A month full of rides, and more ups and downs than you can shake a stick at.
I started the month by going down to West Virginia for an endurance ride with a horse (and people!) I'd never met. The horse, a five year old National Show Horse named Magic Man, blew me out of the water, and his people are incredible. We rocked the 30 mile LD over tough terrain, and I came home with a ton of photos, stories, and helmet cam videos.
I also did the Big Loop Boogie in Pennsylvania with Steel. It was the ride's first year running, and it was Steel's first 50 miler. It was a tough, tough ride, but we completed in style. I can now proudly say that I took Steel through her first CDR, first CTR, and first AERC ride (a fifty!)
Early in the month, the world lost a great soul. Boo Boo, the iconic 20 year old mare at Bluestone, the farm I worked at through my college years, lost her battle against an old injury. On a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning, we laid her to rest under the oak trees at the back of the farm. My heart broke into a million pieces.
And the bad news didn't end there. Ozzy has been having a hard time on the trails this year, increasingly losing coordination, and even falling down with me on him. On August 19th, the test results came back exactly as I feared. My dear, sweet, internet famous horse was diagnosed with EPM at the ripe old age of 13. His riding career is over, and we're about to start our first course of treatment. I am hoping to be able to eventually put him back in harness and get some pleasure driving years out of him, mostly because he'll die of boredom just sitting in a field. It feels like the end of an era and I took the news really hard.
In an ironic twist, I wound up with a baby possum to bottle feed just a few days after Ozzy's diagnosis. The little guy had fallen off his mother in a parking lot and was picked up by a passerby who knows my boss at the vet clinic. I wound up taking him home and naming him Vito. Unfortunately, he didn't make it. They rarely do at that age, but it was a bummer nonetheless.
It wasn't all endurance rides and doom and gloom though. Mike and I managed to make time to go up to the reservoir for a date night that featured a brilliant sunset and tasty Chinese food on the beach. Despite our hectic lives, we manage to keep the romance alive, and for that... I am very, very grateful.