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!!

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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.