2019 – First Thoughts

Typically, this would be a goals post, but goals are SO 2018. Right?

Joking aside, I was pretty torn about goals this year. I know a lot of people have forgone them this year, while others have set up broader or process-based goals. The truth is that even the first 8 days of January haven’t gone how I expected, so I don’t really feel like I am on steady enough ground to set any kind of goals…

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So instead, I am going to talk about the things I want to focus on this year.

Fitness – This started in 2018 and has been a great addition to my regular routine. I am not setting a goal of “x” number of times in the gym each week. Instead, I just want to keep an emphasis on moving and listening to my body.

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Blogging – I really LIKE blogging. I really want to get BETTER at blogging, AND AECs are in KY this year, so I even have a chance to see some of you. Blogging shall continue… but I would like to get some new media for you all.

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Friendships – 2018 was a weird year for me.  It marked 2 years of living in KY, and I have definitely felt the loss of some of my East Coast friends. I want to say yes to more things with my friends here in KY.

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Enjoying May – I want to ride and have fun with my horse. I want to try new things and be in the moment. I want to let the bad rides go easier and hold onto the good ones a bit longer. Heavy competing still won’t be in the budget this year, but hopefully, we can find some fun things to do within our budget.

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Continue Improving our House – We have some projects that need finishing touches, and a lot of painting still to do. However, it has been a labor of love, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

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And… that’s it. It’s short and sweet and without a lot of frills. I know a lot of you have already set your goals this year, so most of you are a whole week ahead of me already! Only 51 more to do. 🙂

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2018 Goal Review

Alright – it’s already the 2nd of January, but I realized that combining this with my 2019 goals would be a MASSIVE post. Apparently, I always write this post on the 2nd of January because… reasons. Check out the original 2018 post here, if you missed it (or have forgotten). And my update mid-year.

Riding Goals

Do 1 Clinic: Nope. Didn’t happen. I ended up moving barns and changing trainers mid-year, and money was too tight to drop $$$ on the 4* clinician that did come across my path. I barely scraped by enough to do some horse trials and lessons.

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Do 2 Horse Trials: Yay! We did two and they were both GREAT successes that showed improvement. Given the changes between the horse trials (new trainer, barn, no time for XC schooling), we stayed at Starter, but that is ok with me.

May Horse Trial

Dressage       Show Jumping      Cross Country

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August Horse Trial

Dressage       Show Jumping     Cross Country

Get in shape: This was kind of a “Coming in at the End” kind of achievement, but I am giving myself a passing grade on this. I joined the local Y in mid-November with a barn buddy and, other than the week around holidays, have been going 2 – 3 days a week. Since starting towards a healthier lifestyle in August, I have lost nearly 20 lbs and am already back on the bandwagon after the holidays. Our Y also added a bunch of new classes in 2019, and I am excited to give them a try. I can’t wait to see how this winter of work affects my riding in the Spring!

Ride 4 – 5 Days a Week: Adding the gym to my routine meant something had to give, and I decided to half lease May out. While I am not riding 4 -5 days a week, May does now get ridden 4 – 5 days a week. A big part of this goal was around MAY’S fitness, so I am saying ACHIEVED…. even if through new methods.

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Plan Out My Rides: EPIC FAIL. I would love to blame this on having a half leaser, but the truth is, this died almost as soon as it started. It put too much pressure on both of us to have “successful” rides on certain days.

Get Comfortable Over 3′ Fences: EPIC FAIL. I wish I could say I was comfortable over BN sized fences, but they still look big to me right now.

Other Goals

Blog 2 Times Week: SMASHING SUCCESS. This blog got a lot more consistent in 2018, and I look forward to continuing it into 2019.

2018 Post Calendar

Clean Up My Email Inbox: Need to get back at this.

Start Meditating Again: Fail. My new office environment does not include an actual office, so closing the door for 5 min on my lunch break isn’t an option. I try to be just more mindful.

