Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Unspoken Rules of the Hunter Ring

Ever since I started riding, I've been a part of the hunter ring. It's not an easy sport, and it's kind of difficult to really fit into a hunter operation if you've never experienced it before. So, if you're about to switch disciplines or just dipping a toe into the sport, keep these bits of information in mind. From one hunter to the next, good luck!

1. Only black or white saddle pads are allowed.
I cannot stress this enough. It's about being profeshunal, people. Just because the page on Dover said HUNTER green, doesn't mean it's allowed in a hunter barn. Common mistake. Don't make it.

sin!!! sin, I say!!!
2. Your everyday riding attire will be as follows: solid colored polo shirt (tucked in), beige Tailored Sportsman breeches, a black belt, black tallboots (either Ariat, Tredstep, or Parlanti).
The only time you can divert from this is at shows. Then, you are allowed to school in a quarter zip, but that's it. Also, I'd like to reiterate that if your breeches aren't Tailored Sportsmans, you will be sacrificed to Smaug.

3. Horses may only be bay, chestnut, brown, or black.
Exceptions:
- ponies may be any color
- palominos are only allowed if they come with an eq kid
- grays are only allowed if they can also file my taxes

We could never be *real* hunters
4. Every horse must have chrome.
A continuation of the last rule. Why is this? No one knows.

Nevermind, I know why
5. Your horse's show name must sound like any adjective being spoken in Spanish. A "Z" at the end is optional but not required.


There's a Thicc somewhere out there
6. Hair must always be in a hair net and Samshield helmet while riding.
This rule was actually recently amended. It used to be "Hair must always be in a hair net and Charles Owen helmet while riding." It was changed because Charles Owens don't get as many likes on Instagram.

7. Your name is Catherine.
Not a Catherine? You are now.

8. There are only three bits: D-ring, Full Cheek, and Pelham.
But you school in a 3 ring elevator. Always.

I gotta stop posting memes on here
9. Follow. The. Trends.
Listen, I get it; your net worth is approximately $0.06 and half a chicken nugget. But let's face it, you won't place if you're not riding in a CWD with an Ogilvy. It just won't happen, sweaty :)

10. Finally, have fun!
You're spending obscene amounts of time and money to be here. Might as well feel good about it on occasion sometimes.

Smile through the pain

Filed Under: bad satire

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bite me

Carlos, a.k.a. King Asshole, actually managed to get me with his teeth this past week. Broke the skin and left a bruise. Have I mentioned enough how much I hate being assigned to him?

Horse was likely in a bad/weird mood because of the torrential downpour that morning plus the change of season. Overall, he was acting strange. After our ride, he got really nervous when I left the stall, and him getting uppity while tied makes me nervous. He got even more anxious when everyone else starting going out, which is understandable, but he's never been that upset before.

I'm actually having a hard time being mad about the bite because he was kinda good to ride, still weird tho. I don't want to say he was behind the leg, but he was being reactive to cues for downward transitions. I had to sit the trot with leg because homie thought it was time to walk, but then his walk wasn't an "I'm tired" walk, it was a really nice, forward walk. Laterally, he was amazing, and we had a ton of really nice loose rein circles. I'm talking minimal hand here. But then when I picked up contact, he spent half the ride doing that weird, head twisty thing that some horses do. Again, he's never done that with me previously.

Grom Pre
Now, the weirdest thing he was doing is something that I can't decide if I like or don't like. Carlos has, on occasion, stretched to the bit with me. He's pretty stiff in the poll and jaw, but the rest of his next has some flexibility (probably cause he's always turning it to bite people). Until this past week, he never curled, and yet, here he is learning a new skill. He's prone to root and show displeasure in his mouth through gaping, but the curl was pretty random. It reminded me of Max when he was first learning to soften and would fall behind the vertical, but 1) I don't even bother asking Carlos to soften anymore and 2) it was a much deeper curl, closer to LDR than anything. He did it for short bursts at the trot, then in much longer periods when we cantered. The curls at the canter were also much deeper than the trot (nose to the ground) and coupled with ample snorting. This was the first time I used a BoT square pad with him, so perhaps he does actually feel free in his back and is trying to do a real stretch, but I honestly don't know. If I'm on him next week, I'll try a different pad and see what happens then go from there.

