2 Years at Home

I had not ridden a horse in quite some time as of September 23rd, 2014.

And then this fateful email exchange.

September 24th, 2014 was the first time I sat on a horse in years. Literally years.

I went into that lesson planning to walk and trot around for a little while- I knew my muscle memory was likely relatively intact, but my muscle strength was absolutely abysmal.

The stone-cold badass who I now proudly call my trainer had other ideas. She had me jumping a full course in that first lesson and I haven’t looked back since. She’s been kicking my butt around the ring for a full two years now.

In some ways it feels like only a few weeks since that first lesson! And then at other times it feels like I’ve always been at Clairvaux. It’s home to me.

I don’t know that I can fully describe the impact this barn and these people have had on my life over the last two years, but I’ll certainly try:

I had been so unhappy here in Virginia- even though I had some family here, I missed all my friends and was having a really hard time making new ones. Everything seemed very alien and it was just so different from home. To be honest, I was starting to look at jobs in other areas because I simply couldn’t see myself staying another year.

Joining this community is what turned my life around- I know it sounds dramatic, but I mean it. I have gotten to meet and spend time with some AMAZING women- they are driven, interesting, kind, helpful, and straight up fun to be around. I have found a place where I can go to feel centered and welcome, no matter what happens. I have re-found a part of myself that feels such incredible drive and passion for this sport.

And I have gotten to work with trainers that I respect immensely- who I trust with my wellbeing and who I trust to have my best interest at heart. They have demonstrated time and time again that they are not in this to make a quick buck- they are in this to keep us all safe and having fun while learning.

I had never even dared to dream that I might make it to the 1m division. That was so far out of the realm of possibility. But with the support and encouragement and guidance of the Clairvaux family it has all felt not only manageable, but natural. Now my pie-in-the-sky goal is a stepping stone to even bigger and better things.

It’s certainly been a whirlwind two years: I jumped into a half-lease almost immediately, started a horsey blog, re-entered the show ring, moved from 2’3″ to 2’6″ to 2’9″ to 3′ to 3’3″ in height, moved over to the jumpers, spent a week in Ocala, bought a horse. In retrospect, that’s a heck of a lot to fit into two years!

While there have been all sorts of milestones over the past couple years, I’m most thankful for two. First of all, Frankie. He is my unicorn and every day with him is better than the last. Next week we’ll spend our 6 monthiversary at a show and I know it’s going to be amazing. Second of all, you guys. The blog community. Getting back in the saddle gave me my passion back and pushed me to join in and I can’t thank you all enough. I’ve met some of my closest friends through blogging!

I’ll stop talking now. I don’t have pictures from the VERY beginning, but here’s a part of my journey over the last two years:

December ’14: One of the first “big” jumps I did with Addy
February ’15: Our first “BIG” jump
March ’15: First time back in the show ring in ~10 years
April ’15: Maaaaaajestic
May ’15: Warming up for our first time in the jumper ring!
July ’15: Absolutely killing it in the 3′ hunters
August ’15: First rated show at HITS Culpeper doing the baby jumpers
September ’15: Headed out for a paper chase! Dream team.
October ’15: First time XC schooling
Dec ’15: Addy and friends making me smile during a tough winter
Dec ’15: Christmas time!
February ’16: Stepping into the adult medals with Poppy down in Ocala
February ’16: Fastest 4-faulters in our classic with Victoriosa down in Ocala!
March ’16: Our last show together
March ’16: Enter Francis!
May ’16: Braving the trails with a buddy
June ’16: Learning the ropes at our first show
August ’16: Getting better and better at our second show

I thank my lucky stars every day that my random “hunter jumper barns near me” Google search sent me directly to a trainer I trust and respect, and who pushes me to be the best horsewoman and rider I can be.

Cheers to two years at home, and cheers to the future!

20 thoughts on “2 Years at Home

  1. Liz Stout 09/24/2016 / 9:26 am

    Cheers to the future, indeed! You’ve had such a great journey so far. Can’t wait to see where you and Frankie will go.


  2. shelbyrallen 09/24/2016 / 2:01 pm

    Happy Anniversary!! A barn community is family in many ways ❤ I was feeling similarly about this area when I moved, and I'm happy to have met you and so many others through these blogs. Can't wait to see where the next to years take you in the saddle.


  3. Hillary H. 09/24/2016 / 6:49 pm

    You have had a big 2 years! I have loved reading about your adventures and can’t wait to see where you and Frankie go from here! A good barn family makes all the difference 🙂


    • hellomylivia 09/26/2016 / 1:42 pm

      I can’t wait to share! Especially now that Frankie’s in the picture, we’ve got so many adventures to explore!


  4. KateRose 09/24/2016 / 8:22 pm

    Wow! So awesome that you found a great barn family 🙂 Lots of excitement in those 2 years for sure!


  5. L. Williams 09/25/2016 / 9:55 am

    What a great thing to celebrate! I can only hope one of my many email exchanges going on right now turns out to be as awesome as yours!


  6. Allison Stitzinger 09/26/2016 / 7:52 am

    Happy Barniversary! You have had such a whirlwind, amazing 2 years and even more goodness is in store with Frankie! 😀


    • hellomylivia 09/26/2016 / 1:43 pm

      A whirlwind for sure, and it’s just gonna keep going 🙂


  7. Stacie Seidman 09/26/2016 / 10:09 am

    Isn’t it crazy how the smallest step can lead to the biggest life changes! So glad you sent that email and that you and Frankie have found each other. I love following your adventure and can’t wait to see where it goes next!


  8. carey 09/26/2016 / 11:23 am

    What an awesome couple of years! Cheers to many more!


  9. Micaylah 09/27/2016 / 9:45 am

    This was so happy and positive to read! I don’t think a lot of people get to have such a positive re-introduction back into horses and its fantastic you have such a great one to share


    • hellomylivia 09/27/2016 / 9:53 am

      I’m SO super lucky, the stars definitely aligned for me ❤


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