Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Year in Review: Hakuna Matata, my Friends

It's been a wild ride this year! I was getting pictures ready for this post, and I had to just take a minute to be grateful for just how far I've come this year, both as a person and as a rider. I haven't made a lot of material changes, but the immaterial progress is pretty fun to chart. Let's give it a shot!

January 2012. Handwalking.

January was cold and dreary. I was riding with Izzy. She scared the crap out of me. I loved watching her and dressing her, not so fond of being in the saddle. I thought things were normal and carried on as usual. I was working a ton for our instructor and made lots of excuses not to ride.

February 2012. Too cute.

Along came February and with it, a giant red gelding.

Cuna opened up new worlds for me. I loved him within days of meeting him and became more and more obsessed as time went on. It was on his back that the final decision to sell Izzy was made. He carried me through it all like the gentleman he can be. We were jumping crossrails and little fences and I was scared stiff, but he took care of me.

March 2012. We are champs.
March was an interesting month. I went to Thermal with the barn and was able to hash out my feelings about Izzy. I also realized that Cuna wasn't just my temporary loaner horse: he was the one for me.

I picked up more hours at both jobs so Izzy could come back to the barn and Cuna could stay with me through the sale process. We went to our first show together and won the 2'6" jumpers.

April. One of my all time fav pics
April was all about building a partnership. Cuna and I explored the world together. He had to start with square one as far as reeducating me, but like a couple of hopelessly annoying teenagers, we did everything together.

We hacked. We galloped. We jumped. We babysat. We played with tack and Cuna learned to model.

May. My favorite Cuna pic ever.
May brought a new set of challenges. We hauled out of state to go XC schooling for the first time since my wreck. I was disappointed in my ride, so I focused on jumping.

After two weeks, we got the best jumping pictures of our lives together.

Cuna looked amazing in his summer coat and we were gearing up for the show season.

June. Rocking the course. 
June was XC schooling round two. I started learning how to trust my horse and we did our first ever racehorse gallop.

We went to a jumper schooling show and I started to figure out that this whole competition scene could be fun from the saddle.

July. "Just hang on".
July brought our first out of town show and our first official event derby together. Cuna taught me what it's like to ride an XC horse and exhibited the advantages of strong bits.

It was my first ever ride around the course on a horse I hadn't trained, and it was amazing. We snagged a ribbon on our first-ever BN after moving up from intro because I finally realized that we could do this.

Steph headed up to her summer base camp, but Cuna and I spent the (smokey) summer hacking around and really enjoy our all-access-pass to the local hills.

August. Champs again.
August came in with a bang! Cuna got his hock injected the last weekend of July. We took a series of dressage lessons so we could be more competitive at BN at our upcoming trial. I was mentally prepared, and Cuna brought the awesome. After the best dressage test of our career, we went double clear in stadium and XC and brought home the goods.

I was completely thrilled. And I wanted to move up.

September. Freely forward.

September saw us headed up to summer camp for a weekend away. Cuna and I jumped some of the biggest and most technical course I have ever done and we had a blast the whole time. We hacked in wooded hills, grazed in green pastures, and leaped giant things without a second thought.

Although we were mostly on our own back home, we spent lots of time building condition and enjoying our time together. Anything that could be done on horseback was just better on a big red TB gelding.

October. Last solo hack.
October brought changes for us. We were moving to a new barn to continue the trend of working and riding with our most favorite coach.

We rode through the hills and took in the scenery, then packed up and headed to the new home base.

November. Best canter yet.
November saw us in regular lessons and jumping bigger and harder courses than before. I began increasing my technical knowledge and Cuna was going better all the time. He responded well to the improvement in my riding.

Despite my assuring everyone that "I didn't buy him to do dressage", Cuna and I hit the dressage hard to improve our balance and collection for jumping.

It paid off. 

We're on to December! I was going to wait until later in the month to do this, but we're officially done showing for the year. We don't have our gorgeous hills on demand any more, but we've been busy adventure hacking through subdivisions and even occasionally riding in the sandbox.

I made several sets of goals for the year and threw them all out the window, so I don't have a lot of concrete comparisons to make. That said, I started the year on Izzy, terrified of crossrails. I'm finishing it out jumping 3' courses and (and 3'3" singles) confidently while getting ready for what promises to be an exciting 2013!! 


  1. I can't believe you far you have come this year. I'm really proud of you for realizing what was right for YOU, and having the courage to change that. Cuna is awesome on his own, as are you, but you both are definitely better together <3

    I can't WAIT to see what trouble you guys get into next year!

  2. I was creeping on posts from last year the other day, and I am so blown away by what a different rider you are now. I love me some Cuna!

  3. I love this.. might have to steal the idea :)

    I agree with Carly- i LOVE how Cuna has turned your into a confident rider who is having fun, working hard yes but not dreading every moment.

    Keep up the hard work girl, you are doing awesome! :)

  4. This is a great post and a great idea! 2012 was a good year for you guys!

  5. What an awesome post! I am determined to make the best of 2013 with my green mare so I can do something similar to this a year from now. :)

  6. the cross rails to 3'3! You are my idol!! Congrats on a rockin' year.

  7. Wow!! You have done so well :) Awesome post. I loved reading this. You have had an awesome year and I think 2013 will bring many great new adventures for you guys.

  8. I love this post! It truly shows how much you've been through and how far you've come in such a short amount of time. Can't wait to see what the New Year brings for you and the awesome red pony!

  9. It's pretty inspiring to read and see the accomplishments you've made in your first (almost full) year with Cuna. It's amazing how far and how much we can change in just a year.

  10. What an amazing transformation in just one year. You are truly an inspiration!

  11. Wow, what an amazing year! I can't wait to see what 2013 holds for you and Cuna!

  12. You are like a completely different rider from who you were at the beginning of the year. I am so thrilled for you that you are enjoying yourself and I don't think you could have picked a cuter, more genuine horse as your new partner.

  13. My fav time of year when the yearly recaps come in. You guys have come so far, you should be so proud. Onto 2013!

  14. Fabulous! What a wonderful 2012 - it really is amazing to see your progress with Cuna; you've come a long way in a short amount of time!

  15. I really love being able to see all your progress back to back, it really does help to show just how far the two of you have come in one year. Looking forward to 2013!

  16. As many have said before, I love this and might be stealing this to put up on my blog, if I ever get around to updating it that is. I'm so happy that you were able to find such a forgiving gentleman to teach you that riding is actually fun!

  17. Wow you have made so much progress in a year :)

  18. This is so awesome! You and Cuna had such an amazing year together! I'm so happy you found him and that you have your confidence back. I can't wait to see what kind of awesomeness you two get up to in 2013!


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