2018 Highlights

I’ve enjoyed doing this in the past, so I’m going to keep up the tradition of highlighting some of my favorite posts over the last year.

January: We entered bootcamp mode to prep for WEC, and we worked our butts off getting into shape. We talked about how his care has changed as the fences have gone up and had our first show of the season.

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Francis was a star despite the mud!

February: I had a meltdown about pants and surprised approximately no one by talking about the importance of flatwork. Then we spent most of the rest of the month at WEC 8 and then WEC 9!

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We won our first blue ribbon as a team here- and it was a speed class!

March: I gave my official review of the WEC shows and we talked about how we manage our pony finances. I was able to share some of our amazing engagement photos just before Francis and I celebrated two years of partnership.

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It was freezing but it was worth it. PC- Samantha Robshaw Photography

April: We got the vet out and realized that Frankie needed some better support from us. I talked about what I didn’t know I didn’t know, and shuffled my work schedule to accommodate private lessons.

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We wore the hat of knowledge to learn what he needed

May: We got to hang out and play with Austen and Liz (and the pups)! Then we headed to Blue Rock where Frankie rocked his first 1.20m with my trainer, and I gushed about how cool he is. Obviously.

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Liz took this picture and I’m still crying about it to this day

June: I was thrilled with Frankie at our annual Upperville outing (and our best round was even on the live stream!) My favorite pic of all time arrived, and I got on my soapbox about the importance of routine and consistency.

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Frankie was absurdly fantastic PC- K. Borden

July: I talked about my emotionally tough but rewarding trip to Lake Placid, and then discussed the cost of showing and the cost of improving. In the midst of my move to a new apartment with my then-fiance, Frankie went for a spin as a pleasure pony and I mused on what success looks like to me.

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Just 2 weeks after doing the 1.15m at Lake Placid, he bopped around the pleasure division with my friend

August: things quieted down on the horse front around here as wedding planning ramped up. Frankie took a junior around all three rings because he is adorable, I got myself a new helmet FINALLY, I adjusted to the lack of training structure, and we had fun talking about what we’d buy with a zillion dollars.

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Showing us all just how willing he is to play any game

September: it was the season of blog hops, as we talked about how Frankie has changed since I got him and we went “Behind the Stall Door.” Frankie continued to show up to work– only when I asked him to- and I reminded myself to give myself some grace during the light season.

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Literally the only picture I have of him during this month. It was quiet.

October: I was extra grateful for how broke my horse is these days, but felt the effects of not getting enough barn time. We discussed jump height and what counts as “big,” and then I started considering what I wanted to do with Francis in 2019.

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He requested that we do not continue these shenanigans into 2019.

November: wedding prep was in final countdown mode, so things were very chill at the barn. Amanda gave us 25 interesting questions to answer, and I started considering using a gas mask around my smelly horse. We went for the world’s chillest XC session, and started planning on legging back up post-wedding.

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WOAH THERE CALM DOWN EASY WILD STALLION

December: I got a new name and Frankie got a dad! It was the best wedding I could dream of, but I was so thrilled to get back and play with my ginger-snooted creature. I talked about the way we’ve tackled new skills, gave you a how-to guide on riding the Beast, and finally reviewed the goals we set in the beginning of the year.

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The love of my life ❤

This year I logged more miles in the car to get to horse shows than ever before, I got to meet and spend time with some amazing people, and best of all- I got to marry the funniest, kindest, best man I’ve ever known. 2018 will always be a year to remember.

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2017 In Review

January: I started off the year with a big realization about just how much I want to throw my whole heart into riding. Frankie and I continued to school some bigger (to us) jumps and made our official move up to the High Adult division!

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McDonogh, January 2017

February: I did an anniversary lookback on what Ocala meant for me as a rider. I rode (poorly) for a guest trainer, we talked about who gets to ride my horse, and I took a moment to look back and appreciate some of the progress I’ve made over the years.

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Daydreaming about Ocala, February 2016

March: I talked about what I look for in a trainer and admitted that I am a special needs client. Manfriend and I celebrated an anniversary. Work was pretty busy so this was a quiet month on the blog, but Frankie continued to be a constant.

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Frankie AND Manfriend

April: I continued working to find a balance between real life and the barn. We celebrated one year of Francis being part of the family! We made it to our first big show of the season at Culpeper where Francis won his first 1.15m and carted me around the Highs. We marveled at what a long way he’s come.

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You will never be able to escape from this photo, sorrynotsorry

May: I talked about how the bigger jumps forced me to reevaluate my position. Frankie got his SI injected and we confirmed our qualification for the USHJA Regional Jumper finals. I spent some time in a dress.

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Learning how to land off the jumps

June: I made some big changes with a new job and a new apartment. We went to Upperville and Frankie showed us just how professional he could be- including taking us to the jumpoff in my first 1.15m track.

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Best Pony Ever made the 1.15m look like child’s play

July: I stirred the pot a bit by defending the use of grooming services at shows. We started thinking about what the future might hold for us, but also kept our focus shorter-term by building a fitness plan. We looked at how Frankie developed his jumping technique over time and I got to panic less about finances.

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July was hot. Frankie was not amused.

August: We got to lesson in the new outdoor ring and talked about sale ads. We then ended up going to USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships, which was the culmination of many months of hard work- and we even managed to pull off a team silver medal!

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This happened.

September: I told you about our fall plans to go Do All The Things, went over my show outfitting, and told you about my deal with Francis. We talked about what our perfect horse would be (Frankie, obvi) and Manfriend chimed in with a how-to guide to being a Horse Show Boyfriend.

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And we took unofficial Christmas card photos

October: We started out the month with a show in the equitation division (where Francis was a star but I was an idiot) and then we got out of the ring for some XC schooling. We talked about self care heading into the winter months and jumped some weird looking fences. Big surprise- we scored a last minute invite to Zone 3 Finals to round out our season, where Francis showed up and told us all how fast he could go.

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Goin’ fast and lookin’ cute

 

November: I got to share with you how proud I am of a certain barn rat. We talked about how we feel when we leave the ring– whether it was good or bad. I got some sun, got excited about a new USEF rule, and decided that Francis is always a star to me- even if we didn’t get a spot in a big clinic.

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I spent time in clothes other than breeches!

 

December: We reviewed our entire show season to celebrate the USEF New Year! I spent a lot of time travelling from place to place while Frankie relaxed, and we got to make a super fun decision around our next show year. Then I got the best surprise of my life when Manfriend asked if he could become my Horse Husband!

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Frankie’s getting a dad!

From beginning to end, 2017 was truly a year to remember. So much growth and learning, so many wonderful memories made, and so much love shared. Cheers to 2018 being even better!!

2016 in Review

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.