Do One Thing Every Month That’s Outside My Comfort Zone:

  1. January – Went to St. Lucia and did a tour of the island on a speed boat. Super Fun.
  2. February – Dove into a new job taking on responsibilities beyond my wildest nightmares.
  3. March -Took some serious steps into managing May’s health and well being. I tuned out the opinions of others and listened to my gut… which ended up with the vet agreeing May needed injections and a new dentist finding a very old problem.
  4. April – Opened up a lot more on the blog about my mistakes and regrets.
  5. May – Attended a horse trial at a new venue with minimal outside help.
  6. June – Moved barns.
  7. July –  Launched the May as Well Event Facebook page. It is something I had wanted to do for a long time, but I hesitated because I was afraid how others would take it. So far – all positive from anyone who matters.
  8. August – First horse trial with new barn. Fitting into an established team’s routine as a new member is always a steep learning curve.
  9. September – First XC Jump Judging experience. Something I always wanted to do, but never put myself out there to do.
  10. October – Opened up May to a half leaser, and found a great one! It was a big leap of faith for me to turn the reins over to someone else, but it’s been a great experience so far. Can’t wait to play owner at shows this summer.
  11. November – Joined a gym. Started taking classes.
  12. December – Started laying the ground work for a side hustle. Needs more time and attention than I have had to really get it moving forward, but I am really excited with the possibilities.

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The thing that really didn’t happen:

Moving May As Well Event to its own domain… I just need to set aside the time to get this done. Preferably in January.

Off Season – Cross Training

I have a lesson tonight that I am pretty excited about, but I figured I would set the stage with you all with an update of things I am doing outside the barn. Exactly a month ago yesterday, my friend and I joined our local YMCA. And yup – that’s the pic of it above. It is small, clean, and rivals Disney World as one of the friendliest places on Earth. 

Original plan? Take a couple of classes and stay fit and motivated through, what seems to have decided to be a ridiculously cold and unlivable, winter. Reality? Ummm yesterday marked our tenth visit, and that includes me basically taking the week of Thanksgiving off to be with family. 

This is my first experience with really taking classes, and it has been an incredible mix of completely intimating, a bit embarrassing, but totally fun.

Intimidation? When the entire class is there before you get there, and they have 6 pieces of equipment laid out in front of them in some kind of pattern that, even at the end of class, I am not sure I fully comprehended. Oh, and the super pregnant lady who was DEFINITELY lifting twice the weight I was able to, and she looked bored. 

Embarrassment? When the kettleball teacher spent half the class trying to keep me from shrugging my shoulder up past my ear on every lift. Even thinking about it makes my shoulder shrug. 

Fun? Fun was this weekend and CRUSHING my goal. The goal? Do 10 miles in the hour long spin class on Saturday morning. Result? Oh I did 10 miles. In fact, I did 11.4 miles. I also improved my average watts from the mid-40s to 60. I felt like I could push myself and really be a part of the class. 

Left? Second class ever. Right? Saturday. 

The best part? I really think all this cross training is going to have a seriously positive impact on my riding… once mother nature stops torturing us. What about you? Are you doing any cross training or trying something new in the off season?

End of the Season

This weekend marked the end of the eventing season in Kentucky. There’s one last recognized event in Tennessee this weekend, but obviously, May and I won’t be going. Once again, I am left with the feeling that we let another season go down the drain, but in the spirit of being thankful and positive, I figured I would list out all the things we DID accomplish this year.

Got Back in the Show Ring

2017 was the year of no shows for us, so the fact that we managed to make it to two shows this year, is a massive improvement. Part of me wishes we had made the jump to tackle BN at our second event, but the majority of me feels accomplished in the fact that we really seemed to slay some demons in the show jumping ring.

Found Our Barn Family

Some of them read this blog so… Hi! Moving to a new barn has meant a better routine for May and I (when she isn’t escaping), and easier access to the level of shows that I am interested in at the moment. However, more than that, it has meant new friends, a trainer whose program is really working for us, and very few days or nights at the barn where I am completely alone. It’s added back a part of riding that I hadn’t realized I was really missing – the social part.

Found May a Second Rider

This was one of those odd times where timing, circumstances, and luck all kind of came together. I guess it follows along with the vein of how I got May. I put what I wanted out into the universe and… the universe delivered. Life is weird that way sometimes.

