Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year of 2014 ~ Goal Review

Horse-Related Goals
  • Maintain Lady at a healthy weight.  Yes!  We had a few weeks over the summer when I slacked off and she put on a few more pounds, but we did great. She looks fantastabulous (totally my word now).
  • Keep horse health records better.  I still didn't do as well as I wanted to, but definitely better. This blog also helped me keep track of a lot of things.
  • Get a new saddle. Since we are on our third of the year, I think this one is definitely done.
  • Film regularly 1-2x per month.  
  • Attend/Audit 1-2 clinics. Parelli event happened. That was the only thing I actually went to, but I spent more time than usual in my personal library.
  • Go to watch horse shows.  I went to the horse races! It is a huge pain to find horse shows nearby (within 2-3 hours) but I did watch several live online.
  • Learn USDF Intro Tests.  Test A - yes. Test B - yes, but not memorized. Test C didn't happen, but our canter is getting so much better now :)

Personal Goals
  • Maintain a blog posting schedule.  Yup, for most of the year anyways. I wrote nearly every week this year!
  • Read more books. I read a LOT of books this year  o.O
  • Publish my novel.
  • Get published in a magazine.  Just didn't pursue this one like I should have.
  • Win Camp NanoWrimo.  In both April and July!
  • Complete the Hanon exercise book (piano).  
  • Create a decent pianist's repertoire.  I wouldn't say this is as good as I hoped, but it happened.
  • Be ready for my college music audition in 2015.
  • Play the violin again.
  • Graduate from Paris Junior College.
  • Get my purple belt in taekwondo.
  • Get along better with my big sister.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Remember back at the  beginning of December when I said I had something exciting happening that was horse-related?  Well - here you are...

Meet this adorable baby that I'm going to get to train!  I don't know what kind of horse he is or anything - I only know that he's a 2 year old colt and that he has the sweetest personality. Once you get him to relax, that is.

Hopefully, he'll be moving to my place within the next week or so and then I'll really get to know him better. So far, I've worked with him on facing up to be caught and understanding boundaries. He needs a lot of time and love and work, but I can see so much potential, especially in his attitude.

I'm definitely looking forward to this project! :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Buying Leather Again

Since Thanksgiving, I've had a secret. I've been saddle shopping again because my Stateline saddle just wasn't cutting it well enough. It was just the tiniest bit too narrow and was causing some muscle atrophy behind Lady's shoulders.
*sad face*

Thankfully, I was actually able to sell the Stateline quickly, and I found a really pretty older Kieffer AP saddle to buy. It came in the post on Friday and I'm already liking it a lot. It's more old-fashioned looking than some saddles, and it has a nice deeper seat.

I'll have to mess with the fit of it some more, but the best news is that it is wide enough for Lady. I may even have to add some padding up near the gullet, which is something I've never had to do! Doesn't she look happy?

This Kieffer has been well used, but it has also been well loved. I've gotten a great deal on what looks to be a very good saddle.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Review Part II

Part I here.

This was a busy and not very productive month, at least not as far as riding went. I went to an enormous taekwondo tournament, got in with my current job, and did a summer course so that I could graduate in 2014.  Started getting back into the "fitness thing".

I worked on saddle fit... fun, fun. And made a whole of improvement in the riding area, about half of it bareback and half in my Wintec.  I learned quite a bit, and my goals analysis was probably the best it had been so far! Successful month!

I was back in school, plus working (first time working a real job alongside being a full-time student), so I had to figure out my time. We had a few good rides, and then it rained and rained and rained. I sold my Wintec saddle and started hunting for a new one. I finally found another one at the end of the month and made the purchase. Also started piano lessons again.

I failed at Twopointober.  o.O  My very first leather saddle arrived and I got to ride more again.  I had a meltdown about horse ownership and then sort of recovered from that.  Along with three of my friends, I attended The Future of Horsemanship tour put on by Parelli. You can read about it here and here and here. We had more than a few good rides and my balance and strength improved a lot!  Lady started feeling better - she had her 17th birthday! October was also my best blogging month ever - I had 22 posts!

I started working with the Pocket Sandwich Theatre in Dallas on their Christmas show, which meant driving to Dallas several times a week for late night rehearsals. Crazy times. I rode as much as I could around the insanity of my school/work/show schedule. Took my first solo road trip (with younger brother along) and went to my first horse races!

I bought way too many books this month... broke the bank with Christmas presents... and graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Music! My debut novel was published and I finished up my first paid musical gig (see Pocket Sandwich above).  I resigned myself to the fact that my most recent saddle purchase was not going to work out after all, and made the decision to sell it and find a new one (which is arriving this weekend).  Lady and I celebrated 7 years together and my control over my lower leg improved greatly. :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Continued Improvements

Two notes... I changed the design of the blog again, just in time for New Years! Do you like it?  Also have you liked Flying Free on Facebook? Check it out!

Late post that I realized never got published last week!

I have a cute pony. 

There was time to ride on Wednesday morning and I had my friend R from Beyond the Stretch over so it was fun to have someone else in the arena with me.

Lady warmed up nicely, although she was a bit jumpy and spooky. Every once in a while something is going on in one of the neighboring cattle pastures that gets both the horses riled up. But it only took a little bit of work to get her moving nicely. That was nice. :)

We had a few nice canter spots, and some very very nice trot work. Once I actually had R in the arena with me there was a little bit of difficulty. Lady very much likes to hang around people that are on the ground and gets pretty strong about going to them as fast as possible. So we had a discussion about that...

