Do all the things

It’s been awhile.  Dee decided to nap in some hay and get poked in the eyeball.  So she got a few days off.  Then I decided to come down with the 3rd…yes 3rd stomach bug of the season (day care is evil) and then got this sweet sinus infection.

Essentially, nothing much has been happening in my neck of the woods for about 2 weeks.  I hadn’t swung a leg over anything and I broke a sweat going up the stairs.  BUT.  This week I dragged my butt to the barn on Sunday for a makeup lesson, tossed on some spurs, grabbed my stick and off we went.

Someone was exhausted.

How Dee feels when I asked her to get up! Lol

Dee of course, was a good little cupcake, and did her job per usual.  I had forgotten that smarty pants mare would know exactly how to evade work, and got a little heavy on me.  But lots of transitions and the fan of death (bounce poles on a circle) had us moving right along.  We  jumped around a low little course; things came up easily and we finished with a smile. Bonus: I have media coming!

Blurry snaps from horse shows ftw

I was sore afterwards (pitiful I know), but still snuck in another quick ride in the random 60 degree weather this week.  It feels good to be back on track.  Since I’m a glutton for punishment, I managed a second lesson, where we really worked on my eye and my (bad) decision making skills.  Such as this:

I want to pull the pony to the jump.  She doesn’t like to be pulled to the jump.  Inevitably we put in teeny baby stride and sloth over the fence.  What did I learn here?  Apparently nothing, as I tried it like 3 times last night.  In the end I decided to do what I’ve been told a “few” times for the past 15 years and put more leg on.  Magic!!

Still on the path to do our thing at the home show in February.  AND loving my new gloves!!

The Little Guy

I have never been “the little guy” in any group.  I’m an easy 5’10” and wear heels for work a good portion of my life.  And I was almost 5’8” in 7th grade, so being the giraffe was always in the cards.  In line with that, since I can remember I’ve been riding large horses.  To some degree it was the hunter/jumper complex that bigger is better.  The rest was simply finding a horse that my 36” long inseam didn’t miniaturize.

My history is a series of 16hh+ horses.  As follows…

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16.2hh gelding

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16hh+ gelding

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16.3hh gelding

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17hh+ hand gelding

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PC: She Moved to Texas, her wonderful Simon

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16hh+ mare

I remember that buying O, at 16hh was considered “smallish” for me.  You can see in the picture just above that obviously the mare was plenty big.  But it’s a culture thing in Hunters.  People seem to love the giant, rolling stride horses.

Buuuuuuttttttttt…..

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Then I started riding this mare.  Dee is just over 15.1hh (I think), and while I love to call her shorty/mini/pony/hony there is nothing this little horse can’t do.  Our lessons do nothing to challenge her; she’s sporty, clever and cute on the flat.

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15.1 rockstar

And in being so, she has totally changed how I see horses.  How I see any future horses.  I’m not going to shrink anytime soon, so being tall will always factor into my rides.  But, if that means that maybe I just need to be more careful with my upper body at the fence-I don’t see any problems with that.

So for the first time in my 20-odd years of life, I’m the little guy.  Or rather, we are.  I’m choosing to embrace it, laugh at it, and then continue on my merry way.  I have no great ambition to challenge the bigger is better hunter complex, except in my own mind…and perhaps those who love this little horse as much as I do.

Happy 6 Months Double Dee

DeeDee and I are celebrating 6 months as a riding duo this month!  As you may have noted, she has been in my life for a few years now, but I’m so glad that our lease situation has worked out and hopefully benefited us both.

On her owners priority was getting the mare out and about more often.  She gets fat on air, and naturally is a curvier lady, so plenty of exercise is important.  I’m loving the physical change in her since this past August.

First up: fat Dee

Recently: Dee

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Way less junk in that trunk.

 

Yes, it’s not night and day or anything, but I can see the difference.  Plus under tack, she has been going so much nicer.  And honestly, after my first few lessons we could only make it thru w/t/c and maybe a few jumps before we were donzo.  Fat mare is a tired mare.  That is not the case anymore!

Lessons about 5 months ago;

Jumping at the show:

Besides the physical changes over the past few months, we’ve gone on (short) road/trail walks, ridden bareback, participated in a horse show, and taken lessons galore!  Since this is my first lease as an adult I was anxious about everything, but it has been such a good fit for my lifestyle.   Dee is honest, smart, and patient.  I’m very lucky to have this little mare in my life!


Saddle Ignorance

I remember within the first few months of blogging I was shocked by everyone posting about how crazy saddle shopping and saddle fit was.  I also remember thinking ya’ll were crazy people.  I sat in exactly one saddle most of my time riding and guess how many I looked at while shopping?  Yup-just the one.  It went on ponies, TB mares, fatty warmbloods, and whatever else I threw a leg over that day.  Needless to say I never understood what everyone was talking about!

