Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Goal Review


✔ Stay healthy and happy physically and mentally
✔ Continue to see steady improvement and be able to put this whole suspensory ordeal in the rear-view mirror this year
✔ At the proper time, build back strength and fitness (through hiking and dressage that will be intensely focused at the walk for a few months)
✔ Achieve a more acute understanding of the aids and get her to accept contact
Teach her lateral movements under saddle
✔ Build her body back in a more balanced fashion that it was preceding her injury
✔ Enjoy many slow miles of trails (whereby "slow" is mostly walking and meandering and "many" is any amount >20 miles for the year)

I so often get stuck in a rabbit hole of thinking everything is dreadful with this little mare. The reality though is that we had a really great year. It was a slow year with minimal accomplishments compared to years past, but her health is good, her suspensory looks great, and her trust in our relationship is building.

We've begun working on dressage and she seems to like the bit she's working with (double-jointed loose ring), which is big for Q because she much prefers her hackamore. Even though her fitness is still subpar compared to what I'm accustomed to, she's much more balanced than she has been in a few years. Posting to both diagonals feels even and I find myself posting along to her left diagonal (she prefers her right and used to fuss more when I posted the weaker diagonal) without knowing it, which is something that never happened before!

She's moving off my leg in the beginnings of lateral movement, but we aren't quite there yet! Still, progress is progress, and I'll take it.


✔ Stay healthy and happy physically and mentally
✔ Build and develop our prowess at dressage and jumping
✔ Travel and compete in at least two shows
✘ Ride in at least two clinics with Stephen
✘ Take at least two lessons with a jumping trainer
✔ Spend some time perfecting our gallop - something I've never focused on before


What a huge year for the grey guy putting a dressage schooling show and two schooling HTs under our belts. We went out into a new and admittedly scary world of competition this year and Grif blew me away. I guess I kind of blew my own expectations for myself out of the water, too. The sky is seriously the limit with this horse - he has SO much try.

We didn't even try to make it to ride in a clinic of any kind this year and despite best efforts to go to jumping lessons, the communication with my trainer of choice fell through after a few emails. C'est la vie for busy people. I'm already making plans to resolve this for the new year and I hope it will be easier now that I have my own truck and trailer and live an hour closer to where I need to go!


✔ Stay healthy and happy physically and mentally
✔ Continue to build fitness with the goal of having a sleek, muscular athlete who doesn't look his age
✔ Ride > 200 miles on him for the year
✔ Compete in at least one LD 


Oh, Stan. The very best QH there ever was. I had an amazing year with this guy. We completed the LD at RBTR in 13th place thanks to a miraculously abnormal cool August day. Without a doubt, I know this horse could have success at LDs and 50s in the future if they are spring and fall rides. If I can get him into shape for them, I hope to pursue a 50 or two with him before his true golden years.

We polished off the year with over 265 miles together, though the number is likely closer to 365 thanks to Stan's adventure in September that I have yet to share on the blog (I'm waiting on the meager media I was promised because the post will be wasted without media). What a good horse, this one. I love him to death.


✔ Stay healthy and happy physically and mentally
✔ Continue to build strength
✔ Maintain a healthy weight and diet
✔ Keep him comfortable on whatever combination of supplements help him the most


Kenai has had a great year. He's still moving great and seems really happy. I'm switching up his food again (began this morning) to see if I can find a better combo of things to help not only his joints but his ailing coat, as well. His alopecia has gotten so much worse this year and it breaks my heart to see him looking so ragged. However, he's happy and has no care in the world about his balding butt, tail, neck, and abdomen and his happiness and freedom of movement is what matters the most. We're working with the vet to see if there is anything else we can do for his alopecia, so we'll see what 2018 brings in that department. My only goal for my best guy is to keep him moving without pain and keep enjoying all the hiking and skiing adventures we can!


✔ Stay healthy and happy physically and mentally
✔ Lead climb above a 5.8
Conquer at least one trail on Canaan Mountain without hike-a-biking
✘ Bike North Fork Mountain again faster than before
✔ Build a stronger body
✘ Advance my mandolin skill
✔ Build my photography and editing prowess as well as my small photography side business


Mountain biking  and music took a very firm back seat this year due to my job getting absolutely crazy and all-consuming during the summer months. While I did bike a trail on Canaan Mountain without hike-a-biking, it was a trail on the lower apron of the mountain that had nary a rock compared to the rest of the mountain's trails. This goal will have to move forward into 2018.

However, what I lacked in biking I more than made up for with rock climbing this summer before I injured my rotator cuff (womp womp womp). I led a few 5.9s for the first time in my life, and one of them in particular was no gimme! I'm still proud of that lead and the strength I built in my body leading up to it. I was completing 100+ assisted pull-ups 2-3 days a week as part of my training and was nearing my unassisted pull-up record that I haven't touched since college of 12+; pull-ups of any kind indicate to me how strong my climbing is as I can only excel at them when I'm climbing a lot.

The other big success for me this year was launching my photography website and side business. I've had quite a bit of success and even have a few bookings for 2018 already. I'm not looking to dive full force into it because of my other life's passions, but what I have accomplished is right where I wanted to be and I'm really enjoying myself.

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Overall, it's been a great and successful year. 2018 looks really promising and very exciting. I'm eager to see what is in store!


  1. What a year!! Sounds like you were super busy, you covered a lot of ground!

    1. In hindsight, I really did accomplish so much more than I dreamed possible.

  2. I think I am in love with Griffin! It was so fun reading about his xc debut. What a great (and busy!) year for you!

  3. You had an amazing year. I have a warm place in my heart for Q....

  4. You've have an awesome year! Can't wait to see what 2018 brings in for you! (Also, insanely jealous of the ability to do a pull-up. My upper body strength has always been pathetic, so would happily take any tips/tricks.)

    1. Just start with assisted! Or go to a climbing gym and boulder around a few days a week. I was climbing for months before I tried to do a pull-up in college. I was totally floored when I could because every other time in my life it was all I could do to hold a 90° arm hang!

  5. Such a great year. It's good to see Q back in action.

    1. It's so wonderful to have her back in action!

  6. obvi i'm more biased to being so utterly excited about the goals i watched you check off in person - but i've said it before and i'll say it again: your ability to strike off on your own and make things happen despite not having more traditional resources and support structures (like, uh, lessons!) is just so impressive and inspiring! and your happy healthy and oh-so-capable horses are a testament to that! congrats on a huge year and looking forward to 2018!

    1. Aw, thank you <3 Things seem impossible at times, but somehow I'm making them work. Couldn't have gotten where we did this year without your guidance and support =)

  7. Congrats!! Sounds like an excellent year.

  8. bad ass extraordinaire! Hope to meet you this year!! I will get down to one of your events sometime! I have loved getting to know you and your critters through the blog and instagram!!

    1. Yes! I hope we can meet, too! I will be a lot of fun, I'm certain. =)

  9. What a fun-filled year!! You nailed a lot of those goals - way to go.