1, 2, 1, 2, 1…

I don’t care how old I get / how advanced I might get…my go-to for courses, especially ones with plenty of long approaches, is to count.  I know some riders sing, others talk, but there is something ridiculously therapeutic about counting 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 and so on.  With a greenie like O was when I bought her it helped me regulate the pace, to be an active rider.  With Dee it operates in the exact opposite way, it distracts me from micro-managing the long approach or picking at the distances.  But regardless, it is my go – to maneuver.

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Purple thinking hat on!

This weeks lesson had a long approach small single to start off, where you really hard to get the pace early on.  Then a long 3 stride off a short approach.  To a nice moving two stride.  To another super long approach single oxer.  So lots of great questions!  My job was to get the pace early on, keep Dee bouncy and block that outside shoulder around the turns.  After running through each component individually, we strung it all together.

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Matching game is strong (for hunters)

 

And it was good.  Like it felt good, Dee felt good, pace was correct.  I even gave a tiny, slightly embarrassing “whoop” at Dee once we landed the last oxer.  We let her be done with that.  It couldn’t have gone any smoother in my mind.  It might have been due to my obsessive 1, 2, 1, 2 (you can totally hear me coming to the oxer) counting, but whatever it is, I’ll take it!

Please also note, that I had packed for my lesson the night before, grabbing a purple Kastel shirt.  Once at work, I realized I had both a purple saddle pad AND a purple trimmed bonnet in my car…cue fabulous idea to convince the two other adult ammies in my lesson to go matchy match.  One went all navy, one went all black/grey and I was in purple.  I don’t know if Dee has ever even wore a horse hat, but it was really fun dressing her up!

An Exercise in Happiness

As I mentioned lately I have been stuck in this funk for a few weeks.

I usually would feel comfortable telling people that I handle stress well.  Deadlines keep me sharp, challenges are welcome, and I don’t mind being pushed.  I, at my core, am a people pleaser, and am content to work hard in the hopes of being recognized down the line.  I also admit to being stupidly hopeful that people are generally good.  Lately things, and people, have been letting me down.  I started not sleeping, grinding my teeth, and bickering with my husband.  In his endless wisdom (and ability to not get angry), he volunteered that we should talk about what was really bothering me.

So, I made a list.  Because 1) I love lists.  2) Lists can solve anything.  Specifically this is a process that I’ve gone through before whenever I have to figure out where my head is.  Half the time I stress about things, I already know the answer on how to fix them.  Seeing the answer on paper, written out – with clear directions, is a whole different thing though.  And I need that at times.

Sucky List: All the things that are upsetting me

  • People suck
  • Husband hates my haircut
  • Baby is teething / hence baby is not sleeping
  • I’m not sleeping
  • Got the bill for my little trip to the ER
  • People suck

Once they were out on paper – it looked kind of stupid that I was that worked up over all of this.  But I kept going.  Part 2 in the exercise…

Happy List: Some of the things that make me haIMG_2042ppy

  • Family
  • Horses
  • Wine (or Champagne – I’m not picky)
  • Good food
  • Cooking said good food (with glass of wine)
  • Reading

Sounds simple, but all of the things that make me happy?  They were all action items.  That week I planned a trip to the library to get more books, updated my reading apps on my phone (axis360 is a favorite), went to the grocery store and picked out my favorite recipes.

Besides the obvious, my family, I knew horses would be on my list of positives.  After my list directive, I scheduled a few lessons, grazed Dee, hacked around the farm, galloped around the front yard, and generally just immersed myself in all good things horse related.

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Selfie outtake of sorts

On the day of one of my lessons, I actually texted Trainer and told her I wasn’t sure I should ride.  Obviously confused I explained to her that you have to be able to stop angry-crying long enough to get around the arena.  She held her ground, saying that it would help.  Wellllllllllllllllll, I was running almost 30 minutes late by lesson time…I showed up, and promptly melted down…Dee’s owner and I had had a miscommunication and she’d already ridden her.  (COULDN’T HANDLE-NEEDED RIDE SO BAD)  After some texts, we figured out that she had just taken her on a bareback walk and a lesson was definitely a good idea.

I gathered what was left of my brain, and got Dee ready.  When I met the Trainer in the ring, she just said “Get on, let’s go gallop at some fences.”  And so we did.  After a easy warm-up, she set up the fences to a healthy 2’9” and sent us off.  Dee was really into it; I couldn’t stop laughing at her “being wild”.  We had some really lovely jumps, but honestly, I just remember how much fun I was having.  How stupid happy I was; laughing out loud happy.

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Stupid happy.

Anyway, I guess you are always learning to push back on the sucky parts.  But my focus should be on my bottom line – do what makes you happy.

Hair Do Redo

Dee is the easiest of easy keepers.  Fluffy and fat, she rocked it out this winter living outside.  (She’s also barefoot which is really neat.). But anyway, she has been losing giant tufts of hair the past two weeks, but not in an organized way.  So she’s been looking a bit…ragamuffin?

Dragging a tufted hair Dee along with the baby.

 

I mean, I think she’s always cute but…she got a bit of an upgrade this week.


Ta da!  See!!!  Ugh-dorable.  Also note the absence of several hundred pounds.  Now that she’s been in consistent work and without her fluff, I think she’s really looking like her super sporty self. 

Smile Dee!


I am also enjoying the ability to groom her without covering myself in 10lbs of hair.  A big shout out to Dee’s momma for taking some time to turn her out so lovely!


We snuck in a really great ride in our front field tonight. I badly needed a break from the real world, and taking a cute shaved pony for a ride was just the thing.  

Kamik Rain Boot : A Review 

In spring of 2016 I was on a hunt for some rain boots to bring with me to Rolex.  This was to replace the random boots I had snagged at Rolex when it became one giant mud puddle event two years beforehand.  Lessons learned people-it always rains at Rolex.  Or it will unless you buy rain boots.

In action at Rolex 2016


I’m an Amazon prime lover, so when I stumbled upon these Kamik Jennifer Rain Boot, with a 4-star  review rating, and a pricetag around $30 I was very interested!  Add to that the fact that there is over 10 colors, and the logo has a horse on it and I was sold.

They are a bit more fitted, and while I usually wear a size 9, I can make it work.  They are best with the slick riding socks.  For future buyers, I would recommend going up size, especially if you plan on wearing thicker socks!  They don’t come in half sizes.

Amazon prime FTW


Since I wanted to be able to use these boots year around, (and I have an awesome sister-in-law) I was gifted a pair of boot socks/inserts to add to my outfit.  I’m not sure exactly which store, so I’m guessing a bit here.  They are monogrammed for extra fun.
Something like this:

Etsy Store Link

I’m still thrilled with these boots, and they remain 100% waterproof a year later.  I may need to buy another larger pair (my bad)or another color, but will definitely be looking into these boots for any future purchases.

Also great for snowy bareback rides


So check ’em out.  It is mud season after all.

Amazon Link

 

Feeling Green

With envy that is.

I’ve been struggling with jealousy lately.  While I love my current situation with Dee, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being envious of all those horse owners out there.  I felt ashamed of this post for awhile, seeing as I’m quite spoiled.  Yet seeing friends, on and off the internet, out doing all kinds of things, and having adventures has been hard.  Obviously I think it’s great for them.  But it makes me yearn hard for something I cannot have right now.

To cope, I then spend hours trolling dreamhorse.com and equinenow.com, sometimes Facebook, to find this mystical animal who I suddenly need so badly.  By the time I find something that might work (heavy on the “might”), I’m rooted firmly back in the real world.  It’s not the right time for us to buy.  Too much going on in work, at home, and well everywhere.  And I know that.

Knowing and accepting are two totally different things.

 

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So you’ll have to forgive me for wishing I was out there.  Wishing I had a show season to map out, clinics to go to, and plans to make for the next move up.  Maybe it’s my stupid knee, which still hurts and is keeping me from the saddle, or the fact it’s been raining for almost 3 weeks, but I’m bumming hard over here. Even my husband (happily horseless in KC) seems sympathetic to my funky mood.

I set up a much needed lesson tonight.  I need to clear my mind, as much as Dee needs the workout (probably way more).

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Steering is Important

This past week I experienced an embarrassing lesson in steering.

When people ask me how old theirs kids should be before they start riding, I always answer with a “when they can understand steering”.  So by that note–I should not currently be enrolled in our lesson program.  Palm to face.

Cutest Hony around.

In our last lesson we were working on a course full of twists, turns, pace questions, lead changes…all the wonderful things that require both lots of steering and use of your eyes.  This is what I get lessoning with the jumper girls.  It was going okay, our first attempt I neglected to ignite any kind of momentum from Dee.  So we chipped here, chipped there, chipped everywhere!!  Gross guys, so gross.

Off we went to try it again, with Trainer  making my reins long and loopy.  I was instructed to not touch them during the course except to open them.  For a hot minute, I actually felt like Dee was going to run away with me.  (Pause for laughter…we just actually had the correct amount of pace to navigate our funky course.)

Having “no” reins, made such a huge difference.  We nailed the distances this time, with Dee really stretching down, and even though I felt like I have zero control, it forced me to really sit up and support.  Voila better riding!  This is why trainers make the big bucks.

We gave Dee a minute to catch her breath, and off we went to polish our efforts a bit.  Here’s a lovely diagram of the chaos that was this course.  I’m super proud that I remembered which jump I was supposed to be at.

Exercise from March 2017 with 1 stride

So many twists.  My hunter heart was terrified.

I did good things over jumps 1-3, landing the leads, and not creeping up on my reins.  Except that after jump 3, when we turn to jump 4, I forgot something very important.  It is vital to steer AROUND solid objects.  Even this handy little horse couldn’t make the turn I asked for, and I connected my left kneecap to the wooden standard on a jump in our turn.  The whole jump (one we weren’t jumping) toppled over and instantly my whole left leg went numb.  It hurt.  A lot.

I really wanted to go finish the course, but trainer made me stay put.  After a few minutes, my foot and calf were still numb and we could see the swelling through my breeches.  My lesson looked pretty over.  Off I went to Urgent Care to be sure I didn’t crack anything.  After a very long night I was dubbed “pretty banged up” and sent home with painkillers and instructions to not ride until I could do stairs/run/etc. without pain.  I know it happens plenty of times, but that doesn’t make you feel any less like a total goob.

It hurt way worse than it looked. So annoying.

And here I am at a week plus from that date and it is STILL sore. I still can’t do stairs very well and I haven’t tried to ride.

So please, humor me, has anyone else ran themselves into a jump instead of around it lately?

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Naivete

L from Viva Carlos asks: What horse related or equestrian related piece of knowledge did you believe was true for an extended period of time that turned out to not be true?

Teenage me: Wow that horse gets injections?  That means it must be either a big time Grand Prix horse or it’s super broken.

Teenage me: Giving a horse a “cocktail” before their classes wasn’t weird or wrong.  (Obviously I was never the giver of any of these drugs, but saw it happen among the shows in our area).

Teenage me: Riders who didn’t stay in a regular program were not as devoted.

Teenage me: Jumping without a trainer present was punishable by death.

Obviously not super devoted to training here lol

Teenage me: Galloping was something only done between jumps in the medal class. Ha!

Teenage me: Your trainer is always right.

Young adult me: Buying a young prospect will alleviate my fears of health issues versus buying an older horse.

(Joke is on me)

I could go on and on about this.  It’s weird to think back about the things you used to believe.  Some of these seem stupid or crazy, but at the time I could reason with all of them.  Great topic L!  Thanks for be fun content idea!