I feel like every year I kind of change how I do these “year in review” type posts. I don’t really like doing just a summary of what happened, but I also think that doing a “by the numbers” thing kind of puts the focus in the wrong places. My goals are to have fun, enjoy my horses, and learn. Numbers don’t always really reflect that. So I’m going to try out something new and instead break up the year-recap into more of a Top 5 series. For today’s, we’re starting out with my top 5 memorable moments of the year, the bits that really spring to mind as the most spine-tinglingly “I’ll never forget that time when…” type of memories I made in 2019. These are in no particular order of course, because who could pick a favorite?
Finally getting a clear Prelim stadium round
I love Henry to the absolute depths of forever, but Jesus H Christ, it is hard AF to show jump clean on this horse. Especially at Prelim. XC is his forte, and he really just doesn’t care much if he hits a rail or three. Trying to dial in the stadium has been a lot of ongoing work. In February we finally pulled that shit together, and despite a few rubs they DID all stay in the cups. FINALLY. (I think it was a one-off incident of pure luck but shhhhhhh I’ll take it)
First “sit” on Presto
I don’t know that it counts as a “ride” since I literally just swung a leg over and sat on him at a standstill for a few minutes, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being the first one to sit on a horse that you bred. I was there when he was created, I was there when he was born, and now my butt will always have been the first one to grace his back. It seems like a small thing but after years of investing so much time, energy, love, hope, money, etc it feels like a magical moment. Especially when he’s a second generation homebred for me.
Henry’s first recognized Prelim
It sounds silly but once I knew Prelim was actually attainable, I really wanted Henry to have it on his official USEA record. I know, horses don’t give a shit about that, and since he’ll never be for sale it doesn’t actually matter at all, but something in me just really felt like he deserved to be an “official” Prelim horse. It’s a title he’s more than earned and I’m ridiculously proud of him. It kinda feels like a public record that testifies to the fact that he always tries so hard for me and is the most golden of eggs. When we sealed the deal on our first recognized Prelim completion, it was a great feeling.
Meeting Mighty Magic
Honestly that whole trip may have been the best yet, between Burghley and France I have so many great memories and cannot WAIT to do it again. But if I had to pick my absolute favorite moment of that entire trip, it would be meeting Presto’s sire Mighty Magic. We have met a lot of stallions in our travels but MM is special to me. I’ve loved him for so long, and finally getting to see him in person, and have him just be SO MUCH like Presto… it was awesome.
Conquering the jump that’s lived in my nightmares for years
You know how sometimes you see a jump and you’re just like hahahaha I would never jump that, you could not even pay me enough, that thing looks like death personified, EFF NO? I have felt that way about the Prelim/Intermediate (they share it) weldon’s wall at Coconino since the first time I laid eyes on it in 2016. Like I couldn’t even make eye contact with it then without wanting to barf. I figured I’d never have to jump it anyway, so I was content to let it live in the land of nightmares. And then we went to Coco and ran Prelim and there I was, staring that stupid thing down, trying not to shit myself. I still hate it, but we jumped it, proving once again that with the right horse, even those “never in a million years” things can suddenly be do-able. That whole XC round was probably one of the top 5 moments of my entire life, but finally jumping that stupid thing in particular felt equal parts terrifying and amazing, so it stands out.
It was definitely a year of stepping out of comfort zones and stretching ourselves, and also learning how to roll with the punches. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn’t (we’ll talk about the Fails in another post), but we showed up and we tried. I think I’ve finally learned how to really have fun no matter what happens, and how to put the most emphasis on the things that matter most (hint: it’s definitely not scores or ribbons or points).