2017 was a whirlwind of changes to in my career and a different focus in my riding. A promotion at work saw my professional life ramp up. With Nonie and I being between elementary and medium level, competing took a back seat and the focus was squarely on learning. And I completed my first 12 months as a blogger!
My first year as an equestrian blogger.
In my first year as a blogger I wrote and published 52posts which had just over 7000 views and I ‘met’ and got to work with some fabulous bloggers. Some of my favourite and most popular posts have been:
My most popular post was all about embracing imperfection or ‘daring to suck’ as riders. I talked about how my tendency towards perfectionism has held me back in my riding in the past and the strategies I’ve used to overcome this.
The Featured Rider series was sparked from my desire to share my friend Emily’s journey to The National Dressage Pony Cup. Emily shared about the challenging journey taking her Appaloosa pony Goosebumps from a rescue to Breed Champion at pony cup. From there the series was born. Her advice to other riders was simple but poignant – have patience.
My second featured rider story focused on Bailey Notle – a rider I have admired for quite some time. In the two part series we covered a variety of topics from how Bailey got into riding, to what she loved about dressage and of course we got to learn more about her mare Fair Joy.
Bailey also had some pretty fantastic advice for readers:
– Not comparing our personal journey to someone else’s
– Staying true to the purpose of dressage that is improving the horses way of going
– Fashion over function
– Never stop learning
I had been pondering the issue of motivation and figured I would go to the brains trust (aka my fellow Equestrian bloggers) to find out more about motivation. I asked what motivation is, what causes it to suffer and how we can improve it. A few themes emerged including the importance of setting goals, managing the pressure we place upon ourselves and knowing when to take a step back from riding.
Highlights of 2017
Looking back at the year that was 2017 there were a few clear highlights for me.
Lessons with Brett Parbey
Over the Easter long weekend we traveled down to The Sunshine Coast to attend lessons with Australian Based International dressage rider Brett Parbey. I was struck by his simple yet effective approach to training horses.
In June I had the opportunity to join the EquiMind team as a sponsored rider. Since July we’ve competed every month (with the exception of December) in thier online dressage competitions. This has beena great learning tool for me and has helped me to get back into the ring and ride through dressage tests and receive feedback on them.The Summer Championships were held in September and Nonie and I managed to finish as the Dressage Champions!
My one and only competition for the year took place in July in the warm and dry Townsville. Mum made the flight up to Mackay to help me travel up and share this moment with me.
The tests were certainly not our best work and arguably we were a little green at that level to have made our debut. Nonetheless, I am glad we took the plunge as getting out into the competition arena at this new level served to highlight our weaknesses.
About a month ago, I finally took the plunge and rode Nonie without a bridle. It was something that I had been wanting to do for the longest time and Nonie took to it like a duck to water. I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2018 and improving my ability to ride off my seat and legs.
Lessons on a Pegasus
The final highlight of the year would have to be my lessons on super coach Dani Keogh’s Remi Pegasus (aka Nemo). This was such an invaluable experience which has given me a clearer feeling of collection in the canter and canter pirouettes. I felt how I can use my seat and core to help the collection and keep the hind end active with my legs.
Similarly in the medium trot I got a better feeling of sitting myself in the saddle to help maintain the balance in Nemo’s body as he lengthened.
It was also really cool to see how elements of the warm I do on Nonie (training elementary/medium) were the same as what Dani does with Nemo (training Prix St George) and served as a good reminder of the importance of having the horse quick off your aids and being precise with your aids. For me this means keeping my legs in the correct position.
What were the highlights of your 2017?