Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions Equine-Style

Whisper gets into the holiday spirit.

Well, it's December 31st, a time of reflection but also a time to look forward to new beginnings. I can't help but marvel at the changes that the last year has brought. At this point last year I was renting a tiny room in a house and had to drive to the local college whenever I wanted to practice. Whisper was boarded at a barn 10 minutes away, and thankfully she was happy and safe (and spoiled rotten - but in a good way) there.

This past year brought a monumental move for both of us in March. Thanks to the presence of run-in stalls, Whisper was able to live with 24-hour turnout for a few months before she tore her suspensory ligament galloping in the pasture. She'll return to 24-hour turnout this spring, which I'm thrilled about, because the changes I've seen in her have been huge. She's less stressed, her arthritis has improved with the increased time outside, and she's altogether calmer and a happier horse. I can't help but feel that we're on the right track with this situation. Plus, I have an entire apartment for the same amount that I had been paying to rent a room. And I can practice my flute whenever I want, as the horses are the only ones around to protest. Just between us? I think they like it.

So, for the year to come, here are my resolutions:

1. I want to do some bombproofing with Whisper.
I want to expose her to more things and teach her that it's okay to be frightened, but that she needs to face these things as well. In working with her I'd like to strengthen both her trust in me and mine in her. Which leads me to resolution #2.

2. Whisper and I will go for a trail ride.
We've tried this once before, without great results. She tried very hard, but part of the trail involved riding on a paved road, which I wasn't comfortable with. Combine that with the fact that she was excited and nervous, and it was less than relaxing. So I'd like to try again with a lot of preparation and some hand-walking trails, first. I know we can do it and have it be a good experience for both of us.

3. I am going to really work at equine photography.
Equine photography has always intrigued me, and I love how moments can be captured and so much emotion and meaning can be conveyed through a single photo. My parents just gave me a wonderful camera for my birthday. It's a real step up from what I had before, as my previous camera had an almost 2 second delay between the point where I'd depress the shutter and the point at which the camera actually took the picture. This led to so many frustrating missed shots and moments. But with my new camera I'm looking forward to capturing those moments to share with others - and, of course, with you all. Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Welcome - An Introduction

Welcome, and thank you for visiting my blog. I'm Paige. I'm a fairly new resident to the Berkshires of Massachusetts, having moved here in March of 2011. I live above a 4-stall barn with my rabbit, Sammie; my fish, Rhapsody (named after the song Rhapsody in Blue); and my 12 year-old Thoroughbred mare, Whisper. Well, Whisper lives downstairs in the barn, but I still consider her as living with me.

I graduated from Westfield State College where I studied Music Performance (I'm a flutist), and English. After working as a veterinary receptionist for about a year after graduating, I made a huge leap and moved to the Berkshires because of the opportunity to live where I am now. Rationally, it was not a decision that I would have normally made, as I moved without having a job lined up, without much knowledge or familiarity of the area, and without having friends out here to help me out. But, somehow my heart won out over my head in this one, and I found myself packing up everything and moving Whisper and I out here.

Whisper, my 12 year-0ld Thoroughbred mare. She used to race, and still enjoys galloping around in the pastures here. Unfortunately that gets her into trouble - but more on that later.

So today you'll find me living out my childhood dream: I live over a barn. I'm also a certified equine massage therapist, and have been doing a bit of horse-related freelance writing, which I'm thoroughly enjoying. Whisper is my first horse (though I'm sure there will be many more posts dedicated to her in the future), and although I've been riding and involved with horses for 17 years, she continues to be both a challenge and a source of endless learning for me. With this blog I hope to be able to share our adventures with you, along with things I learn and discover, and what inspires me in day-to-day life. I hope you'll join me in The Equine Experience.

- Paige