Friday, October 5, 2018

turning toward the homestretch!

Last year I mused whether 2017 could be the new 2015. Meaning: 2015 had been my most transformative and successful year ever as a low level adult amateur event rider. Ya know. A big deal.

Isabel made real for me things I had only ever dreamed of. It was the first time I thought that.... maybe I could actually do this thing. It was a year that meant the world to me, a high water mark in my riding life.

And finally in 2017, I began to believe that I could get back to that feeling, that Charlie could take me there again -- and maybe even further!

starting the year off right: with schooling!
Turned out, 2017 was the new 2015, except in exactly the opposite way I had hoped haha. The year ended prematurely with an avoidable injury sidelining us for the rest of the season. Sigh.

Maybe it was for the best, tho. I was so so so consumed last summer with Charlie's progress. And borderline panicked by all his little dings and dents and oopsies and owies through the year. Every time he came back from one minor setback or another I had little melt downs. He always came back so well. Like he never missed a beat. And all I could think about was, "Just imagine where he'd be if we never had to take that time off at all??"

In a way, I was so consumed with the endless pursuit of progress that I wasn't able to enjoy the fact that my horse *was* ambling on along, just at his own Charlie speed.

This year, tho, my attitude couldn't be more different. Regardless of any bumps in the road, Charlie continues to develop into what I can only best describe as an entire horse. He just feels.... so complete. If that makes sense. He retains everything. The training holds. Time off hasn't changed that, honestly if anything he's always a little better after some R&R. And... so I no longer worry about it.

our wild BN run from the beginning of the year feels so long ago -- remember all the snow on the ground?!

There's still stuff I'd like to do before this year ends, but as far as I'm concerned, we've already achieved everything I'd set out to do and now we're basically just cruisin - doin whatever looks like fun.

So. With that in mind, let's go ahead and recap my 3rd quarter goals and check in on my overarching yearlong goals, shall we?

Quarter 3 Goals:
  • School more xc at home, idk why this is so challenging haha! But we need more galloping in our life for sure. Finally! We schooled twice at home since July, plus competed at home twice. 
  • School off property too - Loch Moy & Windurra! We did both of these things! Plus Tranquility at the Paper Chase! So much schooling!
  • GO FORTH, CHARLES! FORWARD TO GLORY!!!! Make novice great again! Also yes <3
  • More dressage lessons with trainer C, possibly substituting for some jump lessons. Charlie's got it in him to score well in a test, we just need more work. I miss trainer C something fierce. Lessons have not materialized - this summer was a major kick in the financial teeth for non-horse related reasons. But Charlie's flat work has progressed anyway, and proven to be competitive when combined with strong jumping! 
  • Jump some T fences!!! And maybe some smaller sized but higher technicality combinations! We've had quality if not quantity. Stadium course work at T feels comfortable, and while our cross country T efforts have been very limited, the fences Charlie has jumped have been substantial. Still need to work on technical stuff tho. 
  • Don't ignore hacking entirely even as I hold myself more accountable for our consistency in schooling. As if, haha.
it's been a big year for us in the flat work department for sure
  • Sketch out idealistic/aspirational/omgyoucrazy/realistic/pessimistic/BN4lyfe fall season options. All roads lead to Rome, right? I've got a fall road map planned out, and yes it leads to Rome. It's pretty tame, but I think that's 100% A-OK.
  • Use "summer recess" from shows to consider options for getting our butts back in gear and recovering some of the mojo we lost at Plantation: clinics, jumper shows, paper chases, group trail rides, etc. We knocked out one of two planned clinics: the pace clinic that was instrumental in clicking back into a forward gear. Paper Chases and mega trail rides have also likewise been extremely welcome and fun.
  • Mostly tho I really want the next few weeks through the heat of summer to be focused on enjoying the ride and remembering that Charlie has all the ingredients to be my eventing partner for a long time. I just need to keep us healthy and happy. Charlie rang in our celebration of two years together with everything feeling better than ever. He is my horse and my partner, through and through. 
somehow it also feels like we've done a LOT of growing even since our first novice this summer...
  • Stay on top of Charlie's hooves as weather and ground conditions require. Consider pros and cons for getting Charlie drilled and tapped for studs. Aside from mulch-related abscess shenanigans, Charlie's feet made it through the worst of the summer better than expected, and we actually just took him out of pads ahead of winter. Adding studs to the mix proved to be a game changer for the big guy. 
  • Adjust Charlie's nutrition if needed - I don't want him getting too heavy for his body, but that might prove a non issue if the grass becomes less luscious in summer heat. All things have held steady in this regard, and Charlie seems to be stable and thriving.

