2019 in review
A facebook memory came up the other day that reminded me that Henry did his first ever proper cross country training session 12 months ago. It really put things into perspective for me and has made me think that now is as good time as any to reflect back on 2019.
2019 has, to put it lightly, been a pretty shit year. Horse wise things have been great, but outside of that things were awful, and it has really been about putting one foot in front of the other just to get through the day. Things have gotten so much better recently and although I am so busy I don’t have time to scratch my arse, life is so much better. Mental health issues are not something to be taken lightly and they can sneak up on you.
Thankfully horses were the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel and helped give me purpose when it was tough just to get out of bed and get through the day.
This year didn’t go quite how I thought it would, I thought I would still have Coolie out competing and Henry still training in the background getting ready to make his debut. However Henry stepped right up early in the year and I found myself so incredibly motivated to work with him but I had no drive to do anything with Coolie. Henry like to work and Coolie finds it all too hard.
January started out with a good jump on Henry where I stretched myself and jumped round 70-80 and felt really challenged by it. Coolie and I worked hard in a dressage lesson, we went riding by the river with friends, I analysed the new dressage tests and was gung ho with my dressage goals. Andrew also became an Australian which was a highlight!
February started with jumping lessons with Jonna and Henry was incredible. It got pretty hot so we rode in the mornings, Coolie went dressage training and it was horrible, Andrew and I went to a SJ course design seminar that was really interesting henry went dressage training where he was tense but tried his best in his first novice test and relaxed throughout the day.
March saw us at our first completion for the year and Henry was such a good pony. He was perfectly behaved all day, and tried his best. I was on a confidence high after that! Coolie and I went cross country training and I stacked it by jumping ahead of the horse. Learnt from that mistake and had a great session after that! Henry went to the Off the Track Showman day and was such a good boy in a new place, we had a great flatwork lesson too and then Andrew and I flew half way around the world for a holiday.
April saw us ride horses in Wales and Scotland, climb mountains and I became obsessed with bumble bees, the cute little fuzzy butts that they are. It was such an amazing holiday and I really wish I could go back to that time.
I kicked May off by clipping the horses since it was so warm still, the horses came back into work like the stars they are and I had 3 lessons with Jonna. Our flat work lesson was productive and gave us a lot of homework. Show jumping was productive and we worked to improve Henry’s form over the jumps and we put the jumps right up to help with that. Cross country was the highlight, we went to a new course and Henry was awesome, starting to feel really confident. Henry and I went dressage training again and while Henry was very clam, he was tense and so our scores were pretty average. I had another lesson where I asked about what contact actually meant and I suddenly understood so much more!
June was super exciting, Henry did his first even cross country competition and I was so nervous. He was amazing though and while very green was willing to do what was needed. We even got a ribbon! Winter was slow in coming but it eventually rained and I fell off in the bush. I planned for our first eventing start and had some more lessons with Jonna. I went XC training solo and Henry was incredible, so grown up and brave.
July was a hectic month, Coolie got kicked, Rosie came home, I went to 2 competitions in a weekend and was pretty disappointed in how we went. I put a heap of pressure on myself and didn’t meet my own expectations. I was in the depths of a mental health breakdown at this point and everything was suffering. Rosie helped a lot though.
August was the month I had been counting down to and to prepare for our first event I had back to back lessons that were really tough but us in a perfect place for Gidge CNC. The event itself went far better than I imagines, Henry was third after dressage, jumped so well in a small show jumping ring and was green cross country but he listened and gained confidence as the course went on. We went to a local show and had a really successful day, I felt like things were solid and we were starting to see much more consistent results.
Dressage went backwards a little bit in September with Henry feeling very stressed at a show in Kellerberrin. We got through it though and it was a great learning experience. We had more successful lessons with Jonna, we worked on Henry landing on the correct lead and Henry got a heap stronger and straighter. We went XC training again and Henry was super, tried so hard but we found a few things we had to work on. The jumps slowly got bigger too. Henry did his second event and dressage was a tense affair, show jumping was really good and I was disappointed about having a stop at a bank on cross country. We placed, but I felt I didn’t deserve it. Henry improved so much at this event and was miles more confident out on cross country.
October started with me falling off twice and having my fragile confidence knocked a bit. This really showed up when we went to Capel for Henrys third event and dressage was a write off, mentally I was unprepared, I was devastated at my performance and really really negative. I pulled myself together for an improved show jumping round and a nice steady, confident xc run. Coolie went to his first show all year and I had the best time, and even got a ribbon. Jonna and I worked on me having jelly arms and I found I stayed with Henry so much better. We went XC training and Henry was truly a machine, answering some really tough questions with enthusiasm and it was the most fun ever.
November was our final event for the year and it was amazing. Henry was so relaxed in dressage and I was thrilled. Show jumping was confident and easy and so was cross country. We finished 5th and I was over the moon with Henry.
Since then things have been quiet, it’s just been too hot to do much and so we have all been enjoying a bit of a break. Plus I somehow seem to be busier than ever! Looking back over the year shows how far Henry and I have come, how much more confident we both feel. Henry has grown and improved so much, he looks so different now. This year has been tough, my confidence and headspace has been all ver the place but I have kept going and achieved some cool stuff. I am looking forward to a productive summer and getting back to things next year!