Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

OH YEAH IT'S TIME!! It's officially my most favorite blogging time of the year!! Year end wrap ups. I like to do a little write up for each month and link to the posts that really refined that month for me, with a goal of creating an overall picture of what we did and how the year went.

Here goes!


It was cold and horrible, but we were in our second month at a dressage barn with an indoor. I was catching the bug and accidentally bought one of the only dressage saddles I've ever ridden in that actually fits me in Oops I Did it Again.

It fit me, it fit my horse. It was meant to be, right?
first time in black tack

I also worked through the emotions of having Courage as my own horse without a lot of supervision. I've struggled bonding with him because I got him at a very difficult time and he isn't an easy guy, but I was starting to see what a cool horse he could be.

In My Little Bay Horse, I hashed it out about as clearly as I ever have.


In February, the weather got mildly better, which was good. More importantly, I wrote one of my favorite TSB posts of all time: The Ammy Manifesto.

It struck a nerve (in a good way) with riders and readers and bloggers. I was inundated with comments and messages and in-person thanks from horse people in all walks of life. 
so majestic
I also accidentally kicked myself into novelty stirrup overdrive in the Old Cripple Woman Here post wherein I discovered my complete inability to ride in regular fillis irons.

This is relevant because it marks possibly the only time I've had an actual justification for buying pretty shit.

I didn't make a lot of noise on the training front--things were trucking along the way only intro/training dressage horses do--slowly and painfully boring-ly.
flexy is almost novelty


March was such a mixed bag. We started the month with our first-ever dressage clinic, which was a stunning success. Courage was good for both days and we started to move towards "actually doing something like dressage" instead of "just trotting with his head down", so that's cool. Clinic write up was called "Dressage Fun" and it was nice and vanilla and peaceful, even if it marked ground breaking moments in my understanding of Courage and how to ride and train him.

Of course, it couldn't all be smooth sailing. That sped us right along to memorable posts like Sunshine and Roses and LAUNCHING IN TO ORBIT and Dressage By Memes, both of which pointed to some serious trouble in pony paradise. We tried bodywork and it helped, but Courage was having a serious case of the 'tudes and riding through it was possibly not the most fun I'd ever had.
of stolen internet fame
As a confirmed tack ho, I medicated in all the best ways. Acquisitions are documented in Friends are the Worst, which was a funny post to write and still makes me laugh to go back and read.

I maybe couldn't ride, but I was building a banging wardrobe.


April started out with a bang. In Failsauce, I chronicle yet another lesson-gone-bad (sorta forgot how many of those there were), complete with epic fail pictures. Courage was not convinced he had to horse and he was doing his best to talk me out of it.
moments we never forget
I tried to keep myself motivated and focused with the Ultimate Trotting Picture Progression Post, in which I did a trotting picture of every month of Courage's post-track career to that point.
old picture

I also got myself into lessons (Guess Who Can Still Jump) with a jump trainer to try and get another perspective on how to ride with Courage. Even now, looking at those pictures makes me REALLY want to jump.

And of course, I made the rash and impulsive decision to sign up for a fancy clinic with a $$$ clinician. What could possibly go wrong?


Don't answer that.


This month was not so good.

We canceled all our normal plans to do the big, fancy clinic. First Courage missed a schooling opportunity, then blew a leg up, then COMPLETELY DECLINED to get on the trailer to even go to the clinic at all. In Disappointment, Tears, That Stuff, I talk about what pinning all my hopes on one day turned into.

The follow up post, When in Doubt, Wine. Also Pie, was equally raw and emotional. Courage and I were capping off difficult months and bad rides with severe disappointment in ways I never expected.

I really don't even know how to condense down the events of May--there's a lot of gritty, hard stuff I had to sort through. In Surprise! Dressage Clinic, we had a good ride and a terrible ride and made some progress. We started hacking again. It was not fun. It was not even very safe. It was bad.

I seriously questioned why I had Courage and I reflected that he is the sort of horse that tests people. I had to figure out if I could pass the test and if I wanted to.

Finally, I made a plan and to take Courage to his first show of the year. It was a make-or-break moment for us, chronicled in Here Goes Nothing.
forgot how bad this month was. pic is still badass.


Can we have a round of applause for May finally being over? That month was SO BAD. June started out with our first show of the year. I made good decisions, stayed on the horse, and didn't get disqualified. Then we did another show! 

We even lightened the mood with my Updated Guide to Showing on the Cheap. Showing as an adult has some critical difference from showing as a kid. This is an important thing to figure out in your adult show career. 

We capped off the month with our first ever (locally) recognized dressage show. The post is called A Series of Unfortunate Events for very good reasons, but the show itself was so critical. It taught me that even on our less-amazing days, Courage and I were turning in to a capable team.

