It has been a quick minute since I posted an update on this journey, and a lot has happened since the last update.

I had really been hoping that once summer hit and I was picking up more hours at the barn, some art commissions, and my research position the last half of the summer at the vet school, that I would be able to stash away a considerable amount to the MGN fund.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen how I envisioned it.

As a vet student, I live off of a loan disbursement for the semester.  I take out as little as I can each semester, and live pretty meagerly; if I am spending any decent chunk of change, you can bet it’s for the dog or the horse. But, we don’t get a disbursement for the summer months, which means strategically making the spring semester disbursement last as long as possible into the summer.  Since I take out as little as possible, there’s not much to wiggle room by the end of the semester, let alone to help me out through the summer.

So nearly every bit of what I earned this summer has gone to maintaining my rent and utilities, my horse and dog’s care, other necessary and/or unexpected costs, and then what little I could save I split between the MGN fund and having money to start getting off property for XC schooling and the event we just attended.

Now with classes getting ready to start, I’ve got beginning of year expenses like my parking pass, and textbooks to cover before my disbursement comes in for the semester.

I also made the decision that instead of lessoning bi-weekly, The Mare and I ought to lesson every week, at least through the end of the season. There’s no point in doing all of this work to make it to the show, and letting lack of preparation from a lessoning standpoint be the reason we don’t do as well as possible.

Regardless, we have had a couple of successful outings thus far, and the funds are at a decently comfortable level. I still need to add a little more, but we also have a little time for me to get to the level I want.

We do officially have transportation though! My trainer here has graciously offered to take us, which means I will have support while at the show, and I just feel so much more at ease knowing she’ll be taking us.  It was at one point, the biggest roadblock (no pun intended), so I am forever thankful that she has agreed to trailer us.

Somewhere along the way, the entry deadline started sneaking up on me, so I downloaded my form and started filling it out.  MGN actually added a Sport Horse Under Saddle Class this year for the first time ever, and with no qualification needed, and the class description lining up nicely to what my horse is used for, I threw it on our entry form.  This class has actually debuted at a few Morgan shows on the East Coast, with very respectable entry numbers, so I am excited to see what the entries look like at MGN.

I was getting ready to print out my entry and preparing to mail it in, when I had an absolute panic about it all.

I was getting ready to spend HOW much money? Was this really a good idea? Trailering for 12 hours? Missing vet school for a horse show? Should I just use that money to try to go to more events? Why did I want to do this show so badly? What was my motivation for going? Would The Mare absolutely hate it after going Eventing and loving life so much? What if I went and messed up? Or forget my course? Or something else happens?

You get the idea. The wheels had FLOWN off the rails, and I was spiraling into absolute desolation. I was about 2 seconds away from deciding not to go at all.  A show I’ve spent more than a year planning, squirreling away money for, talking about, and have spent much longer dreaming about. I texted Trainer, rambling about how I wasn’t sure MGN was even a good idea anymore. She offered some advice, but ultimately told me she’d support whatever I wanted to do.

What did I want to do? I went to bed, and decided to see how I felt in the morning.

After some sleep – I was maybe a touch overtired – my mind was made up.  I think part of my doubt was still riding the high from our horse show – and I have no doubt that my mare will be great in the future events we will attend – but just because we did well at our first show…was that reason enough to abandon these plans? My horse loves to jump. She loves to show jump. She loves to go cross-country. But ultimately, she loves to jump.

And if I decided not to go, I knew I would regret passing on an opportunity I’ve dreamed about as a Morgan enthusiast and owner for years. I have the right horse for the job, the transportation with someone I know and trust, the timing couldn’t be more perfect with a hectic (to say the least) veterinary school schedule, and I have the funds to do it. I cannot with any certainty say that any of those factors would be able to come together in the future. And as much as my logical brain has a hard time spending this much on one show, my heart is heavy thinking about missing this chance to experience a Morgan ‘bucket list’ event, and fulfilling a long time dream.

Like Trainer told me during the middle of my panic, ‘whether it’s good or bad, it’s one of those things you have to do to find out’.

So we are doing it. I printed off my entry the next morning, wrote out my entry check (and tried to not thing too hard about the number I was writing) and got it sent in the mail.

The logical part of my brain and the horse part of my brain often get into arguments – NO part of owning, riding and/or showing a horse makes logical, financial sense…but this show takes it to another level, which I think is where my doubts initially sprouted from.

We will continue to stash funds for both MGN and getting to some more events, finish picking up a few items that need replaced, figure out our travel plans and a few other logistics…but we are well on our way *officially* now. T-minus 2 months to Morgan Grand Nationals 2018!

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