Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2010's Photo Challenge and an Update on Things I Should of Blogged About

This has been such a fun blog hop! Thanks Emily for coming up with this idea. I've loved reading everyone's decade and had to share my own. Lots of memories... plus I realized I had "written" (either in my head or saved as a draft forever...) and never posted many happenings over the past 10 years. I really have mad props to those that are able to get a blog post out on a regular or semi regular basis!

2010- I was living in Charlotte trying to figure out my life and see if I could make horses work in it. I was leasing a horse named Liaison at the beginning of the year but after my lease ran up with him in August I decided it'd be more fun to take on a project pony. That's when I "stole" my mom's horse Gus from her. She had gotten him in March b/c his owner couldn't get him sound and the poor guy had spent a year and a half on stall rest with a torn suspensory that just wasn't healing. My mom loves a challenge and bought him for $1 (after consulting with her vet friend who had some ideas) and basically pulled his shoes and turned him out for a couple months. Once he was sound she started riding him and he really was to much horse for her at the time. So that's when I took him and thought I could make an eventer out of him.

Cuddles with the Pocket Pony aka Gus 

2011- This was a really big year for Gus. It started out with us being eliminated at a schooling horse trials in February. Partly b/c I had taken him to the facility the week before to get a jump school in and there were zebras in the paddock right next to the SJ ring. They freaked Gus out but he was a good boy and jumped everything while keeping a very watchful eye on those smelly horse eaters. When we got to the show they had put the zebras up but Gus KNEW they were hiding somewhere and I couldn't get him anywhere near the jumps at the end of the ring where the zebra paddock was. So we were eliminated over a tiny X. But it was a good thing because it made me get help and we started taking lessons from a local HJ trainer that I really liked and respected. He was the biggest change to Gus's jumping confidence and helped me ride my pony better. From there I took Gus to Dressage Rally (Pony Club's version of a show and I was a Horsemaster aka Pony Club for Adults) and we cleaned up at Training level. Oops. Sorry kiddos, my pony could lay down a dressage test. We got 70 somethings for the dressage tests and then kicked ass and took names at the Training Level Freestyle where we got an 82%. I'm not the best dressage rider but Gus was a fantastic lower level dressage horse thanks to a really solid foundation that his previous owner had put on him.

I'd been waiting to use this music since 1999 when we played Overture to Chorus Line in band class. I tried to dress Gus up so those "spots" you see on his bum were star stickers- Broadway music means Broadway star!

After that we went to a Rebecca Howard clinic at The Fork and had a pretty successful weekend overall. It was Gus's first real XC schooling and we did banks, ditches, water, jumps into and out of water, and various other things. We kept up with lessons over the summer, went to a jumper show in October and then moved to SC in November.

When he jumped he was cute!

2012- Living in SC I was traveling a lot for my job so didn't really have time to show. Did head back to Dressage Rally to try my hand at First Level and had a very respectable showing, getting 64? 65ish%? I really don't remember but was very happy with it. That summer I took Gus to Windridge for their schooling HT and did really well. Oh! And OMG how could I forget??? In my quest to make Gus the best all around horse ever he cleaned up with a tiny rider in the Walk Trot division at a local all around show series. Little Becks rode Gus in the AM in the english divisions and then I took him barrel racing in the afternoon. HAHA. OMG we were so slow but it was so much fun! Also started riding Marley this year. She was sort of in the background of Gus b/c she wasn't my horse at the time.   (Hell, Marley's never really been my horse, I just sort of became her caretaker and attempted to do something with her)

Walk Trot in the morning...

Barrel racing in the afternoon!!

2013- This was the year of change. Was trying to juggle 2 horses, Marley and Gus, and work at the same time. Marley went to the Ralph Hill clinic in January and Gus went to his first recognized horse trials in April at FENCE. While we did really well on paper (4th overall in an open BN division of 20+ riders) something wasn't right. Trainer AM looked at me in my eyes and told me that if I wanted to do more than BN I needed a new horse. She was right. Gus just didn't have it in him to easily jump the bigger fences. If Gus nailed the perfect take off spot he could easily jump 3'+ but in eventing you need a scrappy horse and he just wasn't scrappy enough over 2'6". This lead me to finding Chimi just a few weeks later. I really wasn't looking but future husband found him and said "Try him" so I did and he came home with me :) He ended up spending that first summer and fall standing around in my pasture b/c he kept throwing shoes and going lame. It was just bad luck and a bad farrier (seriously-  a bad farrier can screw up your horse in 1 cycle that takes a good farrier months to fix. It's craptastic) Took Marley to a schooling horse trial, dressage was terrible, ok in stadium, and amazing XC. Then she broke herself that fall and started her career as a pasture ornament (long story short, old injury that just got worse over time. Tried everything) Future Husband and I bought a house and moved in together and he proposed that winter.

