2017 is coming to a close, and while I’ve been really excited to look forward to 2018, first I think it’s important to look back and acknowledge my accomplishments this year.
2017 started out with me being in a pretty low place. Sure, I had accomplished a lot in 2016, especially when it came to my confidence in the saddle, and I’d had a stellar show year. But I’d also taken a lot of hits that year when it came to my personal life. Still fresh was the loss of William, the horse I had been leasing-to-own until his unexpected passing. I didn’t know how or when my trainer and I would start horse shopping again, and with that up in the air, I wasn’t even sure if I’d have a 2017 show season or not.
But, I had my first ride on Prada in January at my trainer’s suggestion. She wasn’t really what I thought I was looking for, but I figured since she was already at my barn, trying her out would at least give me something to do until Misty and I could plan a trip to look at horses. Instead, I fell in love with her, and bought her in mid-February.
Prada is and was a step-up when it comes to “horses I’m confident enough to ride”. Honestly, I don’t think I would have been ready to ride, let alone buy, her if I hadn’t had the time I did with William first, who was a step-up from Merlin. Prada is less of a “push ride” than I thought I’d wanted, needs a little more “prep” at shows, and can be more sensitive and moody – she is a mare after all.
So, in addition to those leaps of confidence, here are some of the things Prada and I accomplished in 2017:
- We attended our first clinic together in the beginning of April (my first clinic ever, actually).
- We had an amazing first show year together, winning division champion at four out of five of our local shows, and reserve champion at the other. We won some awards too, which I’ll be able to announce after our Year End Banquet on January 6th.
- We went to our first out-of-town/multi-day show together (my first out-of-town/multi-day show ever). Not a rated show, but still a step-up from the AHJA shows. We won reserve champion of our division, which I was very happy with, all things considered.
- I jumped higher than I’d jumped previously, and wasn’t so intimidated by the higher jump height. Prada has really been great for building my confidence!
- Prada started throwing some lead changes on her own.
Prada wasn’t the only horse I accomplished big things on this year. Bunny and I also had a couple of important milestones in 2017:
- Well, even the fact that I could ride Bunny at all, especially pretty regularly this year, feels like an accomplishment after her battle with EPM. So there’s that, for starters.
- Bunny finally made a friend! Yes, that friend is Prada. But this means that now there will be more stability in her life when it comes to a pasture-mate. Previously she’s had two pasture-mates at Applewood in the three years she’s been there: one left after a few weeks of them being together and the other after a few months or so (after they had really bonded). Bunny has never been a really social horse, so I’m really happy that she and Prada get along so well. It’s nice to have horses that are friends with each other.
- We attended our first competitive event together in the 18 years that I’ve owned her (yes, really the first) – a Hunter Pace! We had so much fun! And our team won even! We then attended our second Hunter Pace, also had a blast, and also won again!
- The Hunter Paces were also Bunny’s first time on any sort of trial ride so I was overall very proud of how she handled being out on a trail, being trailered (which has sometimes been a challenge in the past), and how she got along with other horses (well, mostly).
- I incorporated a lot more riding outside of the arena this year. I really feel like Bunny is much happier even just riding around in the field around the ring more often, and it’s also been really good for her conditioning.
I also accomplished some things in 2017 worth mentioning:
- I moved up a division at our local shows – from 18″ Beginner Rider to 2′ Limit Rider.
- After being unhappy with my weight for a long time, I finally found a diet program that worked for me and that I stuck with. I started going to the Metabolic Research Center in mid June, and since then, I’ve lost nearly 50lbs. Not only do I feel so much better about my appearance, but I feel that losing the weight has improved my riding because I have better balance, energy, stamina, and strength.
- I started decluttering, reorganizing, and planning. Hoping to continue this trend into 2018 for sure!
- I got a new saddle that fits both me and my horses much better.
- I learned to body clip, and clipped my own horses all fall. I also started taking on some client horses, including one of my barn owner’s horses (which means she thinks I do a good enough job at it to hire me!) and one of Misty’s training clients (again, really happy that Misty thinks I clip well enough to trust me to do a pre-show clip).
All in all, 2017 was a pretty great year. But I’m excited to look ahead and see what 2018 has in store for us.