I wrote a Hi 2019 blog post one year ago - And I decided before starting this post that I would go back and read it.
I guess I could say that reading through that old blog post was exactly why I decided to keep a blog. My recap of 2018 was absolutely delightful, and my hopes for 2019? Well I would say that close to none of them came true. But I am not in the least bit disappointed.
I absolutely love this time of year - it is a hopeful time of year - sometimes tinged with a little bit of wistfulness. To me, the idea of a "new year", although abstract, is a promise. It is a romantic idea and I love romantic ideas. It is a time to look back for a brief moment, and then to go boldly bounding into tomorrow.
I will start welcoming 2020 by first reflecting on 2019.
Here are five of my biggest highlights from 2019:
Becoming a Riding Instructor at TROTR (now Four Winds Farm): In January, as soon as I returned from my family's annual trip to Hawaii, I begun working as a riding instructor for a local non profit called TROTR (Therapeutic Riding and Off Track Rehabilitation). It was my plan to teach riding lessons at TROTR from January through August 2019, when I would leave for Arizona to attend veterinary school. I fell in love with my job - Teaching was only part of it. All of my students felt like family to me by summer. I ran two successful summer horse camps, taught hundreds of riding lessons, and fell in love with the place.
Taking up Dressage: In the spring, I started seriously considering dressage as a discipline I would like to pursue. I had tried dressage basics out in 2018 with CANTER's Seafire, but it had never piqued my interest. I was able to take my first dressage lesson on Zegna, and then took several on Owen, Newman, and now I am working on the basics of dressage with Archer. I rode in my first couple of dressage clinics, and have felt I have grown tremendously as a rider because of it. One of the best parts of this year was getting so much saddle time.
Deciding to Retire Gallon: After a lot of setbacks and discontent from Gallon, I ponied up and spent a couple thousand dollars on a thorough lameness exam. The results were nothing less than heartbreaking - Gallon needed to be retired. Riding and lunging were both not ideal for him. I knew that he would be a retiree sooner than later when I decided to adopt him from CANTER, but I was hoping to get him sound enough to go to at least one horse show before then. He was such a talented horse to ride.
Withdrawing from MWU School of Veterinary Medicine: After much emotional turmoil, I decided to withdraw from veterinary school in the summer. I received my loan package - It was estimated that I would need approximately $93,000 in loans per year (veterinary school is 4 years) to attend veterinary school. However, that price tag would increase each year because tuition is increasing. I also found out that interest would be accruing on my loans while I went to school - Meaning I would most likely come out of vet school in 2023 with approximately $500,000 in debt (including my debt from undergraduate at UC Davis). I dreamt of working with horses and doing veterinary work for non profits at cost - I realized that if I attended veterinary school and took that debt on, the career I had dreamed about would not be my reality.
Adopting Rain: I decided to start looking for a second horse in the fall and was initially looking at OTTBs. I almost purchased a weanling in June, but it didn’t work out, so when a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook about a chestnut thoroughbred yearling available for adoption at a local rescue, I had to go meet him. I went and visited him 3 times, had a pre-purchase done in late November, and decided to adopt Sierra Rain, “Rain”, on December 17th.
I had several other moments this year that were noteworthy - I got to visit Mexico for the first time and also returned to Lake Shasta for the first time in a decade with my family. I rode 23 new horses this year, took my first course through the University of Guelph's equine online program (Equine Business Management) and signed up to start another this month (Equine Behavior). I visited an American mustang sanctuary, Return To Freedom, and got to meet Spirit, Dreamworks muse for the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. I went on a wonderful trip to Disney World in Florida with Ian in November and am currently in Maui with my family.
I became the assistant trainer at SunFire Equestrian in August after withdrawing from veterinary school. I have wonderful clients between there and TROTR and also have a list of client horses that I put training rides on. I also still manage a pet sitting company located in Davis, CA and have enjoyed watching it prosper and grow in 2019.
2019 wasn’t easy (not like my 2018 — it was a blast!) but it was a year of big change, growth, and learning about life and who I want to be.
Alright 2020! The start to a new decade. This is the first year of my life that I have entered with no true direction. Every year prior to this I have started the year off under the impression that I would be finishing one year of school and starting another - Rolling into becoming a vet.
This year, not so much. I have my Equine Behavior course through the University of Guelph starting in just a few days, which is mostly just extra curricular for me. I have my three jobs (instructor at Four Winds Farm, assistant trainer at SunFire Equestrian, and sitter manager at Ashley's Pawsome Pets), and I have my two horses. My life and my goals have changed quite a bit. I want to continue on the teaching and training path I am on, but how do I get to where I ultimately want to be? I am not entirely sure.
1. Read more - Any genre - And make a habit of it
2. Figure out exactly it is I want to do for a career and how to make that a reality - I love teaching lessons and I love training, but how can I make that into a career that earns a living wage?
3. Piggy-backing off of number 2, once I sort that out, establish my own small business so that I don't have to keep being over-qualified and under-paid in all of my endeavors
4. Know what my knowledge and abilities are worth
5. Become CHA certified
1. Spend more time with Gallon. I see him almost daily and groom him and play with him, but really consider some natural horsemanship work with him or clicker training. I love that horse and miss the time we spent together when he was rehabbing and working in 2018.
2. End 2020 with Rain being solid with all of his ground manners (Specifically a boy who can tie, load on and off trailers with ease, and be patient and willing for the farrier)
3. Improve my relationship with both of my horses
4. Go to my first dressage show with Archer
5. Continue to become a better and stronger rider. Add at least 1 horse to my list of client horses
I am so eager to see where 2020 leads and to see what path life takes me. Here are some photo highlights of 2019!