2018 Annual and Q1 Goals

I broke these into two pieces. Research shows goal setting is more effective when you use SMART goals, so I try to utilize those in my quarterly goals. But my annual goals? I like to think of those as themes for the year. They’re not specific, they’re not really even measurable, but they’re ideas I’d like to guide my year, allowing for the flexibility that I need (because my life has this way of changing in like, two weeks, ahem see: move to Indiana in 13 days).

Annual Goals 

  • Prioritize experiences over things
    • Money spent on lessons, clinics, learning and the occasional non-horse related things as opposed to money spent on another pair of breeches, a cute pair of shoes, etc.
  • Fewer, better things
    • Yeah, I stole Cuyana‘s tagline, whatevs. Obviously I can’t live with one pair of socks, but do I really need (another) candle? How many jackets does the dog really need? This goes hand in hand with the next goal…
  • Declutter life
    • More than likely, move 9 in 9 years is coming in the spring (locally, thank God). Despite this ridiculous number of moves, I still have a little bit of moving PTSD and too much stuff. I want to declutter all the stuff before I move it all… again. Notice all three of these are related.
  • Prioritize finances where they matter
    • Um, also relates to number 1. A lot. But more than that, I want to add more to my 401k this year, I want to pay more on my car, more on my student loans and add to my savings accounts. When it comes down to it, I need very few things at this point – food, gas, the regular living expenses. And yeah, it’s less fun to put money in a 401k than it is to see the UPS man deliver a package, but it’s also more responsible and now is the time to do it.

 

Quarter 1 Goals:

  • Ride even when it’s cold, don’t be a weenie amateur
    • I am a cold weather wimp. And while there are certainly times where it’s too cold to leave the house (ahem, -3), I also need to man up and utilize all the layers I own and the indoor arena. Even if it’s 20 minutes at the walk and trot without stirrups, or a bareback ride, it’s all going to help come spring.
  • Do not buy any apparel, riding or otherwise, in the month of January.
    • Uh, self-explanatory
  • Keep working without stirrups at least one ride a week
  • Eat real meals
    • Look, I’m not sure why I’m not allowed to subsist on quesadillas and popcorn, but apparently I’m not.
  • Move everyday 
    • Even if it’s just going up and down the stairs at work 7 times, I know this helps with the winter blues
  • Read 20 books
    • 13 weeks, 20 books. Should be do-able if I prioritize books over bad television.
  • Get a haircut
  • Have Fin deshedded once monthly
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Nov/Dec 2017 Goal Update

We’re obviously into a new year now, but I wanted to revisit these before moving onto 2018’s goals, which I’m thinking about while I’m on self-imposed house arrest because it’s too freaking cold to do anything.

 

Hiding from the real world like…

Horse/Riding

  • Improve dressage score at final show of year (Nov 11) – YES. Best score of the year.
  • Do not go off course/fall off at final show of year – Yup. Frozen, but stayed on.
  • Confidently get around BN course, however that may be – Never XC schooled, but did get around the BN SJ course well!
  • Find something to stop grazing muzzle rubs on smooshy nose – Fuzzy halter covers!
  • Work on not periscoping head around, and instead taking the comments from our last dressage test: “lower neck to connect through back” – Um. It got.. better? Ish? We’ll call it 50%
  • Work without stirrups every ride, increasing time – Not every ride, but between bareback and dropping stirrups, probably 80% of the time?
  • Ride bareback at least 3 times – Yup!

Life/Personal

  • Workout at least four times while home for Thanksgiving – hahahahahahahah. No.
  • Put money away for saddle fund – Yes! Not as much as I’d like (uh, thanks car), but something is better than nothing.
  • Read a book instead of binge watching television – I read some books. I also binge watched some TV. We’ll call it a draw.
  • Snuggle with Lucy horse at my parents’ house – Yesssss. Cookies and snuggs.

I’m calling that success. Granted… a lot of those were softball goals. But I’ll take the wins where I can get ’em. I’m working through 2018’s goals, breaking them down and figuring out where I want to be in 12 months, but there are some things still up in the air that throw in some uncertainty. Needless to say, they might not won’t happen before the 1st, but they’ll happen.

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How cold is too cold?