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Our first full HT was 3 years ago!

However, now is a great time to refocus on the off season.

Get Fit

I guess this is a goal for both May and me. Having a second rider means May is being worked 4 – 5 days a week right now, which is pretty much ideal. As for me, I committed to working out with a friend of mine. First spin class is on the schedule for tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Get Lessons

Budget has been diverted to paying for things for the house in hopes of getting everything set before we have a full house for Thanksgiving (7 adults and 2 kids!). I will probably end up posting pics at some point. Either way, the extra income from a half leaser is going to, at least, somewhat, be diverted towards lessons.

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Make a Plan

Am I the only one already looking at the schedule for 2019? Budget will really drive our path next year, but I would love to do a recognized event at KHP at BN. Hopefully, that isn’t too much to ask for!

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Plan should include more of this!

Anyone else having all the feels at the end of another eventing season?

Goals Wrap Up & Cuteness

After a week of mostly lazy riding and reflecting on our horse trial, I think I have gotten enough distance from ER MAH GAWD I LOOOOVE my PONY to actually review the goals I had set ahead of time. (Honestly though, OMG I LOVE HER.)

Dressage Goal: Score below a 35

Done! We scored a 29, which is higher then the 24.2 we got at our last horse trail. Again though, that was from a soft judge, in an outdoor arena, and for a test we had done a few times before. I am super happy about the 29, and the consistent 7s & 7.5s in the collectives.

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Show Jumping Goal: Ride Forward!

Is anyone surprised that riding forward led to a clear round? Anyone? How about any of my current and past trainers that have been telling me to do this for YEARS? Nope. Didn’t think so. We definitely had some bobbles and less-than-ideal distances, but since we were riding forward, May was easily able to sort through things.

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Cross Country Goal: School the Water

The water was way more spooky then I was expecting. Half in the shade, deeper than expected, a bit of algae, and surrounded by other jumps that made it feel a bit claustrophobic. I kept my leg on, and we went into it without incurring penalties. May got lots of pats and love (and then tried to walk into the drain, and I had to hustle her away from it).

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Overall Goals:

  • No Negative Self Talk: SUCCESS. Created a plan for the water and SJ with my trainer and executed without hesitation.
  • Utilize visualization: I probably rode through the SJ course in my mind about 5 times. Did it go exactly as well as my visualized course? Nope. But it definitely helped me stay focused on what mattered (Balance, pace, line instead of the perfect distance)
  • Stay Positive: This was easy because each phase went really well. It was a long day, but an unbelievably fun one.

And the Cuteness

One of the girl’s from my barn was featured in Eventing Nation for her adorable helmet cam footage. Before her round, I helped her put on her new galloping boots. During her round, you can hear the whole team cheering her on. Mind you, her round went at nearly 4PM, after we had all been at the show since about 8AM. Did that matter for the riders, parents, and people that came to help? Nope, and that is part of what makes eventing so much fun.

I thought May’s ears were too cute to handle, but this takes it to a whole other level.

The Video

Eventing Nation Article

Is there anything better then a girl and her pony?

Goals Update

It is now August… so 7 months into the year instead of 6. Since I was already late with this one, I figured I would throw it in as a “bonus” this week. Any time is still a good time for a goals update! I wrote down 6 riding goals in January, and 4 “other” goals. Read the original post here. Let’s see how I am doing!

Red = Not Happening, Blue = In Progress, Green = Achieved

Riding Goals:

  1. Do One Clinic – Hah…. this got wiped off my calendar when I changed trainers. I really want to be comfortable and really “in a program” before I even think about introducing other trainers.