Anyways, onto less weird but still new stuff that I learned about the horse: he does not understand poles. Crazy for a horse that likes to run at fences. Trotting him over cavalettis was hilarious because you can tell he's confused but he tries so hard. When Coach put a canter pole in front of the fence, Carlos actually broke to a trot the first time through. We had to push him up to it because poles are oh so scary.

Spotted: angry mare attacking scary canter pole
He put in some good efforts over each fence. We swapped twice, and I think I only majorly screwed up on Dori because wot in forward impulsion. My last time through on LB was described as "very good" by Coach. I apparently "looked nice over the top of that fence." Boo yah.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Q1 Goal Review

At Emma's recommendation, I've opted to do quarterly reviews this year in order to keep myself on track.


Improving Equitation: It comes and goes with my confidence. I started out nice over winter since my last IHSA lesson of the semester was really good, and then jumping Silver was a fun time as well. Carlos' antics caused a bit of back track where I was jumping super defensively. Fortunately, I tend to get it together easily on a horse that I'm more comfortable on. In terms of confidence and skill, I'm super happy about this.

Opening Hip Joint: Actually fixing my physiology has been difficult for a number of reasons. Coach S is a very get on and get trotting type of person, so once it hits 11am, I'm in rising trot. Oh, but why don't I just get on early and do my hip stretches then? Well, as I've mentioned before, my Fridays are quite tight, and the earliest I get on is 10:58. I think from now on, I'll just take advantage of our breaks in between work in order to get my stretches in. I can actually feel my hips tightening and becoming less balanced as the semester goes on. I'd like to even myself out a bit before I get back home for the summer.

Softening Ankle: I mean, I think I'm doing this, but my lower half is contorted most of the time (see above), so I can't really tell. Dressage saddle will tell all.

Balance: See above above.

Work Outs: Listen. A valiant effort was put in here, but my education is more important than abs. I'm a generally healthy person, and my fitness is more for aesthetics than anything . . . ok, I would also like to be able to carry two water buckets at one time, but that's besides the point. I workout when I have time, and I've become more strict on my diet since I've still managed to gain weight (and hit my goal weight) with limited lifting. On the plus side, I can maintain myself on a 10lb dumbbell. Things to work on going forward: up running speed, up muscular endurance, decrease chocolate consumption.

Ride with Miss El: It happened over winter break, but the finances weren't there come spring break.

Fluidity: I saw major improvements in this over the winter when I was riding in the Dressage tack on Roman and jumping tack on Silver. The biggest issue I've noticed is in my shoulders. I get used to the stirrup length after a while, but I tip forward a lot. I tip forward too much in hunter tack already, so it's not surprise that it gets worse in the Dressage saddle. That being said, the leg and seat are much better, so I'll keep working my way up.


Qualify for Colonial Classic/MAEF Finals/MHSA Regional Finals: TBD.

Go to Brandywine, HITS, or Upperville: TBD.

Compete at First Level & begin working towards my bronze: TBD

Go to Rolex: Heavily hashed. Not possible. Sorry, Iz :(

Compete on Roman: Um . . .


School/Compete at 3'0": HA!

Compete/Qualify for Ariat Adult Medal: I've watched the YouTube video of it. Does that count?

Start saving for a horse of my own: Ok, haven't actually done it yet, but I do think I'll be able to start putting money away by the end of this year. Ya know, after all those expensive medal finals :')

I also apologize for exactly none of these section headers.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

1. WithChic Tie Front Top
    withchic.com
2. Covalliero Charlize Bomber Jacket
    divoza.com
3. Horze Grand Prix Self Patch Breeches
    horze.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thoughtful Equestrian Blog Hop: What makes you, you?


In the spirit of actually having interesting content, here's a blog hop brought to us by Catie of Thoughtful Equestrian.

What makes someone at the barn (or your trainer) think of you immediately?

Frankly, Catie, I think we're quite similar. I, too, wear things that make my trainer want to kick me out of the ring. The difference: a good 90% of the time, it is completely unintentional. I'm just that ghastly looking when I show up to the barn.

