Saturday, July 22, 2017

Not wanting to mess up but doing it anyways

So, we're up to last Sunday's ride. Um, yeah, it was pretty laid back. Tried and failed once again to beat the heat, so things were rather light. Roro is actually at his first show this weekend! Because of that, Miss El let me pick up an extra day of riding this week which I didn't end up using because the fam traveled up to Baltimore on Monday for my brother's 21st.

Haven't even started and he's already exhausted
Most of the ride was actually really good. Like damn good. Like horse is out here taking names good. We actually had a couple laps of completely relaxed inside rein with him holding himself, maintaining his pace, respecting my leg, and filling up my outside rein. We were even going to the right, so you know he was trying really hard.

Truthfully not that bad for either of us
Two struggle areas: the serpentine and the canter. Serpentine is meh because I'm still trying to be better about the change of rein. It's still kinda confusing, and I rarely get it right, and of course Roman doesn't make it any easier. It's a process. The canter was also hard because I didn't do anything to set him up for it. I've decided to not mess around with the leg yields on my own because he isn't as straight as he should be. Since I don't exactly know where the correction should come from, I'd rather not do them as opposed to setting him up incorrectly for true leg yields in the future. Granted, that means I need to be more diligent about moving him into corners and whatnot to establish an awareness of the inside leg. And also holding myself together through transitions would be a gr8 idea.

He's actually slimmed down a bit, but that neck needs some work
This ride was actually after two days of no work outs. Honestly, I've been pretty lax on my fitness regime as of late, and it definitely shows in my riding. Perks of having a suede saddle: you don't have to guess if you're unbalanced.

Left side is doing soooo much more, which I am thrilled about . . . :^) . . . yeah, nah, time for more lunges.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Class Act

Class Act

1. Bulls Bodysuit
2. Hermès Calfskin Belt
3. Monokel Sun Glasses
4. RMK #15 Nail Polish
5. Samshield Shadow Matt Helmet
6. Ogilvy Dressage Memory Foam Half Pad
7. Dressage
8. Horze Grand Prix Self Patch Breeches, Women’s
    no longer available
9. B Vertigo Lexington Dressage Saddle Pad

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

About a week ago

Guess who's got two thumbs and has no idea how to make a timely blog post?

After a super, stellar ride on Wednesday, I went into my lesson on Thursday feeling pretty confident. Wednesday was the first time my trainer has actually seen me on Roman since the first lesson a couple weeks ago. What a change, lol.

Going places
The very basics are definitely there. She had a lot of nice things to say about the elements that we've actually worked on. She's also happy to let him be more sticky at the start of the ride, but I'll have some more on that later. Rail work and circles are both looking and feeling pretty good, and the trot overall continues to get more consistent.

Our hardest point was actually the serpentine, which pisses me off BECAUSE HE WAS SO GOOD WHEN WE DID IT OVER THE WINTER LIKE C'MON HORSE ARE YOU THAT OUT OF SHAPE. But anyways, I'm just confused as heck about changing rein and getting the new outside rein and it's hard and Dressage is dumb and who needs it anyways. Usually I'm just hanging onto my inside rein around the arc, then when I want to change directions, he's just hanging back and leaning on my outside leg, meaning that once the direction changes and the cues switch, he's most certainly not travelling inside leg to outside rein. Then I have to think about all those little nuances on top of trying to keep him soft and as straight as a greenie can be.

Even the ears are unbalanced
Canter actually wasn't bad at all. It was more than I usually do on my own. Biggest issues were dropping the outside shoulder and inconsistent pace as well as my chicken arms. Tbh, I can fix the last two, but dropping the outside shoulder??? I just, don't get it. In my head it makes sense, but I don't know if I'm actually thinking of the correct thing here? And how do you fix that??

This is all too much.

Friday, July 14, 2017


As opposed to quantifying.

I think I've said this on here a couple of times, but I've never been one to spend a lot of time on the horse. I like my 5 minute rides, my 20 minute rides, and now I have my 10 minute ride. It's a simple quality vs quantity thing.

Case in point, since it's been disgustingly hot, I've been forced to ride when it is much later. I basically mount up at sunset and make the best of the receding sunlight. Since last week's rides were in the good but not quite what I want them to be category, I decided to keep it really simple on Tuesday. It was 10 mins of pointed walk and trot asking Roman to seriously move forward, be soft, and then maintain that. Frankly, it took less than 10 minutes to put him together, but I wanted to go both directions because balance.

