New Year Equestrian Goals

With the start of a new year imminent, I’ve reflected on the year gone by and started to think about my goals for 2019. Similarly to the previous two years, my university work had a big impact on the amount of progress I was able to make with the horses. My university is an hour away from my house and my horses, which means I live in a different city when lectures and exams are on. I am only able to consistently ride during my summer holidays which last a mere 3 months. During term time, I ride as much as I can, but it is usually limited to one horse. 

My biggest achievement in 2018 has to be the progress I made with my horse, Fiona. (For information about each of my horses, click here). To avoid having to write a complete essay on the issues we had, I have a video documenting our full journey, which can be viewed here. We still have plenty to work on, but I am so proud (and also surprised) of how we went from her first show at 80cm and 90cm to jumping clear in her first 1m20 class. She has a bright future ahead of her and will be my main focus in 2019. Another highlight of 2018 was competing our first homebred horse, Khal, in his first few shows as he turned 4 yrs old this year. His first clear round was an experience I’ll never forget, and although it wasn’t all plain sailing, I learned so much from the experience.

photo by Laurence dunne jumpinaction.net
Fiona in the 1m10 at Cavan 3 day International

Moving on from the past and into the new year, I’ll talk a bit about my plans for myself and then each of the horses.

Starting with yours truly, this will be the first summer that I will not be prioritising the horses. For my university degree in veterinary medicine, I have to do a set amount of weeks of placement in veterinary clinics and hospitals. This summer I will be spending five weeks in Belgium and three weeks in England doing equine reproduction, AI and embryo transfer. I am excited beyond words, as this is the area that I believe I would like to work in, and I know I will gain invaluable experience from my time in these studs… however a part of me is frustrated that it is at the expense of riding and competing my horses for most of the summer. But I know I need to think long term, and sacrificing one summer of horses is a small price to pay for the experience I’ll get and the opportunities it’ll create for me.

Next year I am doing something that I’ve never done before, which is bringing a horse to college with me! Last semester, my roommate brought her horse to a livery yard near our college apartment but I never thought it could be an option for me. However, recently my YouTube account has grown hugely and as a result of advertising on the channel via adsense, I have made enough money to pay for livery for the first half of the next semester! I am ridiculously grateful to every single person who watches my youtube videos as it has created so many opportunities for me. I am going to view a potential livery yard in the next few days so fingers crossed it all works out and I’m able to bring Fiona.

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Summerbridge Flush aka “Fiona”

I believe 2019 is going to be a great year for Fiona and we’re going to continue to grow from last year. As she is coming to college with me, we will be very close to a trainer who I’ve gotten a lesson with before. With his help, I am confident that we will improve beyond recognition. My aim is to jump some 1m30 classes with her next year. However, although I will be able to ride almost every day during the semester, I won’t have transport to shows at the weekends. I am hopeful I may find an alternative means of transport as I usually rely on my dad to bring me to shows, so we will have to wait and see.

A lot of people ask me when Welbeck will be coming back into work, and the honest answer is; I don’t know! When Fiona became my main competition horse at the end of this year, Welbeck took a bit of a back seat. The plan is to put her in foal next year which means I won’t be riding her this summer or the year after. Welbeck will be having her foal the year I graduate, so all my planning ends in 2020 as I have absolutely no idea what I will do after I graduate! Maybe I’ll be in Ireland and I’ll ride her again? Maybe I’ll be overseas and I’ll put her back in foal? I’m not sure, the only thing I can tell you, is that in 2019, she’ll unlikely be ridden and she’ll be going in foal if all goes to plan.

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Welbeck at Mullingar International

Finally are the two home breds; Khal and Dali. Khal will be 5 years old next year and in an ideal world, he’d be going out and getting lots of experience at shows. However with me being gone for so much of the summer, I’m not sure how much work I’ll be able to get done with him. After the summer, I go into final year and start rotations. I don’t know if this will give me more time to ride as I won’t need to be in college every week, or less time to ride because of my irregular timetable. Luckily he is such a laid back horse that it is fine to ride him on and off as he doesn’t get too fresh! Dali will be 3 yrs old so he will be lightly backed and ridden a couple of times in the arena at walk and trot before going back out to the field until the start of his 4th year. I believe it’s good to get some basic ridden work into them when they’re three, to establish a foundation before they get too big and strong and hard to handle.

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Khal at Millstreet International Horse Show

Some personal goals include consistently writing in this blog as well as continuing to upload to and grow my YouTube and Instagram accounts. Another resolution I have is to read more books. When I was younger, I devoured books. I would read every night, sometimes even through the night, and I just couldn’t get enough. When I started college, I found it harder to find the time and also the motivation to read. After studying all evening, that last thing I would feel like doing is picking up another book and start reading. But I know once I just start reading, the time flies and I don’t feel tired any more. This year, there’ll be no excuses!

What are your goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments below, whether they’re equestrian related or otherwise, I’d love to hear!

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30 thoughts on “New Year Equestrian Goals

  1. Brilliant first blog and I can’t wait for many more! Absolutely love your channel and watching your progression with your horses. You have all my support and best wishes in the New Year.

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    1. Thank you so much! Happy new year to you too ❤️

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  2. It feels good to see another vet student with the same dilema, goals with horses vs. veterinary experiences… I agree that horses can wait a year or two, but it doesn’t make it much easier. Anyway, best of luck with everything and happy new year!

