I typically take a moment or two to reminisce about the favorite parts of my year. This year, the list is so large that I can’t possible mention it all.

Wellington – my first trip was in 2014. If you’ve not had the opportunity to go – it’s amazeballs! (thanks, Susan and the 12 Days of Christmas for depositing that gem of a word in my vocabulary). Think all horse, all the time and it doesn’t even come close. Horse cross walks. Horse shows at every turn. Professional riders everywhere. Tack shops. Oh, and SUNSHINE! Being a native Illinoisan sunshine in winter usually is accompanied by blinding snow. But Florida – sunny Florida – ahh, how I love you! Yes, my flights are booked for February and I’ll be sure to share my horsecation photos when I can.

Wellington photo

A glimpse into Wellington

Steffen Peters clinic – seeing a legend is awesome. Seeing a legend teaching is priceless. I was able to attend a clinic with Steffen Peters early in 2014. It was educational, motivational, and even a bit of a validation for where I was in my riding at that point. He’s straightforward and easy to understand. Helpful without being demanding of the horse or the rider. The only better thing would be to be able to RIDE in one of his clinics.

photo of Steffen Peters

Steffen Peters clinic

First Level Bronze Medal Scores – We worked hard this year, my little gelding and I, and it paid off! We were focused on beginning to earn our USDF Bronze Medal and we achieved a solid First Level debut and attained strong scores for a solid chink in the bronze medal award.  With that comes even more work trying to sit the trot and propel us into Second Level and beyond. This journey has been a blessing and has forever changed me.

We did it!!!!

We did it!!!!

Horse Junkies United – I love this organization! Truly. I am so honored to continue as a blogger representing such a great team of riders from so many locations. I love that I can share my thoughts, rants, and ravings (no matter how random they are at times) and I see that sometimes I reach someone out there who is having the same issue or celebrating the same canter depart that I am. It makes me smile and touched that my little story might make someone happy or relatable. It’s way cool. (thanks, Patricia and the rest of the HJU blogger team – you are awesome beyond words).

Logo HJU

My Trainer – Laura. THANK YOU. Each ride, each show, and each time we’re together I learn more about myself and my ability as a rider (or inability as the case may be – HA!) She knows when to push and when to propel; she’s got Carter’s number as much as he has mine. She makes him look incredible and makes me the best rider I can be. I’m eternally grateful that we found each other and that Carter loves his herd – he’s lucky to be part of two, actually. He trusts Laura, too, which is valuable and honestly pure joy to see.

My trainer Laura and my Mom's first ride - ever!

My trainer Laura and my Mom’s first ride – ever!

And, of course, Carter – what can I say about my boy aside from he is so much more than I thought my heart could hold. Sure we’ve had our ups and downs. Strange lumps that turned into allergies (thank goodness). Forward days. Backward days. Lost shoes. His first “maintenance” for dressage horse injections. But he is a good boy. He has a great mind and he works so hard for me. He nickered at me for the first time a week or so ago. It touched me to the core. He’s done it since and each time it makes me giddy. We get each other now. He’s mind and I’m his. We are a team Yes, we still have plenty to work on – this dressage pursuit is never finished or perfected to exacting expectations – but I’m really proud – beaming actually – with where we are and the bond we’ve formed. I’m honored to be his person.

My boy -- Carter

My boy — Carter

As I said the list could go on, and on… but it’s a blog not a novel so I have to end here. But, thank you for sharing our journey – my little munchkin’s and mine – we’re glad you’re along for the ride!

I’m looking forward to 2015 and what my favorite few things will be next year! Enjoy the holidays! Enjoy the ride!

Me and My Boy

Me and My Boy

— Sue