I’ve been thinking a lot about 2012 and all that transpired and even more so about 2013 and what I want to create.

All in all, 2012 was a great year. Some day when I’m old and can’t move like I do today, I will look back on this year with fond memories. I was physically active with lots of riding and running; I was creatively challenged at work; and I felt great. Throughout the year, I was graced with love and support and I just felt so damn blessed to be in such a good place. I know what it’s like to struggle and I think that’s why I notice, really notice, when things are good.

The year started off with lots of horse shopping. I was in the market for my next equine partner and I was taken back by how arduous the process was to find the type of horse I was looking for. I spent countless hours watching videos and talking with people on the phone trying to see through the perfect picture each seller would paint. Any good horse person knows that there is no perfect horse and they all have their challenges – just like us I suppose. I finally found a potential prospect where the clear next step was to get on a plane with my trainer and go test this big dark bay out. This trip took us to the east coast – East Haddam, Connecticut to be exact. We stayed at this amazing bed and breakfast and had a glorious good time.

We flew home and I scheduled a pre-purchase exam that week believing that the horse would be on the next semi-truck to Colorado once the exam was complete. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned and the horse failed the pre-purchase exam. The vet found some things that took the horse out of the running for my next equine partner. While the trip to the east coast for two and an expensive pre-purchase exam were tough to swallow, I was glad I took all the right steps and was thankful we found the issues prior to purchase.

After a good cry on Matthew’s shoulder, I started my search all over again. Two weeks later, I was on a plane with my trainer again to the west coast. Washington was our destination and we rode multiple horses. This is where I found Falcon, my new 6 YO equine partner. He passed the pre-purchase exam with flying colors and days later he was on an air-ride semi-trailer to Colorado with all his passport documentation in place to cross state lines!

He transitioned to life at Hillcrest Farm like a champ. We quarantined him for the first two weeks to mitigate any potential spread of sickness that he may have picked up during his travels. Two weeks passed and he was promoted to the main barn where he enjoyed the company of his new friends. I was impressed with how Falcon took everything in stride and settled in well. And the team at the farm was amazing! I will forever be grateful for their guidance and counsel as I brought my new boy home.

Given Falcon’s overall size and height (17 hands), none of my tack fit him so this meant, new saddle, new bridle, new girth, new halter, new blankets, new bit. Oh, and a new trailer too. I was really, really hoping he would fit in my existing trailer, but no luck. There is great truth in the saying, “The real cost of a horse begins after the initial purchase.”

And here we are today – he’s learning; I’m learning; and so the journey begins. While there are days I want to pull my hair out, there are equally as many days where I finish a ride and think to myself: thank you for this incredible journey. For all the horse people that own warmbloods, I am just beginning to uncover some of the greatest challenges and biggest joys I have ever encountered in my horse career. We did a walk – canter transition today with ease and power and his extended trot is just beginning to develop and it’s beautiful! He can also be so, so stubborn at times. When he is disobedient, there’s a fine line between diffusing the situation and re-channeling his energy and “getting after him.” With Pi (my previous horse), a few swift kicks and snap of the whip usually got his attention. Not Falcon. He shuts down and his behavior worsens. And a battle with Falcon is pointless. He’s so friggin’ big that my 5’5″ frame is like a fly on his back. He requires lots of encouragement and convincing. The few warmblood owners I know tried to forewarn me, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Well, I can now say, I’m getting a glimpse into the warmblood mentality and it’s a trip! Definitely, a journey worth taking.

It was a big year in my horse world and I’m enjoying settling into training.

As for the other parts of my world, those areas were good in 2012 too. Matthew and I have been happily married for 16 years and I’m so proud of our relationship. Matthew is, hands down, my greatest gift. He is a good man, a kind soul, and he’s so smart and especially wise for his years. He never questions my horse hobby and he gives me all the space and room I need to be me and he’s not insecure about that at all. Not only do I love Matthew, I like him too. He’s my best friend and he renews my faith in the human race every day.

Work was good in 2012 as well. I have an amazing manager and I get to do creative, challenging work every day. While the shenanigans of a big company can be disheartening at times, my work is meaningful and my team is inspiring.

What I am reminded of as I look back on 2012 is how fortunate I am – some of what I have in my life is the result of luck; some of it the result of hard work; some of it fought for; and some of it is perspective. Undoubtedly, I had a good year. And for that, I celebrate my awareness of the beauty.

As I look ahead at 2013, I have many desires. To live with intention takes effort. While I have specific goals for the year ahead, I’m more enamored with how I want to live. A favorite, inspiring quote by George Bernard Shaw via John Maeda of creativeleadership.com captures, for me, what I aspire to:

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw

That’s not just what I want for me, but for all of us that are here.