Lesson Recap in Video

Here are some quick clips from our lesson last week.

The course looked roughly like this:

Paint skills for days. NOT.

Paint skills for days. NOT.

I slowed down the clip at the end down the close line so that you can all see how crazy my wrists are.  I mean wow.  Definitely going on the list to work on again.  Also need to work in quieting my body over these smaller jumps.

Also this week we spent quality time trying to control the gravity defying qualities of her mane.  Not sure how it’ll pan out, but I gave it my best.  We also went on a short bareback jaunt and spent some time working on our lunging.  She’s been great.

TBT: When Goodbye is Right

Originally written for Horse Junkies United last year, and for the spicy mare I’ll never forget.

Me giving Mandy a hug

It’s funny in life that some horses seem to follow us, traveling in the same circles we do.  When I was fourteen I took a big step in the riding world, moving onto onto of my trainer’s own hunter/jumper mares.  Her name was Mandy, she was a tall, bright red chestnut mare with the fiery attitude to boot.  From the first moment I sat on her I was in love.  She taught me lead changes, took me over my first three foot jump, and instilled in me the innate ability to hold on tight-and how to let go.

mandy 2007

Together we battled through my high school stresses, and a bone chip injury for her.  She was the first horse who totally and completely had my heart.  Together we spent over two year’s showing, going out on trail rides, and simply growing up together.  A boy breaks my heart?  Ran to Mandy.  I get cut from the swimming team?  Ran to Mandy.  She was my rock, always there with her big brown eyes, waiting patiently to be scratched in her favorite spot right below her ears, never judging or turning me away.

When it came time for her to find another home, and me another horse, she went to the most amazing family.   Even though I cried into her neck holding on to her tight, struggling to say goodbye, I knew it was the right thing for both of us.  With her new family, she devoured hunter derby courses, sped around jumper classes as only a chestnut mare can (with ears flat against her head), and loved her new girl.  I watched from the other side of Facebook, cheering them both on.

When I returned to my home town after college, and found myself at a new stable, I was shocked one day to see a beautiful, and very familiar face in the stalls.  It was Mandy, and I could not believe my luck.  I took pictures, cuddled her pretty face, and always made sure to stuff a few extra horse cookies in her stall.  Mandy had found her forever home in the family after me, and I loved having her around, watching her sass her way around courses even in her late teens.

mandy 2

That was several years ago now, and Mandy is prepping to make another big trip.  She is retiring, and going to be moving from our show based stable to a more relaxed lifestyle.   She was (and still is) one of the most opinionated, talented and honest horses I’ve met.  There is no other horse that could have brought me to where I am today in both my riding and in life.  While our first goodbye had hurt so badly, this one felt strangely right.  She deserves all the best a true retirement can offer her.  Goodbye pretty mare, you earned it!


More Like a Jumper

I had my last lesson before the horse show this weekend last night.  Naturally we wanted to jump around a bit and see what nit picky items we could get fixed up.  Main objective is to deal with the possible stops or spook over jumps with more fill.  Once she goes over it once, we are usually good to go.  I just have to get that one round completed with minimal crazies and I should be set.

Game Plan:  Ride O like she’s a big time jumper.

Basically I need to keep her head up, lots of leg forward and keep her firmly in the middle all the way to the base.  Usually when she ‘quits’ at a jump it’s really just magnified hesitation.  I have to be there to support her!  Also, since she practically noses the jump before hopping over it, I need to be more proactive about really keeping her off her forehand approaching the jump.

Evidence that she practically touches the jump before hopping over.


Staring the jump down.

Staring the jump down.

This is not her stopping but rather how close she likes to get before popping over.

This is not her stopping but rather how close she likes to get before popping over.

Good news is that pony jumped around pretty content, and with my “new” defensive and forward ride me made it over everything the first time.

photo 1 (28)The hope is that at the show we can utilize the warm up round to deal with an shenanigans and can do our new jumper feel then.  Next we can hopefully cruise through the rest of the show.

Like I said.  That’s the hope.  We’ll see what actually happens.




Balancing It Out

Here in the Midwest it is toasty 40 degrees out and so pretty much everyone is out riding.  Except for me….between O pony being a bit footsore (suspected from being an idiot in the field) for our lesson Monday, quickly followed by a very, very sick husband I’ve ridden once this week.  Pony was back on board to ride but personal things, and a massive work load keep interfering with my ride times.

Random cute pony face.

Random cute pony face.

So what do you all do when you can’t ride and it’s no fault of your horse?   Do you ask a friend to ride?  Let them munch hay and practice being a lawn ornament?  What do you think?

 I sent out a pleading “Hi Trainer, anyone (legit) around the barn to ride my pony?” text yesterday after needing to go home instead of the barn.   Of course I would never do this with just anyone, my trainer is great, and I know she would never put anyone on my horse who would put her in any harm.  Now I can feel a bit of jealousy cropping up because it is really nice outside, but the bottom line is I need to be able to be available for my family as well.

Summer love.

Summer love.

Balancing life can be complicated.  And I’m whining—— time to stop.

Perks=Farrier is coming in the next few days to get O’s tootsies trimmed up before we head to a local horse show a week from Sunday.   Fingers crossed this “nice” weather sticks around for the show!

SWOT for 2015 and Q1 Goals

A short and sweet look at SWOT for 2015, and what I’m planning to tackle with my Q1 goals.


Great trainer

Supportive spouse

Close proximity to horse

Great facility to ride at

Variety of local shows to compete at

Career to support the financial side of things

Awesome half-leaser

I don’t totally suck at riding most days

I know my horse


Work sometimes infringes on fun with the horses

Changes in work industry are going to be interesting/nerve-wrecking.

Must make smart budgeting choices in order to achieve our goals


Looking into starting my Masters degree

Lots of upcoming shows this year

At least two clinicians coming to our barn in 2015

Great support group to ride in

Trainer is wanting to keep us moving up


My car is dying, slowly but surely.

photo 5 (4)

And now for the goals.  In Q1 I want to tackle a few things:

1. Oil/condition new bridle, get a happy mouth pelham for the horse.

2. Go to local show on Feb. 1st to take on the 2’9” division.  Rinse and repeat in March maybe?

3. Fix the zipper on my half chaps.

4. Go on a trail ride.

5. Host a fun contest on A Gift Horse!