Friday, December 29, 2017

winding down the year

Today is the last Friday of 2017, and the start of another long holiday weekend for me. Yesssss.

I won't be doing the standard Year in Review month by month recap, since I've already done a lot of summarizing where Charlie's been and what he's done since coming home in Sept 2016. Extended time out of the saddle certainly gave me plenty of time for that haha!

my husky trunk has been up above my locker for a couple months now. even with a ladder, the depth of the trunk made it basically inaccessible in this configuration. so.... it was not very convenient. and let's not even talk about that time a horse in the cross ties kicked the ever loving shit out of me (while on the ladder) bc she was so spooked by it. a barn mate suggested turning the trunk on its side so i could open the lid outward like a shelf. turns out, this is much more convenient!

From a competitive perspective, stats and links from every show, clinic and formal schooling he's done are on my Events Page(you'll also find a sneak peek of what may come in 2018!)

This post also discusses Charlie's progressive introduction to the sport of eventing, and how I had hoped these experiences would culminate in reaching my overarching goal set for the year: Novice by November. Obvi that didn't end up happening (bc surgery), but the plan's general scaffolding was solid. We were very close.

And this post dug into a deeper quantitative review of our dressage work over the past year and change. With a specific focus on the development in Charlie's gaits as he moved onto new and different tests. The analysis also highlighted a couple simple things I can focus on practicing that could potentially make a big difference in scores.

everything inside had to be repacked a little differently, and the internal volume isn't as easily maximized, bc you don't want stuff spilling outward whenever you open the lid. but now i can actually easily reach everything in there from a step stool instead of the big a-frame ladder!
I've also spent some time rounding up my favorite posts from 2017.

Part I included posts introducing Charlie as the new headlining star, with notes on his pedigree and race history; all the posts that discuss my philosophies in general on horsemanship and training; and my favorite show recaps.

Part II collected posts in categories such as "Just Plain Funny" (bc... there were a few lol); all things trailer training; posts describing the work I've done with Charlie on the ground and around trust building; and general progression / updates / planning posts.

There are a few more roundup posts I want to do - with topics on horse care (including nutrition and diet, farriery, and maybe some tack discussions); clinics, audits and tours; blogger meetups!; posts on dealing with confidence and fear issues; and probably a roundup of some of my favorite non-competitive outings of the year. Hopefully I'll get those together soon (and definitely let me know if there's a topic you think I'm missing!).

it does mean tho that i take up way more real estate on top of the lockers - almost all of those big buckets are mine (charlie eats a fuck ton of supplements). so far nobody has complained tho, so we'll run with it. my poor locker is just plain old packed to the gills these days - it has THREE saddles in it and i'm not even gonna count the bridles (ok, it's four bridles, plus like, a bunch of girths and some breast plates and a neck strap and and and....). 
And obviously, who could forget Charlie's two major 2017 video compilations: his Best Moments and the ever-popular Blooper Reel???

Both videos do a pretty good job of summarizing the past year for us haha: the good, bad, ugly and goddamn hilarious. Ahhh memories! Definitely check those out if you missed them.

sir gets what he needs tho!!! 
So from the perspective of actual tangible things that 2017 brought for me, we've got that fairly well covered. It's all documented here on ye olde blog for anybody who would care to read it.

And, as always and forever - I continue to be so grateful for those of you who do read, and who choose to comment and share your thoughts and experiences and ideas and encouragement and everything in between. It continues to surprise and humble me just how deeply meaningful this blog and community has grown to me. So. Thank you all!

bc he really is the absolute sweetest <3
The only last thing that hasn't really been captured in any of those summary posts (tho I touched on it from a more general perspective here) is reflecting on what it all really means to me. Mostly bc it's really hard to verbalize why horses. Why Charlie.

I can easily get so caught up in the step by step, day by day nitty gritties - the boxes that have to get checked off for each successive step. I'm a very process-oriented, systematic person. Putting events on a calendar then working backwards to determine what needs to happen to make those events successful -- that all makes sense to me. That's how I like to think about things.

But.... that's not why I ride. And it certainly doesn't explain the pure, uncomplicated, child-like joy that has suddenly become accessible to me again now that I have Charlie.

naturally we gotta get our quota of fun time spent gallivanting around the fields with charlie's favorite gray mare too, bella!! santa brought bella the zilco flower hackamore thingy for christmas and she really likes it!
More than anything else, 2017 for me has been somewhat of a "proof of concept."