    Throwing in some screenshots from the cambox. I just can’t get over those cute little yellow ears before every jump! Full Videos at the bottom for you.
  2. Do Two Horse Trails – Well, we got one done in May, and I have two more that I have put on the calendar for the end of the season. Giving this one a Blue!
  3. Get In Shape – Actually, I have been making strides here. Getting up at 5AM a few times a week has really allowed me to get some treadmill time in. Is it where I want to be? Nope, but it is progress.
  4. Ride 4 – 5 Times a Week – I would say that I have had more 4 day a week rides than 3 day a week. 5 rarely ever happens since my real-life schedule has been crazy with house stuff, social stuff, and work stuff. (not to mention things like Jury Duty)img_7172
  5. Plan Out My Rides – This one is a Big. Fat. Fail. It is definitely something I need to get back to doing better, including getting on a real schedule with my trainer. Time and money have both been limiting factors for lessons, but there is no reason I can’t get back to planning stuff. August calendar, Here I Come!
  6. Get Comfortable over 3′ Fences – This one is getting a big fat fail mark too. Three jumping lessons since the beginning of the year hasn’t been enough to get me up to BN height comfortably. However, there is a lot more of the year to do, and I have definitely been getting more lessons recently, which have pushed my comfort level up a couple of holes.

Non Riding Goals:

  1. Blog Two Times A Week – This one is my first green. Other than planned vacations, I have been REALLY good about blogging constantly. How good you ask? See this comparison of last year to this year. (Dark blue dots are posts)Blogs.JPG
  2. Clean Up My Email Inbox – Constant Struggle. Still Trying.
  3. Start Meditating Again – Big fail here, and it likely won’t happen. Working out at 5AM has really replaced this. I also no longer work in a place where I have an office, so closing the door for 5 minutes each day is literally not an option.
  4. Do One Thing Every Month That’s Outside My Comfort Zone I had literally forgotten about this one. Some of these aren’t overly impressive, but I feel like they are steps in the right direction for me. Let’s see how I did:
    1. January – Went to St. Lucia and did a tour of the island on a speed boat. Super Fun.
    2. February – Dove into a new job taking on responsibilities beyond my wildest nightmares.
    3. March -Took some serious steps into managing May’s health and well being. I tuned out the opinions of others and listened to my gut… which ended up with the vet agreeing May needed injections and a new dentist finding a very old problem.
    4. April – Opened up a lot more on the blog about my mistakes and regrets.
    5. May – Attended a horse trial at a new venue with minimal outside help.
    6. June – Moved barns.
    7. July –  Launched the May as Well Event Facebook page. It is something I had wanted to do for a long time, but I hesitated because I was afraid how others would take it. So far – all positive from anyone who matters.

So what is on the list for the rest of the year?

  1. Do Two Horse Trials – I have 2 more on the calendar, but if we only get to do one more, I will be happy.img_0051
  2. Get in Shape – Forever and Always
  3. Ride 4 – 5 Times a Week – This should still be the goal, even if I am not always successful. Failing is ok. Not Trying isn’t.
  4. Plan Out My Rides – My rides are a lot more productive if I have some idea of what I want to do before I get on.
  5. Get Comfortable at 3′ – I am not giving up on this one. May is capable. I just need more consistency and fitness.
  6. Blog 2x A Week – I am enjoying the schedule. I hope you are too!
  7. Clean Up my Email Inbox – Forever and Always
  8. Do One Thing a Month That’s Outside my Comfort Zone – Growth is uncomfortable. Get used to it.
  9. Move May As Well Event to it’s own domain

So What’s the Plan?

I think I mentioned that, during my first ride on May at the new barn, NT asked me what the plan was with May this year. My original response was that I needed lessons, which is 100% true, and I have been able to take both a Dressage and a Jumping lesson within the first couple weeks since moving in. As a result, I find myself looking at the calendar and seriously considering what it is I want to do.

There are a ton of options, including just jumper shows every Wednesday night during July and August, schooling horse trials at least once a month, and maybe even some opportunities to do something fun with the local hunt club, like a hunter pace or open cubbing. The dream schedule?

  • Register as a member of the local mini-trail series and seriously campaign in the rest of them at BN.
  • See if the local fox hunt is something I want to actively get involved in.
  • Put May in full training with NT for the week I am gone for a week in July.
  • Do the 1 recognized event that is near us in September.
  • Participate in the winter Snowbird Dressage series (that starts in November). I am not a DQ, but I could totally play one on TV.