With all the talk of cold weather around the country right now and so many bloggers experiencing freezing temperatures, I thought I would repost this from a local veterinarian. A great scientific (!) look into the question, “how cold is too cold to ride?” Enjoy, stay warm and have a happy new year! We’ll see you in 2018!

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2017: In Review

Well, it’s been a year, that’s for sure, for better and for worse.

The beginning of the year saw Fin come home, the greatest belated Christmas gift there was. I wrapped up 2016 with a count of the number of shoes I purchased: 16. 2017’s count? 15. Oops. It snowed in South Carolina. I got used to life with a dog, was still working in human healthcare and not riding. It was 80 degrees. Dad came to town and took me to dinner, we discovered alternative facts must have been what horses have been spooking at all this time, and I spent a weekend refinishing a free dresser. Discovered that when being read in on a confidential project saying, “it’s okay my only friend is my dog,” does not instill as much confidence as you think it might. Learned Fin likes to be vacuumed. Reorganized my closet, cleaned my baseboards and generally prepared for spring.

Miss this little apartment!

Went to NYC for a weekend with my best friends. Purchased expensive candles, saw the Carole King Broadway show, laughed way too hard, ate a lot of really good food. Cheered on the Heels to a National Championship!

Jump judged The Fork 3* and realized I was officially bitten by the eventing bug and it wasn’t going anywhere.

Went to Asheville, NC and spent the day hiking with a friend and the dogs. Fell into a waterfall.

Not capable of looking at a camera

Flew up to Washington DC for a week and visited multiple friends, bought a scrunchie, attended a wedding and… ate. Duh. Spent a day with our Life Flight crew on the helicopter and had one of the coolest experiences of my life to date.

Accepted a job in Indiana and moved, 13 days later. Spent almost a month back in New Mexico between jobs, celebrated my younger brother’s high school graduation and rode Lucy bareback in a halter.

Tolerating me.

Started new job in veterinary medicine and bought Fin the Dog a swimming pool.

Signed a lease on Doc and officially jumped head first into the eventing world. Celebrated a quarter century on Earth. Finished my first CT!

This moment happened

Went to Kansas City for work and snuggled puppies.

College football season started!

Proved to Olivia how awkward I am

Visited Olivia in Virginia, rode Frankie the Unicorn and drank wine with a mini-donk. My parents came to town and I fell off Doc… turning. Observed neighborhood plant drama.

Everyone
took
naps

Auburn. Won. The. Iron. Bowl.

I showed (successfully!) at BN. I did not freeze to death.

Still not impressed
Rode cowhorses

Fin and I went home for Thanksgiving, I continued the saddle shopping ordeal, and did Black Friday damage. Discovered that my fate was determined in 1999.

Totaled my car. Celebrated our company’s 35th anniversary and looked like a real human!

Went home for Christmas, bought a new car, bought a saddle, bought three jackets to deal with real winter. Took the donkey on a walk.

Returned to single digit temperatures in Indianapolis, cried to myself. Took a blanket to work. Received the almost-last of the Black Friday purchases and wrote a blog post summarizing the entire year.


While perhaps not the horsiest of years I’ve had, once I ended up in Indy it became decidedly more so. 2017 was a big year of change – my first big job out of fellowship, my first move above the Mason-Dixon line, a transition from human medicine to veterinary medicine. I grew up a lot in 2017 and started to feel like I might actually sortof understand this adult thing at 25.

This begins photos unrelated to anything that I like and never shared

 

I realized the horses keep me sane when everything else in my life goes a little haywire. While this post may be more personal than equestrian, they’re all so interrelated in my life that I don’t think it’s possible to talk about one without the other.

Some changes were scarier than others, but I learned I can trust my gut, that I know myself better than I think I do and that I’m stronger than I think I am.

Fin does not doubt his strength

I gained confidence personally and professionally and realized I have the power to change circumstances that made me unhappy. While I’m nervously excited to creep towards the upper end of my 20s, I’m also at peace with a lot. I loved South Carolina, but spent a lot of my time there anxious and unsettled and while the move wasn’t one I ever imagined for myself, it has certainly provided some relief to those emotions.

Thanks to this great community, I’ve made friends all over the country, ended up in a new sport, developed an addiction to obnoxiously expensive Italian breeches and had a damn good time. Grateful that at the end of the day I am happy, healthy and incredibly blessed. Ready for 2018 – onwards and upwards!