Isabel was a very special horse who came into my life in the most random, serendipitous circumstances. And I was lucky enough to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities she made possible. She's not a horse I would've ever chosen for myself, but yet she continues to be the horse with which I've had the most amazing, rewarding, and incredible experiences. 2015 was a hell of a year for me as a horse person, and found me doing things I never dared dream of.

To see that all fall apart in 2016 was... crushing. And incredibly demoralizing. It was easy to think that maybe I had just gotten lucky with Isabel. That it was a fluke.

charlie mostly just likes bella, but he puts up with me too <3
But I'm finally, finally, really starting to believe again that maybe that type of riding, those experiences, those goals, those thrills and that joy, are still within reach. Still attainable.

Choosing Charlie was honestly a bit of a gamble. But he showed me in 2017 that he is absolutely the horse to take me where I want to go. And probably farther, should I be so inclined. He gives me courage and lends me his bravery and uncomplicated approach to tackling new challenges. He is consistent, honest and reliable. And capable. Plus a downright pleasant horse to be around.

And I'm just so freakin excited about the future. Here's to a great 2018!

26 comments:

  1. Awe....LOVE everything about this post. Charlie is a great partner and outside of the freak incidents this year that kept you guys from competing, you made incredible progress. 2018 is going to be a killer year for you two!

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    1. Thanks! I'm always super paranoid now about other potential snags or snafus but am really excited all the same!! :)

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  2. Cheers to a healthy, goal achieving 2018 for you and Charlie!!! And I like your trunk flipped over… makes a lot of sense!

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    1. Thanks I'm hopeful! And yea so far that trunk switch up has made it way more accessible

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  3. I think you had a pretty great year with Sir Chuckles, despite some setbacks. Here's to 2018!

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    1. He's been so good - there isn't a single thing I have asked of him that he hasn't gone ahead and done. Now we just need fewer setbacks!

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  4. "Most happenings are beyond expression; they exist where a word has never intruded" that's why Charlie. That's why we ride. The unexplainable. ❤️❤️❤️

    Can't wait for your 2018!!!

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    1. Yes - three cheers to the unexplainable! Happy 2018 to you too :)

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  5. YES! Here's to a great 2018! Can't wait to follow along with you and Charlie!

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    1. thanks! i'm looking forward to having more to write about!!! :)

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  6. Heck yeah- Charlie is awesome and you two seemed meant for each other!

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    1. thanks, he really does seem to suit me well - esp in the areas where i need the most help!!!

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  7. Absolutely! Charlie is awesome and I can't wait to read about you two kicking ass next year!!! Watch out 2018!! :D

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    1. he's a very good boy! i just hope he can keep his shit together long enough for us to get some momentum going!!! ;)

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  8. Even with the annoying setbacks you two have come so far and really developed as a partnership. It's been a lot of fun to watch and read about! I can't wait to see how awesome you both continue to be in 2018. You have great plans and ideas to get you both to new levels. Here's to a wonderful, fun filled and HEALTHY (ahem, Charlie!!) year ahead!

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    1. thank you! i have so many plans, so many haha. if only i could convey that to charlie so that he would stop doing dumb stuff to his legs!! but yes, here's hoping for health and all that good stuff in 2018 - same for you and Duke!

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  9. I'm so excited to read along with you guys in 2018. Your blog has been a huge inspiration for years no matter which four-legged you were astride but I'll admit it's even more special now that you've found Charlie.

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    1. aw thank you! it's definitely a whole new dynamic with charlie now as i figure out what it means to be 100% responsible for literally every single thing.... it's a lot of pressure! so far, we're mostly ok tho! i'm excited to follow you and Scout into the new year too!

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  10. Glad you guys found each other. :-)

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  11. You two are an amazing team and I am so excited to see where 2018 takes you. I agree, Charlie is going to take you where you want to be (and then some, I bet)and I'm so excited to watch your partnership develop more in 2018 ❤

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    1. aw thanks <3 he is a special horse and i'm hoping to really let that shine this year. and doubly hopeful that we can get him and Grif to some of the same shows!!

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  12. <3 I love your posts. Happy New Year to you and Charlie!

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    1. thanks! happy new year to you and the crew too!

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