2019 was the year of… everything.
It was amazing. I accomplished things I’d not thought possible. It was hard. Not only did I work my ass off to make it all happen, but my family, both human and hairy, changed more this year than ever before.
It was just a lot.
And it culminated in the longest unintentional break from blogging in the 5 years that this blog has existed.
Sorry ‘bout that.
I figure though, that when I look back at this year, there will be a few events that stand out specifically. So here they are, in chronological order.
Early in 2019, I realized something I never thought possible- that Foster would come back into my life in such a big way. It’s been an absolute joy having him around, and seeing him thrive in his non-show-dressage job, even if it’s been hard to reconcile just how fat he has gotten over the years. He’s still the same goofy, cuddly, licking creature he always was, if a little more suspicious than he used to be. It’s been amazing.
I get that a lot of people aren’t cat people. And if you never met Elliot, I guess it’s hard to explain- except that his personality was bigger than any cat, or any dog, and that his weirdness made him larger than life. He was my janky, snaggle toothed, scar faced, crazy-ass love of my life. Losing him was a definite low of 2019. The flip side to losing Elliot is that we then adopted a janky Manx cat of a different kind, and Effie has started to help me heal in her own cross eyed, crazy-ass way.
3. The AECs
After qualifying with my clear XC round at VAHT, most of the summer went towards bubble wrapping Jack and working on our fitness. I obsessed over every detail, without trying to go overboard (fail), bleaching his tail, doing fitness work in 90+ degree heat, practicing every part of Novice B until my brain hurt, and freaking out about the drive to Kentucky. The anxiety that went into the AECs was rewarded though by an amazing experience that ran the gambit of my AMAZING friends buying t-shirts in support, to hearing the cheers of my teammates and husband as I galloped amongst the beautiful oaks of the KY Horse Park, and ending with a big beautiful purple ribbon and taking part in a victory gallop as I thought about all my idols that had done so before me. #Worthit
4. The Burnout
Somewhere in the middle of the spring, as I was working towards qualifying for AECs, I landed a promotion that made me official manager of a team of 6. The growing pains of learning to manage, not only an increased workload with executive exposure for myself, but also for a host of other people, has been an amazing opportunity but also a source of stress over the year. Coupled then with my own equestrian journey towards Kentucky once work was done, I felt like 2019 was a marathon that I never got to finish. I ended September feeling accomplished but absolutely stripped of energy, enthusiasm, and financially broke. Because of this last element, I finished September and threw myself into photography work to make up the difference. You know what doesn’t help burnout? Working more. Basically, this was the year of my attempting to be a machine and failing. Yay 2019.
5. WHES Championships
Because of item #4, I didn’t even finish recapping that show. It was massive, and I hoped desperately to finish in the money ($1000 to first place! at a schooling show!). The downside to it being a schooling show though is that I had to compete against professionals (a rule that is changing next year, since the whole series is really in the spirit of amateur/juniors getting positive experiences). To summarize my non-existent recap, I finished fourth behind 3 pros, and as the highest placed amateur won myself a stack of goodies. I also should have won a bit of money, but I got busy with work/life/photography/burnout and never collected it. I’m an idiot. But yay goodies?!
That’s my 2019 in review. 2020- I hope for more exciting adventures from you, and a little more self preservation/care for myself.