And for everyone who reads this stuff…
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Holly & Jolly

I’ll be back in action soon (as I write this from my parents’ couch where I’ve taken not one, but two naps today), but since I left you last with the world’s biggest pity party, I thought a more positive update before Christmas was in order. Fitting, because Christmas came early this year…

First, the day I found out my car was totaled, I came home to my Secret Santa gift from Sarah at DraftMare which automatically made my day 100x better. I didn’t take any photos before I unwrapped it, but the dog had a great time playing with the wrapping paper (important things in life). She totally hit it out of the park with this adorable C4 belt (how did she know I’ve always wanted one?!) and matching socks (seriously, I love socks so much it’s not funny). And in navy, duh, because #navyornothing. Plus about 9832498 peppermints. AND I got a new blog to read.

As always, thanks to Tracy for coordinating all of us and realizing gifts are my love language. Well, gifts and sugary treats.

Then, the demo saddle I’d been waiting for from County came in… and it’s amazing. Beautiful. Perfect. And was less than I had expected.

It’s a 2013 17.5 County Conquest, but it must have been a demo because this thing looks like it’s had maybe 15 rides in it. My County rep was amazing to work with – she put up with the princess and the pea horse (he measures a medium, but wants to go in a wide…) and my short legs’ needs. It’s amazing how it feels to ride a saddle that actually actively helps you versus fighting one.

Finally (these keep getting progressively more expensive), thanks to the poor crunchy car episode, Santa (aka my bank account…) decided to bring me some new wheels. Doc probably appreciates this, since I jokingly said that with the new saddle, I’d just start riding him to work everyday. Conditioning work, right?

Luckily, we spared him this horror and I’m proudly the new owner of an Acura RDX. You know, just my dream car. Santa definitely spoiled me, that’s for sure.

Otherwise, we’re just over here enjoying vacation, two and four legged members alike…

Sancho the Mini-Donk aka a New Mexican Reindeer
Fin was less thrilled
And as a parting gift… The expression of 2017 and the one who puts up with me.

Merry Christmas to all (two and four legged)!

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Mr. Grinch

I recovered from my nice strep session this weekend more or less and had grand plans involving a large (fun) purchase, riding my horse, finishing my Christmas shopping and other general life things this week, capping it off with our big Christmas party next Sunday.

Then I totaled my car Monday night. (If you don’t care to read my pity party, feel free to just know I’m okay and skip this. Doesn’t offend me.)

Rewind. I handle new employee orientation at my job and Monday night we had an evening session meaning I didn’t leave until about 8:15pm. I’ll spare the details (aka I’ve spent all day on the phone with insurance and don’t really feel like typing it out… again), but it was… not good. Bye-bye front end of cute Cadillac. I’m sore af, bruised the heck out of my ribs and managed to bruise one very specific spot on the outside of my right foot (???), but no major injuries. I hit my steering wheel hard enough for it to bruise and knock the wind out of me and nobody can figure out why my airbag didn’t go off, but I guess we’re just lucky it wasn’t worse. (And that I didn’t have TunaDog with me, since he comes to work with me relatively often.)

Crunch.

Within 45 minutes of looking at my car this morning, insurance was like, uh, yeah, that’s totaled. Cool guys. So, Merry Christmas, I get to buy a new car which was decidedly not in the budget this winter. What was in the budget? Clinics, lessons, saving up for event camp next summer…

I’m just pissed. So so happy not to be hurt of course and I know it could have been way worse, but pissed that all my fun horse money just flew out the window. Riding is my therapy, it keeps me sane, it has been the only thing I’ve really thrown myself into since I moved to Indiana. I left all my friends and family behind and I happily spend all of my time at the barn, at work, snuggling with TunaDog or sleeping basically. It’s not like car = never riding, but it definitely throws a wrench in my plans.

Plans like working all winter to successfully go BN in 2018. Like clinics with the trainers they bring in and consistent lessons with C. And that didn’t become impossible, but it sure as hell just became a lot harder.

I have some longer term plans (like 6 month range) that will help with the budget, but the next few months are are going to get pretty tight (plus it’s cold and I hate cold). Yay.

