End Of Year Wrap Up

The Obligatory Year-End Wrapup

2018 dawned as all beginnings do, with high hopes and lofty goals. 2018 actually ended up being a mixed bag of accomplishments and disappointments. We had some major life changes, with some breakthroughs, along with some disappointments. So here is the obligatory end of year blog.

2018 started off with the main focus on getting Beaux healthy and happy. For those who missed it, I went out of town for work for about 3 months and I had faith that Beaux was in good hands. I had been boarding at this barn for almost 8 months with no real red flags. Unfortunately, while I paid my board/grain/hay bills Beaux did not get his food which is why he lost so much weight.

Beaux eating grass in Davie while recovering from his weight loss
Beaux slowly getting weight back on

Beaux’s rehab took a bit longer than planned due to a bad case of ulcers and cellulitis. Beaux made a full recovery although it was mid-March before any real riding was taking place. Beaux was able to get back to work with some borrowed tack as my saddles which had been stolen during Hurricane Irma. The loss of my saddles was a major loss, but I did gain a new bit that ended up being a game changer in our communication. So you take the bad with the good.

Ocala Here We Come

Our family had a major life event when bade South Florida good bye for the greener pastures of Ocala. We decided to set roots down in the middle of horse country as it checked off many of our family’s needs. As much as we loved the South Florida vibe, the traffic and enormous cost of living made it untenable. Ocala has more than horses boasting incredible natural springs and waterways. Ocala has a nice blend of small town feel coupled with many amenities of larger city living. All this came together to win the “Where Should We Live” game show.

Standardbred Beaux cooling off in the Ocala summer with a bath
Beaux enjoying his bath

Birds Eye View

Beaux settled in with our first boarding facility, a DIY that had nice riding and very large pastures. He enjoyed having a couple of acres to himself as he adjusted to his new living arrangements. We all enjoyed the low key atmosphere but, in order for Beaux and I to compete, we would need training facilities. As luck would have it, a beautiful training facility was down the street from our home.

Birds Eye View is a beautiful barn with the perfect amenities we need. Beaux is out about 20 hours a day only brought in for breakfast and dinner. If there is bad weather, the horses come in to stay out of the elements. This gives Beaux the perfect balance of stall time to keep him happy and plenty of turnout to keep him healthy. We moved in and after a couple of weeks to settle in, we finally got a ride in.

First Ride Back And Other Disasters

After what seemed like two weeks of solid rain, the weather cooperated and we got our first ride in. Beaux focus at the start wasn’t perfect but we had only begun our warmup when disaster strikes. The large arena with the jump course is only about 50′ off the road so light traffic is normal. What isn’t normal is for a large section of fence to decide to become a kite out of the back of a pickup truck. Beaux and I watched in stunned fascination as the fence came to earth only a few feet from us. Beaux was a rock star as once the fence finally came to earth, Beaux walked off as if that was a normal part of his day. Who knows, there could be a lot more going on at that barn when we aren’t there.

Standardbred Beaux enjoying our first ride at new boarding barn
First ride at new barn
Scary spook hazard as a piece of fence fell off a passing truck
The fence that became a kite

We continued to get the rust off by doing a lot of change of directions, a few serpentines, then a circle. Our circle ended up more triangular than round, but hey, an awesome first ride back. Beaux was fantastic after almost 3 months off, working off leg and set cues and not rushing through the aids. All in all a fantastic first ride back.

Then The Rains Came

Now the winter of our discontent sets in as December has been nothing but rain and cold weather. Normal rainfall is 5′ for December, we got close to 8 inches a single day. Beaux has been snug in his stall, which is keeping his feet healthy so bonus for that. The uncooperative weather has once again put our training schedule out the window.

In a perfect world, Beaux and I would be gearing up for our 2nd competition of the year, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. I am not complaining too much as there are a lot of holes in our training program. The Spawn and I volunteered for the Boggy Creek Charity Endurance Ride which was an Eyeopeners.

I quickly realized that there were gaping holes in our Endurance Training. Conditioning is the easy part for me having a racing background, so I understand fitness. Nope, it is the details that are missing. Beaux is not capable of doing a consistent “Trot Out/down/back” and he has not been camping yet. I am also missing some crucial equipment, extra saddle pads, etc to have a good experience.

Standardbred Beaux enjoying his second ride at his new barn Second ride

That’s All Folks

I’ll go into more detail in the “Obligatory New Year’s Blog” but to stroke either interest or indifference, here are the things that 2019 will bring. First, to actually compete! There are several rides between January to April including a few very close to us so we will compete at some point. The goal of end of Jan/First of Feb (two different rides I’m eyeballing) as our first competition is a possible goal, it will require a serious commitment to training and conditioning. If those dates fall through, there are several rides in February so I do not want to push too hard and have a bad experience. I would rather take my time and have a good experience than to cut corners. I have goals of lessons and newer tack to round out the big goals. The only thing that truly counts is just having fun with Beaux and enjoying ourselves.

As 2018 fades to black and this trip down memory lane comes to a close, I want to say thank you. Thank you to all my readers for sticking around as I grow both as a rider but also as a writer. I’ve grown as both a rider and writer since I’ve started this blog a couple of years ago. This blog will continue to grow as I’m going to explore the local show scene and take on HITS to try my hand at journalism. I’ll try to do a few reviews of products I’ve tried and some of the blogs/trainers I’ve been watching during the monsoons.

I wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year!

Offtrack Standardbred Mr Beau Windswept
Beaux all handsome

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