But there are some things, here at the beginning of the Year of the Horse, that I would like to tackle before the champagne flows on December 31.
I'd like to improve my horsemanship skills. There are things about caring for and owning horses that I just don't know enough about. On my list for 2014:
- I'd like to learn how to wrap and bandage legs. I've never used a polo wrap, ever. And I'd like to know which kind of bandaging/wrapping/boots are appropriate and when.
- Equine first aid....what are the over-the-counter treatments that I need to know how to do, and when? When is ichthammol used, or Betadine scrub, or nitrofurazone? I want to better recognize common conditions, too, like thrush, scratches, rain rot, and other ailments. And I'd like to have a handle on when to call the vet, and when something is a real crisis versus when not to panic.
- Oh, yeah, and I want to learn to take a horse's vital signs, and know the parameters of normal.
- And I want to get out into the local horse community more and meet fellow adult amateur riders. So my goal here is to attend lectures, audit clinics and lessons, and join either the Virginia Dressage Association or the Central Virginia Dressage and Combined Training Association.
I think that's a pretty decent amount of stuff to learn this year. I don't think I really have any riding goals, except to keep riding at least once a week. I can't really commit to competitions this year, I feel a little too busy to devote that amount of mental focus and preparation to competition right now. It's one thing to take a lesson and work on skills and try to improve with each ride, but it's another issue to work toward being prepared for something specific, like a course of 12 stadium jumps at speed, or galloping a cross-country course, or a dressage test.
Actually,I'm kind of hoping the planets align and Wren and I both own our own mounts by the end of this year. I just turned in an application to adopt a Thoroughbred from Re-Run Thoroughbred Adoption in Suffolk, VA. Honestly, I'm excited and a little freaked out. I won't be able to trial-ride any horse that I adopt from a Thoroughbred rescue (because of insurance limitations), so that feels a little nerve-wracking, but I will choose a horse with recommendations from knowledgeable people I know, so it shouldn't be really bad. The prospect of having my own horse to do things with and to be a partner with is thrilling, and something I have wanted for a long, long time. It's slightly terrifying, but I have high hopes.
My horsemanship, my riding, my attitude and my nerve, will all just have to rise to the occasion.
Also I may have to revive A Hot Piece of Glass or something, so that I can generate some "horse care" money. Board, farrier, and vet bills all add up quick.