It felt like a big year for us this year.  I had some big goals for 2015 at the start of the season, and adjusted them mid-year as I made plans for us to move back to my roots in hunterland, a move that has worked out incredibly well for us.  Especially as the last few soggy days have served to remind me how much Cally dislikes flatwork, particularly when there’s no payoff of a few jumps at the end.

We did really well with the “more regular lesson schedule” goal, in part because of my work schedule change, in part because of our barn change.  I’ve pretty much been doing a lesson a week, and when I’ve had time off (like after MAEF or over the Thanksgiving holiday) it’s reminded me how much being in a regular program is important for both of us.  And how much progress we can make when we’re working regularly.  But we kicked the year off right on that front too, doing a month of part-training with Barbara that really made a world of difference in Cally’s flatwork and kept us going through some bad weather.

And that paid off in the ring.  Firstly at the start of the year, with some nice ribbons and scores at some licensed dressage shows.

Granted, we fell short by one show of making the required shows/scores to qualify for All-Breeds, but I think I made the right decision to focus our efforts on hunter/eq stuff this year.

We did pretty well out and about in the hunter and eq rings this year, coming home with good ribbons and medals at WCHC show in the 2’6 USHJA Outreach classes.

Given how well that went, I felt confident moving us up to the rated 3′ division, which felt like an enormous and scary step, but one we were ready to make.

We came home with some ribbons, and even some very fancy ones from the McDonogh Stirrup Cup show.

But we fell just short of the qualifying number of classes for year-end Stirrup Cup awards. So that’s definitely on the table next year, as we improve and gain experience.

But we did something that was perhaps even better, and harder–qualified for and won a ribbon at the MidAtlantic Equitation Championships in the Adult Eq division.

If you’d told me a year ago that that would happen, I would have laughed at you. But we made it happen, thanks to Holly. The move has been a really great one for us.

And we’ve gotten to do a lot of things in the last six months or so that had been on my “long term goals” list but weren’t things I had any plans of trying immediately, or even with Cally. Like jousting.


Or attending a fox hunting clinic.  Which didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but was certainly fun, and something I’d like to pursue one day.

And maybe best of all, sidesaddle!  It had always been a dream to try it, and when I went to look at Holly’s barn, I got the chance, on Gideon.

If that had been it, I would have been thrilled, but after we moved to Stellar, I had the chance to try it with Cally, and she took right to it. So well that we ended up, after just to rides, deciding to try doing Pleasure at a small local show aside, and I got busy sewing together an apron, and it all turned out better than I could have hoped.

So now we’ve got a sidesaddle of our own, and plans for 2016 are coalescing around that.

2015 has really felt like a magic year for us.  Cally and I accomplished more than I would have ever thought possible this year, and while I’ve got big plans for next year, if we never do more than this, I’ll be so over the moon happy with how far we’ve come from straight from post-track turnout to doing the 3′ Adults, that I really feel greedy asking for more.