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Auld Lang Syne, 2016

The twenty-sixth of December has got to be the most lackluster day out of the entire calendar year, especially when it falls on a Monday. Cue the Monday-est Monday that ever lived. However, while our Christmas merriment has come to an end, my heart is so full from yesterday's family festivities... Which, thanks to our traditional holiday feast, so is my stomach.

I feel you, Regina.

And, while my Christmas hangover may be in full commencement today, I can't help but get a bit excited as I look ahead to New Years and the celebrations that follow. Long story short, I can't wait for the beginning of 2017.

It may come to no surprise to you that 2016 was anything but a walk in the park. Sadly, I feel like this is a true statement for the majority of us. Weird mojo or something of the sort, I'm thankful these 365 days are coming to a close. Last year at this time, I wrote about my 2015 reflections, and felt as if today would be the perfect day to touch on the same premise for 2016.

This past year is comparable to a never ending roller coaster ride. One minute, you're admiring the view from the highest point on the tracks, the next minute, you're plummeting down the steepest grade at 70mph, only to find yourself back at the highest point a few seconds later. The mere thought alone gives me whiplash.

In 2016, I never stopped learning. I devoted myself to furthering my riding career and my blog after overcoming a difficult heartbreak. I strongly contemplated moving to Wellington, Florida. I celebrated my 23rd birthday with best friends and one too many lemon flavored shooters. I shed tears and handled anxiety as I watched Leah overcome mild bouts of colic. I packed my entire life into the back of my little red car and moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. I experienced my first South Texas summer as a dressage rider. I sweated. Scratch that, I sweated a lot. I considered breeding Leah and starting from scratch with my own foal from my heart horse. I pushed myself; I second guessed myself, however, never did I second guess Leah's capabilities as an incredibly talented animal. I rode down centerline for the first time in four years. I scored relatively high. I scored relatively low. I made difficult, heart wrenching decisions. I realized that being an Adult Amateur means you must sacrifice in order to provide a better life for your horse.

I realized that anything in life worth having shouldn't come easy. I discovered that people are not who you necessarily think they are. I packed my entire life into the back of my little red car, again, and moved back to my hometown of Boerne, Texas. I settled Leah into a whole new training program. I watched our partnership reach new heights over the course of 365 days. I regained my full time position at my place of work, loving every second of what I do. I watched my step father struggle with the effects of Parkinson's Disease. I learned the true meaning of perseverance. I figured out that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I made new friends who have become my best of friends. I celebrated. I mourned. I launched the Mare Mantra Tee. I finally discovered the woman I knew I was always meant to be.

Needless to say, I'll be using 2017 as a clean slate. Such a cliche, but I feel as if good things are going to come from the new year. The blog reached epic development this past year, something I am eternally ecstatic about. We're going full steam ahead into 2017, with expansions abounding, including fresh tee designs embodying the mare-ish and dressage lifestyle.

That's supposed to be a surprise, but I'm just not good at hiding such news!

Leah and I also have an exciting year ahead, granted everything flows according to our plan. I'm optimistically hoping to earn the remainder of our scores to solidify our USDF Silver Medal, with a Prix St. Georges debut set for March. We'll be riding with Alfredo Hernandez in January for a focus on the passage and piaffe work, and we're already signed up for our two rides with Jermey Steinberg at the end of February. I have big goals for our partnership; riding down the Grand Prix centerline being the ultimate achievement.

However, with all of this being said, my number one goal for 2017 is cherishing each day I have with Leah, never taking her presence for granted.

2017 is the year I focus on my own happiness. There, I said it!

To conclude this soapbox post, I'd like to personally thank each and every one of you who follow my journey with Leah through life and through the centerline. Trials and tribulations will always present themselves, but having your support makes the hard times easier to swallow. You all have been such a positive force in my life; I'm grateful for what this creative outlet has blessed me with. The blog's successes would not be possible without each and every one of you! I might not have the chance to respond to every one of your comments, but please know they do not go unnoticed as I read every single one and appreciate them more than you know. I'm so excited about the upcoming year, as I know this is only the start of something great for The Blonde & The Bay.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, and cheers to 2017!


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