Now I’m curious and nosy about others’ experiences.  Did I just miss something down the line?  Or perhaps the hunter/jumper world is less concerned about our saddle fit being as exact as other disciplines?

Or maybe my saddle is magical and it will live forever, and I will never have any problems with future rides?  Because that’d be stellar.

But really-anyone out there riding along with the same saddle forever?

Dee is the first horse where the fit has been iffy.  She was round as an exercise ball when I started riding her.  (It got old fast, slowly sliding off one side or the other during my rides)  I imagine now that’s she is more fit I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it.  For the time being it’s easier to pop her real momma’s Bates on her and head off.

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Awkward photo FTW–But with her borrowed Bates.  Ariat coat=still my favorite.

 

How Easy It Would Be

In review, 2016 was full of massive amounts of change for me and my family. I will say that for the most part it has been great.  Yet, at the same time I’m feeling driven to give a more transparent look at what my experience has been as a riding parent.  It is easy to focus on the good parts, which I do 90% of the time.

There was the day that my baby finally figured out how to properly pet Dee without scaring her half to death, or poking an eyeball.  The summer mornings where I had fantastic rides while my child sat happily cooing in the shade feeding the barn cats.  Nights like tonight where my kid, with a very limited vocabulary, said as clear as day “hi Dee Dee” to the little mare before my lesson.

I have a very tolerant spouse, local baby slaves family available and a very, very tolerant barn family (including the horses).  All of these things make it possible for me to continue riding the way I want to.  But.  That does not mean it’s easy.  People at the barn comment on how happy my baby is at the barn, and that I’m such a relaxed mother…

Truth be told?  I am constantly stressing.  I stress about people judging my decisions, I stress that my little girl might set off someone else’s horse.  I stress about my husband shouldering too much.  I stress about her getting hurt because of my choices.  It can be suffocating.

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And then let’s talk about pushing a stroller, leading a horse, and carrying a diaper bag during our barn trips.  I mean some days managing it all is oppressive.  Some days it does not seem worth it.  So when a barn mom told me a few days ago that she was impressed with my ability to deal with it all, I found myself laughing and saying, “…it’d be so easy to quit”.  I think my answer surprised both her and myself, but it was the honest truth.  Right now, riding 3 days a week is all I can manage without my head exploding, and sometimes 3 days makes my head explode.  Life would be so, so much simpler if I wasn’t riding.  Which is scary.  But in someways very clarifying.  I know exactly where my limit is.

But for transparency’s sake, I will tell you that even remembering all the good parts, just so I could type them in this post, makes me tear up.  Some days it will be too hard.  And yes, I could quit.  Yet, for now, I want to focus on the fact that I get the opportunity to share my favorite thing, with my favorite little person.  Watching her love what I love (as much as a toddler loves anything), keeps me going.

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With her pony.

 

2016 To Do List-Updated

I really should have just made my goal for 2016 to survive life as a horseless new mom.  Because then I could say HELL YES, I totally did that!

But that was not on my to do list.  Here’s a quick update on the things I did, and things I failed to do in 2016.

  1. Get back into regular lessons: A win, I’ve been back in our program full time since February or so? 
  2. Go on at least 3 trail rides, whether that’s at our facility or out at my hubs place: I went on 1 at home barn and 1 out at the ranch…so 2/3 complete?
  3. Go to a show and actually ride in it.: Bam, nailed it
  4. Ribbon in said show: Pretty red and yellow ribbons for us!
  5. Go thru my grooming box/locker/horse crap box (currently residing in garage) and cleanse all the unnecessary things: After O left, I did go through a lot of my stuff to reorganize.  I probably should make this an annual thing.
  6. Buy a new girth.  Rolex I’m looking at you. Well-no consistent “forever” horse-no need for girth.
  7. Buy something sparkly and un-hunter-y because I can!  Again-Rolex, you better bring me all the shopping goodness. It might be the tiniest bit of bling ever, but I heard it’s a gateway drug so I’m playing it safe. #hunter
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BOe6Dz3h8rR/?taken-by=gennymacy
  8. Try out a new discipline for fun.  Maybe Jacq will take me out on the XC course? Super fail, I just ran out of time.
  9. Introduce baby to “her” pony, the one and only Dynomite. Cuteness overload. 
  10. Learn how to drive a truck/trailer. Couldn’t convince anyone to let me try with theirs-I don’t blame them!

2016 was full of ups and downs, and plenty of change.  But as I type this up I realize that I am so happy.  I have a great horse to ride, a fantastic family, and so much to be grateful for.  Thank you for reading along.  Cheers to 2017 and all the fun it will bring!