The next day, when I went to do a longer ride, guess who was much easier and significantly more consistent in his movements??? Wild, I know. Miss El was out teaching, and while I wasn't taking a lesson, she had a lot of really nice comments. More so even than her usual "Good" when I'm lessoning. No, I got some, "He looks really good," and it sounded genuine, so I'll take it. When I popped him up to the left canter, he felt so damn good that I just had to leave it at that.

Good boy, Roro.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Q2 Goal Review

Held off on these until announcing the lease, but these are as of 6/30.
Improve my equitation: Huh, equitation actually got a bit worse this semester, but I feel like this was mainly due to stress. Regularly riding on 4 hours of sleep while also still having that obligation that is my education ain't the best idea.

Continue to open hip joint and soften ankle: Tbh, no, not really happening that much at the moment, but again, much of the loss of skill can be blamed on lack of sleep.

Strengthen my right side & continue to improve balance: Ya girl has been diligent. I'll actually be talking about this more in depth at a later point, but I still have some more exercises/stretches to try out.

Exercise 5 times per week: Didn't happen until I got home at the end of the semester, but I've been getting on myself. I'm back up to running 25mins consecutively without dying, and I've been pushing for 30. I also need to up my pace because I'm probably not hitting a 10min mile lol. I started working my arms again as well. I only have 5lb and 15lb weights at home, and I typically use the 15, so my endurance isn't there, but doing weighted squats/lunges helps to get me used to them. I don't put a whole lot of emphasis on building my legs so much as keeping my hips open and my tendons loose. Riding kinda takes care of the muscle element.

Ride with Miss El at least once a week when I'm home (weather/finances permitting): ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Be more fluid with different tack (i.e. Dressage form vs. Hunter form): Buddy, what is "fluidity"??? It'll be something to continue working on once I get back to riding regularly, but I haven't sat in a Dressage saddle since winter break.
Qualify for Colonial Classic: Nope

Qualify for MAEF Finals: Sad nope :(

Qualify for MHSA Regional Finals: I kinda didn't really care about this one because of the three things I wanted to qualify for, this would undoubtedly take more than a day of my time, which I give to no one, but also a no

Go to Brandywine, HITS, or Upperville (only once though and preferrably Brandywine): Still a possibility, but it'll depend on how the next couple of weeks go.

Compete at First Level & begin working towards my bronze: Also still a possibility but highly dependent on the next couple weeks

Compete on Roman: This took a very sudden and aggressive turn towards pretty much going to happen
School at 3'0": I mean, if I can get it together, then yeah, possible.

Compete at 3'0": Guess who isn't about pushing green horses and possibly dying???

Compete in Ariat Adult Medal: This was, understandably, a stretch

Qualify for Ariat Medal Final: Lmao, what

Start saving for a horse of my own: Also still possible depending on how much it'll cost me to study abroad next year.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Building An Empire

So, I've got just under two months to work with Roman and turn him into a fit, respectable, and more or less marketable horse.

The first part of that process will be to work off that gut because holy moly.

Trust me, he's not pregnant, just fat.

I've got quite a bit of raw potential to work with here, and fortunately it doesn't take much to make him look good. The biggest issue is him avoiding the contact which is 100% on me to correct. It manifests in either him going around like a giraffe (which I don't mind), hanging (which I don't mind too much and is the easiest to correct), or curling behind (which I H-A-T-E). I can deal with the head up or pulling, but hyperflexing makes my skin crawl, and it sucks to see him do it in the videos. Just like the other two evasions, it's my job to correct him, but ugh. I hate that it even happens.

As always, forward is still a big thing and improving balance through building both of our right sides is a major hurdle.

For myself, I just need to get it together over all. I'm quite unsteady at the moment, which makes Roman unsteady as well, so I need to remember to hold myself up and think about my position in order to make our rides easier and more productive. Again, it's amazing what happens when I hold myself accountable. I'd like to get my lower leg softer, my knee more open, and my upper body more consistent overall. Shoulders back, elbows bent and in, chin up.

Artsy & Floaty
Fun things to do in order to situate all of this out: sitting trot, no stirrup work, poles, coming off the rail, like, all the time.

