Per usual, my Christmas list this year revolved around things for or about my horse. And per usual, my family’s generosity continues to humble me.

About 3/4 of the way through No-Stirrup November, my beloved tall boots-that have been my workhorse for schooling and showing-busted out the back.  With the expenses of Christmas, I’ve been procrastinating getting the zipper replaced and have been riding in an ancient pair of paddock boots and half chaps.  I’ve realized just how well my tall boots aid in my balance and equitation.

My mom enjoys finding a bargain on just about everything; but I was not expecting to open a shiny new pair of tall boots on Christmas morning – and that she’d nailed the sizing.

I’ll probably still get the zipper replaced on my old boots, but this means that I’ll have a pair I can reserve for just showing (once they’re properly broken in, of course).

My mom also aided my grandparents, who got me a pair of white breeches so that I can complete the look for a National level Jumper division. Half the time, I couldn’t tell you what size breech I fit into (varies widely on the brand and style), so I was pleasantly surprised that my family had also guess-timated perfectly on the breeches as well.

A couple family members made contributions to the fund I have going for MGN as well, which is greatly appreciated.

The most thoughtful gift I got had to be from my brother and sister.  My brother got me a new pair of spur straps for my birthday, but alluded to another part of a gift he couldn’t yet give me.  On Christmas, I unwrapped a massive, beautifully ornate frame with a photoshopped image of a horse and rider from MGN last year with my face on it…and I was confused.

My brother did some researching into what photographer is used at Morgan Grand National and contacted them.  My siblings will be getting me professional pictures when The Mare and I attend in 2018, and the frame will be ready to house them. (My brother also told me he fully expects his photoshop masterpiece to be on display in my house as motivation until we get to the show).  It was not at all what I was expecting, but has to be one of the coolest presents I’ve gotten.

We are just about 10 months out from MGN 2018.  Our fund is slowly getting larger, and now that expenses from Christmas are done hopefully we can squirrel away more; I’m all outfitted now, and we’ve even got our show photos already covered.

It’s starting to feel real; MGN 2018 – we’re coming for ya!

To follow along with Danielle’s journey to the Morgan Grand Nationals, click here: