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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

6 Picks...of 2016

One of the directions I would like my blog to take in 2017 is to use reflection & looking back on our journey to spur us on further & drive our motivation to continue to improve. So I wanted to take a look at 2016 to see if we can highlight the highs & learn from the lows to keep us on track as we head into 2017... I've tried to do this through choosing just SIX picks from throughout the year.

Here we go...

Stepping up to Prelim

I've selected this photo because it just sums up a great day at the dressage - relaxing, enjoyable & with lots of laughs.

Until February 2016, Louie's canter work was very sporadic & he couldn't really figure out what to do with four legs... Then, almost overnight, he could just canter. So we thought we'd have a go at a Prelim test - it was a great start, scoring 68.5%, and finishing 4th in a class of about 12!

Learning to love hacking

This has been a major milestone for us & making sure that Louie knew this was his time to enjoy the countryside without working, stress-free & our downtime together was the key aim. This photo just highlights the beauty of seeing the sun rise over you on an early summer's morning hacking.

Coming out of the woods & enjoying this view...!
Between mid-March & the end of April we spent every weekend hacking around the local countryside, going on long & short hacks, always with one other. We went from a very suspicious Louie, to one who grew in confidence in just a few weeks - taking the lead and confidently going out alone on 8+ mile rides.

Building the showjumping confidence

2016 has been such a big achievement with our showjumping. It's been a rollercoaster rider, with LOTS of learnings along the way, but I now have a horse that absolutely LOVES to jump, & who is actually quite good at it!!

I picked this photo because it was our first rosette in showjumping & while it was only a baby class, for Louie, this was big progress - going to a new venue, jumping cross poles & uprights, with fillers, in a fairly small indoor, with music & people watching. After trotting around the first class for a 5th, we cantered the next class, jumping a double clear & got a 1st!!

Proud as punch finishing our 1st showjumping competition

Joining the riding club

For anyone who hasn't - I recommend it!! It's a great way to take part in additional competitions, work towards league tables & points series, as well as meeting new people, all in a very friendly environment. Most clubs also offer a good choice of training on evening and weekend, often in group sessions so you can get sociable while learning too!!

In June I chose to join a local club. It's been a few years since we were in an affiliated club, but the one I chose to join had a few people in that I already knew as well as some competitions coming up that we ideal for Louie & I.

The riding club led us to win our first ever Combined Training, as well taking part in our first ever One Day Event a few months later and also coming 1st. We also did a couple of other dressage & showjumping classes with the club, coming in the top 3 placings. 

Our success meant that we finished the year with some great prizes!
  • Young Horse Reserve Champion
  • 3rd in Jeannie Doods Points series
  • 3rd in Novice Horse
  • 1st in Novice Hunter Trial
  • 1st in One Day Event
  • 1st in Combined Training

Creating a bond

There were points during 2015-2016 deep winter, especially when I had a broken ankle, that I found it very difficult and mentally draining to juggle a 9-5 and yard life....while on one leg too!! It did make me question the commitment that I needed to put into a young horse, especially one with as an active mind as Louie!

I'm glad that I've stuck with it - I've got my horse of a lifetime. He is the horse that I have now bonded the most with, and the one that I hope to never have to part with. The bond we have has only I trust him, I learn his little quirks & cheeky sense of humour - he is my best friend.


I picked this photo because I think it shows the bond that we've developed together - a true understanding of one another.

Haynet Equestrian Blog of the Year

One of the highlights for me of 2016 was winning Equestrian Blog of the Year, run by Haynet. 

At the time, my blog had just reached 4 years old, with really the main energy not going into it until I needed to find a way to plan, focus and motivate myself toward goals - it's too easy to do the same thing everyday & not understand why it isn't getting any better.

I'm proud of what my blog is today & the content that it provides for anyone who enjoys reading it. Hopefully you've enjoying this whistle-stop post wrapping up 2016 - we may even bring back the '6 Picks' theme at various points in 2017, so keep an eye out for it!

Take a read of looking ahead into 2017, marking two years since the day Louie arrived!

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