Happy 2022!–Nautica Check-In and Meet Stella!

Has it been six months already?

Over the past six months, Nautica and I have been living our best lives. So much so, in fact, that we have neglected to write anything down about our progress, findings, and accomplishments in our dressage adventures here.

The hard part about running a blog, for me anyway, is the fact that I’m less likely to blog when things are going comfortably well. I’m a passionate writer; I like to write my inner rants and turmoils… the ways in which I can improve the horsey world!

Okay, that’s excessive, but this blog’s drafts folder is stuffed to the brim with pages and pages of unshared posts; complaints, and tangents on subjects that I have absolutely no authority on or business spewing into the internet for my fellow amateur riders to either agree or disagree with. And trust me, I have a lot of useless opinions.


Over the past six months, Nautica and I have not only completed our Training Level goals, we crushed them! Nautica is officially the 2021 USDF All-Breed Champion American Saddlebred at Training Level. This is huge! While our accomplishments may have gone overlooked (tossed out 😒) by our breed’s association due to a mid-season program change and an understandable oversight on my part, (whoops–there I go off-topic again 🙃) they were celebrated in a virtual awards ceremony presented by the USDF as well as shared on their website’s awards standings. For our hard work, the USDF is sending us a medal and certificate for our accomplishments. How cool is that?!

In addition to our All-Breed awards, Nautica and I also earned both our Training Level Rider- and Horse-certificates from USDF–two more awards to add to our resume! I’m so proud of my little dressage convert!

Throughout the fall and winter of 2021, Nautica also continued to work toward his true passion: being a safe and solid citizen for teaching the next generation of young riders. While Nautica is schooling the First- and Second Levels with me, he has also been providing an exciting opportunity for his favorite tiny 10-year-old rider, Lilly, to practice her Intro- and Training Level skills with him. While I’m not anywhere near ready to give away the reins to my heart and soul just yet, it’s amazing to know that Nautica is such a reliable mount and personable soul to all, big and small (though he still provides plenty of challenge and “go”!) It’s also heartwarming to know that there is another little girl out there who is falling in love with the bestest boy all over again. Be still my heart!

“Sure, Lilly. We can make Nautica a unicorn. You can take him for a walk. Oh?–You want me to ride him for that, too? Okay, we can do that, too.”
Nautica and his Lilly in their first Intro Level (virtual) show last fall

In addition to showing Nautica, I’ve also picked up showing a sporty little pony by the name of Stella. Stella is a flashy and naturally talented paint-cross mare. Nautica popped a bit of a splint in the late fall of 2O21 that put a pause on our First Level dreams. Luckily, the splint wasn’t bad at all and Nautica was able to quickly return to light work with his 10-year-old rider while I practiced my First Level skills with Stella.

November came along, and without a horse to show, Stella’s owners provided me with the amazing opportunity to show their super-mare at the Scenic Flight USDF show. Stella, having never shown in recognized competition, was a perfect candidate for the Opportunity First Level classes. “Opportunity” refers to the scores not being posted to the horse or rider’s permanent USEF/ USDF record. We went into our first show with no expectations other than just getting Stella to become comfortable showing away from home.

Super-mare Stella!

It went amazingly well!–Some might even say Stella-r (Har har… Sorry. Had to.) Stella was a dream, both to travel with and to show. She and I were in the mid-60s all weekend long, even with a few green-to-showing mistakes and a rider error on my part. It was a great time and I am happy to say that I will be adding her name to my regular show schedule for 2022 (along with Nautica, of course!) I would like to thank Stella’s owners, the Fortunes, for allowing me to show their Stellar pony as well as Kelly Arnold of KLA Dressage and my KLA show family for the continued instruction and support.

2021 ended on a fantastic note with great horses and great times had by all. I’m already working on a second blog post; a sort of follow-up to this one. So, be prepared for at least one more post over the next month or so. Hopefully, 2022 will be the year of Nautica, Stella, and me using this platform more! In the meantime, keep following us on our other social media sites for little updates in between posts.

Such a good girl!

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