C O M P L E T E L Y    U I N T E N T I O N A L
I'd say my Tiffany Blue breeches are my worst "offense," but I've received bug eyes for my purple pair, too, which I considered pretty conservative. That's mainly the reason why they didn't travel with me to school this year, but dag nabbit, I will be a grape if I want to.

Just call me Gilbert
My second unique aspect: photography. Yah, I jumped right on the bangwagon of equine photographers under 18 years old. I was pretty into it, but I never sold my photos or tried super hard to make a business out of it. It's more of an on the side thing at this point just to give other people media and fill the space between paragraphs. Every once in a while, I grace my trainer with quality shots to use on her Facebook page. A+ student status.

My third lesser known but occasionally acknowledged quality is sounds. I make a lot of sounds when I am around horses. Think of any sound you've ever heard. I have, at some point, recreated it around a horse. If I'm being honest, horses are generally unsettling to me, but instead of expressing myself through actions, words, or interpretive dance, I just make a sound expressing my displeasure. Miss El actually heard me once, and gave a weird look. In my defense, I am a fairly quiet and reserved person at the barn. Just let me be my weirdo self on occasion.

My trainer when I do literally anything

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Regionals Swing

Yup, that time of year again. I still didn't qualify for regionals, but after seeing how last year went, I didn't even put it down as a goal. Eh, I might try senior year. I don't feel too pressured about it.

Reaching (in vain) for my taco
My parents and I made the 2.5 hour drive on Saturday morning. We actually arrived early, so I started helping bring horses in and unblanket them. Everything ran smoothly during set up. I was only schooling Leia, which went fine except her being super slow. Over the past year and a half, Leia has gone from being super strong and forward to fences to being a leg ride the whole time. We started with some trash distances but got it together for a good school. Unfortunately, so was just as slow and chippy with most of the people who rode her. Eh. Horses are kind annoying anyway.

Looking for free tacos
I spent a decent amount of time cuddling with Carlos in the morning before helping tack up Murry for the flat classes. I also finally had a taco in a bag, and it was great, except I got it right before we had to start tacking up. Just imagine me, throwing saddle pads on with one hand, Doritos bag in the other, trying to speak through the ground beef in my mouth. Plus, Murry tried several times to get a bite of my taco. Not too happy about that, lol.

Smad cause I won't share my taco
It was really a slow, quiet day. Show started at 11a and ended by 2p. I went home and did nothing productive until 1am. Decent way to spend my day.

Friday, March 24, 2017

I.S.O.

ISO horse for melodramatic, washed up ex-junior adult amateur*.

*who used to have talent
Must be alive and have at least three legs. No kangaroos. No sleipners. Looking for something with more whoa than go, but if it has more go than whoa, I won't mind. As long as it moves. That's the bare minimum here.

Ideally a mare or really annoying gelding. Can be lame, but lameness must be subtle enough that my trainer doesn't notice and ask, "Why'd you pick this horse?" Bonus points if it comes with a Wintec. I must satisfy the tiny vegan who lives in my brain.

Example of an acceptable gelding. Check the tail flick. So sass.
In a best case scenario, it should be able to jump 2'6", but frankly, I don't care how it jumps. As long as it jumps, I'm happy. "What if it only jumps 2'0"?" That's fine. "What if it jumps like a deer running late to work?" Also fine. "What if it only jumps when it hears the script of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar?" Ok, that's where I draw the line. Interstellar was a trash movie.

I ghost wrote all of these
Age doesn't matter. Height must be over 15hh, ideally 16hh, and absolutely not over 17hh. I am 5'5". Anything over 17hh makes me look like the pony rider I always wanted to be.

*Florence and the Machine voice* THE PONY DAYS ARE OVE-E-R
All inquiries are welcome. Thanks in advance!

