6 Months in Pictures (and Maybe A Thousand or So Words)

My word. I haven’t posted since July?! Wow. It’s amazing how a week can turn into a month, a month into 6 months, and a year, and so on and so forth. Regardless. Here’s what’s been going on in my world.

August

We headed down to The Grand Oaks Resort for Horse Shows in the Park. The weekend did not go as planned.

All equestrians know that horse shows don’t always go as planned, but this weekend’s went completely off the rails. Unfortunately, my trainer had a very serious fall on Friday that has left her in the hospital. Always the selfless one, she insisted I still show this weekend. As much as I hated leaving my friend and trainer in the hospital, I know she’d hate it if I didn’t show. So I did. Unfortunately, Petunia was off this morning, so I scratched our classes. Instead, I hopped on one of our new ponies, Sherlock, and took him in some 2ft classes to get some show miles. Winning our two over fences classes and getting champion in the division felt absolutely amazing, and I really hope I did Carin proud by holding down the fort. Here’s to another good show day tomorrow and a VERY speedy recovery for Carin. 💕🐎 #AdultAmmyStrong #HSITP #horseshow #PennyLaneStables #equestrianlife #equestrian #GrandOaks #hunterjumper #horsesofinstagram #poniesofinatagram #tricolors

A photo posted by Devon Stiles (@devon_stiles) on

But look how cute Sherlock is! And the Grand Oaks is a stunning show venue. Loved it and cannot wait to go back.

Photo by Victoria DeMore Photography

September

First Coast Hunter Jumper Association postponed their September show to October due to a conflict with Southeast Medal Finals. Normally, I would’ve been fine with this, but I’d purposefully scheduled sinus surgery after the original September date so I could show. Frustrating. Surgery went well and it’s nice to be able to breathe out of both sides of my nose.

When I started writing this section, I was thinking “Wow, September was kind of slow.” But as I went through my photos, I realized it was my birthday, we went to Philly for Krissie and Dan’s wedding, and I got surgery. On what planet is that slow? It’s a good thing I have photos like this to remind me of awesome memories of fantastic days:

October

I kicked off the month by ignoring doctor’s orders of two weeks of rest and showed at FCHJA anyway. I’m terrible, I know.

October was much more eventful. We were stuck inside WITHOUT power for about 48 hours thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Because we survived that ordeal together and came out alive, Anthony put a ring on it.

We’re excitedly planning a wedding/party in the coming months, and I celebrated our engagement appropriately.

Oh and Petunia and I dressed up as Basic Bitches for Halloween because of course we did.

Doesn’t she just look so natural in pearls and a blanket scarf? Like mother, like daughter. Photo by Richard Bagdonas

November

November started off with the final FCHJA show of the year. This show was an emotional roller coaster for me. Petunia and I had been clicking so well lately, and I’d been leveraging new skills from Tonya Johnson‘s Inside Your Ride (affiliate link) such as positive self-talk, visualization, and journaling rides. When we got the grounds, she was a Spookasaurus Rex. We made it to the ring to school, and she just lost her shit at all the commotion and did a full-on rear. That’s when I pulled my ammy card, and my trainer enlisted a fellow pro to have a come to Jesus with Miss Prissy P. It was so nice to sit back, let someone do the hard work for a bit, then get on a lovely, soft, level headed horse. Moments like those are a reminder why I’m not a pro (yet).

In addition to showing Petunia, I also showed a lovely baby green large pony my trainer has for sale named Lina. She was a rockstar, and we won our under saddle and got reserve champion in our division.

Despite some bratty mare behavior, Petunia and I let it go, pulled our shit together (thank you, Melanie) and absolutely KILLED our over fences classes. When I came out of the ring from my first trip, I knew it was very solid minus a slightly big spot at the last fence (single headed straight to the in-gate). But, Petunia is extremely good at making big spots look like nothing. I was pleased.

Those ears! She’s just the cutest goober and you’d never know she was pitching a fit at the in-gate. Photo by Cozmic Wolf Photos

Our second trip? Was hands down the best trip I’ve ever had on her. We nailed it. I landed from the last fence and could not contain my smile. It was everything we’ve been working towards since the first time I sat on her. It was one of those trips where you think, “If I don’t win, I am going to be pissed” because you know it was THAT good. God, I wish I had video of it. We ended up winning both over fences classes and getting champion for the division.

The entire Penny Lane Stables team had an awesome show. I mean, look at our haul:

We may be a smaller team, but we are mighty!

The rest of November was quiet and we enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving and brought both of our families together for the first time.

December

Speaking of my awesome barnmates, we came home with lots of prizes at the FCHJA Year End Banquet. With Petunia and Splash, I was Reserve Champion in my Equitation Division (LOL WHAT?!), 3rd in our Hunter Division with Petunia, and 5th in our Hunter Division with Lina.

In a very happy turn of events, Anthony’s daughter Sarah ended up dancing at the Orange Bowl half time and my Florida State Seminoles were chosen to play in that bowl versus Michigan! So we packed it up and made the trip down to South Florida for the game:

For once, he’s smiling and I’m making the goofy face.

A photo posted by Devon Stiles (@devon_stiles) on

Since I was down there, I also made a day trip to WEF (because how could I not?!).

Stacie was so sweet to meet up with me so we could hang out. I felt like I’d known her forever! We had a blast watching beautiful hunters, shopping, and chatting about our ponies. Side note: She has a great braiding tutorial on her blog that I should practice with now that I have some free time). 

January

I bought a new-to-me saddle! I wasn’t 100% happy with my Pessoa and felt like it was time to step up my saddle game. I had a CWD rep come out a few months ago, and she ended up finding me an awesome deal on a used one. It happily came home at the beginning of the month.

I’m in love. And naturally, JBP had to try on one too:

My first @cwd_official! Just kidding. That thing is practically bigger than me.

A photo posted by Jon Bon Poni (@jonbonponi) on

So, you know, not much going on around these parts.

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Devon Stiles

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