My overall goals for the year, what's left to do?
  • Move up to Novice by Q2-Q3.  
  • Do a recognized show, level not important - timing of this depends on schedule of friends who need recognized shows for qualifications purposes for their own goals.
  • School some of training by Q3, ideally full height elements but smaller sized technical questions are acceptable. We won't be moving up this year, but hopefully will continue to play with bigger fences esp on cross country. 
  • Research options for an "adult event camp." Didn't and won't happen.
  • Schedule a clinic(s) with Dan at OF. Trying!!
  • Keep the horse on a regular massage and/or chiro schedule as needed. Not lately..... Ugh money.
  • School the bejesus out of our cross country course at home. No excuses! Also make trips to other venues - Windurra, I'm looking at you! Down banks in particular need attention. There's still time!!
the season is coming to a close tho with feeling like we really got back on the right track
  • Continue developing flatwork. Would like to be passably schooling all of first level by Q3. Would like to finish at least one event on my dressage score, and would like the dressage scores to be competitive. I think we might actually be closer here than I realized. Charlie isn't necessarily a proper "First Level" horse... but I have some thoughts here, probably in a post soon. We've definitely made moves with our scores at events. And while we still rely on the jumping phases to move up the leaderboard, our dressage scores have been well enough within striking distance that we can move up. As evidenced by our recent 1st and 2nd place finishes! 
  • Trail ride at Fair Hill!! Ideally with other bloggers! 
  • Volunteer. A lot. Look for opportunities monthly, and aim for doing some type of event volunteering in 7 of 12 months. Definitely rocked the crap out of this goal this year, with more to come! Thanks Sara again for the great contest!! Summary post on this will be coming too.
  • Try to maintain at least some microscopic degree of poise if there are setbacks. No matter what, have fun! Ongoing. Forever and ever, amen. Charlie has taught me a lot about zen tho! 
pictured: having fun and feeling zen <3
  • Be the type of competitor my friends enjoy being around at shows. And be my friends' biggest cheerleader. Nothing has revolutionized my horse habit quite like having great friends to share it with - don't take this for granted! Trying!!
  • Keep the blog going: this space has been so meaningful to me, both as a means of documenting all of my horsey escapades but also as a way to participate in the wonderful equine bloglandia. Y'all are great! The blog lives on.

So. Hm. What else is there to add on in the last couple months??

  • I'd like to make it out to one last event. 
  • Plus a couple other non-horse-trial events. Plans are afoot for this already, much excitement!
  • Maybe a dressage schooling show too? Not so sure about this one....
  • I have a TON of schooling passes from volunteering so I need to find a way to use those too. 
  • Fox hunting???? It's on the list every year but somehow still haven't made it happen...
  • Plan ahead for schedule adjustments after the clocks change -- might be time to get back on the books for at least one or two morning rides a week.
winter is coming.... are you ready?!
  • I'd like to give Charlie a 2-ish week break sometime in the next 6-12wks. It'll depend a little bit on the calendar, but something to keep in mind.
  • Keep an eye on Charlie's weight once they switch from pasture to round bales for the winter - adjust feed if necessary.
  • Get a head start on my annual "Best Of" and "Blooper Reel" videos lol.... 
  • And. Ya know. Whatever else looks like fun. Fall is the best riding season, so hopefully we'll get to enjoy it! 


  1. Awesome job on those goals and I like your new mindset. You guys have come so so so far since you brought him home and really the sky is the limit for your partnership. I can't believe it is October already and the mere thought of turning the clock back makes me want to hide under my sheets all day and hibernate until spring. Of course it is a high of 91F today here, so it still feels like summer but it is getting dark so early.

    1. aw thanks - he's definitely made it very easy! and yea omg the short days are killin me rn.... i went for relaxing hack the other night with a barn mate after work and before we were even at the turnaround point it was prettttttty dark.... thank goodness the ponies know their way around the woods!

  2. You really have done so much!! I love that not only does he bounce back, so do you. You fight like hell and I love it.

    1. thanks, we try so hard haha. but really, is there any other way??

  3. Woohoo, the video is awesome!

    1. ain't nothin better than gallopin around sometimes, right????

  4. You guys have really done a lot this year - awesome job on the goals! I'm super happy for you!

    1. thanks! it felt like we got off to a really REALLY slow start, but things worked out anyway

  5. Chimi’s like Charlie in that he always feels better after a break :) It’s nice to have a horse that can take some time off and be better than before!! Happy fall weather riding!!!!

    1. and thank goodness for that! it's so oddly relieving to not have to worry about those first few rides back with the horse being a nutter lol

  6. Great job on the goals and the mindset, it's amazing how even how we think about things changes things.

    1. seriously haha.... it's not easy tho, bc horses are hard, but i try!

  7. I love seeing how you handle setbacks! You guys bounce back so well from everything and end up still going out and killing it no matter what happened to make you take a little break.

    1. in a way i think it's helped me a lot to have to deal with some of the setbacks and whatnot. helps keep things in perspective and whatnot!

  8. Good morning fellow horse lovers

    Here are the latest top 10 show jumping riders rankings, after WEG Tryon 2018.

    I have included images AND a video of one of their best winning rounds in 2018.

    Its very entertaining, and a nice way to start off your day.



  9. You know I so admire your optimism. I am really struggling with that right now so it's good to read your 'can do' attitude.

    1. oh man, i feel ya tho. sometimes it's a real slog to keep pushing, esp when things aren't going well. but it's all peaks and valleys with horses. an old pro once told me that i should get excited when i find myself in a "valley" with the horse bc it's usually a sign that an upward trend will be coming soon!

  10. You two are amazing <3 I still have way too many feels about what a fantastic partner and first horse he is for you, after all the ups and downs with the lovely Izzy.

    1. aw thanks <3 i can't believe i got so lucky with him. Isabel was an amazing horse who really opened up a whole new world of horses to me, but charlie is everything i could have dreamed of!

  11. Well done on the goals - Charlie is such a grown up dude now oh my god. So happy this year has been awesome for you guys. The one point you made about "my horse IS improving, at his own Charlie pace" is something that resonates with me, bc Annie is the same <3

    1. aw good, it's definitely something i have to constantly remind myself of - when we step back and look at the big picture, it's a lot easier to tell that actually the horses ARE doing well, even if things don't look exactly the way we expected initially

  12. I love watching you and Charlie grow. Great set of goals, and I LOVE the pictures!

    1. thanks!!! he's doing so well, i just love looking back at all my favorite pics haha


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