My life has been a whirlwind since I started my new job, going on four months ago. I’ve been trying my hardest to find and keep my centered self which doesn’t leave for much more than working and riding. Life isn’t tough.

As far as Carter and I go, it’s been a wonderful summer of learning. Taking advantage of the warm summer months to develop my seat more, reviewing the pyramid of training to focus on the foundational elements – checks and balances to determine where we have gaps, auditing a JJ Tate clinic (so squarely committed to classical dressage I think I bleed classical), and learning more about each other. Carter really has a great personality. He’s seven now and since he is my first horse I’m living through all the firsts as mini-celebrations. Well, celebration might be a bit hyper-generous; some of his antics are less than celebration-worthy, but all in all I’m learning that he’s so very patient. Letting me find my center, allowing my not-so-smooth sitting trot, and putting up with my learning how to acquire dressage fists.

Carter got a new saddle for his birthday – one that allows more movement in his shoulders and wither clearance that accommodates his TB frame. It is awesome – allows me to sit deep and puts my legs in a great position. It was time, too. I had my first saddle since he was four – lots of growing, muscling, and changing in three years for certain! He goes so much better in this new saddle, it was worth the deep hole in my savings, too! I’m still feeling it!

We’ve held off showing until a) my finances recovered a bit after being out of work and b) we gained a bit of confidence in Second Level. I think we’re there. Well, I think I’m approaching gained confidence. My finances aren’t nearly as close. But, that’s life as a horse owner, I’ve learned that, too. I have my sights set on the last show of the calendar year – one with a wonderful judge – who judges young horses fairly and gives tremendously helpful feedback. I’m looking forward to possibly earning my first qualifying score and another step toward my bronze medal.

As I look back on the summer, I’m not disappointed in the least. I’ve grown as a rider. I’ve grown as Carter’s owner. I am enjoying barn time, saddle time, and Carter time more and more each day. I’ve learned that each ride cannot be perfect – and sometimes the less perfect the ride, the closer we are to a breakthrough. I’ve learned that I’m still only four years in the saddle – there are things that come along with time – like confidence. Like learning to ride through little temper tantrums (the BUGS, Mom! The BUGS) Like learning to let go in a bigger canter. I love being an equestrian and a horse owner. It really makes me a better version of who I used to be.

This summer has been awesome. Now, I look forward to the cooler weather. Continuing to learn, love, and ride. Starting to develop a freestyle. And, planning my annual trip to Wellington. How cool is it that I can now call it my annual trip. Yep. Love. This. Sport. And my horse.