December 28, 2012

2012 Year-in-Review, January-June

It came and went without much fanfare here on the blog, but as of last month, I've officially had Connor for a year.  My 2011 year in review was full of several names - Dillon, Mac, Adagio, Connor - but in 2012, it was just Connor.  Because this was such a important year - not only did I own my own pony for the first time, but I also made some dramatic changes in my riding and riding philosophies - I'm going to break this down into two posts.  It helps me so much to go back and look at the posts from this year.  This is why we blog!

January 2012

I realized I was one-sided, and got depressed as I realized just how much that and my other flaws were affecting my green pony.  It was warm enough to ride in the outdoor in January, and Connor was a basket case, spooking at his own shadow on the little barn.  I struggled with whether to pull his mane or not.

February 2012
In February, Connor finally got his barn name (mostly to avoid everyone calling him Teddy), and I rode in my first clinic, with Nancy K. I realized that I was letting all his energy out the front by not capturing it in my hands, and started to change some long-held fundamental beliefs I had about riding as a result of working with a green horse for the first time.  To that effect, Solo and Encore's mom put up a life-changing quote on her blog that blew my mind, and I felt the beginnings of changes in the way he carried himself.

March 2012

I didn't realize it then, but I started to figure out the relationship between straight/light/connected and the inside leg to outside rein.  Connor and I soaked up the sun in a record-breakingly warm March, and I pushed him through freakouts with each new thing I introduced, including canter and turns on the forehand.  I realized I was holding too much in the reins during a terrible lesson, which was followed by a really encouraging jumping lesson.
April 2012
 I learned how to ride a stop and aaaaalmost fell off (still haven't!) as Connor figured out the jumping game, and then how to get out of it.  Our Dressage was progressing really really really well, and my mom took the photos to prove it while my trainer said we were ready for more advanced Dressage work.  I rode Connor's sire in the Hoosier Horse Fair Stallion Demo and loved it, and Connor and I had a horrible hack out that made me question him as a cross-country mount. As the grass came in, I struggled with thinking he looked good and listening to others about his weight  the entire month.

I announced that my husband had lost his job in March, effectively ending our show season.  Connor played hard-to-get on his sixth birthday, and lessons were missed for that and other reasons. When I had one again, I first noticed that he was leaning heavily on my left rein, a problem we would fight all summer as we lost that great Dressage work we had in April - mainly my fault.  Connor developed a dry cough, which the owner of his full brother helped me diagnose as a maybe hereditary white clover allergy, and he was drylotted.  I took Connor XC for the first time, and had a life-changing experience riding in a two-day Cathy Jones-Forsberg clinic.

June 2012

In June, we started working on walk-canter transitions.  In fact, let's be honest, we started working on the canter in general for real, now that he was ready for it.  Nancy K came to teach lessons and she ASKED TO RIDE CONNOR OMG.  He hit 14hh (cheers all around!) and we did an IDS schooling show with Austen and Guinness and took home a couple of very generous scores in Intro A and B.  We also met some of our blog friends for the first time!  Finally, the Midwest baked under 100 degree temperatures for weeks at a time, and lessons were few and far between as a result.


  1. Very nice half year review Jen! Look at the amazing progress made :)

  2. What a great year you two have had! Such great progress. You should be proud!

  3. Sounds like the 1st half of your year lead to a 2nd half of great progress from what I've read!

  4. Nice to hear how the first half of the year went, you've come on so much! can't wait to hear the other half!

  5. Love the first half's recap :) Cant' wait to see the second half.. you guys look awesome and look how far you have come!

  6. Your first half of the year sounded like it went pretty good!