Ok, but seriously, the search is back on for a summer lease horse. Looking for a sound 2'6" eq mount, but I'm willing to put in some work. Sanity is flexible. Yes, it actually does have to be over 15hh. No preference on age, sex, breed, color, etc. Would be showing locally and (if I qualify for any finals) around McDonough School area. Will be very loved for all of three months!! Riding with a professional trainer with references available. Max budget: $250. On site lease in the Delmarva area. If you know of anything, please let me know!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fashion Thursday: A Page in a New Book

A Page in a New Book

1. Ladies Moisture Wicking Athletic shirt
    amazon.com
2. Le Fash Gramercy w Grey City Breech
    lefashny.com
3. Charlotte Russe Plus Size 3 Pack Belts
    charlotterusse.com
4. Equestrian Home Accessories Traditional Floral Saddle Pad
    no longer available
5. Horze Elisa Tallboot with Zipper
    horze.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rose Gold


My obsession with rose gold is pretty intense. Rose gold earrings, rose gold septum rings, rose gold regular rings, rose gold watches, and even a rose gold headband . . . or two. Honestly, rose gold is the best and most versatile color for accessories, so it's no surprise that I was stopped in my tracks when I saw ROSE GOLD STIRRUPS on my Instagram feed.


Y'all know 2017 is gonna be lit when new companies are already producing excellence. Eclat Equestrian is a Scotland based brand that's bringing a new look to the equestrian aesthetic. I place them into the same category as brands like Le Fash, Ghodo, and Spooks; they stray from traditional styles to create something that is both modern and professional while still maintaining quality.

Also, rose gold.


If the Dressage whip hadn't been out of stock, I'd be £20 poorer.

The new company's current line features a collection of cool belts, some horsey accessories, and one very sparkly browband.


While their own brand is still building and releasing new products, Eclat also has stock from other companies such as DO&G, Waldhausen and La Valencio. Yah, my dog is probably getting a new collar for her birthday. When I take with me for runs, we will do it in style.

eclatequestrian.com // Facebook // Instagram // Eclat Rose Collection

All photos & videos are taken from the Eclat Equestrian Instagram page.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why Maryland is the BEST State to Own Horses In


1. We have every discipline you can think of
You name it, we have it. Hunters, jumpers, eventing, Dressage, barrel racing, western pleasure, bronc riding, Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred racing, fox hunting, crabbing (but on horseback) . . . We have everything, and that's my favorite part. You'll meet so many different riders from vastly different backgrounds. What's not to love?

Concept: Ride two different disciplines and be kinda bad at both
2. We have every type of weather you can think of
Whether you like piaffeing through ice and snow or jumping fences in a heat wave with 200% humidity, Maryland will service your weather wants. If you don't like either of those choices, you better get used to it because there is no inbetween, and we also don't experience normal seasonal patterns. Good luck!


This ain't even a joke - image from Eye On Annapolis
3. Chincoteague Ponies!
Probably our best quality. The ponies and the annual pony swim are a great pass time. Not to mention you can go to the beach and see the ponies whenever. You also get to see the poop. And smell it. And the ponies have no sense of predator/prey relationships. Hope you like sharing a towel during shedding season.

4. Old Bay is the only supplement you need
Ever wonder why SmartPak doesn't ship to Maryland? It's because we don't need them! All our horses eat is Old Bay and that good ole Maryland grass. Old Bay goes on everything: crabs, popcorn, eggs, final papers. Why not horse feed?



5. We have plenty of neighboring states to flee into
Is your crazy trainer trying to drag you back into their program? Are you behind on board and trying to stop your barn owner from taking your horse on lien? Not a problem! You have five different state lines to choose from, including Washington DC. Don't feel like going to a different state? Consider travelling to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. No one will find you in the corn fields. No one.

me, running to the corn fields to hide that foot angle

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Strong Starts

Mid term season is always 10000x worse than finals. Typically, once finals roll around, whatever project I'm doing is something I've been working on for a while, I have a long break to look forward to, and, in general, I am better prepared to turn in/present whatever I'm supposed to turn in/present. Mid terms, tho . . . I'm a Jabberwock with 3% of my usual amount of patience. No matter how well I tried to manage my time this past week, I still ended up in the architecture building for the whole night finishing my midterm. I haven't pulled an all nighter since last year, and my overall average for all nighters is pretty low for someone in studio.