However, the truth of the matter is that, while May and I may be ready and able to do ALL the things, each of these things costs money. (off topic – got the cambox working for my Dressage lesson. Quality is better on my computer than it showed up on instagram, and I need to work on some of it, but it is still SO COOL)

Some unexpected life expenses means that pretty much everything outside of lessons is on hold for the near future. In the meantime, I am working on a cost analysis for each event and looking at my stack of horse goods to evaluate if there is anything worth selling. (honestly, I really don’t think there is, as I am pretty frugal about only investing in pieces that I will use and keep for a long time.) I am even debating doing lessons every other week and putting aside the extra cash for an event or two in the fall; however, this might just put us farther behind than we already are.

I just keep reminding myself that May is 12 (or 9 or 15… somewhere in there) and in good health. There is no real reason why she couldn’t keep doing BN for the next several years with proper maintenance, so I am hoarding my pennies, thinking up ideas for a side hustle, and debating just selling a kidney. This will be our second year mostly sitting it out, so it’s tough to be patient. What about you? How do you juggle the various horse-related expenses with real life expenses?

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2018 Goals

I (very) briefly considered writing up a 2017 in review for you all, but I realized it would’ve gone something like this: I have no trainer, I have a trainer for 2 lessons, I have no jumping saddle, we did some lateral work, I took May’s shoes off, May’s eye is puffy, I put May’s shoes back on, we did more lateral stuff, I found a saddle. All true, all part of the process, none interesting. SO! I figured I would just jump into 2018 with some goals!

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Riding Goals

  1. Do 1 Clinic: my barn hosts a few clinics with great riders and trainers throughout the spring and summer. All I really have to do is get in shape and sign up!
  2. Do 2 Horse Trials: Whether these are recognized or schooling shows is pretty irrelevant to me. Louisville has a wonderful unrated horse trial circuit, but my barn mostly does recognized events. (as a lot of people are going at least Training level and these tend to top out around Training). Also, if I was going Training, I would probably care if my horse had a real record on USEA. The level also doesn’t really matter to me. I would like at least one to be at BN, but if we decide to start out doing on starter, I wouldn’t be heartbroken.

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  1. Get in shape: Maybe this should be the number one goal. I’ve already done a pretty good job over the last month of going to the gym or incorporating workouts at home. Although some overindulging over the holidays means that I am not really seeing any results! Oh well, it still feels good to keep active. May, however, has been on a serious vacation since Christmas. With holiday chaos and now temps that are staying below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, she is not in any kind of work. She is turned out about 16 hours a day, and I have been going to see her to give her a grooming and check on her; however, that’s the true extent of her workload right now. However, the sun now goes down past 5:30 at night, so as soon as it warms up a touch, I can start riding at night again. (I am also starting a new job with a shorter commute and more flexible hours, so that should help too!)
  2. Ride 4 – 5 Days a Week: This one is on hold a bit until it warms up, but it is something I really want to commit to in the new year. It isn’t fair to ask May to step up her workload if we aren’t working regularly. 4 – 5 days is usually enough to get her in shape without overloading her and making work less fun.
  3. Plan Out My Rides: I am always envious of those people with calendars on their walls of what “day” it is for their horse. Jump? Dressage? Conditioning? Light Hack? They know before they even get to the barn. I have decided to become one of those people. Starting in February, you all will start seeing my monthly riding calendar at the beginning of each month and a summary of how things went the previous month. It should be a great way to track progress and find a program that works for us.
  4. Get Comfortable Over 3′ Courses: Pretty self explanatory. We were pretty much there in the early summer of 2016, but really haven’t jumped much since then.

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Other Goals

  1. Blog 2 Times a Week: I have been a terrible blogger. I would like to be a better blogger. This at least sets guidelines. 🙂
  2. Clean Up my Email InboxSeriously, I get HUNDREDS of emails a day from companies. I need to figure out who I actually buy from and unsubscribe from everything else.
  3. Start Meditating Again: I did this for a couple of months in 2016, and it was really beneficial. I need to start it up again.
  4. Do One Thing Every Month That is Outside my Comfort Zone

So that’s 10 things. They should be totally doable, especially since some of them are really a Feb – Dec type of deal. 😉 Are you starting 2018 with any goals in mind, or are you having more of a “I’ll just wing it” year like I did last year?