sticky my seat was, more than likely. From then on, I did five years of western lessons and some competitive barrel racing. I phased out of that, and for a while was on the brink of taking hunter lessons, which I wish I had done some English lessons sooner, then perhaps I wouldn't feel like a Training level lifetime member right now. But as fate would have it, I learned some far more important lessons in the years after chasing cans: horse rescue and rehab. It was these "lessons" that paved the way to fulfilling the dream of having a horse of my own, and later hopefully going into equine medicine as a career.
It's one thing to learn how to ride. It seems like that's the simple aspect of horse ownership, because one can do that with or without a horse of their own. The hard part is caring for the horse, and it should be. What to feed? Does she need this or that? Hay or alfalfa? What are the effects of this on her (i.e. all that protein in the alfalfa makes her, well, crazy to put it simply)? What helps them gain weight? What helps them lose it? What does a healthy horse look like? Too skinny? Obese? How do I get her in shape? All of these things and more, so much more.
In this past year, well starting in late April, I fell like I've entered a new phase in my horse life. I phased out of horse rescue, and into actually owning a horse. Since April, Greta and I have actually come quite a ways, though it may not seem like that to me. We have learned each other. She has calmed. I have become far more patient, though not saintly. Dwelling on the past, though, does no good. I am very eager for this year. It will be a fresh start.
As far as horse goals, I want to be at first level by the end of the year. I want to show. I want to move forward. I want to build Greta's muscles, most importantly, as well as my own. Once we get dressage down, I want to give Greta something fun to do and try jumping. Nothing huge and definitely nothing competitive, but just to say "yes, we can jump." At least want to master two-point so Greta can gallop comfortably in something other than an arena.
Thursday, last time I rode her (a friend from Portugal has been hanging out with me the rest of this weekend) Greta was actually "in frame" for a good majority of the riding session. A good sign, I suppose :)
This past year was like the prologue, and want this coming year to be the first chapter to what is hopefully a very long and happy book.
Cheers to Greta and all of the other equestrians which I am so fortunate to have come to know! Here's to 2010!
On another note, for those of you who have not seen Avatar yet, do it. I command you. It's not just another cute little sci-fi movie (one of my least favorite genres, by the way) but it is truly a work of art with a very profound and deep meaning. Also, the visual aspects of the movie are beautiful and amazingly realistic, just as groundbreaking as critics claim them to be. If you haven't seen the movie, it will be a great way to start off the new year, even if science fiction is not your calling, because it certainly isn't mine!