One year ago today, I started Riding From The Ground Up. In that year, so much has changed! First for some stats (which really surprised and shocked me)
Over 4 900 page views
Multiple views from as far away as Russia, Australia, and India
Highest traffic point: August 2011 (just under 700 views)
157 Posts (inc this one)
Actually, the incredibly close eye blogger keeps on these things is creepy... you can see who's looking at your blog in this instant in time if you want to... or at least where they're from, what system they operate on (ie Windows, Mac, iPad) and what browser they're using.
Creepiness over and done with, a lot has also happened in that year. Most memorably, I stopped leasing Arty and got Cadence. This was probably one of the hardest decisions I'll ever have to make. My pony is (to steal STB Eventer's word) my heart horse. There will never be anyone as special as him to me. I've struggled and still continue to struggle over whether I've done right by him. I know he has food, water, and all his basic needs met... but I also know he was better off when he was with me. At the same time, he is physically incapable of doing what I want to do in terms of riding. Was it right to put my needs above his? Would I have stayed happy slogging around 2'3 and 2'6 hunter shows though? No way. Cadence has given me so much in terms of letting me go where I want to with my riding. It's slow going, as I've had to show her every step of the way, but she has the talent and the intelligence to get there. I wouldn't have been in that clinic with Belinda had I still been riding Arty. There's so much I couldn't have done... I just struggle as to whether I've done the right thing by him.
Stopping riding Bailey was sad, but I never had the same connection with him that I have with Cadence or Arty. He was a great teacher and a wonderful horse, he just didn't have enough... spunk? Personality? Either way, he didn't have enough ___ for me. So that was sad, but in a 'oh this is inconvenient' kind of way, where you sort of miss him every now and again. I liked him a lot, I just never loved him.
Most recently in terms of horses has been lil miss Launa. I started riding her in the summer, taught her to jump, and then she was sort of snatched out from under my nose with the news that Judy was going to sell her. Actually, I precipitated that snatching al ittle by finding her a part boarder which turned into a semi-leaser. I'll still ride her occasionally, but as of current its been about 2 weeks... and I have no clue when the next time will be.
In terms of competition stuff, the highlight of my year would probably be the clinic with Belinda. I learned so much, and it was fun for a variety of different reasons. Firstly, it was educational. We learned stuff, and improved a fair bit (IMO). Moving on. The clinic was also one of the first times Cadence and I got to do something that we were really quite well prepared for. In the past 2 weeks, her dressage has improved leaps and bounds. During the clinic, we not only surprised my coach with how well Cadence was doing, but I think we kind of surprised ourselves. Either way, it couldn't have come at a better time. It was also fun since we were working at things that are above that basic level. She can w/t/c staying on the bit through her transitions, she can jump nicely around a basic course, she can do all that baby stuff. Now we can move on to some more exciting stuff.
Technically, we went to our first dressage show, first combined training show, and first recognized event (not that we technically completed...). Cadence had her first off property school, first real jump school, first real course, first XC school, first time through a combination, first time through a gymnastic, first time over an oxer (under saddle that is), and a bunch of firsts I'm sure I'm forgetting. All of that was very fun and exciting, but the clinic trumped all.
Where do we go from here? Over the next year, I'd like to have completed a few Pre-Entry level events, a few Entry level events, and at least one Pre Training level event. I'd also like to be successfully showing 1st level dressage, with scores in the mid 60's. Is all this a bit much? Maybe, but if you shoot for the moon, at the very least you'll land amongst the stars. Plus, there's nothing wrong with wishful thinking. I won't be upset if we don't attain these goals. They're just ideas based on our current training, how Cadence has improved over the past year (well 9 months) and where I'd like to see her go.
I'd also like to be a little more consistent with my posting. Chronicle daily riding better, and (maybe just maybe) improve my writing a little. I suppose that would require editing.... yuck. Okay, no to the editing, but I would like to improve my writing. I think I'll also try responding to comments... just for something new.
I've really enjoyed this first year, so here's to many more to come!