Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2k14: A Review

It's about that time of year when we start to turn over a new leaf but only after looking back over things one more time.

It was a big year. I did a lot, and I came a long way, and I learned a heck of a lot of things. The medal was probably the big ticket item. Some part of me wishes that I hadn't done it because the finals were terrible, but you can't change the past, and I'm excited to do it again next year.

I'm also glad that I was able to have lessons with Miss El, and I'm super glad that I have the new boarder to help me further that knowledge.

Ah, yes, stretchy stretchy
Not to mention, joining IEA is undoubtedly one of the best decisions that I have ever made. There has been such a huge change in my riding. It's unbelievable.

Now for the real review, the goals/bucketlist checkoff:

✔Achieve acceptable flat and over fences equitation
Yes, this was actually achieved, but only after slumping through the summer.

✔Get champion in one division
That reserve champion in Low Hunter counts

✔Jump a little bit higher (like, 3", that's all I ask)
Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Get Baby more responsive to seat and leg
She's got the seat thing. We're still working on the leg thing.

✔Ride Molly confidently
I'm not terrified to trot her anymore, and I can actually stay on when I canter her. That's a big step forward.

Break the fashion meter
Eh, I was fairly conservative this year. I'm an eq rider. It's hard to be fun.

No falls (oh, this will be a challenge)
Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, no.

✔Be more effective as a rider
I actually have a core now, and I can hold my two-point for more than half a lap.

Try free jumping
I'm going to do this eventually.

✔Do a medal class
Oh yes we did.

Conquer my fear . . . er, aversion to oxers
I still give them strange looks.

Kick booty
I kicked my own ass into gear. That counts for something.

What does next year have in store? Well, I have an ambassador application that is currently being considered, the second giveaway is happening in a month or two, I'm managing a show, I'm moving up in equitation, and I'm on a steady track to IEA regionals. Also, there will be blog hops. They are already drafted. Thanks for dealing with me for the past year. Here's to taking 2015 head on!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Product Review: Tredstep Symphony No. 4 Nero Breeches

Sometime back when I had picked out a dress to order for the awards banquet this year, I decided that I also needed a pair of breeches, so I asked my mom for her credit card and splurged on a pair of Tredsteps. I needed a pair of French Blue breeches. Every collection must have a pair of French Blue breeches.

In reality, the breeches were Slate Blue, which is about a shade or two lighter than French Blue, but close enough, and the breeches were true to color. I actually got the right size this time, too. When the breeches arrived, and I tried them on for the first time, I was disheartened. Both pairs of my Tredsteps are made of a stiff fabric, and the ankles are worse than skinny jeans. They felt very tight, but I'm not one to quit on the first try.

The next day, I donned them to the SATs and then to the barn. After a three hour test, and hour and a half on a horse, then a two hour conversation, I have no complaints. I don't know what happened. I don't know if the breeches just needed some breaking in. I don't know if a Tredstep intern body mapped me in my sleep and took the breeches back to headquarters to have them custom adjusted to me as part of some initiation process. I don't know, but the pants were honestly very comfortable to ride and sit and walk and run in.

The u-knee-que knee patches
The double belt loops and integrated calf are definitely my favorite features, but the fabric intrigues me. It's very thin and taught; however, to my surprise, it's woven tightly. It rained the day I rode in these, and I hate the cold with a burning passion. I didn't freeze in these breeches, even though it was a thinner fabric. I thought that I would have to limit these to spring and fall, but I think they'll serve me well through the winter with my fleece tights underneath.

Integrated calf
Overall, these breeches surprised me, and in the good way. I'm waiting for an excuse to get another pair of Tredsteps, but, for now, my Neros are the favorite child in my fashion family.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

No, trainer. Bad trainer.

Perhaps I am over reacting, but there's something to be said when you suddenly get put on the most stereotypical pony after riding mainly horses for two months. I guess I should have seen it coming, and I know it's for my own good; I don't exceed the height limit for ponies at the IEA shows, therefore, I should be able to control the little beasts while also looking good. Still, I was not pleased.

The pony in question is Christopher Robin. He's a short, fat little thing, and he would have rather pinned his ears and continued eating than be pestered by my tacking up process. Honestly, he is so fat, I couldn't believe how easy it was to put the girth on. It had to have been a 52". He was easy enough to tack up, and he stood nice and still while I got on and adjusted everything. Part of my minimal excitement to ride him is due to how he acts with other riders (just like Rosie). He is the definition of sass. I must have caught him on a good day.