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Mini Reviews and the No Saddle Club

I’m currently finishing out the remainder of my 24 hour strep throat quarantine from my living room couch, where the extent of my human contact has been listening to my neighbor’s Christmas party downstairs. One, which I am invited to, but you know, strep throat isn’t really a great hostess gift. Or so they tell me.

Instead, I decided, what better time to throw a hodgepodge of reviews and things I currently like at you? Strep throat is not on the list, FYI. 0/10, do not recommend.

Fur-Zoff Pet Hair Remover

The consequence of a Cyber Monday Amazon Prime ‘One Click Buy’, this weird little rock has become my favorite new obsession. Horse people = dog people, more or less and I am no exception. The downside to adorable Bluefin Tuna Dog (his formal name), is that he sheds like nothing I have ever seen before. Like the entire barn in April. Like my blonde hair when it sees a black cashmere sweater. Like a drunk fraternity boy losing his clothes en route to a pool at 1am.

His hair (the dog, not the fraternity boy), embeds itself in my furniture and makes itself at home. Forever. Or so I thought. Until I discovered the Fur-Zoff. You basically just… brush? with this thing and the hair all pulls out and balls up and you basically have a brand new looking couch. For $10.

Paper Pony Co. Pretty Pony Notepad

I love notepads and stationery, so when I saw this one from Paper Pony Co. it was a no brainer to add this to my office supplies. I wasn’t disappointed either. Not only did it come packaged adorably with this nice note, she even included a cute postcard and stickers.

The notepad itself is high quality and on nice, thick paper. It’s only 50 sheets, but it’s 4″x6″ and has 10 lines with extra room around the margins.

 

Heist Tights

Now reeealllly not related to horses. But if you’re like me, you have to go to work to pay for the horses. And between the months of December – March, that means tights come into play. Let the record show: I hate tights. HATE. I find them itchy, annoying, they roll or fall down, they snag… the WORST. But I discovered Heist Tights recently and um, all of my feelings changed. These are the best tights ever. They’re soft. They don’t roll (I swear!), they don’t fall down. They’re downright comfortable.

They come packaged adorably from the UK and their customer service is super happy to help make sure you have the right size. I’m not posting photos of myself wearing tights ’cause uh, no, but take my word here. I’m a 30 in breeches (44 Italian), about a 10 US in regular pants and their 12-14 fits me perfectly. I have the 50 and 80 denier in a low rise (think midrise breeches) and love both pairs. These are for sure a work winter staple.

I’m still waiting on a few Black Friday purchases and will happily review when they’re here.

We got our first snow this morning and I’m happily enjoying watching it out the window, baking bread and not going anywhere. It’s super pretty so I’m trying to bottle up this feeling when it’s still snowing in like, April or something and I want to cry/move/die.

I’ve already halfway thrown in the towel on effort, as reflected by my Wednesday ride this past week where I decided I was too cold (it was like 35 and omg am I becoming a midwesterner because I literally was like, oh that’s not even that cold, HELP WHO AM I) to put on a saddle. So bareback it was. Everyone else at the barn had the same idea, leading me to make the joke we were like the No Saddle Club.

I think I’m a lot funnier than I am, by the way.

All that to say, we got our best trot we’ve probably ever had for the longest amount of time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my saddle back anytime soon at this rate.

 

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The beginning of the damage

So I miiiighttt have done some Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday damage this year.

My UPS man realllllyyy hates me right now.

What did we make out with? A lot of things are still being made/in transit, but the first go-round delivered.

RJ Classics Gulf Breeches in green

I like these a lot – they’re super pretty. But they have the same downfall all my breeches have: the size that fits me everywhere else is a littllleee tight on the waist. Not enough to send them back, but uh, these won’t be fat day breeches.

TuffRider Regal Field Boots

These were an insane price from RW, so I figured I’d try them out. (Apparently I am turning into Stacie.) And they’re lovely for the price. But, I ordered a 7.5 Regular, my normal size, and they’re huge. Because of course. So I’m trying to debate exchanging for the 7 Slim vs just returning because do I really need a 4th pair of boots?

County Crop 19″

I needed a new crop, but I really didn’t want a boring black one. I also don’t have the budget for a fancy custom one. This ended up being a great compromise from RW. It has navy! So maybe it won’t grow legs and leave me…

I also ended up with a new pair of Roeckl gloves since mine no longer have any grip on them.

