Tis the season for reflecting on the past 12 months! Christmas Pony agrees!

When I look back at 2012, I can’t say if it will go in the record books as an exceptionally awesome year or just an average awesome year. There’s been highs and lows, like everyone experiences, and at the day I’ve got nothing to complain about!

My biggest goal, to ride the Grand Prix with my fabulous mare, was not met. We were close, riding a couple Intermediare II classes, showing improvement at each outing. We were so close that we had even entered a Grand Prix class in a competition. However, horses don’t always agree with your timetable and my Orange Goodness told me to stuff it, she needed a break.

It was a disappointment, but the biggest concern is not the date which we ride down centerline, it’s my mare’s health and happiness. We’re well on our way back, and even with many improvements after backing off.

My biggest inspiration this year was to go to London and watch the Dressage Freestyle Final. It has been agreed many times over that the quality of performance at this Olympics exceeds anything in the past, and it was definitely a lifetime highlight for me. I will never be able to express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.

My biggest change this year has been, well, my entire life plan!

Originally this Euro-adventure was a six month deal. As I approach five years over here, I’m ready to admit that I’ve been struggling with homesickness for quite some time now. This is the biggest reason that I’ve decided to pack up my horses, my dog, my life and head back to North America.

Quitting my job was terrible; it’s easy if you hate your job or don’t like the people you work with but when you really enjoy all aspects of your employment it’s tough to say, “I’m done.” Of course I cried like an idiot, but my bosses were super supportive (which made me cry more), and considering the regularity with which I still see them it’s like I’ve not really left.

How could I not miss a job where THIS is something that’s actually done? Those are garbage bags tied around that 4 year old’s neck!

So the next step is to try another new thing, being a client. I’ve never, in my entire horse career, been a full time client; it’s always been working in exchange for my education. But for my last three months in Europe, I am going into training at Andreas Helgstrand’s stable, just a bit farther north in Denmark from where I was.

I’ve got my Orange Goodness and Goose, the Lusitano stallion, and their amazing owners behind me. Goose has improved so much in the last few months, this is going to be a very exciting time! The Orange Goodness is just getting back into hard work and seems better than ever, so again it will be very exciting.

My wonderful Orange Goodness!

Goose is super excited about the new plans!

Although it feels a little weird, I’m enjoying taking this time to be a bit lazy, not working such long days and riding so many horses. I’m enjoying taking the time to really groom my horses and braid Goose’s long mane every day. The luxuries of sleeping another hour, going for a walk with my dog during daylight hours, or sitting around watching the training at Andreas’ are all things that I still feel a little guilty about, like I should be doing something more productive, but am also giving myself permission to enjoy.

After this time as a client, I’ll pack my bags and my tack trunks and load up the horses and dog, and we will cross the Atlantic together. Where we land has yet to be determined, but what fun is a story if you already know the ending?

Eiren