Warm-up commenced, and he was super good at the walk and trot. Christopher is responsive and pretty forward, plus he knows his Dressage. His only fault would be that he loses focus fairly easily, and so do I, and that led to some not so nice circles. He was great to canter to the left and stepped off okay. To the right, he didn't want to canter from the halt, so he had a bucking fit, then he picked up the wrong lead. After I switched him, we did half a lap of angry, why-are-you-making-me-do-things canter before he finally settled into a quiet, relaxed little angel.

He was a lot more eager going to the fences than the last time I saw someone riding. He really wanted to canter the first time, but I held him back. We had a bit of a foot mix-up when we actually cantered the crossbar, but we made it over and stayed together. Miss J set everything down to 2' for Christopher and me. His weight plus my own was not making it over 2'6", especially not an oxer. We did the bending line without issue, then we moved onto a course. It started with the oxer to rolltop line. He did them both beautifully. Then we made a sharp turn to the derby fence. Cleared. Then the grey boxes, which I didn't think he'd be able to do, but damn that's one good pony. Cleared it like a pro.

To finish off, Miss J set the brick to 3' for B, Cas, and Izzy, then 2'6" (might have been 2'9") for Hail, Sunny, and DeM, then 2'3" for me, which Christopher eagerly launched himself over. He could've cleared a 2'6" fence with that kind of effort. Christopher is such an adorable little thing, and I like him more now than I did before, but I must remember that even Satan holds the door for people sometimes.

On a super note, after much stalling, milling, and a considerable amount of shaking, I finally coughed up the courage to ask about showing Corbin next year. Miss J is fine with me riding every other week. She wants me to ride Corbin more in the team lessons but still make sure that I get in enough time on other horses. I think that's a great plan. For now, it's a go, but there are still details to be discussed.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Also, the long awaited

After almost a month of saying that we'd ride together, I still didn't get to ride with the new boarder this weekend. Instead, she stayed after she rode to help me out. Sometime while I was finishing up with the pasture, she managed to catch her horse and get to the indoor without me noticing, so it was a surprise to see her when I took Baby out.

Queen B was feeling forward, probably due to the fact that she hasn't been ridden regularly in a few weeks (Miss S has no more lessons in December). I guess it helped a bit because she wanted to be forward, but we kept passing that line between energetic walk and a jig. We worked on the bottom tiers of the training pyramid: consistent forward motion with energy (rhythm), suppleness, bending (which tied into the suppleness), and contact (also tied into the suppleness).

We did a lot of work at the trot with lots of circles, but the idea was that I needed to take what I was doing in the circles and apply it on the rail so that my corners actually look like corners. Once in a blue moon, I can actually see a circle and do it correctly. I was doing more of a lumpy egg shape than a circle. She also had me do a spiral, and I think I got down to a 10m circle when she told me to try something smaller, so I went to a 9.9m circle. That's something to work on.

We also did canter work, which ended up being a lot better than I expected, minus the corners going to the right and that one long side of the arena that has hay at the end which caused an unplanned change in tempo. We did the same ~20m circle to the left and the right. Just as we were doing our last circle before cool-out, Baby broke. One more extra circle for us, then we were done.

Giveaway Winners!


Because I forgot to do this two days ago, the winners of the giveaway have been drawn and notified.

On Instagram, Maddie J. won the saddle pad. On tumblr, crest-release won three, hand made bridle charms. And the grand prize winner of the Horse Show Essentials tote was Kellie K. Congrats to everyone!

Stay tuned for the next giveaway (maybe in February, maybe in January, I can't decide anymore).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

And now I've jumped into a crossroad

But it does suggest opportunity, which I love. Despite temperatures only reaching the high thirties, we still had a lesson today. God bless wool socks and winter boots. I rode Corbin again, but I used Miss J's saddle which has those composite flex stirrups.

We had slightly more energy today than last week, but we were still lagging (seriously, the ponies were passing us), so Miss J let me use the spur. I wasn't allowed to sit my canter for the most part; it was all about getting him forward and moving with energy. Last week, I was a lot more stiff as well, which made it difficult for me to use my legs and hold him up in the corners, so today he clearly remembered. It's a good thing that we did the circles in every corner otherwise we would have destroyed our corners when we jumped.

Miss J also had us work on double posting. I'd honestly rather not. I'm so used to rising and sitting for the same amount that I couldn't relax into a up two, sit one rhythm, so we went around for a lap or two just trying to figure out what I was supposed to do.

