December 16, 2013

2013 Year-In-Review

I can't believe I'm already doing my second year-end wrap-up post with Connor.  I'm grateful for what we got to do, frustrated at what we didn't get to do, excited for the progress we made, and full of fire for the 2014 season.  I love this pony!

In January, we went to a Dressage schooling show in Ohio and  finished our Training Level debut with a 63%.  My trainer was pleasantly surprised by how professionally Connor behaved at the showgrounds and in the ring.

Lady please, I was born going to shows.

In February, Connor's terrible TuffRider blanket rubbed out six inches of his mane (it didn't grow back in fully until August!), and our work really began to mature - I felt my entire philosophy on what it means to ride a horse shift.

Winter hung on FOREVER through March of 2013.  I bought a short-flap County Competitor that I loved, and rode with CJF again who observed that Connor had matured quite a lot since the fall - taking the fences like a mature horse, finally!

He looked like this until a half-hour before that clinic ride, seriously.  It was going on right next to him, and he took a nap.

Connor and I represented Section D Welsh Cobs in the Breed Demo at the three-day long Hoosier Horse Fair in Indianapolis.

Half, D, C, B, A, in order.

and Mr. Personality loved living in temporary stabling with people milling about all day, seriously loved it.  I opened his stall door for little kids to pet him constantly, and he liked it this much:

I don't think it gets any cuter than that!

Also in April, I had to scratch what would have been our first event due to a death in the family, I finally got my hands on a Micklem, and Connor played hard-to-catch like it was his job.

In May, Connor turned the magical age of 7, and we went big or went home by making our eventing debut at the rated Greater Dayton Horse Trials in Ohio.  Connor learned that he's supposed to go over every fence I point him at on fence 4 of the XC course, and we literally never looked back from that moment the entire rest of the year.

Cob Jockey: Finally getting to event the Welsh Cob!

My husband lost his job, ending our show season besides the non-rated event I was already signed up for.  Connor's back changed again, and I sold my Stackhouse.  We went XC schooling and the whole team noticed the change in Connor's attitude toward XC - after GDHT, he knew what his job was and was excited about it.  Finally, we finished second at Leg Up despite a massively bad Dressage test in which Connor got his tongue over the bit for the first and only time in his life, because we were one of only two pairs to go double-clear on a timed starter XC course.

SJ Video from Leg Up:

I rode in a clinic with Belgian show jumper Chris Ruysen, paid for by my awesome mom.  Otherwise, July was all Dressage and biomechanics.

In August, my biomechanics work on my own started to pay off in lessons, and eventually we were released from Dressage purgatory long enough to jump 2'6 for the first time!  We had a kickass Dressage clinic lesson with pseudo-resident Dressage clinician Nancy K, who hadn't taught us in over a year, in which she told us "Well yeah!  With Dressage work like that you SHOULD be winning starter!"

I don't think I've ever taken a worse picture of him.

We rode with Cathy again, and she pointed out that he needed to get out of his Dressage frame to be able to see the fences, but also commended us on how much progress we'd made since GDHT.

My awesome friend Mary came for a week, and put Connor through jumping boot camp that started here:

Mary and C, day one

And ended here, four days later in the best jumping lesson ever:

Me and Connor

I was worried I was going to have to move Connor away from the barn due to my husband's ongoing unemployment.  Dressage Purgatory and Biomechanics University continued with massive changes in the way I held my shoulders, how deeply I sat in the saddle, and how much/where my hips moved in the saddle.  Also, Connor thought it was funny that the BO expected him to stay in his electric fenced paddock when the electricity was off:

Nick got a job!  We gave the Hackasnaffle a try, and I confessed that depression had really been affecting my riding and entire life lately.  My trainer finally got her leg position point conveyed to me in a way that made it stick, and it led to some AWESOME work.  After Connor's trace clip was not enough, I finally took the plunge and took it all off for the first time:

Goodbye, hair!


Freakishly bad snowstorms clobbered our ability to ride, and pony got a vacation.  We had some good jump lessons, but overall, are focusing on 2014!


  1. These years in reviews are always a trip.

    1. Thanks. I think we'll all understand if you decide not to do one. On to 2014, right?

  2. Wonderful recap! You guys always look so amazing together :)

  3. Look at all of that progress! I can't wait to see where you end up in 2014.

  4. You guys are going to kick ass and take names next year! All the dressage boot camp has paid off.

    1. Thanks! Dressage is a magical and sometimes annoying thing.

  5. I missed the news about your husband getting a job. Congrats!

  6. Wow! What an awesome year for you and Connor. P.S. that cross-country photo in May is so fucking awesome. I hope you got that blown up and put it on a wall somewhere. It's stunning!!!!

    1. Thank you! I don't, I was too poor at the time, but I do have a legal digital copy to ogle!

  7. This is the greatest collection of insanely awkward and insanely awesome photos on the internet. Hands down.

    Oh Connor ...

    1. Hahaha, didn't think about that until this comment but you are so right. Some of them are beautiful, some of them are massively awkward. I embrace this!

  8. Ya'll are all so good at these reviews.. I am not sure I can remember everything enough to do one of these!

    Go Connor!

    1. It's a good exercise to go through the posts again at the end of the year for me.

  9. Very nice! Your blog always inspires me :) Are you going back to represent the Cobs at Hoosier Horse Expo in 2014?