Equestrian blogger gift exchange

Printable Pony’s annual equestrian blogger gift exchange is one of my favorite things in the blogging community. It gives me a chance to find new blogs I wasn’t familiar with and allows me ruthlessly abuse my tack store discount in pursuit of the perfect present! This year, I was The Frugal Foxhunter‘s secret santa and Eventing Saddlebred Style was mine.

Teresa’s package arrived yesterday evening! It was stuffed full of goodies- let’s take a moment to appreciate the truly impressive amount of candy that’s in this box. There’s at least a dozen Reese’s peanut butter trees and what seems like a hundred peanut butter cups. Reese’s peanut butter candies are Johnny’s favorite, so I promptly hid them in my closet lest he eat them all. (That’s a real threat; the man ate a two-pound bag of peanut butter trees in one day last month.)

Under all the candy were two pairs of Sock It To Me socks, one which featured llamas and the other with foxes! Like every horse person on the planet, I am perpetually in need of socks. I’m excited to wear these- they look comfy and I love the designs! Teresa also included a very funny coloring book of farting animals and a brand new set of colored pencils.

Thank you, Teresa, for all the great gifts! And a huge thanks to Tracy at The Printable Pony for organizing this gift exchange every year. If you’ve never participated before, you should absolutely do so in 2019. You won’t regret it!

The evolution of goals

I’ve always struggled with goal-setting. It wasn’t something I practiced much when I was young. I never sat down with a trainer or coach or teacher and discussed what I wanted to achieve or how I would do so. Usually, I’d decide I wanted to do something- compete at a show, attempt a Pony Club rating, enter the state agri-science fair- and I would do it. Sometimes it would work out. I had a lot of successful shows, I was a C-2 Pony Clubber, I won the state agri-science fair. There were more times it didn’t work out, though. I failed my C-2 rating once. I had lots and lots of terrible-to-mediocre shows. It never occurred to me that I could be devising better plans and practices for accomplishing things I wanted to achieve!

This sort of laissez-faire attitude about goals has persisted in my adult life, despite the fact that I know a lot more about goal-setting than I used to. Over the years, I’ve attempted to fix that attitude. I set them enthusiastically in 2017, 2016, and 2015. And I accomplished many of them, and that definitely felt good!

Scenes from this weekend’s New Year’s trail ride.

Looking back on those goals is helpful, because I have the perspective of time to show me what did and didn’t work over the years. Setting a ton of ultra-specific goals does not work for me. More general goals that have multiple paths to success is better for me. I’ve also noticed that over time, my goals have become less demanding. Instead of saying, “I will lose 50 pounds,” my goals are now things like, “I will go to yoga class three times per week,” and “I will eat at home five nights per week”. These softer goals are better for my mental health, I think.

Horse-specific goals are harder for me to set these days. Moe and Gina basically have no competitive goals; I would like them to remain sound and happy and suited for trail riding and hunting as long as possible. That’s not something I have a ton of control over, though. I can make sure they have appropriate veterinary and farrier care and are kept in good condition. But they’re still old. Candy is difficult for me to get excited about. I should probably sell her because I don’t like her that much and have yet to persuade Johnny of the necessity of a fourth horse. Candy intrigues me and I continue to plug away with the same dogged optimism that permeates the rest of my life. It’s hard to be enthusiastic and set lofty goals for such a tough horse, though.

I also don’t have any huge, ambitious goals right now. Things like a USDF Bronze Medal seem so far away as to be pointless, and while once upon a time, my life goal was to ride at Kentucky, I’ve concluded that’s unrealistic and possibly too scary. I love foxhunting, enjoy trail riding, and don’t feel like I need to accomplish anything. I’m happy (even if parts of this post don’t sound like it, haha), and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

That’s not to demean my fellow bloggers to who are all about the goals- please don’t read it that way! I love seeing what people are doing and how they’re doing it. It’s inspiring and it often gives me new ideas and perspectives. I can’t wait to see what’s accomplished in 2019, whether it’s earning a Silver Medal, moving up to a new level, or simply enjoying the ride.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I spent some time yesterday thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2019. I didn’t come up with anything life-changing, ambitious, or particularly interesting. I’ve never been an especially goal-driven person; setting goals and planning out how to achieve them doesn’t motivate me. In the past when I’ve tried goal-setting, I usually come up with a reasonable goal and plan, become derailed, and feel vaguely guilty for not achieving whatever it is I thought about doing. Maybe I’m just a wishy-washy weirdo. (I tell myself I’m just laid-back and easygoing.)

So for 2019, I’ve made some resolutions, but they aren’t crazy and big and wild:

  • Send birthday cards to friends and family. I like receiving mail and figure that other people do too. I’m off to a strong start on this one- I sent a birthday card to a friend today!
  • Read 65 books. I read 63 books in 2018 and would like to surpass that number this year. I’m starting the year with Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. You can find me on Goodreads if you’d like, though I’m not very active on it other than marking books “to read” or “read”!
  • Score 63%+ at Training Level with Candy. Candy can totally do this, so this goal is more about both of us being comfortable at shows.
  • Take 3 trips that aren’t work related. Last year, almost all of the travel I did was work related. This year, I want to get out of town for fun more often!

That’s pretty much it! There are some things I want to do that aren’t really resolutions or goals, like continuing my yoga practice, continuing to meditate, and continuing to cook at home. Those are more “continue to live your life” things, though.

Are you a goal-oriented person or does the whole process leave you uninspired?