It's still Distance December, so we had ground poles to our warm-up cross rail (which I bombed at the trot and canter). Then we did the oxer to single line that had only a ground pole by the single, but I'm pretty good seeing a distance to an oxer. Asking for the correct distance is a whole other story. The first time was pretty bad because "The Corbinator" (Corbin's alter-ego that suddenly knows what forward motion is as soon as a fence shows up) came out coming off of the oxer, and I did not have nearly enough contact. After the first time, we added two more lines after it. I got a bit tight to the first fence in the second line because our turn wasn't smooth enough. Through the last line, he jumped in great, but we got speedy, and I think we took out a stride, but the last fence wasn't a huge reach, and I picked the take-off spot, so we stayed together.

After that, we all did the brick to flower bending line. The flower was set to 3'6" for Miss Jan and Izzy, then Miss J lowered it to 3'0" for Cas and me, then 2'9" for Micky and Sam. Corbin cleared it like a champ. All the horses cleared it wonderfully. It's a barn full of potential A circuit horses who have the talent but would rather eat and poop for eternity.

It was over that 3'0" fence that I jumped into a crossroad. Miss J said that Corbin clears 3'0" easily. He's a solid horse. He knows his job, and he will gladly do it so long as I do my job. I honestly think I'd be better off on him this season rather than having to work Baby up to 3'0" for the spring and most of the summer. I wouldn't have as much time to qualify for MAEF, which is something that I really want to do. I also think it'd be better to work Baby up slowly and not have to worry about qualifying for anything on her while I still have another horse that can essentially pack me around and let me gain my confidence back. On the other hand, I feel like I'm taking the easy way out because Corbin isn't as difficult to ride as Baby. Not to mention, he's an hour away, and I don't think I could afford two lessons a week. So it continues to be an either/or situation.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December's 10 Questions

It's the first day of break, and I am already slacking, and I am already bored with my slacking, so here's a post about something.

1. What size horse do you prefer to ride? Anything larger than Twister size is okay. 

2. Do you school in tall boots or half chaps and paddock boots? I school in my precious and ever loved half chaps, although I did wear my tall boots all through last show season (mainly cause I bought them in April and thought I could show without breaking them in first).

3. What do you do with your ribbons after shows? Um, well, I fawn over them for half of the car ride, then they get thrown into a show box. BUT I'm working on getting them out of the shoe box. I'm trying to get a mesh sheet to hang on my wall. I think the ribbons will look lovely up there.

4. Do you ride/board at a large show barn or a small private barn? Depends, which barn? They're both smaller show barns, but Miss S was thinking about expanding this past summer. I'm not sure what her plans are now.

5. Have you ever seen a horse give birth? I saw a video when I was 7.

6. What is your favorite breed? No preference, although Thoroughbreds are pretty nice. 

7. Favorite tack brand? I don't even care. As long as it's soft and doesn't give me blisters, I like it. 

Awe, yiiis, booty cloud

 8. Would you ever buy used tack? Absolutely. Why pay full price when you can pay slightly less than full price?

9. Ever been on a carriage ride? I've driven two horses in the past, but I'm no pro. I'm more of a sit back and let the chauffeur get it done kind of gal.

10. How often do you go to the tack store? I've actually only been to a tack store once, but I'm super active when it comes to vendors at shows. I like to look around and then see what I can get online. I've just found that to be easier.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Product Review: Equestrian Home Accessories CC Baroque Saddlepad

My, what a mouthful. A while back, as I was making sets on Polyvore, I came across a site selling some very unique saddlepads. Of course, no saddlepad collection is complete without a patterned pad, so I got myself a nice Venetia pad.

I waited maybe three days before it showed up in the mail (website said 5-10 days, so I was happy). I was honestly expecting a basic, navy blue square pad with some moderately shiny threads, ya know, your average saddlepad, just prettier. I was surprised to see that the blue on the pad was actually cords of a velvety material. "Moderately shiny" is an insult to the threads on this pad.

Close up of the material
Long story short, the thing is gorgeous, and it fits very well under the Stubben. The filling is slightly thicker than my other square pads—with most of those pads being Rider's International pads from Dover. It isn't thick enough to impede saddle fit in the slightest, and the filling itself is soft to press against. The construction of the pad is sturdy as well. They're also contoured, which is a huge plus in my opinion.

Thicker, but not super thick
Of my small business buys, this is absolutely a favorite. 10/10 would recommend. If you don't like this pad color or pattern, there are a variety of Baroque pads to choose from.

