The New Boots

Back in August, my husband gifted me the opportunity to go pick out my first real cowboy boots.  It took me weeks to go actually shop around, mainly because I was intimidated by all the options out there.  Thanks to everyone for their knowledge sharing!

Well a few weeks ago I actually pulled the trigger and brought them home!

Aren’t they pretty?!?

I got a great deal at a local boot place, and I cannot wait to really break them in.  They got some love already, a waterproofing, but other than that they’ve just sat here looking pretty.  I was too afraid to break them in while traveling, so I’m looking forward to that in the coming weeks!  I think they are nice enough to wear around, but can easily wear to work too.  And yes, they are Ariat.

The biggest take away from the buying experience is that western boots (in my opinion) seemed more difficult to fit than my riding tall boots are!  I must’ve tried on 30 pairs, and I feel like they were all very different once on.  Definitely not something you can purchase online.

I’m a Finalist!

I found out this past week that I was chosen as one of the finalists for Horse Junkies United’s fabulous blogging contest!  You can see the original post here, and the finalist post here.  I’m so, so honored to be a part of this group!  Not to mention how great the prizes are.

So here’s the kicker — there’s a voting system.  It will help with 25% of the final scores for all finalists.  Please, please vote for me!

Again, here’s link to vote!

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I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!!

Guys, I Want a Pony

I missed the pony rider stage, I was close to 5’7” when I started riding and now stand 5’10”. I’ve hacked some ponies, schooled naughty show ponies, and leased the fabulous short in stature Dee. But like I’ve mentioned before, I spent most of my riding career riding larger horses.

Well people, I may be a convert. This weekend we helped work some cattle at my in-laws cattle ranch. My usual ranch mount had a stone bruise, so we were scrambling to find something for me to move cattle on. The best option available was my nephew’s Shetland/Quarter Horse pony cross. So I stole their pony for the day.

And she is the coolest thing ever.

After an initial test moment where she tried to dump me in the driveway, we got along like peas and carrots. My husband was on a big grey gelding who coasts right along, and this little mare had no problem keeping right up. And we aren’t talking flat fields; we climbed massive hills, crossed roads, and rode through grass as tall as her body. She didn’t give a fig, and spent half the initial ride to the herd begging for more rein. My shoulders are feeling it today, and thats from holding her back.

I still made my husband open the gates, even if I was closer to the ground.

Doesn’t understand why we can’t run to catch up!

The cattle were pretty easy to gather, but the few we did have to pursue had a tricky moment or two. Little mare dug in and as soon as I let her, she’d spring after the cows. My biggest job was remembering how to steer (neck reining) and not to fall off during the terrain changes.

Standing politely.

Bored with standing.

The horses were high on their driving success, but little mare still let my daughter ride her around before we turned for home. I was way more comfortable on the way back, and let her stretch out and get her gallop on a bit. There’s a lot more movement, smaller steps, but she was so catty and careful I felt really safe on her. Not to mention it was like driving a sport car.

Once we made it home I made her pose for a picture (with me to provide scale) to demonstrate exactly adorable and small she is. And now I’m on a mission to convince my trainer to let me buy a sport pony.

Did I mention she’s got a great attitude too?  

I need way more ponies in my life. Who else is with me!?

Self Preservation

I think a lot of riders can relate to the ‘good old days’ when falling off was no big deal, or when you would literally ride anything someone pointed you at.  I was definitely that kid and that teen, and I attribute many skills I have now to valuable lessons taught by those horses.  But a surprising takeaway from all of that is now, as a young(-ish) adult, my self preservation drive is sky high.  Gone are the times I would hop on a strange horse, or be the test drive dummy for someone else.

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This one wasn’t scary.

In some ways, I honestly hate it.  I hate that I second guess things.  I hate that I get anxious about certain horses.  I hate that I grew to resent my own horse, when she began to put me in a precarious situation over fences.  I used to be brave, I used to push the envelope, and I used to beg for a challenge.

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Teen me being dumb.

Whereas in the past few weeks, I pretty much broke down to my trainer about her well trained thoroughbred…and asked that I not ride him anymore.  He was never dangerous, but I was so focused on my anxiety over him, that I had stopped learning and stopped enjoying.  Again, stupid self preservation.  At this point in my life, I’m not willing to keep pushing if it doesn’t feel right.

Changing lanes a bit, my husband grew up around horses, and broke his own mare to ride in middle school.  Since then, he has sat on a lot of baby horses, and when his mare’s first colt was old enough to be ridden, he wanted to do it.  However, this time, he grabbed me as back up, had a lead horse to help, and kept it very short.  As he got off, he laughed at my teasing and said “I’ve got too much on the line now”.

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And it’s true.  As kids we only really answer to our trainers, maybe to our parents.  But as adults, we have family who rely on us, trainers who care about us, careers to maintain, and lives full of things other than horses.  So while I hate the second guessing, and the general increase in anxiety, it’s important as adults that we be our own advocates and do what feels right.  Even if it means slowing down the growth process a bit.

Everyone loves to ask me what I’m wanting to buy next, but my honest (and boring) answer is something that I feel safe on.  They laugh, but it’s true.  Apparently I’m past the days of reckless bravery…and that’s okay, I’ll just have to find a way to fill that void with a boatload of confidence and experience.

Happy Friday everyone!

