Monday, January 6, 2020

2020 Foresight | Goals & Intentions

I always reflect on the past year when I sit down to set my intentions and goals for the new year. After all, you've got to know where you've been to decide where you want to go.

Last year ended with the fruition of my lifelong goal of having my horses at home. Having accomplished such a big dream, I admittedly had a hard time coming up with goals for 2020.

As I sat and thought about what I wanted to manifest in 2020, one word kept coming to mind: balance. My life saw so much change in the last decade. I really feel like I've arrived firmly in a new chapter now: new home, marriage, horses, property, and [same] job in a new location. I'm so overwhelmingly grateful and happy with my life. I just want to find better balance between all of the things I love this year.

20191215 Snow Gallops_197
My happy place


- Work off my seat and legs with more precision
- Hone dressage and school training and first level movements
- Establish a very solid "forward" button so I don't have to nag
- Take some lessons
- Cement "long and low" stretching
- School over novice height jumps, both stadium and XC (probably at home)
+ Make it to a schooling show of some kind
+ Cutting

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_336
Floating over the snow drift yesterday afternoon

I've maintained the majority of 2019 goals for Grif to take forward into 2020. I think these goals will be more achievable this year. And I honestly need to check off each of these things before I can think about pushing beyond. With the exception of the two stretch goals, these are all process goals. There isn't a set "end" for most of them. They're all things that can be achieved in a multitude of ways and have various degrees of "success" embedded within. I love this because I have something to work toward and also haven't placed too tight of restrictions on myself to find that success - which leaves lots of room to have FUN along the way. And having fun is really important to me.

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_183
Done with my BS  as I tried to get him to play for photos

The biggest thing I hope to achieve through pursuing each of these items is a fun, fit version of Grif who is game and ready for any adventure I can throw him into. And that's all I really want from my equine partners. That said, I really hope that by piecing these things together, I have a really incredible athlete that I can take places and do really cool things with (i.e., competitions) in the nearish future.


- Work off my seat and legs with more precision
- Hone dressage and school training and first level movements
- Take some lessons
- Complete at least one endurance competition
+ Ride 400 non-competition miles this year
+ Go to a dressage schooling show

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_339
Eager to play with me

As with Grif, I've brought most of 2019's goals forward into 2020 for Miss Q. With one exception: I knocked "build confidence" off the list!

This little mare is the most confident, happy version of herself that I've witnessed since bringing her home in 2012. It is a wonderful and beautiful thing to behold. (I seriously cannot remember the last time she spooked!)

Q is a much more willing partner than she's ever been and it is SO COOL. I'm finding that everything people say about mares trying and working for you once you have mutual trust is so true. I never really doubted those words, it just wasn't my experience until very recently. Same with hearing about horses who want their own person. Bringing Q home has made me realize how much she is one of those horses. Now that I'm her sole caregiver and everything, she's so much more settled and happy.

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_189
Mist/clouds moved across the ridge yesterday afternoon making for interesting photo conditions

And so, I hope that this year we can push former boundaries now that our relationship has improved so much. What will this look like exactly? I don't know. But I do know that I'm going to enjoy every minute of this journey more than ever before.

Endurance is still on the table. But I'm less married to the idea of the sport than I've been in the past. After last year, I have decided that I simply have no space in my life for things that cause me undue anxiety. Increasingly, trot-outs at endurance ride checks/holds are often a source of undue anxiety because of Q's natural way of going. While, I'm not throwing in the towel yet, if the homework the Biltmore vets gave me last year doesn't change things during trot outs (i.e., I have to re-present Q at every check),  I won't lose sleep over giving up endurance as a competitive endeavor. There are too many other fun things to pursue!


- Rack up some trail miles and have a ton of fun
- Ride 150 miles this year
- Improve his caudal hoof and make him happier barefoot

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_342
Romping around having a good time

As I said last year, these goals are going to be the same for Stan forevermore. He's coming 19 in April and he owes me nothing. I just want to keep him happy, healthy, and having fun. He's always adored the trail, so lots of trail miles seem like just the ticket.

I did change the mileage to a set goal instead of a stretch goal for this year. Stan did 91 miles in 2019 without me even trying (he was only ridden 29 times). Now that he's home, it shouldn't be a stretch at all to put in another 60 miles annually. In fact, he'll probably be better for it. Gotta keep those old joints moving to keep them happy.