They even have fun prints:

Seriously, don't delay. These would make great, unique Christmas presents *wink wink*.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The real real IEA experience

Because no matter how many times I ride a new horse at home, nothing quite compares to hanging out in the cold for 12 hours and then stubbing your toe on a piece of metal in an attempt to warm up. It still hurts.

Our first IEA show was yesterday. Needless to say, it was freezing. It was supposed to get up into the 50s, but the wind built up a bit during the warm part of the day. Either you sat in the sun, or you huddled like a penguin. There was no in between. We all convened at the farm around 7:30. The horses started schooling a little while after, but the show didn't start until after 10:00. Cas and Izzy were the first two to do their jump courses, and they got first and fourth respectively. After, they went, I waited maybe another hour or so to draw. I got Willow.

Some time later, I got on for warm-up. As usual, I was nervous. I was shaking, yawning, and nauseous—I had to force feed myself a bagel on the drive to the barn. I was pretty stiff while warming up, but I relaxed a bit when I got in the ring. Willow was having a pretty good day. All I had to do was keep her straight to the fence. We trot in, picked up the canter, and then it was constant leg to the first fence because all of sudden the horse had no energy. She was so ready for the transition, but I guess she regret that after three strides. For the most part I was seeing all of my distances, and there were only a few areas where we really separated, but they were between the fences, meaning it was easier for me to re-adjust and re-balance. Coming up to the second fence, she picked up the pace three strides before. Considering the lag we had at the beginning, it actually made for a better fence. We came around and did three in the line, which I'm pretty sure wasn't measured because some were getting four strides, some a tight four, some a super long three (like this one 12 hand pony), and others a solid three. We got a slight reach. My turn to jump five was cut short due to an inactive inside leg, but then we took the inside turn to the last fence, and I think that's what sealed the deal. I got a first.

Then we waited, again. I drew Ripley for my flat, which didn't even run until three or four hours later. I liked Ripley. I wanted to take Ripley home. He had the smoothest stride. He was responsive. He knew how to leg yield. He was sane. It's unfortunate that he's a gelding, but I can look past that. I actually missed both leads and broke three times at the canter, plus my reins were too short for the first half of the class, but I got third. I felt a lot more comfortable and confident on Ripley, more so than I did for the majority of this past summer.

After my flat, we still had a ton more classes to go through. We weren't finished until 8:00, and I still had homework to do when I got home at 11:30 (which I didn't do. I actually just did it this morning. I'm typing this up at school. I don't even know if I'm allowed to do this), but I did get a deep dish pizza from Wawa, so they balance each other out. All in all, a good weekend. Now I just want to sleep.

Also, a heads up, the giveaway ends today at midnight Maryland time. Get your entries in!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Feels like the before finals fear fest

I'm currently at the hotel retyping a post that was ready to be published before my tablet decided too freeze up and shut down. If you hear a tinge of annoyance in my tone, that is why.

We had a lesson today with the whole team, all the flat and jump riders. I was on Corbin. We warmed up together, then we all did a mock flat class. Corbin was behind my leg and unfocused the entire time. There was no forward. Our pyramid had no base. The canter transitions were horrid.

We did the crossbar at the trot and canter, and suddenly Corbin had energy. Miss J reminded me to keep my butt closer to the saddle since Corbin has a flatter form over fences. We did a line, too. The first time through, the first fence, an oxer, wasn't the best. I had a good tempo up until a few strides before. I picked a good distance, a bit long but doable, but I looked down, so we chipped, then we had to straighten out, and we were still straightening over the second fence. The second round through was much better. We got both distances. While there was some wiggling in between, the second fence genuinely felt perfect. I only get that feeling every once in a while (with one of those moments being when I questioned my lineage).

Now that I've spent 15 minutes re-doing this post, I think I'll go to bed now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Apparently Distance December is a thing

Yeah, I suck at distances. No stirrup work is easy. Seeing something that's not there sounds like witchcraft if you ask me.

I was assigned to ride The Barbie/Cow, Rosie, on Sunday. I've seen other girls ride Rosie, and she hasn't exactly been the most, um, controllable mount. I know I need to learn how to ride more difficult horses, but can't I push that off until later? On the ground, Rosie is as laid back as they come. She was super quiet when I groomed and tacked her. Not to mention, my fancy saddlepad matched her coat nicely, and I got to ride in the Wintec.