We can do it, buddy.

Shared space apparently

Monday, July 10, 2017

Roman Week 1

Started out on day one of the lease with a 9am lesson. I've never been too keen about waking up prior to 11am on the weekends. Roman was . . . well, Roman. Took an effort to get him going, but we had some fantastic trot work. When we went to canter, he got the right lead just fine. His issues from over the winter actually had to do with a bad saddle fit and not his on physiology. He'll probably still be weaker on his right side for a while, but not to the point where picking up the right lead becomes nearly impossible.

When we went to the left, that's when the disagreements started. I only do trot to canter transitions with him for the time being. I was trying to establish a nice trot, he was too behind my leg, so I added some whip, aaaaaaand he took offense. We cantered, then I guess you could say we galloped, then we got back to a nice canter, then I couldn't get him to trot again. May have also exited the ring. In my defense, the reins on his bridle are slippery when wet to say the least. I sweat a lot, and it's the summer time, so I had 0 grip and couldn't use my hands as a back up when the closed leg did not work. In any case, horse knows what forward means!

i stick m'leggy out real far
First ride on my lonesome, and he decided to chill. I worked out beforehand because Wednesday is arm day, and lifting a saddle isn't quite the same as concentrated curls. I filmed on my phone, but putting it on a hay rack didn't offer the best views.

"Good luck lifting my back"
He was really good. Like really good. I didn't even plan to canter because I want to perfect the trot, but he was moving off of my leg so well that I did some canter circles in each direction. I did get gloves; actually, I replaced my Noble Outfitters gloves that I lost, like, two years ago. I don't like wearing gloves because if my hands are too heavy I'd prefer to get blisters and know that I need to be softer. In this case, however, they were easier than getting new reins.

You can watch the video and see the flaws for yourself, but I'm going to do an outline of my goals for Roro in another post.

Guess who did polework for the first time in forever?!??! I was super excited, and Roman put in a good effort. He straight up refused to go over the two trot poles at first, which was hilarious. Poles are very scary for large, baby horses. Canter was actually very nice as well. In general, it was the same issues from the previous day.

Decided to take it easy on him because he had two days of work after not working for quite some time. I hopped on bareback and just let him walk around the jump field. He kept walking up to the jumps and biting the tall grass because what better time to eat than when someone is on your back trying to make you not eat???

We went into the arena for a bit, and I just worked on pushing him from the quarter line back to the rail. Basically a baby leg yield. Our problem right now is that he's not straight in the leg yield, so I want my trainer to help me figure that out before I ask ruin it early on.

Very unsuccessfully tried to beat the heat. I rode in the morning and decided to keep it quick and simple. It was by far our best ride yet mainly because I kept thinking "We have no time" and really got on him and myself about things. I was probably on him for 20 mins or so, but he was actually fantastic. Nice to see what happens when I hold myself accountable for things.

"i am perfect and can do no wrong"

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Fashion Thursday: ROOTD: 7/1/17

ROOTD: 7/1/17

1. Gap V Neck Short Sleeve Top
    no longer available (but they have plenty of v necks on their website)
2. Mondoni Kendal Riding Boots
3. iPhone 7+ Silicone Case
4. Barneys New York Leather Belt
    no longer available
5. Ovation Sync Helmet
6. Corkcicle 16 oz. Tumbler
7. Signature Mid-Waist Breech Tan Fox

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

(Mis)Adventures in Leasing: Part 5 - Decisions

If I'm being completely honest, before I even went to try the last three horses, I was set on Hanz. He was the most experienced, he was well trained, he was safe. He had the potential to build my confidence without letting me slack. His owner described him as a horse that teaches, and he is.

Teach me to not do that
But after I tried him, I had doubts. They were based on nothing besides my undying fear of ruining someone else's horse. I was a bit out of it when I drove home and decided to go on a run to try to get myself thinking straight. Boy-o-boy, that did not work. I managed to convince myself in some backwards way that Hanz wasn't right for me and that it wouldn't work out and that the sun would beam down and incinerate me if I even tried to ride the horse again. Then I got home, started panicking again because oh no I don't know which horse I want, and ended up texting my friend in a bit of a frenzy to get her outside opinion. Prior to this conversation, I hadn't told her anything about my search. I gave her the details of the horses and asked her who I should pick. She said with zero hesitation to pick Hanz, and it felt right.