@Carlos, stop eating everything
So yah after getting no sleep and running on none calories, I reluctantly went to my lesson on Friday morning. I tried to nap in the car, but I get pretty jittery when I don't sleep, so I'd just knock out for five minutes then jump awake when someone spoke too loud. It ended up being a decent lesson because I was so sleep deprived, I didn't have the energy to be as stiff as I usually am.

From last weekend in Toronto
I started on Ringo, which was awesome because he is the slowest and most easy going horse out there. We did w/t/c with some no stirrup work, just the usual. With jumping we just worked through a line and swapped a couple of times. Ringo was perfect each time through.

Kodi was being his ridiculous self and jumping with his head between his legs. Just a thought: if you've gone over the fence three times already, why are you still looking at it like it's a ghost??? I swapped onto LB last, and we nailed it both times. I didn't get any disgusting distances, and Coach didn't have any major complaints about my position, so I guess I was doing things ok.

Kodak paying attention
The rest of the day went pretty well, too. It included Cafe Rio, actually getting to the crit early, and having the critics like my concept. It wasn't until approximately 7:30p that I got terrible news, which I may or may not blog about. That aside, the day had a strong start.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Works, Rides, Fries, Cries

Works, Rides, Fries, Cries

1. Commencer Ladies Sleeveless Body Suit
    amazon.com
2. J Crew Campbell Linen Blazer
   shop.nordstrom.com
3. J.Crew Cigarette Pant
    jcrew.com
4. Soffe Big Girls' New Short
    amazon.com
5. Live for Fries Shirt
    funnyshirts.org
6. HKM Roma Knee Patch Breeches

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Some things never change

First show in 15 months, and I still didn't clean my boots until 11pm the night before. I also spilled needsfoot oil on my carpet.

In general, the week leading up to our last home show was painful, and the week following was only slightly better. To summarize, we had our first, actual final review in studio for Project 1. As stated early, it was amazing, but while everyone got their reviews back this past Friday, I have nothing. My TA is about to get annoyed by me all weekend. Despite the awesome review, I only got (at max) 3 hours of sleep on Thursday night, then I had a 9am class, which was followed directly by my lesson, which was also followed directly by studio. This past Wednesday was also the due date for applications to the B.S. program at my school for which I spent Sunday morning in D.C. I basically crashed on Sunday evening after chapter meeting, and it's been a slow rebound to today.

This nation's capitol is only useful for artsy photos
But, anyways, show recap. Cause it's been a while.

Everything ran smoothly, which is a lot to ask for an IHSA show. We didn't start on time, as usual, but we still ended around 4pm. There was a looming threat of thunderstorms all day, and some ominous clouds began passing over come noon. By the time 3pm hit, the clouds parted, thunder hit, and things were halted for a bit. Otherwise, smooth sailing.

Moose on a cloudy background
I was assigned to Vic for the day, but somehow we got shorthanded with one horse, so my partner with Vic decided to take care of him while I took on Mark. I haven't dealt with Mark in well over a year, so I had no idea how cuddly he was. He's a soft mouthed horse, so he was constantly showing teeth (no aggressive, just lifting his lips) with the tongue making regular appearances. I couldn't go five minutes without a muzzle in my face or on my shoulder or teeth pressed up against my hand for amusement. Horses are weird, y'all.

He had a pretty good day and raked in a number of 2nd places for several riders. Good boy, Markus.


Once Mark was done and put away, it was pretty much my time to go. I had originally drawn Murry, but he wasn't doing well with the rain on the roof of the arena (plus thunder), so his replacement was Penny. Penny is fine, and I'd ridden her once before to school at another home show. Overall, it was a good ride. My canter transitions could have had less shoulder action, but my real fault was picking up the incorrect lead going to the right. I switched it, but it happened, and I ended up 4th.

Heels down is a concept - image by Vispera Productions
I'm kinda pissed at myself for the lead, but everything else pretty much fell into place. My nerves weren't nearly as bad as they used to be. I'm talking zero shaking, guys. None. Nadda. Zilch. The team also apparently made bank at the food booth. Horse show people really like donuts and bagels.

image by Vispera Productions
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