A Year in Review: 2015
Another year has come & gone, isn't it crazy? I have always posted year in review posts, summarizing all the posts i've written throughout the year, and most years it's a pretty laborious activity going through all of them. This year, my first full year of With a Western Twist, was a little bit quieter than usual for a variety of different reasons. I'm going to do a wrap-up post at the beginning of next week to summarize my thoughts on the year, but know that 2015 was not a banner year for me. Jingle was plagued my lameness, and it was eternally frustrating. I purchased my beloved dream horse, Bunny, who shortly thereafter passed away. I bought ANOTHER horse, who I have learned slowly to love and cherish, Lady. Financially, the year was my worst one yet. I struggled, in my equine pursuits, in my personal life and in my professional life. It just wasn't a great year, but there were some pretty awesome parts to it, and that is good to reflect on as well. For every low, there has to be a high. So here's to 2015. Enjoy the read!
Ixtapa Sunsets, one of my favourite parts of vacation.
I started off January with a great trip to Ixtapa in Mexico with my mom for my birthday. It was beautiful. My first time in Mexico and we had so much fun, the hot weather didn't hurt the situation either - so awesome. I continued my "Story Sunday" series with a little cowboy poem about how I met and came to own my little poofy "cow dog", Cash. Jingle and I also co-wrote a blog about his daily life in an installation of "The Lame Horse Chronicles" - there was a lot of naughtiness, and cookie-eating, which is to be expected when Jingle is around. I finished up January with a post about two different fitness programs I tried for the first time. The first was a new yoga studio that opened in Calgary, Junction 9, and the second about a new type of fitness class, surfset, where you do yoga on surfboards - it was super fun!
LOOK HOW CUTE CASH IS!!!!!
The beginning of February started with another Story Sunday, this time another poem entitled "The Wild Catty Ones", about working a tough mare on the flag. Cash was featured in a post about a groomer-nightmare I was having, very frustrating. I chronicled my Top 10 Horse Photos AND my Top 10 Jingle photos after being inspired by a Facebook challenge that was circulating my newsfeed. I shared another poem - an ode to the silent soldiers of cutting competitions, the Turnback Horse. I celebrated Valentine's Day with my two valentines - Jingle & Cashie! I shared the beginning of the best trail-guiding horse I've ever swung a leg over, Cash. I also posted a small glimpse into my "real world" job - serving, and the lows that can come with it and bad customers. February also saw Cash (the dogs!) first anniversary as "my dog" - I am so lucky to have him. Finally, February ended with me beginning to lunge Jingle in the surcingle, as part of his rehab back to attempting to get him under saddle - out here werkin'. I also shared one last Sunday Story about a rather scary incident I had driving a team of horses, entitled "The Wagon Incident."
Family time with Cash & Jingle while we hand-walk the lame pony.
My beautiful girl, Bunny, on the first day she came home
April started with an ode to a different kind of bunny - the famous rodeo "Buckle Bunny". I also made a big announcement, I had purchased a new horse - Wicked Wabbit, known as Bunny, a three year old I started the previous year whilst working in Arizona. My pup, Cash, has battled with bad allergies since coming to Canada, and they came back in a vengeance in April. I detailed the steps we have to take to keep his allergies under control, and my puppy happy! The middle of April was apparently story-time for this blog! I shared a story about the time that Jingle got lost, and when he finally came home months later. Another I wrote about Jingle, and the first time his lameness reared it's ugly head. Finally, inspired by Miranda Lambert's newest catchy country song, "Little Red Wagon", I wrote a fun cowboy poem called "Glitter and Grit." At the very end of April, my beautiful girl Bunny came home to me after a month and a half of trying to get her into Canada. I was so happy. A friend, Sarah & I, headed up to the Mane Event in Red Deer to do some horse-product shopping and watch the clinics. Finally, at the very end of the month, I celebrated Jingle's 11th birthday!
My girl, I miss her, so much.
You ever wish a day, a week, a month... even a year... could just disappear and have never happened? At the very beginning of May, at 7:00 am, my beautiful sweet girl Bunny was found dead in her paddock, a day after being vaccinated. My whole world came shattering down, and although I can now look at the photos with a smile, I can't, and haven't, been able to read the posts that followed - Saying Goodbye and Down, but Not Defeated. I shared a post about a Convention Rodeo I worked at, as one of the Calgary Stampede Ranch Girls. March wasn't a happy time, and I felt very lost, and lacking/without much purpose. At the end of the month, we celebrated one of my favourite holidays (it's not even a "real" holiday) May Long, where Albertans flood the wilderness to go camping (and drinking), it was a fun trip - albeit very, very cold.
