2015 has been a year of upheaval for me. My whole life has been called into question – my work, family, finances, relationships, health…the list goes on. And just when I feel I can’t take any more…I go riding.

I love Pokey and Siesta both but with their recent health issues, coupled with the fact that I work there 4 days a week, the barn is not the most fun place for me to be lately. I don’t dread going out there, but I don’t look forward to it either.

However the pasture where Justice is boarded is different. It’s my refuge. Nestled in a corner of remote Caswell county, it’s very much removed from the rest of the world.

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Sunset over the pasture/pond.
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The horses have 50 acres of good grass, a run in shelter and stand of trees for shade and shelter.

Due to my current work schedule, I only get to ride J-Man about 2 days a week right now, but am hoping to bump it up to 3 soon. I literally look forward to these rides all week. Although the trails are now inaccessible until January, riding the blacktop isn’t as bad as I anticipated. There is very little traffic on these backcountry roads and the shoulders are much wider than they are closer to town.

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I have been booting him up on these rides as I feel the boots help with the impact and will prevent any stone bruises from pebbles on the asphalt. And so far they have worked out far better than expected. I am definitely going to wear them out faster riding the roads but I’m just happy they are staying on and working for us. I am comfortable self trimming him and fitting the Epics to him at this point so that definitely is a confidence booster.

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In other news my truck is out of commission again. Apparently my boyfriend f’ed up big time and put 2 quarts of oil in the transmission fluid and 2 quarts of oil in the transmission fluid. I am lucky if the transmission isn’t permanently damaged… *cries into pillow*. I will have more news on that in another week hopefully.

I did go to the OD website a while back and volunteered/signed up to ride drag at the national championships in a couple weeks. I haven’t heard anything back about it and to be honest I’m not getting my hopes up. In fact, it is probably best that I DON’T go at this point – partly because my truck still needs to be fixed, but mainly because I am starting a new work schedule and it is somewhat unlikely now that I will be able to get that time off now.

I am toying with the idea of volunteering at Sandhills in October but (again) that depends on my work schedule. I’m not a big people person, and so the idea of being thrust into a social situation out of my comfort zone is not particularly appealing. However it would definitely be a good learning opportunity if I can make it happen.

I am, however, going out on a limb by announcing that myself and Justice’s first LD will be at Carolina this November. I managed to sell a few items at our local tack consignment sale and although I haven’t received the money yet I am hoping my check will arrive about the same time the entry form goes online.

Speaking of tack, my Stubben saddle is no longer working for us. Although he has not shown any back soreness, there are 2 glaring dry spots under the pad after every ride that have become impossible to ignore. As a last resort I pulled out the big guns – that is my 60 year old, 35 lb western saddle.

Thus far, it fits much better. I hate that it is so heavy but we are only doing LDs at this point so I’m not going to stress about it.

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Sweat pattern after our 10 mile ride last Sunday.

J and I also had our longest ride to date. I had mapped out a 10 mile route, which I’d planned to complete at a leisurely pace (because you don’t increase speed and distance at the same time). Turns out “leisurely” for us is 5.5mph. Not bad! We completed 10.74 miles in an hr and 55 minutes.

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I have taken to riding with earphones lately. I have noticed my musical preferences often change according to the seasons. For example in the spring/summer I am mostly a country fan, winter sees me jamming to whatever pop tunes are popular, while fall seems to be reserved for rock n roll.

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A brief glimpse at my playlist. I’m on a Rob Zombie kick lately.

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“Elastic Heart” is another big one. That’s kinda been my theme song lately.

One thing that is still bothering me. (a little) is the fact that Justice’s old owner (or one of them) unfriended me on Facebook. To me, that is a pretty clear statement that I’ve done something to piss her off. I honestly don’t know what I did, but in the end it’s irrelevant. No matter what she thinks of me, I will be forever grateful that she gave me the opportunity to own this big guy, and that she was willing to spend her Valentine’s Day bringing him down to me. At this point, I don’t feel the need to message her and question her reasons for unfriending me. Life is tough enough without the added drama. She is pretty involved in the ECTRA community and the AERC NE region, so there is a good chance I’ll be running into her again. And if – when – I do, I fully intend to go up to her and thank her again. Because irregardless of her feelings towards me, she gave me the opportunity of a lifetime when she gave me this horse. And I’ll never forget that.

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