What a difference a year makes!

Today, I celebrate my one year riding anniversary!

Last year, on July 23, 2011, I took my first-ever horseback riding lesson. In the 365 days that have passed, I’ve learned at least one new thing every day about horses.

I didn’t keep a record of every day’s lesson; however, they’ve included eye stains, antibiotics, stitches, throwing shoes, and much more… and that’s just the horse maintenance part.

Most recently, I have been tracking a bit more closely simply because the last two weeks have been a countdown to yesterday when Carter and I showed Training Level 1 for the first time.

Day 364 was preceded by lesson for day 353, which was horse chiropractic and acupuncture. Lesson on day 346, was rider’s bruised tailbone caused by horse stumbling out of canter which also caused slight fetlock pain and accelerated tightness across entire horse’s spine. Or, as I affectionately call it “OUCH” for both of us. I digress.

The year has also been the best 365 days I think I’ve ever experienced. Each day, I’m amazed that I have the ability and the opportunity to not only ride but to own Carter. The experience has had such a positive impact on me personally and professionally. I have found my center, my balance, and my joy.

Our first Blue Ribbon!

Each show, I’ve shared some of the tribulations and successes that Carter and I have been through. This week, I’m grateful that we were able to heal and recover from the misstep a few short days ago. Were we at our best this show? No. But, our trainer says that we showed marked improvement over the last show.

It was our fourth time riding Training Level 1 – three (well, really 2.5) times in practice over the last week and one in front of the judge yesterday. We did great! We took fourth place and a not so shabby score of 55.83! I was thrilled! We received some great progress comments (nothing about needing impulsion) and we even improved on our straight halt and our circles.

Small victories to some, I realize. To me… huge successes to where we’d been just last week!

Every day is a new learning experience.

Each day brings a lesson.

Each lesson brings new understanding.

Every day I get to ride my horse is a gift.

And, I wouldn’t change any of my daily lessons – they have brought me this far and I know there are many lessons ahead.