As we approach the new year, I can’t help but reflect on the past 12 months. For me and Timmy, it has been a year of highs, lows and change. I thought I would share some of the lessons and realities WE have taken away.

Lesson 1: Always have a plan. Make every ride count. Write down your goals and then start executing them.

Reality: Plans often go awry, so be flexible and learn to adjust the plan.

Lesson 2: Minor lameness issues are often harder to diagnose and address than larger problems.

Reality: A stone bruise CAN take 10 weeks to heal and totally alter your plan. (Ask me how I know!).

Lesson 3: When you and your horse are most ready to work and train, your coach will often be unavailable.

Reality: Winters in Florida, Rolex, Burghley, clinics and travel are indicative of having a coach who is also a competitor. Yes, I could work with another coach, but not one I would LOVE as much. #excellenceisinhighdemand

Lesson 4: Moving to a new barn can be stressful.

Reality: Do what is best for your horse. Realize barn owners/barn friends can disappoint, but new barns can offer wonderful new opportunities.

Lesson 5: Appreciate the horse you have.

Reality: Gold stars for kindness, good manners, being a good partner and trying hard for you.

Lesson 6: When lessons are going really well, RIDE THE WAVE!! Enjoy each one and live in the moment.

Reality: There will be others in which you will feel like you know nothing and your horse acts accordingly.

Lesson 7: Even dressage horses can enjoy a leisurely trail ride.

Reality: Get his head and his butt out of the arena and BREATHE. These are good rewards for your horse and he will likely love you for it.

Lesson 8: When your training is going the best it has ever gone, life will get in the way.

Reality: Coaches go to Florida, winter sets in, work gets busy and time is at a premium.

Lesson 9: Where you lose ’em is where you find ’em!

Reality: Time to make a new plan.

No matter how YOUR 2015 went, reflect on the lessons YOU learned so you can put 2016 on a path to success.