Wow. It’s been a totally huge year! Let’s take a look back:
January: Was still half-leasing Addy and lessoning with her. This was a quiet month as I saved up for Ocala.
February: Ocala!!!!! Total game-changer for me. I took Poppy in the 0.80m-0.90m jumpers and the 3′ Adult Eq, and then took Victoriosa to an 11th place in the 0.95m jumper classic (and a 2nd place in our 0.90m class that morning). It was all horses, all day, all week. This was my eye-opener that WOW this is what I want to be doing. A week after returning from Ocala, I told Trainer to start the horse search.
March: Last show with Addy– we did the 3′ jumpers and she was a powerhouse. It was bittersweet to go out on such a good note, but then we got to try some fun horses. We had a failed vetting on a cute chestnut, tried a SUPER fancy baby TB, and then found our unicorn. Frankie joined the family on the last day of March!
April: The new horse honeymoon! We lessoned, we hacked, we went on trail rides, we got to know each other. I marveled (totally still marveling BTW) at my good fortune in finding this amazing beast. I also drained my bank account equipping said horse.
May: We decided to send our entry in for our first show in June, opting out of a “get-to-know-you” show. It was all in at our new division height of 1.0m. We spent our time learning how to navigate some bigger fences to prepare. We also got my saddle re-paneled to fit Frankie better, so we could have a saddle that made us both happy.
June: We headed to our first show together at Loudoun Benefit (which was so major, we had a Part 1 and a Part 2). There were a lot of nerves on my part that ended up being totally unwarranted- Frankie jumped around at his first show like he had been doing it for 10 years. We hit the ground running at 1.0m and it started out a little sticky, but every round got better and by the end we were confidently navigating the giant ring.
July: The dog days of summer. We got creative with our ride times to beat the heat, but Frankie maintained a great work ethic as I started asking for more refined flatwork. We found out more about Frankie’s past and how he turned into such an excellent beast.
August: We headed to our second show at HITS Culpeper to continue improving in the Adult Lows. We finally made it to a jumpoff and earned our first ribbons! Frankie continued to be a horse show star and we even got to play in the GP ring.
September: Frankie went into full training while I was on vacation, and we upped the ante with our rides. Proof that all our hard work paid off: we went to our third show at HITS Culpeper and made it to every. Single. Jumpoff. We even wrapped up our season by bringing home a 3rd in our classic! There were happy tears.
October: We made the switch to private lessons. A full hour of scrutiny every week, and we got to really play with some difficult exercises. Frankie rose to the occasion and turned his motor up a bit. We also discovered that Frankie is totally on board with the whole Halloween thing.
November: A quiet month. Winter was supposed to be show-hiatus time, so we focused on maintaining muscle and improving our adjustability. There was some schedule upheaval due to a crazy work project and Manfriend moving to join the police academy, but Frankie stayed consistently ready to work. My dad came to visit and had a heart attack seeing how tall Frankie is, but admitted that Frankie was a very trustworthy partner.
December: Lots of lateral work as the weather got colder. We were supposed to make our big move up to the 1.10m division, but the show was cancelled due to icy weather. Instead, we had an awesome lesson where we tackled the elusive liverpool and jacked the jumps up.
Overall, this has been a year of HUGE growth, and I don’t just mean in terms of moving up in height. Frankie is a totally different horse than we brought home- he’s still my steady Eddie, but now he’s so much fitter and better equipped to handle the demands of the jumper ring. He can turn tighter, adjust his stride so much more, handle a variety of distances with ease, use his body over the jumps better, rock his weight back off his forehand more consistently, perform a much wider array of lateral movements, and is generally a more broke, schooled horse. We knew he would be a great horse when we bought him (duh, it’s why we bought him), but I had no idea I would have the pleasure of sitting on such an incredible animal! My trainers have been AMAZING with him and I can’t thank them enough for putting in the time to teach and guide us.
It’s been a hell of a year, and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for the Frankfurter and me.