I cannot believe I’m writing my 2015 recap. Didn’t the year just begin? They say time flies when you’re having fun (or when you get old), so I guess I’ll claim a little of both. The last year has been such a whirlwind for me after looking for a new job and starting one at the end of May. Six months later, I think it feels like the summer should just be beginning! I apologize to any of our readers if you thought I fell off the face of the earth, I didn’t. I’m thankful that I still am here, and able to blog for HJU. What have Carter and I been doing? Well, let’s catch up.

I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to show. I was determined to, but with the new job starting just about the same time as show season, it wasn’t happening. Not only was my mind 100% needed in immersing myself in a new job, my finances were screaming at me not to spend any more money than essential. By essential it meant a new pair of riding boots, and, oh… a new wonderful dressage saddle. (a girl has to have priorities).

So, yes, a new saddle! And, what a joy! It opened Carter up so much and allowed him to move so much more freely. I love it! My new boots… they arrived in mid-Spring and I don’t know how I ever rode in boots other than these!

Carter and I have been learning how to really engage his hind end (and mine), how much contact he likes and how much he doesn’t, and all about perfecting the movements in Second Level so when we get to the coming season we’ll be ready. Even though I started a job, the one thing I was not compromising was my ride schedule and lessons. Unless I’m out of town, I have my regular lesson days three times a week. When I’m out of town, Carter keeps our schedule with our trainer, Laura. I think he secretly wishes I’d travel more because Laura lets him jump, is super quiet on him, teaches him cool things, like half-pass and flying lead changes… all the things that I do not. Not yet, anyway.

Who called me a Dressage Princess?!

Who called me a Dressage Princess?!

We’ve had a great year and were able to show, once, this year in a schooling show at our barn. Even after Carter’s knee met my eyebrow, and the ensuing bloody eyebrow, bandaged head, and the drama of it all, we received high-point for the dressage class! We got a BIG ribbon… along with my BIG black eye (which was the topic of discussion in the week that followed, on my business trip!) No one could call me a dressage princess that week!

I healed. Fortunately with only a small scar that’s now part of me.

It’s been a sad year, too. We’ve had a few horses cross the rainbow bridge and the sadness that follows brought Carter lots of hugs and extra attention. Just last week one of my dear friends and barn mate, Stefanie, lost her OTTB 11-year-old mare, suddenly. It was terribly sad and for the first time in my short horse owner life I saw just how connected horses are to their horse friends. Carter was sad. Visibly sad. Stefanie is one strong cookie, though. She decided, early on, that she was going to share the love in her heart with another rescued OTTB. I was honored when she asked me to go with her to meet some rescues at a local racetrack. One had already caught her eye – and his name is now Ravel’s Sonatine. We picked him up this past weekend and he’s enjoying the early stages of retirement. His last race was last week! He is a doll with a super personality! I can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. Stefanie, Ngugi’s Word (her mare), and the ordeal taught me so much about this passion we have as horse owners.

Ravel's Sonatine with Stefanie (L), me, and his previous owner, Tony (R)

Ravel’s Sonatine with Stefanie (L), me, and his previous owner, Tony (R)

So here we are at the end of another year. The end of my fourth year owning Carter and the beginning of the fifth year of me, riding. It has been a busy, busy 2015 but there is so much to look forward to in 2016. My goals are focused on getting to regional finals again this year – this time at Second Level. Six months into my job and I am ready to be back to blogging, to sharing this crazy passion and my antics with my now 7-year-old, love, Carter.

I hope that your year was enjoyable, full of things that memories are made of – both good and challenging. After all, it’s the challenges that make life worth moving forward, sometimes. Good Rides and a Great 2016 to all of you! See you at Regionals!