My favorite picture ever of Gus

Marley at her only event ever

The day I got Chimi

2014- After struggling with trying to fix Marley all winter and spring, decided to take Chimi Starter at Windridge for this Spring HT and it was fantastic. I honestly was scared shitless going into the show b/c I had about 2 weeks to prep for the show from the time that I entered and Chimi's jumping was...well... uhhh... questionable at best. But it worked out in the end and on XC I felt Chimi's brain click over and go OHHHH..... THIS SHIT IS FUN.... LETS GO FASTER and I had a potential eventer on hand! Mom and I went to WEG in Normandy with some friends and had a blast. Showing was put on hold b/c of wedding plans Future Husband and I got married in November and that basically wrapped up that year.

WEG 2014- it was a blood/mud bath of a course but it was gorgeous!!!

2015- Chimi and I competed at BN that Spring at FENCE and Windridge and then I twisted my knee in June and when I was healed enough from that he bucked me off in August and hurt my back so any hopes of a fall season were quickly dashed. But in the middle of those injuries I went to Iceland on a riding trip and had a blast riding Icelandic horses! If you've ever thought about doing this DO IT. I have never laughed so hard while riding until I rode an Icelandic horse. Their mane. Their gaits. Their size. Best vacation ever.

Tolting through Iceland

2016- Chimi and I came out swinging. The American Eventing Championships were basically in my back yard at Tryon International Equestrian Center and I had been dreaming of competing at them since 2003. I was hell bent on qualifying and going that year. I also had planned to get a sneak peak at the XC course at TIEC and qualified for Pony Club Championships that were also being held at TIEC in July. We did both and had a pretty successful showing. At the AEC's we technically had a refusal on XC at the water but I know it had nothing to do with the water and everything to do with Chimi's claustrophobia. All the levels (BN through Advanced went through the tiny water complex and Chimi freaked out at how close the jumps were to him. Oh well. That did put us just out of the ribbons in 13th place but honestly I was so happy with how he handled the electric atmosphere that weekend and we had a blast. We ended the year with the Lucinda Green Clinic where we jumped A LOT of skinnies.

Instead of a picture you get a video: started it at XC b/c dressage is boring- plus its fun to watch Chimi spook at everything in the first half and him run away with me in Stadium

2017- We had a fantastic start testing the waters at Novice in the spring and hit our stride with 2 successful outings at The Fork and FENCE. I had plans of competing at the AEC's again but this time at Novice so needed another outing and planned to go to River Glen. Apparently that wasn't going to be b/c Memorial Day Weekend I injured my knee (again- ugh old injury that I kept re-injuring)  and was out the rest of the summer. Towards the end of summer I found out I had qualified for the AEC's but at BN (apparently they counted Pony Club Champs in 2016 as a qualifying score so that gave me the 2nd score I needed) and I thought heck why not? In hind sight I wish I had saved the money and just gone to spectate b/c with my knee injury we weren't quite ready. Sure we survived and were fine but neither of us were on point. I decided to spend the fall getting legged up so that we could come out swinging again in the spring and maybe head to a Novice 3 day???? Chimi had other plans and blew a nasty abscess out of his cornet band and had the fall off. With Chimi lame my trainer offered her semi retired eventer for me to ride in the Karen O'Connor clinic. Joe was amazing and I probably got more out of riding him in the clinic than I would of riding Chimi.

Joe teaching me how to ride all over again

On a sadder note we had to put down Gus in September. I wrote so many blog posts abut this and ended up deleting them b/c they all turned into lengthy sagas about how wonderful he was. In the end a rare form of cancer ate away at his body and he no longer could process nutrients in food and wasted away. He was cheery and snuggly all the way to the end and let us know when it was time.  I will forever love that creature for everything he did.

My 2nd favorite picture of Gus

2018- This was the year of Damn it Chimi. Basically Chimi and I took an unplanned year off. It started with me trying to qualify for the Novice 3 day at Heart of the Carolinas. Winter was shit so we spent a lot of time road riding. This gave my barefoot horse a stone bruise and a new set of shoes. But with the time off to heal the bruise we weren't ready fitness wise for the 3 day. So rerouting we were going to have a spring season at Novice and I fell off at jump 1 on XC at FENCE's spring HT. The best part is I caught it all on helmet cam! If you're going to fall off it's better to have video evidence to laugh at later on! Just a few weeks after FENCE Chimi cracked his back left foot and was lame until November.

2019- Winter was shitty and wet so we didn't get back into regular riding until spring. No shows, but had a couple of fun XC outings and it was nice riding again. Chimi went to camp and took a few campers for joy rides around the Big Ring. Then in November we headed to Stable View's Eventing Academy, schooled their XC and stadium on Saturday, and competed in the Beginner Novice Combined Test on Sunday. I wasn't sure what to expect and other than Chimi losing his shit in the barn he was a super star and it was a great way to knock the dust off. (This has been a blog post collecting dust in my drafts...) Since then we've been riding whenever we get the chance and hope to head back out to a few events next spring. We'll see what happens though but my fingers are crossed!

Chimi's got wings! Camper learning what it's like to ride a Flying Burrito

And that was my decade! Looking forward to what 2020 and beyond will bring!


  1. Wow what a busy 10 years. Looking forward to what you and Chimi get up to in 2020 :)

  2. Tough ten years with all the injuries. I'm so sorry about Gus, he sounds like a wonderful guy. I hope 2020 helps you achieve those goals you've been working for!

  3. Look at Gus go! And that falling gif will never get old :)