That’s just the RW box though… there might be 8 more packages coming… Bonnets, browbands, saddle pads, oh my!

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The off season

It’s obviously holiday season (if you missed that, you might want to consider exiting your cave because good food) and with that comes travel. All the travel.

Unrelated photo of my tack trunk aka my car

I’m currently home in New Mexico for Thanksgiving until the 27th, quickly followed by a trip December 1st-4th and back home December 20th-28th. Leaving very little time for other things… like riding. On one hand, it’s the off season, there’s nothing big on the calendar looming and it’s nice to have time with my family (I am apparently a weird person who loves nothing more than hanging out with her parents). It’s beautiful weather here, the dog is overjoyed to have my parents’ big property to run free on and I reallyreallyreally love having someone else responsible for my meals. Like, really. Like, I got home Saturday night, but my parents were actually out of town until Sunday afternoon, so instead of going to get food or something to feed myself Sunday, I just waited for them to get home to get dinner. As my mother put it, I was lazy-hungry – too lazy to be seriously hungry. Truth.

Second unrelated photo of showing at CAF – trying saddles meant I had four saddles for one horse. Obnoxious AF.

The flip side is that the off season is the time to get good. It’s always been the time of year of torture – this is our chance to fix stuff, improve, put the work in that will pay off come springtime. So being gone 23 days in fiveish weeks? Puts a bit of a dent in that plan.

Current dog situation at my parents house… only minor chaos

Instead of coming up with fun ways of trying to die on horseback, I’m just trying to keep up some semblance of fitness amongst all the pie and potatoes and birthday cake (five weeks = three immediate family birthdays). Instead of spending all my spare time at the barn, my life looks something like work, pack, airport, fly, airport, unpack, laundry, work, pack…

It’s not like these couple weeks are going to torpedo my goals for 2018 or set me back months and months, but they have a little bit of a sting. I want to be at the barn, working hard, putting in the blood, sweat and tears (k maybe not the blood). I want to come out at BN in 2018, ready to kill it. I want lower dressage scores and clean jump rounds and to meet the goals I set for myself.

Goalz (um not the rail down)

But while 17 year old me would have focused entirely single mindedly on these things and let that little sting become something more, there’s a great thing about age – you grow up. And 25 year old me? Yeah, I can’t wait to get back. But I’m also not going to rush through the holidays and cease to enjoy the time with my family. There’s no expiration date on my goals, I’m not Cinderella, the clock isn’t going to strike midnight and turn Doc into a pumpkin.

Lab vs JRT/Corgi = Fin gets dragged around. Despite this, the lab is hilarious afraid of him.

So if it’s a little quiet around here, there’s your why. I’m probably at about 30,000 feet, on my parents’ couch or otherwise somehow entertaining myself. I’m going to enjoy these 23 days, feel lucky that I have a family to spend the holidays with and after they’re over? Well then the real work starts.

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Day in the life

These are fun to read from everyone else, so I thought I’d add mine! For reference, I work from home most Wednesdays and Fridays, but occasionally other days during the week as well, just depending on meetings and current projects, etc. I’m in a business strategy/HR type role in the veterinary industry, so I’m pretty flexible depending on the time. My projects come and go, so certain times are crazy (um, last week?) and others are a lot slower (late summer this year). I’m also on call essentially all the time to deal with various HR things, so while I’m getting better about turning off my phone/e-mail, I’m always aware of it. I’m lucky enough to only be 20 minutes from my office, but I’m a solid 45 to the barn without traffic.

Doc gets Mondays off typically, his owner/Trainer C rides on Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday and I ride Wednesday, Friday, Saturday. This is all a little variable depending on C’s job, so I occasionally will pick up a Tuesday or Thursday.

Other things obviously vary – sometimes I have to work early or late (hi 7am Friday meetings!), sometimes the dog comes with me to work so I have to run him home if I’m going to the barn, sometimes the weather epically sucks and I go home and eat cookies. Such is life.


Click to zoom
Things change a little bit in the summer when I have more light in the evenings or it’s really hot, but this seems to be the consistent schedule for now. Of course, I’m already planning on moving to a new house in the spring because I apparently hate settling in and I’m sure everything will change… again.

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