Family is Forever
I blogged my favourite corny Lilo & Stitch family quote and shared my favourite #ThroughTheEars photos from our May Long camping trip. I spent "Date Night" with my still lame horse, Jingle. I helped the owners of the beloved ranch camp I used to work at move their entire property. The Lame Horse Chronicles continued, but this time, turned into a bit of a sadder post - facing into retirement, and when you have to give up the rehab. After Bunny died, I sort of lost the will to write any stories, but shared a snippet of one that was rolling around in my head. I shared an outfit that I had put together on the blog on an "OOTD" (Outfit of the Day) post. From one extreme to another, I shared my very unattractive barn clothes I represent on the daily. Apparently the end of June was very outfit orientated, as I also did a post on sprucing up baseball caps for the website, Fanatics. At the very end of the month I shared a glimpse into my little, lovely home - my office where I do all my blogging!
July was ALL about the Calgary Stampede, where I have the privilege of being a CS Ranch Girl and getting to be behind the scenes every ten days of the greatest outdoor show on earth! First, I talked about being a Ranch Girl, with "Gritty and Pretty", then talked about the insanity that was "Championship Sunday." I shared my style roundup of outfits I rocked during the Stampede in part one, and part two. Finally, I finished up my Stampede posts with my favourite photos I had taken during the craziest ten days in July! I love re-living the glitziest time of my year, I just love Stampede! I also started a blog post about attempting to buy a new horse - The Road to Buying a Cutting Horse, started with the obvious - finding a horse! I also shared a second post in the series, talking about two of the prospects that I tried out on a crazy whirlwind day of horse shopping! Finally, I announced the newest member of my team - Brigitte Meyer, of Vitality Equine, a massage therapist that I trust with all my ponies - she's the best of the best!
Welcome to the family Lady!
August was all about horse shopping! A crazy, exciting and very nerve-wracking time for me. I shared another prospect I had tried, this one, I really liked - her name was Lady. I liked Lady so much, I decided to buy her (!!), and detailed it, in "The One." I also broke down my "Road to Buying a Cutting Horse" series into three parts, detailing the ups, downs, and considerations I had to take in my journey. You can find that here, here, and here. I also wrote one of my favourite posts of the year, entitled "What Does it Mean to be a "Cowgirl"?" and shared a beloved quote from the movie Secretariat. Finally, to sum up the month, I reviewed and also gave away the western novel, "Ten Shoes Up" by Gary L. Stuart.
Cheers to good friends & camping in the snow!
In September I gave away a war bridle from Two Horse Tack and shared a little life update - that included getting to know Lady, Jingle ripping up his face & some fun camping trips! In September I also chronicled a record breaking weekend - with Scott Brash winning the Rolex Grand Slam, and Matt Gaines scoring a record high score in cutting on Special Nu Baby. I also rolled out my new series entitled "The Centre Arena" which highlights women that are killing it in their respective equine pursuits. My first interview was with Non-Pro, and Calgary Stampede Non-Pro Champion, Marla Gonnet. We can't forget about fashion either - I posted about my new favourite trend in western wear, Serape! Finally, to end the month, I wrote about that one horse you'll never forget, for me (of course) that's Jingle.
Myself and my boy, Tuxedo. Love this cutting hoss'
In October, as the weather started to cool, I talked about ways I keep warm riding, while trying to maintain some semblance of style. In another life update, I talked about what a bad year 2015 had been, and was continuing to be, with my still lame Jingle, and Lady getting sick for a few weeks. To change up the equine theme of this blog, I reviewed two dog collars made by Two Horse Tack. I chronicled the different types of men a 20-Something Crazy Horse Girl might come across in her quest to find "The One". At the end of October, I found myself falling face-first back into working for a cutting horse trainer, and we even made the finals of the Calgary Stampede Open Futurity!
Moving Cows (In Heaven)
In November, I took Lady over to my trainers, and she began #BossLadyBootcamp. I also shared some photos, and stories, of my new job working for the aforementioned trainer in a "Glimpse into #LoperLife." After many of you were asking questions regarding the sport of cutting, I finally put it all down into words and detailed the ins and outs of the sport in "Cutting: A Guide", which you can also find in my top bar if you ever feel so inclined to read up on my favourite equestrian sport! Cutting-mania abounds! I also talked about the newest form of cutting, "The Slot Cutting", and the most recent show "The Showdown in Cowtown" held in conjunction with the NCHA Futurity. Burnish Equine Services also held a very informative seminar and open-house in November, which I attended with Brigitte Meyer of Vitality Equine. I even won a door prize - a fun comic book style book about horses! To wrap up November, I wrote another Life Update - this time talking about all the fun stuff Lady and I had been doing at my trainers, but how I felt that because the two weren't together, I was also neglecting Jingle at times. Life, never easy.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
December was a quiet one for me blog-wise, most of that was due to the fact I spent a lot of December celebrating the holidays, and on the other side of things - being couch-ridden due to a nasty two week flu. Sucked. To celebrate the beginning of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, I honoured Barrel Racer Fallon Taylor as my "Woman Crush Wednesday." In the post I detailed the top ten reasons I love her, and her crazy personality & outfits! I found time to write my second instalment of my Centre Arena series, this time with the formidable Non-Pro rider from Tennessee, Alexis Stephas! I concluded December with sharing how I celebrated my house-warming during the holidays - with an ornament party! It was so much fun and a great way to kick off my first solo Christmas!