What's more, we knew how to overcome obstacles. ALL OF THEM.

And yes. All my June pictures have satin in them. DEAL WITH IT.


July was a fun month. We putzed around after our pretty intense show schedule in June and I used the down time to think things through. Yup. That meant I came up with the wild and crazy goal of earning my Bronze medal on Courage in Well Here Goes. It was quite a switch from our jumper pursuits, but I explain that in Why Dressage
just gotta trot
The transition was complete (mostly). Halfway through the year, I threw most of my goals out the window and decided to pursue a whole new discipline. We certainly didn't stop jumping, especially as we celebrated our two year anniversary together in Two Years of Courage.


My most favorite thing about August was this post: A Fundamental Shift. Courage and I have always had such a weird hot/cold on/off relationship. It was one simple ride in August where I finally felt Courage start doing things to try and please me, and it was paradigm-altering. I followed it up with Finding Our Way Together as we .
still love this
Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and roses--I was struggling with my position and riding and trying to tackle a whole new discipline FOR REALSIES.
story of my life
Oh and Courage proved that he is also the perfect pony ride horse, as long as it isn't indoors in December.
um how cute is this?


September brought us dressage clinics and fall weather, which is a bit more motivating. In Possibly the Best Dressage Clinic Recap Ever, I talk about some major breakthroughs we were having. There was also the Ultimate Dressage Position Fix, which actually is a fantastic cross-discipline application device.
fix it
More importantly, I wrote one of my favorite thinking training posts while I reasoned through some issues Courage and I were having in Under Pressure--Language, Responsibility, and the Intelligent Animal.

Plus there's always the awesome things blog hop, which just makes me happy to look at.


October brought Epic Pony Weekend, with our first course jumping of the year, some awesome dressage-in-a-field pictures, our last event derby of the year, and some kickass free jumping pictures. I also got Courage's dressage saddle professionally fitted (complete with uber-professional sparkles) to start getting ready for next year.
so perfect
On the training front, I started to buckle down and get serious about first level. Some of that was funny, like discovering my European Princess Thoroughbred, and some of it was serious, like my About Face on Video. I also had to work through feeling like I wasn't trying hard enough with my nice horse in Not Confident, Not Proud.


This month opened with one of my all-time favorite posts to write, EVER. Why Barn Friends are the Best Friends was me reflecting on the awesome women in my life and how grateful I am to have them.

the best
 There was a lot going on, though. Courage and I won our first-ever tri-colored year-end champion ribbon and I love it in all it's gaudy over-the-top-ness.
I talked about Why I Kept Courage when things were hard this year (which was a lot). We also rode in an absolutely fantastic clinic that majorly changed the way I ride and gave me visual media for Socially Awkward Equestrians United.
yeah try to explain that to your non-horsey friends


December is not over yet (THERE ARE A FEW HOURS LEFT), but there's only so much we can do as we meticulously work our way through the beginnings of first level. We celebrated One Year of Dressage early in the month. We also talked about Spooking Theory and the Hot Horse and Light. Bulb.
pictured: not ideal
Our 2015 Goal Wrap Up showed surprising progress despite our many set backs,
plus adorable
 2015 was not the year I expected or thought I wanted, but it's the year I had. Courage and I are a stronger, better team with improved focus and increased confidence. I'm excited for what 2016 brings!
here we go!


  1. Great recap! Thanks for entertaining us with your adventures! I start my day everyday with you guys!

  2. I've loved following along in 2015 and can't wait to see what 2016 brings!

  3. Oh yes, Papa has to always keep everything exciting. I can't believe how much both of you have grown though, and I just love watching it (and taking pictures!) even if he thought about running me over once. Onward to 2016! And onward to kicking ass at first level!

  4. A bit of a rocky year, but worth it. :) 2016, Here you come! Looking forward to following along for another year!

  5. Awesome recap. I love the "Madam, I must decline" picture! Good luck in 2016.

  6. You've had a big year! I'm sure 2016 will bring tons of great adventures for you!

  7. Wow! Pretty inspiring year. It was great to read along :)

  8. I enjoyed going back over some of your previous posts like a true blog stalker

  9. I won't lie. It's been amazing to watch you develop this year. Keep it up!

  10. Oh my gosh, look how far you guys have come! And Courage going from just all good looks to brains too!

  11. it's been incredible following along this year - lots of twists and turns i didn't anticipate but it's awesome to see how it's transformed you and the pony! also the ammy manifesto was maybe the best post of all time ;)

  12. I fell so far behind on your blog this year and I'm super annoyed at myself as it's one of my favourites!
    This post had helped me (a) catch up & (b) figure out where I left off (*gasp*June*shame*) - looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for such a dynamic well dressed dressage duo ♡

  13. Can't wait to see what 16 has in store for you and courage! That blingy saddle will bring the best


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