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    1. Ah I know, it’s so frustrating. But we have to look to the future 💪🏽 Happy new year!

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  3. Great first article on your blog, I hope to read many more in the future! It’s so great to see what you were able to accomplish through youtube and I am sure it will open many more doors and opportunities for you in the new year!
    Best of luck for 2019!

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    1. Thank you so much, I sure hope so! Happy new year ❤️

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  4. I love you and all of your horses (specially Fiona… but don’t tell the other horses lol). I just can’t get enough of your vlogs, you’re an amazing rider and person, I admire how you can take care of 5 lovely demons and at the same time go to college. I can’t even handle school alone, and I only have the chance to ride twice a month.
    I love how you train your horses and how patient you are with them.

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    1. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment! Don’t worry, I’ll tell Fiona when she’s alone 😉

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  5. My plans are to jump 1m clear rounds on my 9yr old connamara.
    And try to get better at flat work.

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    1. Ooh exciting, best of luck! I love Connemaras 😍

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  6. Holly when you come to Belgium for your studies would you be able to do a meet up? I’m a Belgian fan and would love to meet you if it would be possible to combine it with your work experience!
    Loved your blog and love your videos!

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    1. Ooh I’m not quite sure as I think I’ll be working almost every day.. but I’ll let ye know!

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  7. That was so greatly put together holly 🤩 so excited for the future for u and ur horses !! I’m from Connemara in Ireland and I absolutely love jacko ☺️💓 my New Years goals are to try my absolute hardest this coming season in pony club and hopefully show in Clifden with my pony club ( it’s the main Connemara pony show ) ❤️☺️ Happy new year xx

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    1. Ooh I’ve been to Connemara! I rode ponies on the beach there when I was younger ❤️ Best of luck with the pony club and clifden! I’ve always wanted to go, but it’s quite far away from me 😦

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  8. Really great first blog post!Can’t wait to see the progress with all your horses, especially Khal and Dali, as I am currently training and getting ready to back my young horse!

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    1. Thank you! I’ll be sharing lots of blogs about Dali’s progress so hopefully you might get some inspiration from that ☺️

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  9. So excited to see this blog!! It’s going to be so cool being able to follow your amazing journey with your horses and I can’t wait for more. So glad YouTube has paid off and you can take Fiona with you to school it’s such good news😆 Looking forward to seeing all the progress, I’m especially excited for Dali he already looks like he’s going to be a gorgeous showjumper😉
    Good luck with 2019!!!! x

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    1. I’m so glad you want to follow the blog, thank you! There’ll be lots of posts about Dali as I work towards riding him for the first time ☺️

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  10. I’m hoping that with my new horse that I’m able to compete and finally make a name for myself in the horse community. I know have a horse and trainer that will allow me to be successful and I’m hoping that 2019 will start that!!

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    1. Having the right trainer is half the battle! I’m sure you’ll absolutely ace it 💪🏽

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  11. Fantastic first blog really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait for your next one!💜

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  12. What a wonderful blog! Love how your goals aren’t ‘fixed’ and allow room for the horses wellbeing. Best of luck for the new year! Looking forward to the future blogs 🙂

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    1. It’s hard to have fixed goals with my college work, but it’s still good to have aims and plans!

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  13. When I’m older I aspire to be an equine vet. Right now I’m only 13 but I would quite like to know how much you need to do to get into vet school. I feel like I need to start volunteering and things but most places have said that I’m too young. Did you start doing things like that’s when you were my age? Great blog and I can’t wait to hear what else is to come xx

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    1. I’m going to write a whol blog post on how I got into veterinary so hopefully that will help you somewhat! ☺️

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  14. Hi Holly!
    I recently discovered your channel on a recommendation from a friend and I fell in love. In the last two days, I’ve watched your whole vlogmas and I can’t wait for more videos! This blog post is really inspiring to me. I’ve had to put my own horses on the back burner for college as well. I go to college away from home and I work in college as well and so rarely ever go home for more than a day or two even over the holidays (besides the summer). This makes riding my horses almost impossible and as the only member of my family able to manage my horses when they are fresh, this means my horses rarely get ridden when I’m not home and it makes riding when I am home difficult.
    That being said you’ve really inspired me to make sure to do more horse riding over the summer in the hopes of bringing my horses on and hopefully finding someone to loan them to during the year! Anyway, I just want to say I love your channel and can’t wait to see and read more!

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  15. My goal for this year is complete my first year of vet school and start getting more experiences with horses. I never grew up with horses and I’m new to the equine world. I’ve always had a love for them but this year I want to make it a goal that they become apart of my life. Watching your youtube channel has truly peaked my interest even more and I’m extremely interested in showjumping, I may even take some classes if I will have time and be able to afford it over my school break.

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  16. can’t wait to see more of the horses and maybe some insight when you are in england and belgium? 🙂 for 2019 I want to grow my yt channel and to find a trainer that works well with me and my horse 🙂

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  17. Well done! It’s hard to sacrifice your show plans for education, but like you said, the experience will be worth it’s weight in gold. Plus I’m sure your followers will enjoy your experiences abroad (of what you can share of course) and I’m sure you will have opportunities to ride in Belgium and England. So, you never know what may come your way!

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