Frugal October

I’m not naturally someone who spends easily spends money.  I tend to overthink my purchases, and am definitely the chick who takes stuff back…all…the…time.    Because I have to be sure.

There are two areas I can be kind of dumb with money in.

  1. Horses
  2. Daughter

Luckily for my finances not having an actual animal to spoil helps out significantly with item #1.  It really just leads to obsessive online horse shopping.  I mean, I would’ve taken this one if you forced me….https://canterusa.org/horses/listings/bout-time-again-16-hand-6-year-old-solid-gelding/

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But anyway, my daughter has halted her latest growth spurt, quickly followed by my car needing 4 tires, our deck needing redone and did I mention my car got 4 new tires?  So frugal October has officially kicked off.  My husband and I gave this idea  whirl earlier in the year when our home decided to stop working and needed some interventions.

It’s an easy principle….for one month…anything out of the ordinary, or things not needed — just don’t push buy, don’t swipe that card.   If it can wait, it should.  It seems easy enough, but has a big impact.  The first time we did it we managed to completely compensate for our household updates.  It really says a lot about how the little things really add up.  It feeds my constant Mint.com obsession, and makes me feel good about adulting.

Obviously if I forget my lunch at home (ahem-yesterday) no I won’t go hungry, I’m going to go grab something.  But it just means that I make the effort to plan for purchases.  Maybe I ought to skip one month of my wine club subscription thing and go grab some cheap stuff at Trader Joes?  Maybe my frozen chicken meal will be better than ordering chinese tonight?  I will say that like many rule structures – it does automatically make the opposite reaction very tempting.  In this case buying stuff or shopping now seems much more fun.  Even the little things.

A short list of random things I’ve now decided (within the past few days) I want…but not need.  Yet.

I want this rainbow crop.  It’s so obnoxious.  My black one disappears constantly…sometimes it comes home to me…most recently it has not.  No one will steal this thing in a hunter/jumper barn.

Or these adorable stickers I can adorn all the planner pages with?  And there are more for when I purchase dream horse 2.0!

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Etsy link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/505361287/multi-colour-horse-backriding-planner?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=riding%20lesson%20planner%20stickers&ref=sr_gallery_15

 

Personalized Chirstmas stockings…I need them right?  Even though my mantle doesn’t let us hang stuff?

And of course – something for the tiny human.

Most of these are pretty inexpensive.  I could and should just grab it, but stupid Frugal October is only 5 days in.  So I’m waiting.   Whew.  Adulting is a lot of work, and an effort in self-control.  Wish me luck!

 

 

Not Much to Say

I’m a little stuck.

While I have 1000’s of thoughts and ideas running through my head constantly, and about 50% of them are devoted to horses, I just don’t feel like I have much to say lately.  Or rather nothing interesting to add to the conversation.  My status right now isn’t changing, I’m horseless, will remain horseless for at least several more months, and am honestly riding once a week.  Frankly, I’m really boring at the moment.

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Obviously I could rant about how frustrated I am to not be able to ride more, or how I (of course) keep finding all these perfect Horse2.0 candidates now, or even about my anxiety about remaining a hunter for the next 30 years of my life.  But, I don’t have the oomphf necessary right now.  It’s like I’m in cruise control; just along for the ride.

I’m hoping that over the next week or two I can really regain my focus and get my thoughts converted into text, but for now I’m happy to read along and follow everyone else’s stories.

All Four Legs

After my emotion packed lesson last week, my trainer and decided I should take a few lessons to get my confidence back and see where we go next.  I arrived to find myself assigned to an old favorite, “my” beefcake red lesson pony.  While he was never my favorite when riding him before I bought O (which seems like a very long time ago), I became very attached in past years since he hauled my pregnant butt around for weeks and kept us both very safe after I got back in the tack .

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He wasn’t quite as excited to see me as I was him, but obliged and let me tack him up and pull him to the outdoor.  He actually really warmed up nicely and seemed to appreciate having someone who knew a bit more than “up, down, up, down”.  I was feeling pretty good about myself, and we headed around to warm up over a little crossrail.

He gave the crossrail an unusually big jump (for him) and I am pretty sure I mentally squealed a little at how sweet this boy was.  The fun ended when he landed, and somewhere between putting his back legs down and cantering forwards, he seemed to lose track of his front legs.  Horses need all 4 legs, and unfortunately for us, this meant we were thrashing around in the arena dirt, as he desperately tried to get off his knees.  I thought for sure we were going to roll right over.

Somehow after a full 8-10 feet of knee sliding/thrashing he righted himself and halted.  He was blowing very hard and I immediately reached forward to give him giant pats.  I literally cannot believe we didn’t go over.  After swearing to red horse that I would personally take care of him for the rest of his life for keeping us upright, I trotted off.  Big red was obviously super sore on his knees, and we decided to cut my lesson off in exchange for a cold hosing.

So that’s how my second lesson in so many weeks, was cut short.  This time for a very different reason.  Regardless, I am very lucky and glad that my horse was able to get us both back up after his trip.  He got lots of cold hose time, then wrapped up and extra cookies in his stall.  My trainer reported that he was feeling so much better the next day and went back to his normal life. She also joked that she really is trying to make it fun for me.

Note:

Cathryn at Two and a Half Horses is sponsoring an awesome header contest.  I’m photoshop incapable, but someone else should try!  Great prizes and blog!