A quick life update

While browsing through the site the other day, I realized it’s been awhile since I gave an update on life with my husband and Jim. I have to say things have been going well.

Recently I discovered a new fun thing to do: virtual dressage shows. I compete through Dressage Show Online. They post open shows and you video your ride and enter it. They have USEF and WDAA carded judges who then view the video, score it and place you. Jim and I recently took High Point Adult Amateur Western Dressage in this year’s August Championship show! We won both of our classes in WDAA Intro 3 AA and WDAA Intro 4 AA.

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This year, Jim, my husband and I have been taking a step back from showing at every open show. On a tight budget (yup, adulting is terrible sometimes), we have been focusing on certain shows – particularly my dressage shows. Luckily my husband isn’t as competitive as I am and although he did a few traditional dressage tests, he isn’t really pushing to do many more. He would rather jump – I say he’s crazy.

Our show year is quickly coming to a close. With one schooling show and one dressage show left to compete in, my scores for AWSSR year-end awards are already in. I’m a bit sad to see this year end, but I am very happy with how far Jim and I have come.

Settling into western dressage as our discipline was the best decision I have made. Both my husband and I are back to working on Jim’s canter. (He gets a bit excited.) He’s very responsive and he has been working through his body and balancing much better than he did this time last year.

This year has definitely called for my husband and my teamwork to shine through as a married couple. We have made sacrifices because of budget reasons and we have come to those decisions together. One of the benefits of both being riders is that when tough decisions come up, we can make informed decisions. It’s not just “Your horse costs too much. It’s “OUR horse is costing us a lot!” I am thankful every day that I have a significant other who understands how important Jim is in my life and can work things out.

But now, it’s time to break out our fall and winter muck boots, get ready for weekend chores in the cold and start bundling Jim up in his wardrobe. Goodbye summer and hello fall!

 

A new set of hooves

As I mentioned in my blog post about saying goodbye to Jack, when one door closes, another opens. While I bid ado to my friend, I said hello to a new one.

Down in the lower barn, at the way end of the aisle on the left sat “Jim.” He had just come to the barn in December as a lesson horse. At 15.2 hands, Jim is a solid black registered Paint. With some white stockings up his leg and a funny backward question mark looking stripe, he also has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known.

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Jim is almost the complete opposite of Jack. He’s 11, broke, he jumps, does barrels, trail rides. You name it, Jim does it. The best part? My husband can also ride him since he’s tall enough and quiet enough.

My barn owner offered us a lease on Jim with plenty of rides during the week. We couldn’t turn it down. There was just something about him. Although my heart is still mending over Jack, I started to get excited about Jim. Thomas and I started thinking about our show season and all of the fun things we can do. I started making plans to go trail riding with one of my good friends around the property because finally, at last, I had a horse I could do it with. My world started turning.

Jim can never be a replacement for Jack. I don’t expect any horse to completely fill his void. Jack left an awful big mark on my heart. But Jim is here to nuzzle my shoulder and remind me of why I love horses. He is the biggest teddy bear I’ve ever known.

While I’m on Jim, I’ve started to relax again. I’ve started to gain back the confidence that Jack had thrown in the dirt. I started to feel more like me.

It’s been a bittersweet couple of months in my life. It’s been hard to say goodbye, but it’s a welcomed feeling to say hello. Jim seems to know I need him. After Jack left the barn, Jim let me pamper him for over an hour, braiding his long, fluffy, unruly mane. He took it like a champ and fell asleep, lower lip drooping. Each day it gets a little bit easier. Every step I take with Jim reminds me I can do it.

Wrapping up 2017

In a mere couple of hours, 2017 will be gone and we will enter into 2018. These last few hours are a perfect time for reflection and how our year has been. It’s a time to look at the highs and the lows and consider what we have learned from each day.

For me, the beginning of 2017 seems like ages ago. I began my year not even having ridden Jack yet (he was still with his trainer being broke.) I was entering into my first year of marriage with my husband. I was settled, but at the same time, the year brought so much potential.

2017 has treated me well. I accomplished a lot of milestones with Jack from my first ride on him in February, to our first in-hand show in April to his first off-property show then riding him in his first few shows, competing in dressage, and our goal-breaking versatility show that I did for fun that I never in my life thought I’d do as well as I did. He got approved in his inspection for the American Warmblood Society and Sporthorse Registry and received 4th for 3-year-old and older Stallions/Geldings in inspection score. He also received National Bronze for Western Dressage for AWSSR.

However 2017 is ending a bit rougher for us; although it’s going to make us a better team overall. With the cold that’s settled into the Northeast, we’ve gone back to basics with ground work and respect. We’re filling in some holes in our relationship that will only make things better in the long run.

But my year hasn’t only been about Jack. Not only did I launch this blog, but I’ve began discovering all of the amazing things about being married. My husband is my best friend. When he accomplishes something, I can’t help but be proud. This past year he got a promotion at work and began riding English. And I’m so proud of him for accomplishing his dreams and not letting anything get in his way. He is so determined and sweet and I love everything about him.

And now we’re looking toward 2018 as a team. What are our lives going to look like? What changes might be make? Although we don’t know what will come at us in 2018, we know we will take it on together. As a family.

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Our holiday traditions – with horses

Last year was the first Christmas after my husband and I got married. Our Christmas card was a given; it was a wedding photo. It was beautiful and perfect, but it was missing just one thing. Our animals.

A year or so prior to that Christmas card, it was our little orange tabby rescue kitten, Screecher, on the annual cards. We had placed him in a holiday box under twinkling lights and on a bed of “snow.”

This year, we are involving Jack. Although I won’t reveal yet what they look like (maybe I’ll do that in a future blog post), we had a ton of fun taking some quick shots with him. Last year I purchased a horse Santa hat that has the perfect holes for equine ears. It gets passed around the barn and my friends all take turns having fun with the hat. It’s like a December tradition now to bring out the Santa hat and torture our poor horses with embarrassing photos.

As Thomas and I have embraced our love of our equine friends, we have begun to focus a lot of our traditions on them. As close to Christmas as we can get to the barn, we’ll be there with plenty of peppermints and love. Although Jack can’t sit with us next to the Christmas tree and open up his gifts, he’s there in spirit. After Christmas, we’ll be bringing whatever horse-related gifts we received directly to the barn to continue to love on them. They are part of the family.

I’m sure as time goes on, we’ll develop even more traditions as a family. And I can’t wait!

*Note: I thought I’d spread a good deal I found while making our Christmas cards! Snapfish.com is running a deal with 70% off all cards. (Promo code: NOEL70) They do a really good job! (Nope, I didn’t receive anything for this endorsement. I simply bought my cards from there and wanted to share a good deal for us broke equestrians!