Happy New Year! It is New Year’s Eve in my neck of the woods but as some of you are all over the world, a celebratory greeting is in order! Today’s post is par for the course: it is a look back at everything that has happened this year and some announcements that are quite overdue.

Relocating to Windsor Stables
One of the biggest changes this year was relocating to LAEC (Los Angeles Equestrian Center) to train with Windsor Stables and Michael Leon. While I have definitely had my ups and downs when it comes to adjusting to a new trainer and training-style, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to continue learning and to better myself for the coming show season, which brings me to…

Showing (Again)
Being shoved into the show ring with two weeks of preparation after over a year off from the circuit is not a feeling I will soon forget, but it did teach me something very valuable: if I didn’t believe in myself, I was not going to ride to my best capability. I had not realized how much I had missed showing, and getting the opportunity to do so again, despite a rocky start, is something I am so glad to have jumped into!

Breaking My Collarbone
Since there are already a couple posts dedicated to my first serious injury (here and here), this will be brief. The main thing I want to say is that it is not until you physically cannot do the very thing that keeps you alive and moving forward that you realize how dreadfully boring life is without it. In my case, I was absolutely miserable to be around for two months and will now take this time to apologize profusely to my friends: please forgive me for being such a foul-witted git.

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Bringing Trooper Back
Right around the time I was suspended from the saddle, my six-year old gelding got to start going back to work and getting in shape on the flat. While he is still miserably out of shape and has a long way to go in terms of being ready to show, I am so happy I get to kiss his puppy dog face every day at the barn: he truly does keep me sane some days.

Getting Back in the Saddle
Pro tip: do not push yourself too fast when you’re coming back from an injury, aka don’t ride your six year old and nearly get bucked off the first day back. Pro tip #2: try to not be too hard on yourself mentally because getting back into anything, especially a sport, takes time and everyone understands that. Pro tip #3: epsom salt baths are going to be your best friend, because your muscles will absolutely hate you.

Ending a Relationship
On a more personal note, I ended a two-year long relationship this year, and I’m happy that I did. To avoid details, I had gotten stuck in the loops of constantly trying to please my significant other and lost sight of myself in the process, and it ended up taking a toll on my physical, mental, and emotional health for months. My main point here is that sometimes you have to be selfish, and even though it may be hard, you’re the only “you” you get and you need to take care of yourself, regardless of what may need to end or change in the process.

Saying “See You Later” to Jack
After the epic Crash-and-Burn of Flintridge 2015, Union Jack was not healing as quickly as we anticipated due to his older age, and my parents, Michael, and I made the executive decision to ship him back to his owner to heal and recuperate with the hopes of showing him again in the second half of the season. I struggle immensely saying goodbye to any horse I ride, and there still remains to be a hole in my heart where Jack should be. I am, however, very hopeful that we will take the jumper ring by storm soon!

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Welcoming Cassandro Z
Life has a funny way of making things fall into place when you least expect it, and in the case of Cassandro Z, that was the case. A stallion who has admirable success in the jumper and Grand Prix arenas, when he came into the barn for me to try I was absolutely terrified. Huge, strong, and powerful, he is unlike any other horse I have ever ridden…and I love it. Already in the two weeks we have worked together I have learned so much, and I am SO STOKED to announce that he will be my mount for HIITS Thermal 2016!

All-in-all, 2015 had its fair share of ups and downs, but I am excited to tackle 2016 head-on. Celebrate safely, and I’ll see you next year!
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