New Year's Riding Resolutions

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Bridget Hay
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Wow, time seems to be flying by!

I can't believe we're already past mid-January. Looking back, 2015 certainly had its share of highs and lows. I couldn't have been more proud of my Faolan in 2015, and how he finished off the year with a very successful showing at November's U.S. Finals in Kentucky.

I also showed my other six-year-old, Lochlan, last year. He finished his show season with a win at the BLM Championships at First Level with over 76 percent. My two colts that were born last spring were both awarded Premium at their Oldenburg Inspection, and one of them, Shanahan (by Sir Gregory) was overall champion of the inspection with a score of 8.5. I'm pretty excited about my future with both of them.

Shanahan (Shane)

Shanahan (Shane)

Unfortunately, the year ended with the devastating loss of my yearling filly, Sephora (by Sir Gregory), from colic in December. The hardest, yet also the best, part about breeding and raising my own horses is the bond that I create with them all from the very beginning. Because of that, losing them is extremely difficult.

I miss Sephora so much. All I can do now is move forward into 2016 and plan for the future with my other horses. This is the time when I think about my goals for the upcoming year. I consider what my horses could be ready for and work out my qualifying goals. I decide if they're of the age and the quality, with the ridability and trainability, to aim them toward the young horse classes.

I'm planning to show Faolan in the Prix St Georges, and probably also the Developing Prix St Georges this year, with the goal of trying to qualify him for the Developing Horse Championships in Illinois again. He's only just coming seven this year, and this championship is for seven-, eight-, and nine-year olds. It's also extremely competitive and difficult to qualify, so realistically, I know there's a good chance that we won't make it this time but he'll still have two more years to try.

I also plan to show him in the Intermediare I, and at some point this year, do our first CDI together.

Fauna, my coming five-year-old mare by Freestyle (the same sire as Faolan) is far exceeding my expectations. That's so much the case that I'm now planning to compete her in the FEI five-year-olds to see how she does. She was started late, because I just didn't have the time to devote to her. I didn't even start riding her myself until October. Over the past few months, she has taken to the work like a pro and is coming along very quickly. I always say that I never really know how nice a horse is until I start riding them. My young horses have pleasantly surprised me many times.

Fauna

Fauna

The next step for 2016 involves going to Florida. I haven't been for four years, since I last showed Fitz down there in 2012. Florida is a huge investment and a scary expense. I can only go if I have a horse that's ready and can do FEI. Faolan is finally ready. Lucky Fauna gets to come, too. I'm hoping to get lots of help and training with Faolan. I'm also planning to show both of them while we're down there.

I'm getting pretty excited because we're leaving in a few days. In order to minimize costs and loss of income while I'm away, I'm only going for five weeks. Even so, I'll be there long enough to benefit from the training and have time to compete. We'll be in Wellington all of February through the first week in March.

I'm so fortunate to have a group of friends to stay with there. The friendships involved are such a huge part of what makes this all possible. I can't imagine going without friends there to meet me. We all support and cheer each other on at the shows and in daily lessons. It makes the time there go by way far too fast.

I'm looking forward to a fun season in Florida, and a fantastic 2016 for both my horses and myself, as we develop together through our training and experiences along the way.