As 2017 approaches, it’s easy for me to get totally caught up in planning all the things I want to do or accomplish in the near future. Show schedules are being released, my work travel schedule is materializing, and I’m already saving for next year’s hay.
Before I got too carried away with the future, I thought I ought to take a little time to reflect on what I’ve done and what I’ve learned in 2016. It felt like a big year!
- I bred Gina. It was such an educational process, and I felt like it contributed to making me a more well-rounded horse person. While Gina ultimately reabsorbed the embryo, I can’t even be that disappointed because there was learning to be had. Now I’m more prepared for next time!
- Moe and I made our return to recognized eventing at Willow Draw in Texas. It was a big deal for us; we hadn’t competed in a USEA sanctioned event in nearly a decade. Much about the sport has changed in the last ten years, but I was very happy with our completely respectable seventh place finish, clear cross country and stadium rounds, and ability to handle travel, a totally new-to-us venue, and slippery footing.
- I met up with so many wonderful horse bloggers! I saw Genny at Rolex, helped Andrea at a combined driving event, met Alli, Emma, and Austen at Dressage At Devon, chatted to JenJ at Region 9 Championships, and went on a trail ride with Allie!
- I traveled a lot. Most of it was work-related, but it’s not much of a burden to go to a horse show. I spent some time in Wellington, Florida early in the year, which gave me the opportunity to interview riders like Betsy Steiner, Lars Petersen, and Shelly Francis. I also traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico; Mason City, Iowa; Devon, Pennsylvania, and Houston, Texas!
- The most exciting thing that happened in 2016 was moving to our own small farm! I’m still unpacking boxes and moving tack from the boarding barn to my very own tack room, but no matter- my horses live in my front yard!
I learned a few things this year, too!
- Foxhunting is so much fun! This activity really helped Gina and I work together as a team, and while Gina will probably always be a standoffish sort of mare, I feel like hunting strengthened our relationship.
- When you’re relaxed, the horse is relaxed. I inevitably performed much better at shows this year when I wasn’t stressed out about the dressage test or the jump course.
- Jumpers are not for me! That jumper show I did with Moe over the summer wasn’t much fun; I had a very hard time remembering the courses and I disliked the lack of ride times. I’m glad I did it, but won’t plan on doing it again.
- Moe is the best horse in the world. At 21, Moe is no spring chicken! Despite his age (or maybe because of?), I can count on him to perform under pressure. Willow Draw had a few hairy moments on cross country, but Moe pulled through and jumped like a hero. He’s not immune to bad riding (see our schooling horse trial in August), but if I give him a halfway decent ride, he comes through.
- Keeping your horses at home is great! I didn’t realize how much I’d appreciate seeing the ponies every day. While I’m still working out the best schedule for riding, I’m grateful I see Moe and Gina every single day!
Was 2016 a good year for you? What are you celebrating?