I also haven't written much about it on the blog yet, but I'm really hunkering down and focusing on getting Stan comfortable barefoot now that he's home. He has spent nearly his whole life in front shoes and parts of it in hind shoes. His hinds fare pretty well barefoot, but he has always struggled with his fronts. With the addition of California Trace Plus to his diet and getting him out of the mud and into the dry lot, his feet are improving lots. In fact, when Dave and I took him a little ways into the Sods a few weeks ago, he trod comfortably up a very rocky trail completely barefoot. He was slow and methodical with his movements and definitely won't be breaking any speed records, but he was COMFORTABLE. I was absolutely beside myself watching him. It's a damn good thing Q doesn't need my constant emotional support now because I was turned around ogling at Stan for most of that stretch of trail! And so, hopefully 2020 is the year that I get Stanley's hooves to a better place than they've ever been. Another thing that will only benefit him as he enters his senior years.


- Maintain mobility through lots of steady exercise
- Keep happy!

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_271
Last night's sunset dog walk

Kenai will be 10 this year. *sobs* 2019 was a bit of a pivotal year for changes in his former routine as he really slowed down. He's still more active than a lot of dogs his age, but he can't go-go-go as he once did. And that's totally fine! Or, it is now, haha. I did have a hard time embracing it at first. But seeing how much he thrived with less exercise and more sleep helped me come to terms with having an older dog who needs a change of pace.

I expect Kenai's 2020 is going to be a lot of 1-3 mile adventures, ample napping, car rides with me, and front porch sitting where he can survey his little kingdom. Whatever I can do to keep him happy and mobile is all that matters.


- Adventure often and continue socializing in many situations

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_344
I love the snow kicking up behind her

While I've tossed the therapy goal out the window due to the time commitment it takes to maintain the cert, I still want to make an effort to get this little dog out into different environments as much as possible. Kenai was fortunate that he entered my life when I was still in college, so he has run amok to countless places in a short period. It helped make him the dog he is today.

Taiga entered my life when it was much more settled - as I anticipate all future dogs will. It's not as easy to give her the experiences Kenai had. That said, hopefully we can get her out in the canoe a couple times this year and get her to the climbing crag lots more. Oh, and mountain biking! Both Dave and I hope to do more of that this year. Taiga is already pretty savvy around bikes, so this will only increase her aptitude. So long as she's getting lots of exercise, not much else matters. #huskylife


- Find balance through time management/scheduling
- Maintain good mental health and physical fitness
- Be financially cognizant and boost my savings
- Minimize my social media usage; become more purposeful when I do use it
- Organize and streamline my photography hustle
- Work towards being able to do a handstand
- Climb more
- Bike often

20191231 Roaring 20s NYE_27
Roaring 20s party for NYE

2019 was a huge year for me. I achieved a lifelong goal of bringing the horses home. Now, early in 2020, my office will be moving "home", too. That will bring more (super awesome!) change to my life and will (re)introduce extra hours to my life 4 days a week (I work four 10-hour days).

Bringing the horses home has already reintroduced some ease back into my time management. The lack of commute will introduce even more. And so, for the first time in my adult life, I hope to find a comfortable balance with my time management and not overbook every minute of my days.

As a part of tackling my anxiety to improve my mental health in 2019, I began scheduling "me-time" in my calendar. It helped keep me from booking things every. single. weekend. It also taught me that I am a much happier person when I have days to myself where I can choose to sit still reading a book, work on house/yard chores, or pursue things on my to-do list that fell by the wayside. I often still do things with friends on these days, but those plans are always spontaneous. Having unscheduled time for myself is critical for me, my health, and my relationships with others.

202001095 Horses and Dogs in Snow_196
Their new album cover

Another big, new thing I hope to do in 2020 is to limit my social media usage. In the latter half of 2019, I picked up a habit of scrolling mindlessly through social media in a way I hadn't really done before. It is absolutely ridiculous, and I'm going to cease the habit this year. I won't get rid of social media completely, I'm not that naive, but I do hope to train myself to use it much more purposefully this year and not waste so much mindless time in front of a screen. This includes working to plan and schedule posts for my photography side hustle so that I don't spend so much time spinning my wheels trying to come up with content.

