Good bye to 2011——and a busy December

Our Christmas Tree

December has been full of relaxing  and not relaxing, riding and not riding, giving and receiving, decorating and undecorating, cooking and eating,  skipping work to go to the movies,  saying hello and goodbye to friends and family, shopping and more shopping, manure path chaos, and so much more.   I have been a little lax in the writing of my blog, so this one is for you, Karen.   It was great to see you this week!

December started off with a trip to Michigan to visit my sister (Auntie to my kids) for her birthday.  My brother and his family, my mom, and my kids and I packed up and headed North for the weekend.  We went to a pottery show, ate a lot of food, went sledding—-there’s always snow in Michigan, and played games.  It was a great weekend to visit with my family while Jeff and his business partner worked on the new addition to their office. 

Kate and Wade---sledding at Auntie's house
 The following weekend we hosted the Wetherbrooke Farm Christmas Party at our house.  We were thrilled that everyone was able to attend the party this year.  Lots of eating and laughing took place, and I think we were all surprised to find ourselves still chatting at midnight.

Wade and Kate both had their Christmas performances at school.  Wade and his preschool classmates sang songs and looked cute, while Kate and her choir peers sang songs like “Last Christmas” by George Michael.  Her band also had their first ever band concert, and much to our surprise, it was really good!

Wade before his big preschool performance

Jeff and his engineering firm held their first “REAL” Christmas party as a company.  We all gathered at Champps for a great meal and some time to visit together outside of the office.  The business is growing and expanding , and I know that we are all looking forward to a successful 2012!  

The Structure Sight/API Christmas Party 2011

We took the kids to the Dayton Mall to sit on Santa’s lap.  Wade is getting older, and it was really sad to see that he didn’t even try to run away this year.  Kate was nearly as tall as the poor excuse for a Santa that the mall had provided.  I didn’t let her sit on his knee as I was afraid that his scrawny little leg may buckle under the pressure of my eleven year old’s skinny butt.  We bought $40 worth of unimpressive pictures nonetheless. 

The week of Christmas I was still teaching lessons.  Though I was being a lazy bum about my own riding, I was using the time to do some pretty hard-core dressage lessons  with all of my students……except for one.   Let me go back in time just a little bit to get you up to speed…….My barn manager, Jessica, has had a rough year.  So far this year she has had hernia surgery (because she is always trying to lift more than any person should ever try to lift), a severe concussion, and a knee injury.  All of these injuries/conditions led me to purchase her a roll of pink bubble wrap for Christmas.  It was a joke ,of course, but the theory behind it was that perhaps if she wrapped herself in it at all times, she would remain uninjured for 2012.   That leads us to the day of Jessica’s “Lesson”.   Here’s how it went down…..”Joy, what tack do you want me to use today?”  “I don’t care.  You pick.”  ” Jumping or dressage? Just pick one for me.”    “No.  Just show up down at the arena in one or the other.  You pick.”  “Fine.  If you don’t pick, I’ll just ride him bareback.”  “That’s fine with me.  Just make sure you wear your bubble wrap.  Ha Ha Ha”.  So that’s what she did…….and she actually had a great dressage lesson.  Her stomach (hernias) were protected, her head was wrapped for maximum safety, and her knee was wrapped so that it could not be re-injured.  Perfect.

Jessica---"Safe.....thanks to her bubble wrap"

Christmas was good.  Our house looked fantastic in lights.  My nieces and nephews were adorable.  The only thing missing was the miniature Statue of Liberty that Wade had asked for for Christmas.  Bad Santa. 

Not a great camera for night pics.....but it looks great in real life!

 2011 is almost over.  2012 promises great things for us as a family and a farm.  I look forward to getting my horses (and myself) back in shape.  I look forward to another year with friends and family.   This will be the year that Gus and I make our debut at the intermediate level,  Rhyland learns to listen in the stadium, and Mckinley gets a taste of eventing.   2012 is before me, and I look to grab it by the horns…….or whatever part I can get my hands on.

Joy and Jessica at a "WORKING LUNCH"
Karen, Elizabeth, and Julie at lunch today
Morgan and Kate----Hardly working

The rest of the crew…….

Rhyland is doing only light work this winter also.  He has been pushed fairly hard since last spring, and it feels really good to give him a break.  His dressage is solid, his cross country is decent,  and his stadium jumping is nearly death defying.  My plan for him is to continue the dressage work over the winter and get lots of stadium work done before the first show in April.   We’ll see how that goes. 

McKinley, my four year old,  is a quick learner.  Emily has been riding him for me several days a week.  He is carrying himself well, is off the inside leg, and is starting to get his head out of the clouds.  Emily is trotting him over small cross rails and verticals, and we are getting ready for some gymnastic exercises.  The goal is for Emily to put some miles on him in the Dayton Local Show Circuit this spring/summer so that he can do some Beginner Novice this summer.   His movement is changing daily for the better.  Somewhere in that 17 hand body is a pretty fancy horse waiting to appear.


Christmas is coming…..the Gus is getting fat.

Corny, I know……..but the old song just started playing in my head.    It is true though.  Gus is getting fat.  Not in a bad way, but in a really happy, glad to have a break, doing great dressage, white and fluffy sort of way.   He is absolutely fantastic, and his dresssage is better and better each day.  These next few months will be very easy for him.  My plan is to keep him in work three days a week and start the conditioning in February.   I couldn’t be happier with his weight and his frame of mind.    He’s been an absolute pleasure to ride!