dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, December 19, 2021

A Slow Start and a Strong Finish: 2021 Recap

 It's a snow day and I felt that this was a good time to recap my year and see how I did on my goals for 2021. 

It's looks pretty in the snow

Except  I couldn't find a post about goals. 

Did I go a year without goals? That doesn't sound like me. But the world has been super weird so, maybe? 

And then I found a post about my goals. In March. But it wasn't really a clear listing of my goals. Which probably speaks volumes about where I was back in March. To quote myself: 

"I think that the goals I have this year is to explore our relationship and see where we go. And to see how that impacts on our dressage stuff."

So I guess I can say that I achieved my goal. Yay me. 

All kidding aside, I think I did spend a lot of time working on Carmen's and my relationship and it really paid off. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I felt a little untethered this year and it was hard to figure out what to focus on or to make plans since they often needed to be changed. 

We played a lot with liberty this year. It has been eye opening to create a connection without relying on the line. I learned that if she's not connected with me when she's loose there is little point in getting on unless I want to spend a lot of time getting her attention. So I almost always give her a little time free. If she leaves we play with that and if she stays then we're good to go. Still on my most favourite videos. 

Showing did not happen at all this past year. And that made it hard to stay focussed on movement goals. Which might have been a good thing. But it doesn't matter if it was or it wasn't- it's just what happened. 

I bought a new saddle this year. Who can forget this little Spanish beauty

That saddle gave me a solid seat, which lead to me get lots of confidence and letting my seat improve. turns out that if you are not afraid of being launched you can really let your seat be soft and your legs hang. I have transitioned back into my 'regular' dressage saddle and had to lengthen the stirrups one hole. I still use that saddle though. If Carmen is up or we're on a trail ride I bring it out. I am so happy that I purchased it. 

In June we headed out to Karen's for a weekend of fun and ponies. I mean, are there fun weekends that don't include ponies? (#kiddingnotkidding). I had a few breakthroughs with my seat and energy that weekend thanks to Karen. I also had a major breakthrough with Carmen getting into the wash stall. 

After a pretty quiet July, August was a very busy month with lots happening. 

Karen and Paula came for the weekend and Paula and I learned a lot. Horses have given me a lot of wonderful things, not the least of which is some very good friends. I have met some wonderful people that I would never have known (or unlikely to meet anyway). 

Guinness loves Paula

I I went to a  trail clinic  at a very busy lesson barn. The first one I booked was cancelled, but late summer a spot opened up in another I jumped on it. I am glad that I went. Carmen really enjoys them and is often the chillest horse of the group. Which is both hilarious and humbling. It was also incredibly hot and I almost melted. I also got to use my spanish saddle which worked really well with the obstacles. 
Carmen: what's next? I'm ready!

In late august I started taking lessons with Jane and things really took off after that. I felt like our learning curve just took off. I loved how Jane just 'got' Carmen and knew what we needed. A lot of the learning is going to find its way into my goals but honestly, it has been incredible how much I'm learning and how well it's working for us. 

This gave me far more confidence to take the Test Riding Clinic in September. It was a great experience, mostly because Jane was there to coach me through stuff. Attending this clinic made me excited over the idea of showing again. I rode in my Spanish saddle so I could be confident (have I said how much I love that saddle?). 

October was mostly lessons and having fun riding, by myself or with Julia. I took a lesson almost every week up until the last of November. Carmen had a Mast cell tumour removed off of her left ear and she was brilliant through the surgery and the recovery. You wouldn't even know that it happened. Unfortunately, the weather turned to crap and I haven't been able to have a lesson since my last one. 

In December our collaborative book was published. It was a leap of faith to participate in and I'm so glad that I did. I think that that often the best experiences involve taking a risk. 

I know that the year is not over yet but I'm not expecting any big news between now and December 31. It's amazing how much I did do this past year, given the state of the world. I'm trying hard to keep a positive outlook for 2022. How was your year?

I don't know about it being 'epic' but it 
definitely finished stronger than it started


  1. Loved following along with all your adventures this year and it is awesome to see them recapped here. Still drooling over that saddle...

  2. You definitely accomplished your goal, and goals are good, even in uncertain times. I think they signify hope, and that’s important now. I didn’t have any last year, at least not clear goals, but I’ll try to remedy that for 2022.

  3. Interesting about the liberty work pre-ride and connection. I do liberty work with targets, basic commands, and some stay with me work on my non riding days. I've found it has improved both my horses' focus and attention on me so much under saddle and online. Haven't done it pre-ride though.

    1. For a horse like Carmen who's very good at 'phoning it in' it allows me to really see where she's at.

  4. Pretty solid year! I think in this time of uncertainty it's hard to lay out concrete goals without getting disappointed over and over. But you and Carmen have come so far in the past year! You clearly didn't need goals in writing to get there!

    1. Thank you for that! I so appreciate your positive attitude.

  5. Sounds like a dang good year! I have constantly loved being able to stop in here and catch up. I am currently trying to determine if there is a way to longe 2022. However, I am excited because I am going to Hawaii in January to ride with a friend. We will do other things too, but the riding is the main!

    1. Hawaii sounds wonderful. I’m happy for you ( and also jealous)


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