Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Lessons to Take into the New Year

This past year has been challenging.  From the challenge of taming Tex, to injuries, to wrestling with the demands of my job... its given me a lot to think about.

We went from deciding to sell Tex about a year ago, to me working with him, and then falling in love with the steady kindness I see beneath his flickering fear.  He went from "project for sale" to "project for me."  Brett gave him to me, at my request, for my birthday.  I changed his barn name to Tex, (since he was bred in Texas to be a roping horse), from the barn name he came with (Mufasa).  The two most popular posts of the year dealt with Tex.  And Now for the Other Foot and Wednesdays with Tex: Meltdown both chronicled episodes in the long training of Tex to accept a fly mask.

When the weather warms and I'm able to work with him more, I'll start up the Wednesdays with Tex series again -- or something like it -- since it was popular with you, and a helpful journaling exercise for me.

At the time I started working with Tex in earnest, I didn't think I would ever ride him.  But, I was wrong and I did ride him a few times in the fall.  

Hopefully, we can build on our partnership in 2017.

It feels like I spent most of the year injured, and on the sidelines.  I hurt my back riding Lucy in April and then crushed my foot, under a donkey foot, in May.  My back has healed and my foot is 90% there -- I should be fine for riding when the weather thaws.  Last April I was ready to throw in the towel and stop riding.  My post, What if I Never Rode Again, received by far the most comments of any post last year.  And every single comment was supportive.  You guys are the best.

Yesterday morning, after mucking the girls' pasture, I walked up to the dressage court to check the footing.  The sun was out, the weather was relatively mild, and I was itching to ride Lucy.

 The sand was mushy and slid from under my feet when I walked across it to look at all the animal tracks criss-crossing the arena.  Mixed in with rabbit, skunk and raccoon, there were bobcat tracks so our friend the chicken killer is still around.  He'll have to go somewhere else to satisfy his chicken craving; ours are safe and secure now.

Now, all I have to do is come up with my word for 2017.  Acceptance was my word in 2016 and it served me well; from accepting my injuries, to accepting Tex's phobias, to accepting my middle-aged body -- grey hairs and all.

The lesson that I will carry with me into the new year is that no matter how difficult things seem at a given moment, over time things improve -- injuries heal, horses learn to trust, plumbing leaks and siding holes can be fixed or replaced, bobcats can be locked out - and the important things, like the love of our friends and family, endure and sustain us through it all.


  1. Maybe that's your word : endurance.
    Life has lessons for us that we don't always expect.

  2. Lovely post. Endurance will be a good word for us all I think.

    Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year to everyone at Oak Creek Ranch!

  3. May 2017 bring you, Brett and your critters good health and happiness! There's always something interesting going on at Oak Creek!

  4. Beautiful and thoughtful post. Happy 2017 Annette!

  5. An American in TokyoJanuary 3, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    Wonderful post! Looking forward to 2017!


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