A Year in Review: January to June, 2014.
I used to always link back to old posts in my year-in-reviews, but this year, this is a new blog and there isn't posts to link back too! So, instead, I am going to take you through the journey of 2014 through photos and words instead. I hope you enjoy, this is part one...
They say you learn to love and appreciate home after being away from home for some time. 4 months in Texas was enough to solidify how much I truly adore Alberta. I saddled up my horse and had a couple great rides taking in the pristine winter views we get here.
& of course, I enjoyed (and over-enjoyed) time with my bestfriends.
It was good to be home.
But, just as soon as I was thinking I could get used to being back home, I was on a plane headed to Arizona to work for a lady (Boss-lady) I had worked for in Alberta a year previous. I was nervous, and excited, and sad, and happy, and just generally a bundle of emotion.
But, the one thing that is constant in all the places I've been, seen and worked... has always been the horses.
Thank god for my beloved mare, Cleo. The only horse that I knew from Boss-lady's program back home, I clung to her, and learned to love her neuroses. Smaller-time trainers have to cut their teeth on horses like Cleo, and Boss-lady sure could bring out the best in this gritty cutting horse.
I didn't have much time to worry about where I ended up, I actually didn't have anytime to breathe, in three days we were at a week long show & I was back in the swing of things... doing what I had learned to do best: lopin'.
By the time February rolled around, I was learning what a different program I had found myself in, compared to Texas. Here, I was encouraged to take horses out into the desert, lope them in the sandy washes, and let them chill out on the trail. It was a breathe of fresh air, and I was happy.
& I was also plain learning... a lot of learning...
I was learning how to properly take care of two arenas, and not rip down gates... or fences... or anything like that. (Only happened once, I swear)
& I was learning about starting babies... some days it went well, some days not so much with this little guy.
& by the end of February, we were back on the road. Queen Creek, where a majority of the Arizona circuit shows are held, sure was feeling a lot like home.
By the beginning of March, we were wheels up again and headed to the Weekend Show at the South Point in Las Vegas. After doing the Aged Events in Texas, it felt like the first big show I'd been too, and it definitely had me itching to be the one in the show pen.
Cleo, my all-star, did so well for her owner at that show. This picture had to be included because in the smaller warm-up pen, I gave her a moment to collect her breathe and she zero'd in on the cutting being shown on the TV's. Clearly she loves her job.
& then came Cash...
I swore that I was going to "foster him for a week" to "see if it would work out". I was "really thinking of getting a cow dog"...
Within a day, I had a new dog. The biggest mutt, a poodle x shitzu x jack russel x something, the biggest shithead, the ranchiest poofiest dog you've ever met & even with him completely deformed turned-out ballerina paws... the CUTEST.
I was in love, and am thankful everyday that I adopted Cash that day in March.
The, shortly thereafter my Mom came for a visit, and we had so much fun exploring Arizona!
Before we headed for our mini road-trip, my beloved Turnback horse, TP, took good care of mama and we went on a lovely ride through the desert!
Then, I saw the red rocks of Sedona for the first time, and fell in love. No wonder people come to this place on spiritual journeys... I could dig it.
& of course.... The Grand Canyon... talk about awe-inspiring. It was an amazing trip, and I was so happy to do it all with my mom at my side. No better companion!
My mom had been gone a few weeks, and I was missing her, and home, and my friends terribly. Thankfully, at the end of the month, two of my dearest friends arrived at their family homes in AZ. I got to spend some much-needed time with them, including (of course) hottubing and margaritas!
By April, we had settled into our routines, this was Cash's home away from home whilst at shows - a little pen shaded by our gooseneck. He was happy to sleep on his pillow and get pets and "hello's!" from the people walking by taking their horses to the nearby wash-rack at Queen Creek.
& I was ever in love, and as always, loping my little princess Cleo.
We sure were happy.
& in April, I also showed for the very first time, on a big, loving, forgiving horse named "Oh Cay Duel" aka Buster. I lost every cow I tried to cut except my last, and scored a pitiful 63 for my efforts. I was pretty embarassed, and a lot mad that i'd done so poorly, but I knew what I needed to work on and was excited for my next crack at it.
By May, I had my chance to show again, this time on a great mare named Tulip. I rode to the herd with my only goal being clean, quiet cuts since my previous show had such choppy, horrendous one. Well, I got my clean cuts and ended up with a 74 for my efforts, winning the class & taking my first pay cheque home!
Here I am afterwards with Tulip, and her owner, a dear friend, Diane. I was so lucky to show this mare, and I was hooked to showing (... winning can do that to you). I knew this is what I wanted to do, showing cutting horses made every inch of my body happy.
Towards the end of the month, ANOTHER friend came to visit - I was unbelievably happy to see one of my oldest friends Jess in Arizona.
& again, we sure had fun!
& finally... sigh... by this month I had also met a boy, and had begun dating him. I was head over heels, and unfortunately it ended very badly by the time I was home in July. Some people just aren't as strong, or as good as you think they are. Some people just suck, and do mean things, and show their true character is completely different than what you thought of them... and it sucks. But, in April, I didn't know any of that, and I was happy. He is part of this story, of this year, and so, it deserves a blurb, although most days I wish it didn't.
& then there was my most favourite little two year old of all. The love affair of Bunny, "Wicked Wittle Wabbit", and I, started rocky but quickly turned into a true romance. No matter how quick, or crazy, she got, I also felt perfectly at home on her back, and how fast she caught on to things make me grin from ear-to-ear and swell with pride. It finally clicked, this is why people ride babies, she was one of my quietest but greatest accomplishments while I was in Arizona. Here we are on one of her first adventures along the road, outside of the arena. I miss her terribly.
By the end of June, the heat in Arizona was killing me, but as was the fact that I had to head home for visa related reasons and to make it to the Calgary Stampede in time. My mother drove down to get me, the pooch, and all my stuff, and after a series of insane events involving her broken down jeep, we finally got on the road and headed North towards the US-Canada border.
Of course, my ever smiley, ever reliable co-pilot was on board for the journey.
Thus concludes Part One of my Year in Review, I do hope you enjoyed it. It seems like I crammed 5 years worth of sight-seeing, friendship forming, horse riding, and showing into 6 months. It also feels like all of this was so long ago. I miss everything (well... almost everything) about Arizona, and can't wait until the day I get to breathe that desert air on the back of a good cutting horse again.
Stay tuned for Part Two!