Go On As You Began

Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began.

In 2023, I used the first half of this quote as a mantra for things both large and small. For example, I tried to begin each riding lesson as I wanted it to go on: forward, with a positive attitude and an open mind. I also began new habits I wanted to establish long-term, like half an hour of intentional exercise and applying sunscreen every day. I was pretty successful, at least by my own measure. Madigan and I understand each other better and solidify our partnership every ride. Story and I are learning to speak the same language – my hunter is rusty and her dressage is very basic, but we both know trail riding and foxhunting. I managed to get a workout in on 345 of 365 days. (I was less successful with remembering to apply sunscreen.)

Ringing in the New Year on Large Baby yesterday.

This year, I want to go on as I began. I want to carry the momentum I established last year forward. I am notoriously bad at setting goals, much to my trainer’s bemusement. (“But Stephanie,” she’ll say, “don’t you want to get your bronze medal?”) My goals are as basic and unexciting as ever this year: ride more frequently, row more than I did last year, remember to apply sunscreen, work on one home improvement project every month, mail birthday cards to friends. What can I say – I like goals that are low stress and achievable!

I’m looking forward to 2024, and I hope you are too. Happy New Year from Hand Gallop!

Hand Gallop Rides Again

happy new year from the whole herd! left to right: Madigan, Gina, Moe

Happy New Year! It’s me, Stephanie, and I’m back. I didn’t really go anywhere (except offline), but there hasn’t been much to write about in the last year.

For those of you who are just tuning in, welcome. My name is Stephanie, and I’m an equestrian living just outside Tulsa, Oklahoma on a small farm with my three horses, six cats, dog, and spouse. I like to trail ride and foxhunt, and occasionally I compete in dressage and eventing.

I wrote here at Hand Gallop for many years, and stopped because I became busy, because I didn’t have much to write about, and because I just plain didn’t want to. Late last year, I accidentally deleted the entire site while trying to fix some backend settings. Because I live my life with no backups, I lost about a decade’s worth of content. It’s okay, though- I think of it as an opportunity to start anew!

A bit more about me, the three horses, six cats, dog, and spouse:

  • I worked at a tack store for the better part of seven years, so if you have questions about breeches, bridles, girths, or grooming equipment, let me know!
  • Two of my horses are retirees. It is my privilege to care for Moe (28) and Gina (26), two very good Thoroughbreds who worked hard for me for many years.
  • My young horse Madigan (who will be 5 this year) and I are just beginning our show career together!
  • The six cats live in the house, and I accept my role as a crazy cat lady. One of my neighbor’s barn cats has taken up residence in my barn and gets two cans of Fancy Feast from me every day, so I guess there are really seven cats.
  • Buttons the dog is half corgi, half dachshund, old, missing a toe, and splits her time between sleeping and barking.
  • To give you an idea of what kind of person my spouse is, he did not question whether or not I should buy yearling Madigan when we already had three horses; instead, he told me to ask if the seller took credit cards so we could get reward points for purchasing him. I am incredibly grateful to have such a supportive partner!