So many exciting things have happened so where to start!
After some soul searching I realized that the reason I've made most of the decisions in my life is ultimately because of my desire to have horses in my life. It has been and will continue to be one of the most important things in my life so that made my decision(s) easier. Once I broke it down to that point I realized that as awesome as it would be to do more traveling what I needed to move to a new place, or stay here, would be the promise of a great barn, fun place to ride, great trails and most importantly a wonderful instructor that I could respect and trust. Of course all of this would have to be in my budget or within the budget over the next couple of years.
Unfortunately the more I looked into it the more I realized that without being a member of the local horse community and without being able to visit the area a few times to tour barns and sit in on lessons, which just isn't in my current budget, I just don't have the information I need. I could end up finding some place amazing or I could end up in an area where I'd have to drive over an hour to find a good barn.
Meanwhile I was looking around here for the same type of opportunity and was able to set up a time to check out a few lessons with a local dressage trainer that follows a more classical methodology. Those lessons were amazing and right in line with what I'm looking for :-) So the same day I went to check out two of the barns that she teaches at. Both were incredible but one is further away and she mainly uses it for horses in full training which I'm just not interested in. The other was probably the closest to heaven on earth that I'll ever find. It's a completely private facility - the tour felt sort of like a tour of FBI headquarters - with no website or public info to speak of. It came HIGHLY recommended from several horse people who know the owner, and previous owners, incredibly well.
The indoor, heated, arena looks regulation sized. I felt like I was in a sports stadium or something when I walked into it. Great dust free footing, incredible stalling arrangement with so much personalized care. I was so impressed but having the trainer, that I would now do just about anything to study with, available was the truly important thing. So I'm all set up to move, again...
I really didn't want to leave the last barn that I took dressage lessons at and if it hadn't been for J I'd still be there. This current barn was always sort of a temporary answer until I could find a better Dressage instructor but I was feeling so lost over the past month that caused me to find this place and now that I have and they have an opening I'm moving in. They only just recently started to accept pasture boarders and the spots have filled up within a couple of weeks. If I'd waited, I'd very likely have ended up on a long waiting list. As it is I'm in and moving her March 1st.
I'm also still seriously applying for jobs closer to the cities. This barn is closer there than to where I'm living now but it's still only about five minutes further from my current barn so I'll easily be able to continue to spend lots of time at the barn while I find a different place to work and move myself.
I did learn a couple of things that I'll need. The new instructor is incredibly traditional and expects more of her students, turnout wise, than what I've riden in for lesson in the past. Not like she's picky about expense or brands or something, just well fitted appropriate equipment. That means that my brown paddock boots and corduroy half chaps that are both falling apart are just not going to cut it anymore so I picked up these.
Tall boots have been on the list for awhile however, since I've been wearing my winter boots it just hasn't been a priority but now they are. I chose Ariat Contours based on reviews and the price point. I waited until they were on sale at the local tack shop and got them at a pretty good discount. I'm wearing them around now with my feet slowly going numb but I'm totally in love. I've never had properly fitted tall boots so I'm feeling kind of like its Christmas. One more thing off the list :-)
Meanwhile Katai has been doing great. I finally found a great, barefoot trimmer in this area that is willing to travel to me and so her hooves are starting to truly look good. I've still been topically treating thrush in her central sulcus that just hasn't ever really gone away. Some incredible soul finally mentioned to me that her heels were just too long and unless I could get her frogs to make more contact with the ground they would never really get any better. Now after two good trims they are already looking better than they have since I got her.
The bad side of that is that she's been sensitive. I've been shopping for boots that would fit her but unfortunately I haven't been able to find any that would fit quite right. I spent almost a month making ductape hoof boots with gel liners but even those barely stay on because of the shape of her hooves which makes me even less convinced that the real thing would stay on especially since I'm like a ductape boot guru.
Luckily she seems to be feeling about 80% better but I've given her the time off riding of course to let her heal. Instead I've been working with the clippers and on our relationship. Just lots of grooming and of course hoof boot making. We're doing good, better than we've ever been together and now there is trust that goes both ways :-) Unfortunatly as far as goals about the only things that's really been accomplished is changing the name of this blog but February should be much more productive!
I just can't wait to see what we can accomplish this year!