It’s easy for me to look back on 2018 and declare it the shittiest year ever. My eagerly anticipated foal was euthanized after being in and out of the vet clinic for a month. The vet bill incurred by Marrakesh and Gina’s care was staggering and dealt an enormous blow to my finances. Candy made little to no progress towards becoming a replacement for either of my aging senior horses. I feel like I accomplished nothing this year.
I’ve been wallowing in self-loathing for at least six months; Marrakesh’s death made me feel sad, disappointed, and completely demotivated to do anything equine-related. I had a few bursts of zealous inspiration, like when a dressage guru friend suggested a new regime for Candy over the summer. When work travel and Candy’s heel grab derailed that plan, I quickly sunk back into a demoralized and unhappy state. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right- I failed at horse breeding, I failed at horse training, I failed at budgeting.
Dwelling on all the ways I failed this year isn’t very productive, though. It actually makes me feel more disheartened and confused. I’m normally a cheerfully positive and aggressively optimistic person- just ask my friends. (They’ll tell you how annoying it is sometimes.)
Instead of continuing to revel in unhappiness, I’m going to assess what went well this year and use that to motivate myself to set goals and make a plan to achieve them in 2019.
- Moe had a really great year. We kicked off 2018 babysitting our friends at a cross-country outing. I’d taken jumping off Moe’s plate due to EPM and small ulcer scars on his eyes that I was afraid might be affecting his vision. And, you know, because he’s 23. I had such a great time on him that day! We also had a good year competing at First Level at local dressage shows, and ended up year-end champions for both eastern and western region schooling shows and fifth place overall.
- Gina is alive and well. I’m happy Gina’s pregnancy, foaling, and recovery were totally normal. While losing Marrakesh was devastating, I’m glad nothing went wrong with Gina. She might be a grumpy old hag, but she’s my grumpy old hag- not to mention my best hunt horse!
- I learned new techniques and practices. I had ground work lessons with Candy, learned about reiki for horses and the Masterson Method, and discovered that there’s definitely a place for longeing in a horse’s training program.
- I traveled to fun places. In April, I went home to Nashville for a weekend to ferry my mom to and from eye surgery and visited with my very best friend while I was there. Two of my friends who’d never been to Land Rover Kentucky before made the journey to the Bluegrass State with me. I worked at Dressage At Devon in September and met Stacey and Klein of The Jumping Percheron there. I went to Denver to see Johnny’s family for Thanksgiving. Traveling can be kind of a pain in the ass with all of the animals, but I’m always glad to go places!
When I look at this list, it doesn’t seem like 2018 was that bad. It still feels bad- dead foals and debt don’t lead to warm fuzzy vibes-but it could be so much worse. On to 2019, right?