Sunday, January 8, 2012

Looking Back on 2011


  2011 Started off with a crazy night as we hosted a New Years Party at my place.  I wasn't blogging again at that time, and we were still living in the city.  I dressed up as JEM for the party after seeing Kandee's makeup tutorial.  It was really cold at that time, and I was commuting an hour to work every day and riding my boys at 6 am every morning on the way to work.  Tiring times.

  February didn't bring much change, but I was looking for jobs within the city we were living.  I was still riding Archie and Fandango every morning and spending my nights tucked inside keeping warm and walking the dogs late at night.  Probably the most exciting thing to happen in February was that I sold my beloved Acura Integra who was very good to me in my early 20's, and bought a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta.  The change was centred around the notion on saving money on gas, as gas was 1.38 a litre at that time and I was driving almost 200 kms daily.  It was the best decision to make, as my little Jetta (not so little, actually) has saved me hundreds of dollars in gas money.  She gets around 1000 kms per tank and runs like a dream.

The Teg

work life...
we have our methods ;)
my newest wheels..
  March involved a lot of work functions, Jesses B-Day, and cold, cold air.  I did a lot of morning riding and a lot partying.  March was also significant as it was the first time Broo Broo had a seizure.  It was the scariest moment in my life and I will never forget the panic and hurt I felt.  I really wished I was blogging consistently at that time as I was very confused and worried about him.  I will say the internet was a big help.  We googled what happened and were able to find other videos of dogs having seizures and knew immediately what it was.  He had a second seizure on Earth day and we realized this was something we would have to deal with for life with our Broo. 

 April came and I made the decision to sell Fandango.  I love that pony dearly, but he was maxed out at the level I had taken him and really was just being wasted at our farm.  I found a great home for him where he would be ridden by young children and fawned over, which is what he loved.  I saved that pony from what would have been a horrible life, or trip to the slaughterhouse  and gave him the surgery,  training, and experience he needed to become a valuable show pony.  I feel I did my best to give him everything and I know he is happy today.  One of the hardest decisions of my life.

Fandango at his first show.
At our first event.
Canterdown 2009

  May was the month that changed everything for Archie and I.  I took Archie up to Ottawa to ride in the Sinead Halpin clinic and it was a defining moment for us.  I was on the brink of giving up on Archie before we went, and I decided I would ask her opinion on whether there was hope for him and I or not.  Also, I needed to know whether it was him, I, or both, causing the issues.  Turns out it was BOTH of us, but she also told me if I was willing to dedicate the time, he would be trainable and he would be able to event.  She showed me a different riding style and gave me the re-assurance I needed that my horse was NOT crazy.  Things progressed from there.  I also started to build a few cross country fences!

 The other notable thing that happened in May was my return to blogging! (Yay!)  Thank God for that, because it's much easier to remember what happened when I can look back on my posts! LOL  Also in May was my change of job.  I went from commuting over an hour to commuting 10 minutes.  My life was getting easier and money was becoming more plentiful (not THAT plentiful), but better.

Archie at Sinead Halpin clinic 

schooling at home....needing a tan.

  June was a big month with Archies first show and me not knowing how it would go.  It was a success thankfully, and I took him hacking with my mom that same weekend where he proved to be a real gentleman off property.  This all seems so long ago and hard to believe that taking him off property used to make me very nervous.  Archie also did his first jumper classes and jumped clean and fast to place in both classes.  These were milestones for us to be able to perform off property and I will never forget the overwhelming joy I experienced.

 Ace had her debut in the hunter ring and that was to be only a peak at what her hunter talents really are. The biggest moment in June was undoubtedly Archies first event which went off without a hitch.  It was a very long winded dream come true for me, and proof that hard work and patience does pay off.

Double Trouble 

happy moment!

  Since we succeeded to make our eventing debut, July was filled with shows and events.  We started off with the Canterdown Novice Event where Archie and I placed 4th and 5th in our two divisions.  Ace did her dressage thing with my mom, and continued to learn the hunter thing with me, which she seems to excel at.  We won over $180 that day!  She officially became known at the ribbon hound.  My best friend Dana also cleaned house in her divisions that day.  A memorable one for the books.  Jesse and I also planned our move out of our money eating (but gorgeous) downtown apartment, onto my parents farm with the hopes of saving for a down payment for our own place.

Dana and Quartz
  August brought Archie and I's second recognized event at Equus Horse Trials where we placed 5th our first time at entry level.  We went to Oakhurst Horse Trials where we jumped clean and ended up 11th.  I tried out a new braiding style and my mom kicked butt at her dressage show with Ace.  Archie and I went to Canterdown Horse Trials for the last time and placed 5th overall.  Lots of showing, lots of fun.

  September brought on the county fairs.  I took Ace to the Quinte Fair where we had some success...and some spooking.  I took her to the Kingston Fair also and she did really well and we won a bunch of money and a blue chair!  Archie and I went to the Ottawa Horse Trials where we jumped clean cross country and ended up 8th overall!

  October is my favourite month of the year.  Maybe because it includes my birthday, and this year my birthday was extra special with the arrival of William!  My mom and I went hacking, and to the beach on a gorgeous October day, and Archie and I did our last events of the year.  I started my other blog NeighFlix, and gave the first update on William.  

William's here!

November was unseasonably warm and enjoyable.  I judged my first ever hunter jumper show which I really enjoyed.  The equestrian world stopped for a moment when the passing of Hickstead was announced.  This fell dear to my heart as I have been a long time Hickstead fan, and an even longer Eric fan.   My family and I had some fun at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.  I gave Williams week 3 update, and followed up a week later with my young horse frustrations.  William didn't do much else as he cut his leg badly on Remembrance Day. 

  All our hard work came to head when I attended the OHTA awards banquet and got my trophy for being 3rd in the Open Entry Division overall.  Archie also won the top Thoroughbred in his division and $100 for the prize.  Even if I did get totally obliterated drunk, it was a night to (try) to remember.  The other landmark was the Third Blogiversary of A Filly's Best Friend.

  In December I started lessons again and began chronicling them.  I have more to add soon.  I also updated Williams progress again.  Christmas and New Years Came, and now we are through 2011.

  2011 was a great year for me and Archie, and I feel I put a lot of time and energy into what needed to be done to make us ready to go out and compete.  2012 will be a year of improvement and I am focusing on lessons and schooling to get where I want to be.  2010 was a really bad year for me, and 2011 was just what I needed to feel whole again.


  1. Great post, great pictures, nice horses! :) Looking forward to reading more this year.

  2. we thought you were lady Gaga..nice sum of 2011, and cool ride
    Benny & Lily

  3. Glad you made this post so i could "catch up". I look forward to sharing in 2012 with you!

  4. Love all the pictures! You look great as Jem. I recently watched an episode with my 5 year old daughter and it sure wasn't as awesome as it was when I was a kid, lol:)

  5. This was a great update. You did amazing with Archie. Glad you had such a good year and hears to another!

  6. Hi Y'all,

    Great summary. Doesn't just help y'all, but helps those of us new to your blog.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  7. Lady GaGa lol!

    Jen is definitely different when you aren't a kid.... Like cracked out misfits who are out to get them?? Haha

    Thanks everyone, looking forward to another year of reading and writing all my fab blogs!

  8. Holy goals!!! Glad I clicked onto your blog. Jem, was one of my faves growing up! Way to rock it.


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