I look horrible, but he was so forgiving
I messaged his owner, beaming, ever so ready to get back to riding regularly. She messaged back, and cue plot twist. Her situation wasn't allowing for a two month lease, but she said if I could find someone to pick up the lease after me, then it would be fine. So I poked. And I prodded. One woman I know is very interested, though I'm not sure if she contacted the owner yet. At the end of the day, I couldn't keep waiting, and I wasn't going to keep someone else waiting either. I had to pass on Hanz. I know he'll go to a good home and take someone else far, but it hurt a little to be so close. I already had a tag and a post ready on here to announce him. I was even looking for bridles because the owner mentioned his recently broke. It sucked to let go.

So then there were two: fat & sassy vs. hard liquor.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Interrupting your regularly scheduled leasing complaints

Just popping in to wish my American readers a Happy Fourth and to remind my British readers that America won!!

me @ my tinder matches
Jk, I love all of you equally. Even though the U.S. is currently in quite the rut, there are always plenty of things to be patriotic about. Such as McDonald's every day breakfast which apparently didn't reach Canada until March. Quick shout out to the journalists, bloggers, and news casters who continue to go into work everyday despite all the "negative press"!

Politics over, on to ponies. Redbubble has 20% off sitewide with code FREEDOM20. Usually they only have apparel sales, so this is a nice surprise, and yes I'm getting another journal. I haven't posted much of my art on here lately, but I'll be honest, it's mostly not horse related.

Such as these marbles that became more aggressive as I continued to make them . . .



Naturally, marble ponies were next:

I also made the things below as progress for the above design. They're not for sale unless some is just dying to have vague line art. Other than that, I'm in the process of finding base images to use for more marble pieces.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday, and if the Fourth of July means nothing to you, I hope you have a wonderful day. Stay tuned for tomorrow's wrap up of my leasing (mis)adventures!

Monday, July 3, 2017

(Mis)Adventures in Leasing: Part 4 - Get Those Guts Again

I panicked. For absolutely no reason at all, I panicked. It wasn't even a big deal at all, and I just lost it. I quickly opened Facebook and went back to a free lease ad that I'd kept seeing since late April/early May. By the time I'd seen that ad, I already decided to lease Max, so I passed it over.

I texted my trainer back: "Max is still at the top of my list, but I have one more horse to try."

Or something along those lines. And so that's when Hanz was haphazardly slapped onto my list of possible lease horses. No one trust me with anything ever. Hanz was 20 minutes from my house at a nice facility with good training and mad potential. The owner and I went back and forth, and not gonna lie, I was difficult to talk with. Eventually, we were able to set up a date, I tried him, and it went fantastic. I also texted my trainer back about trying Roman, and that's when she brought up Vodka, too.

Hanzi featuring too short stirrups
When I went out to try Roman and Vodka, Miss El gave me the simple yet useful advice to go with my gut and pick the horse that I thought I'd get the most out of.

She really thought I was capable of making a calculated decision on my lonesome. Ha!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

(Mis)Adventures in Leasing: Part 3 - The ISO

Except history doesn't always go smoothly. In fact, it rarely goes smoothly. I was so so so happy to have a horse picked out by the end of winter break, and Silver was such a good option. It was almost too good to be true.

When spring break came around, I texted Miss El asking if I could take Silver to the open schooling day at our local equestrian center. Same one that I did with Baby a couple years ago. I thought it would be useful to get out and set myself up well for show season. I got a text back with news that I did not expect at all. Silver's owner had decided to retire him and gave him away to a friend. It probably hurt even more than it should have because the week earlier, I had been rejected from the degree program that I wanted to get into. I was crushed, and the degree thing actually made me pretty depressed for a couple weeks following the decision.

They switched my decision, and now I'm in, but I can see why they said
no in the first place
Many tears later, I finally sucked up and posted an ISO, both a fake one and a real one. I got a couple bites, including Max's owner who offered the trusty gelding once more. That was also when my trainer first offered Roman, but I was worried about being able to bend and canter to the right. I kept looking, got a couple more bites, and then decided that I just wanted to keep things simple. Summer 2017 would be just like 2016, and in April I decided I would lease Max.

Unwatermarked bc I don't want to cover his perfection
In late May, I got another text from my trainer: "Have you found a horse yet?"

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