Hopefully being more purposeful in this part of life will also lend itself to being more purposeful with putting money into my personal savings. I've done a crap job at that in recent years and would really like to resolve that now that so much of my life has settled. While I doubt I will travel too crazily this year, I really would like to start pursuing more travel in coming years and in order to do that, I need to boost my personal savings!

Psyched to finally have a few shots of me skiing, sad to learn that my form goes to pot when I concentrate on smiling for the camera lol!

And finally, with regard to my multiple active pursuits, I hope I can enjoy each of them more this year. This is a big part of my "balance" theme for the year.

When I last lived in the same town as my job and horses, making time for these multiple passions was much simpler. Regaining a short work commute this year should enable me to be able to ride more, bike more, and climb more. I don't have to drive far to do any of these things and am planning to take off early from work when the weather is good so that Dave and I can get a couple of pitches in at Seneca Rocks before the sun sets on week days when the crowds are nonexistent. On the same thread, I hope to make the weekly locals bike ride on Thursday evenings with a greater frequency. I also hope get out on my bike from the house more often now that a sweet new trail has been completed in the state park across the road from us.

And finally, I really want to fulfill my silly desire to be able to do a handstand this year. Since I was a child, I've dreamed of being able to do a handstand. So now I'm going to do my best to put a focused effort into working toward that goal. Because why not?

: : : : :

I am really excited for 2020 and cannot wait to see what fun things come my way this year, this decade. This new chapter holds so much promise. I'll do my best to continue documenting things on this blog as I've done for the past 10 (!) years. Thanks for being a part of it. ❤


  1. These all look great! I love hearing about how Q has changed since you brought her home. She's a good girl. Do you use something specific to track mileage? Or do you know your routes and add it that way?

    1. I have a Garmin GPS watch that I use and I also have used Endomondo on my phone for 5-6 years now. My Garmin syncs with Endomondo, so I really just use that app to track everything. I'm pretty good about turning it on every time I'm in the saddle. There are certainly times I forget/don't have my phone/something glitches, and in those times I just estimate distance based on knowledge of the route and my speed. Last year, per the app, I summed 446 miles for the year. But I know I missed out on some miles here and there so I'm sure I probably ended up with more like 455-460 miles for the year.

  2. Love the goals! They're certainly personal and universal (hello, less mindless social media scrolling). Here's to 2020 being a great year for you and all the critters!

  3. All great goals that I hope you accomplish this year.

  4. Love how your goals are specific enough to be measurable but leave room for LOADS of fun. And as always, love all the snow pics, absolutely GORGEOUS!!!

  5. Lovely post! ❤️❤️❤️

    You've inspired me to get official with what I'm aiming for this year. Everything you've listed sounds very well thought out and doable. Totally feel you on the mindlessly rifling through social media, or - any kind of digital time-wasting. As usual the pictures are gorgeous. Here's to fine-tuning our lives in the 2020s!!

  6. These all look awesome! Congrats on fulfilling your big dream :) <3

    All the ponies look so happy! And woot on being able to work from home - that'll definitely give you more hours in the day!

  7. I too look back at the previous year to set goals for the upcoming one. I use it as a measuring stick of where I am currently so I can level it up for the near future. You've certainly had a lot happen in the last decade and it's been fun watching it unfold. I relate to your feelings re: life dream in 2019. I never thought I'd get to start Tevis and it's tough to set new endurance goals for the immediate future. I, too, settled on "balance" as my word for 2020. I am constantly trying to find the balance between horses (which I do for a living) and everything else. My clients tease me for being the only trainer they know who preaches, "There's life outside of horses!" I thought of you the other day as I tried to figure out how I'm going to fit working dog days into my schedule, and then immediately decided I want to try snow shoeing this winter. I feel like I have so many expensive and time consuming hobbies, but I'm not happy to just settle on one. And that's before you factor in marriage, dogs, bills, and down time! So, yeah, Balance is a great word and I'm going to steal it for 2020. Looking forward to watching you work towards your new year goals and continue to share your journey here. Happy new year! Maybe we'll get lucky and run into each other out on the endurance trail ;)

  8. Your goals are great and always so thoughtful!

  9. I love how far you and Q have come! And I love your goals!

  10. Wonderful goals. Balance is so important!

  11. gosh 2019 was such a massive year of change for you - but so so so exciting! can't wait to see how things end up going in 2020, esp if it means our paths intersect again <3