Wow, ya’ll I can’t believe that 2014 is coming to an end! So much happened to me this past year, yet I can hardly believe it’s the end of December already! Last year I did an official year-end review and I really liked it, so I’m going to do it again starting with my favorite: a month by month recap. For those of you that haven’t been following along all year, it’s a chance to learn about what all we accomplished and the difficulties we faced. But what I love most about this sort of recap is that it allows me to almost relive the past year; by reading old posts, I remember how I felt. This year, I’m lucky enough to be able to see how much we really did accomplish and how far Miles and I have both come in 12 short months.
The year started out a bit rocky for Miles and I as I struggled to gain his respect and figure out what was bothering him. I had begun the search for a new saddle in earnest, but I hadn’t found one yet. Mostly though, I was fairly silent. The weather was brutal, with the Midwest getting hit with tons of snow and subzero temperatures. My horse wasn’t exactly a joy to ride, so I honestly wasn’t at the barn all that much.
In February I thanked all the people who support my riding habit in It Takes A Village, Part 1 and Part 2. And by a set of lucky circumstances a fellow blogger helped me find the perfect saddle for Miles so I was finally about to start riding my horse again without tempting death. Unfortunately the weather still sucked and I didn’t get my new, gorgeous Prestige Meredith saddle until the end of the month, so there wasn’t a whole lot of blogging going on.
I started dreaming about horse shows in March and talked all things Hunter Fashion [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]. I was back on track riding-wise, and proved I still knew how to jump despite the impromptu break a few months earlier. I also met Jess from Riding Rainbow and we started doing semi-regular barn hops. She even took a spin on Mr. Miles <3 Later in the month I fell off, which prompted the great helmet debate of 2014. Spoiler alert: I picked Samshield! We also discussed supplements [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3].
April was the month of Viva Carlos Blog Hops [Junk in my Trunk, Commercial Moment, Immediate Inspiration, Appreciation], but I also went to Rolex for my Bachelorette, replaced my IRH helmet after my fall and jumped 2’9″ for the first time. I also celebrated the second anniversary of Visa’s death with my own personal “National Pony Day” where I took the day off work and went to the barn instead, That’s a lot of happenings packed into the longest run-on sentence ever. You’re welcome.
The best month of the year! Riding-wise things were a little tough as our barn lost the other hunter/jumper trainer in a very tragic car accident. But we soldiered on and I even crossed riding bareback off my bucket list. Plus Miles and I attended our first horse show of the season and things didn’t go quite according to plan. Miles was a wild man during our schooling session on Friday and I actually left the big ring in tears. Luckily, we redeemed ourselves by winning our 2′ Limit Equitation Over Fences class and taking home Reserve Champion in the Limit Equitation division. But the icing on the cake happened at the very end of the month, on May 30, 2014, when I married my very best friend and became Mrs. Sam Beavers.
I spent most of June in a post-wedding, newly married haze apparently because I didn’t blog that much. Miles and I continued to take lessons and improve our partnership, while enjoying some quiet moments and our first trail ride. At the end of the month we attended our first A-rated show and despite battling some similar issues to our first show at the beginning, we finished strong with great trips in the hunters and brought home our very first division Champion in Limit Equitation! The very last day of the month I moved my blog from Blogger to a self-hosted domain, FlyOnOverEq.com, which kicked off a new era for the blog!
Dreams really do come true and I proved that in July. Independence Day weekend Miles and I attended a charity horse show and moved up to 2’6″, a goal I’d been working towards for over a year. It was terrifying yet magical all at the same time and I still remember it like it happened yesterday. Unfortunately Miles came up just a little off on Sunday, so we scratched the rest of the show and he ended up getting most of the month off to rest and recuperate. In the interim, I started a Friday Five series on the blog, highlighting some of my favorite equestrian accessories including bracelets, belts, rings, necklaces and earrings. I also posted my all-time favorite Transformation Thursday and Wordless Wednesday blogs! Oh yeah, and I began my epic battle with rain rot.
My [new!] husband took the Bar Exam and we jetted off to our fabulous honeymoon in Aruba. When we returned I was eager to get back in the saddle since my horse was finally feeling good again. During my first jumping lesson in what felt like forever, Miles stopped hard at a jump and dumped me on my ass. I actually ended up going to the hospital for x-rays the next day because my hip hurt so badly. Luckily nothing was broken except for my pride. But Miles was in full-on boot camp with my BFF, which included a lesson where he was pretty much a saint. Of course it was all just a fluke, but I was still pretty rattled. I also released a pretty cool free, customizable stall card on the blog.
There’s no rest for the weary because it was no sooner than I was feeling better after my fall that Miles and I trekked to a horse show. It was all about building confidence at our new fence height and we certainly blew that goal right out of the water! Miles was a total rockstar and we placed middle of the pack in a very tough division despite adding an extra stride into all of the lines. I even put on my big girl pants and did our very first Hunter Derby under the lights on Saturday night! I also celebrated Miles’ gotcha day, Sept. 12, with my favorite pictures, our best and worst moments and highlighting his transformation. The end of the month brought our final show of the season [Day 1, Day 2] where I bucked up and did the correct striding! It wasn’t pretty and Miles really stepped up and took care of me, but the important thing was that I proved to myself that I could do it.
I started the month out with a nice show season recap, put together while I watched the Capital Challenge live stream. I had some philosophical posts about working harder on my lower leg and being happy with the horse I have. I also broached the subject of how different body types can affect riding position, as well as detailed my plan to keep Miles a happy camper over the winter. Oh yeah, and he got body clipped. On the blog I started a hunter/jumper informational series which included common terms, basics of a course and lingo.
Miles came up not quite right again and had some more time off as I struggled to figure out what was going on. In the meantime Vinnie made a grand return as my backup horse and I enjoyed dressing him up like a jumper. Luckily I was able to keep my spirits up and finding out I somehow managed to eek out a Year-End 4th Place in Limit Equitation certainly helped. I also threw myself into blogging and typed up some pretty cool social media posts, as well as hosted the second annual Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange! But really the big excitement was finally telling everyone about my internet sleuthing and revealing Miles’ past, including his true age and breed!
The last month of 2014 is honestly a blur for me, but my content calendar reminded me that I opened my Etsy Store, the Printable Pony, I wrote my most commented-on post ever and even figured out how to do linkups. I celebrated the holidays by publishing my Christmas wishlist and of course, wishing all my fellow bloggers a very merry holiday.