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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

2018 in Review

2018 was quite the year for Ellie!  I remember being so excited and nervous in May for our first ever dressage tests and having NO real clue how this year might pan out.  I had so many plans and ideas, but I took my cues from Ellie and what she needed and was ready for.

The following goals are what I outlined back on the first day of January 2018.  Let's see how it all worked out, shall we?  

Start dressage/jumping lessons
The eventing instructor I alluded to in my above post never really panned out.  I reached out to her initially in November 2017 to see if she was taking new students and she seemed excited to help me, but when I contacted her in April to actually begin lessons, she was a bit noncommittal.  She said weekends were too hard for her to schedule anything and weekdays were all over the place.  I was like uhhhh, alright (insert confused and sad face).  At that point, I had already started dressage lessons with Beth, so I kind of took the response as a sign that maybe she wasn't interested in helping me after all and left it alone.

Instead, I lucked out with riding with Beth.  Granted, this is just for dressage lessons, but to me that is more important in the scheme of life right now anyway.  I lessoned with Beth from the first weekend of April until the end of November this year, just about every single week.  I am not close to ANYONE when it comes to decent dressage instruction, so I am glad I thought of her and reached out to see if she would take me on as a student.  It is worth the 58 minute drive one way to get to her farm.  Beth has already become an integral part of our success, and I feel as though I will be riding with her for years to come.

I also was able to start a relationship with Babette as a jumping/eventing instructor, which in the long run is probably going to be even better than the original instructor I had considered.  She comes to a farm close to me (close meaning a 50 minute drive haha) once a month.  I was only able to ride with Babette three times this year, but it was well worth it.  I tried to ride with her twice this fall, but one day my child's daycare did not have power so he could not attend, and I ended up having to stay home with him instead of taking the lesson.  That was a waste of a personal day haha!  Oh well!  And then a few weeks ago, I signed up again and had to cancel last minute because it was freezing rain that day and there was no way in hell was I driving my trailer on the roads in that weather.

So, I think it is safe to say I have begun really great relationships with two excellent instructors who will help us meet our future goals!
such a model haha
Continue to expose Ellie to new things
This goal was also a resounding success.  I wanted to do some ground work this year, and she mastered opening a gate from her back, had lots of basic in hand work, starting to learn to drive/ground drive, and even learned her smile trick haha.  I wanted to take her out and about as much as I could, and I think between lessons, shows, and trail riding, she is well on her way to becoming a solid citizen.  Her self confidence and confidence in me has grown immensely in the past year!  
Just stand nicely, Ellie
CHEESE! - Ellie, probably
Try a few dressage shows and combined tests
I had wanted to definitely do as many local GMO schooling shows as I could, and as luck would have it, several of the shows were double or triple GMO pointed.  So we qualified for three different GMO year end award programs!  Whooo!  It was awesome to get out to so many cheap and local shows, and Ellie definitely took to showing well this year!

I also was able to three little two-phases, which was super fun.  Ellie still has to gain some confidence over fences in order to compete over a XC course, but I am really pleased with our combined tests.  

Maybe try more of the jumper shows with NEJA?  Or other little local schooling shows?
This was a goal that I didn't care if I met, but we did get to two little open shows, one in July at the local fair and the other this fall at a benefit show.  These were excellent experiences, which I know will help us someday when we try the big Morgan shows!  

the outtakes are the best haha
Keep both horses healthy, happy, and sound
This is always my goal as a horsewoman.  I own horses on both sides of the age spectrum, with Dreamy turning 28 this upcoming year (omg!) and Ellie coming seven. Both mares are looking fabulous and ready for the never-ending winter.  Dreamy has needed a bit of a grain change this year to maintain her weight and some early blanketing on the super cold days this fall, but those are easy things to do for her to keep her well.  

A few statistics:

Overall, I am so proud of how well we met our 2018 goals.  Looking back, I feel as though I did a ton of things with Ellie and that was the entire point.  She rose to the challenges and even when she had her baby moments, nothing was ever over the top or out of control.  For her very first year under saddle, first year showing, and first year trailering, I could not have asked for a better mare!


Sara said…
Congrats on a stellar 2018. I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for you guys
Liz Stout said…
You two had an absolutely stellar year. I loved following along and getting to know you both better. What a ribbon haul! Congratulations on all of your successes and fingers crossed for a not-so-terrible winter.
Thank you!! I am super excited for 2019 and trying to not get bogged down and sad about the ice that has taken hold around here. It is making riding difficult and I am getting cranky haha.
Thank you!! I love that you are following along on our journey, as it feels nice to have blogger horsey friends cheering us on! Right now the ice is taking hold of the footing and making me sad, but Ellie mare could use a little down time so I am trying to stay positive! ;-)
Nadia Novik said…
Nicely done! I'm jealous you got to ride with Daryl Kinney- she seems like such a fantastic horsewoman, and I love everything Denny.. lol
I can't wait to see what the coming year brings for you and Ellie!
Genny Macy said…
She is such a rockstar!! You guys totally knocked it out of the ballpark.
OnTheBit said…
I love it! You are letting me live through you and every time I see an Insta with a ribbon picture it makes me smile! You two are doing great and I hope the good things keep on coming in 2019!
Laura said…
Nice satin haul! :-) What a great year with Ellie - can't wait to see what 2019 holds for you as a team!
Martidoll said…
Those ribbons SO MUCH BLUE!!! So excited for what is coming up for you and Ellie next year you had such a great year this year. Glad Dreamy is doing okay too!! Ice here too. BOO GO AWAY. I hope it thaws a bit for you soon. :)
L.Williams said…
You two had a really successful year!
If you EVER get the chance to ride with her, I cannot recommend her highly enough! She is great!
Thank you! She is quite the little horse!
Thank you!! I hope so, too!
Thank you! She has amazed me so far, now I just need to be patient through our off season haha.
I could not believe how much blue until I actually started putting it all on her hahaha. Oh wait, what do I do with these other colors that don't fit on her neck....? LOL Such a problem to have! Ugggg ice in TN, too? That sucks. It is supposed to warm up to the low 40s this weekend, so I feel like it will be almost summery outside. It was -4 this morning OMG SO COLD for December!
Thank you! We really did! It was a perfect introduction to being a grown up horse, so now I feel like I can dial it back a notch haha.