I then let R ride. She normally rides Western and enjoyed the difference. ;)  She wrote her thoughts about it as well, and I personally thought she did quite well with Lady. Besides my sister, nobody else has ridden Lady in over several years, so it was interesting for me to see someone else really work with her. I tend to interfere when my sister rides, so its not the same. I was actually impressed with how good my horse looks!  Like a decent, well-behaved horse!  How nice...

Do you let other people ride your horse and why? 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thanks Abigail!

My equestrian blogger gift exchange package came in the mail on Christmas Eve. What perfect timing!  :)

Start with an unassuming package...

From the dark caverns, retrieve cute little gifts...

Open #1 and become delighted with an awesome decal!

Open #2 and grin because its green and sparkly!

Open #3 and wonder if its obvious that my grooming tools are old.

I love it - all of it!!  Thank you Abigail from The Maggie Memoirs!!  :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Ride

It was chilly today, but sunny, so I went out and hopped on for a short bareback ride. We hacked around the area and explored a few different spots.
Lady was very sweet for the most part. She was a bit strong, especially if we trotted, but she wasn't naughty or crazy, so I was quite pleased.  :)

Merry Christmas!

Actually got someone out to take pictures of me and the creatures, so we ended up with a few good Christmas pictures.

But getting three animals to stay still and pose for a picture is easier said than done.

Pony and dog don't get along too well...

Giving them a lecture on posing...

One of my favorites.

Pony expression!

Another favorite :)

I love my fur babies :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2014 Review Part I

I realize that I wasn't blogging at the beginning of 2014, but it felt strange to just skip the first 2 months of the year.

We had lots of trouble with Lady's arthritis, which started to clear up finally by the end of the month. I bought my first car. Really focused on my writing projects.

I went to San Antonio with my college for All-State choir - fun trip!  Bought my first English saddle. Also started this blog and wrote my first post! Lady started feeling better more consistently and with having a new saddle, I started working with her a bit more.

With Lady we worked on lunging and moving long and low. She started getting better with moving away from home. Lots of groundwork while I started figuring out the puzzle of English riding. I actually wrote 19 blog posts here!

This was a crazy month. It was the last leg of the school semester and I decided to participate in Camp NanoWrimo. I had a theatre production that I was working with musically, an awesome Disney concert to prepare for,  and I also put a little more effort into my taekwondo hobby by going to my first tournament! Plus I went to my second Il Divo concert. :)  I had problems working with Lady consistently, but we continued to slowwwly improve. I was still trying to figure out how to understand things like flexion and contact and bending, so lots of experimentation happened.

Beginning of this month was when Lady went suddenly lame/sore. We had some laminitic issues again, It took the first half of the month to get her mostly sound again and back into work. I realized how much improvement we had made recently and appreciated it. Got back onto the fitness train.

I did a conformation comparison and appreciated again how much progress we had made. A friend of mine brought her horse over for a few days and I got a chance to work Lady around another horse (always a challenge). Started more work on the canter.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Non-Horsey Accomplishment

Last Thursday, the 18th of December, was the official release date for my debut novel, Rebellion Under the Stars.  Yay!!

Quick note... this is going to be a completely shameless promotional post for my work. If you wish to leave, now is your chance to do so!  :)

Writing has been something I've done for years and years, so this final product is something I am very proud of.  :)

The back cover blurb...  Even as the daughter of a commoner, Selena has been going on adventures with Prince Jonathon for as long as she can remember. But this time is a little different. Something strange and dangerous is stirring within the kingdom of Zaracor, threatening its leadership. Armed with their wits and their loyalty, Jonathon and Selena delve into an unknown mission that is fraught with dangers, but essential for Zaracor. Meanwhile, chief adviser Master Jolan guards the King with the help of a strangely powerful girl. Both have secrets that influence and drive their day-to-day actions, secrets that could assist in the country's struggle. Only if all of these forces work together will Zaracor remain strong and secure.

Available on the Amazon website in both a print paperback and a Kindle version.

Putting this project together into one piece was a big project, but I think it was so worth it. Because I self published, I have to do all the marketing and promotional stuff myself, which is going to be a huge learning curve for me (eeeek!) but I've also already made money off the book. That is really cool. People are paying me to read what I've put down on the page. Wow.

Anyways, this is a fantasy story, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I've enjoyed writing it and publishing it.

Now... if you need me... I'll be working on my second book. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Seven Years (Lots of Pictures)

Seven years ago, I was 13 and had been searching for my new riding horse for nearly a year. We had made the decision to purchase a lovely little bay mare that had been offered us, but the owner changed his mind last minute and wanted to keep her. Needless to say, I was upset. It was just over a year since I had had to put my first horse down and I wanted a new horse.
I had more or less given up on getting my new horse before Christmas, but my parents had other ideas.  
Apparently (I have never heard the full story) my mom called the owner again and he reconsidered. Surprisingly. After all, this horse was the horse his grandkids played on and the one that had won a whole lot of rodeos and competitive trail rides. He was truthful when he said he could get several thousand for her.
I am so glad he finally let me take her home. I got my Christmas horse (even though I paid for part of the bill) and I could not have been happier.

Here.. enjoy a bazillion pictures from all of the 7 years.