I was already nervous when I got on, and I tried to keep my cues as light as possible. She was actually great. We did our warm-up, and there were quite a bit of times where she completely relaxed and stretched down. She responds well to leg, too—which is nice considering that she loves to cut corners—but she isn't over reactive.

Things got not so nice when we started to canter. A few strides in going to the left, she sped up just a little bit, and I froze up. My entire body went rigid until we walked again, but the same thing happened in the other direction.

Moving on, we got started on the distance thing. Miss J had poles set out before the fences to give us an idea of where our takeoff spot would be. The focus was on pace. Rosie got a bit quick coming around the turn the first time, then I jumped ahead, but the second time was better. We trot and cantered it twice, then we moved on to the flower jump. After the flower, we did a line. Rosie wasn't happy about leaving the group, so the turn to the first fence was more difficult than it needed to be. She then proceeded to run after the first fence and refused the second fence. I went back around and made her jump it, then we did it a second time, and she jumped both, but I'm pretty sure we took out a stride or two.

We cooled out a bit, then we went out on a relaxing trail ride, or as relaxing as a trail ride can be when Cas and Izzy are around.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Waiting for things to happen

I know I have an upcoming private lesson on Baby, and I know that I'm going to put on a show, and I know that I'll get to ride with the new boarder sometime, but "When?" is the real question.

I know for sure that I will, in fact, be going to my first IEA show next weekend. Our entries are in and the hotel is booked. Unfortunately, I have just learned that there will be a practice that Saturday before we all leave, and Miss S's Christmas Barn Party is that day too, and they are likely to be happening at the same time. I'm probably not going to be able to clean the pasture next weekend.

Speaking of which, while I was cleaning today, the new boarder was showing her parents (I think they were her parents) around the place, and we caught up, and I told her that I could ride with her next weekend, completely forgetting about the show and the lesson and the party. Hopefully I'll be free the weekend after next.

Chess booping Carolyn
I'm also still trying to get clear with Miss S on having a smaller show in February before I go and try to use the big outdoor in April or May. I have everything planned out, except for the class list which I accidentally didn't save, even though Auto Recovery kept asking me to. At least is was something simple, and I have an entry form done from a while ago, so that's nothing to worry about. Funny thing is I've already started thinking about having a series in 2016 that will run from January to July. I call myself ambitious for a reason.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The end is near

No Stirrup November is almost over, which means my thighs can get a break, but it's just a little break considering that Miss J still puts an emphasis on stirrupless work. At least I'll have them when we jump.

I was on Ginger/Glitter/Matilda today. We did our usual two-point at the walk and trot plus some rising trot with stirrups. I want to take a minute to appreciate the irons that I used today. I've already explained my dislike for the flex stirrups since they make my heel go down to an awkward position. The irons I used today were somewhere in between flexible and traditional irons. They were mostly composite with a small, flexible section towards the bottom. Perfection.

Ginger/Glitter/Matilda was quite hollow and lazy today, and she didn't want to move off of my leg or bend in the corners. It was lots of circles and square corners, but she did surprise me with a very nice leg yield. We did a little bit of jumping. Took the cross rail both ways, then we did three jumps in a row. I tried to go for the closer distances since I get thrown back easily without my stirrups (but doesn't everyone?).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Not Wordless Wednesday cnt'd

There's more to yesterday than just that lesson. I spent the whole day at the barn, which I haven't done in a while. Miss S let me ride Molly in her last lesson, and I essentially became a textbook figure, which I love.

Molly was awesome. At first, she was her typical looky, inverted, unrelaxed self, but she settled down quickly. When she did, I got in my two-point. I stayed up until Miss S started teaching the other two. I just followed along. It was all walk and trot, then we did the line, just trotting through it, and Molly was the bomb. We also did the entire course two times. There were moments where she wasn't as laid back or where she resisted me, but it was great for the most part.

It's actually a lot better for me to ride Molly in beginner lessons. I'm not very confident on her; I'm a lot more nervous and tense on her than I am on other horses, so doing the basic stuff helps me to loosen up. It prevents me from over facing myself. When I stopped riding her, it was to the point where I would be so excited to go ride her, but, when I got on, I would freeze up. I wanted to ride, but the second I got on, I wanted off. I don't want to go back to that.

One of the girls wanted to switch onto Baby, so I got on Duke, while the girl who was on Baby before, Paige, got on Molly. I did the course with Duke. That pony requires even more leg now. Seriously, at the beginning of last year, I had him bending and responsive, and then Syd kept him good while she was riding him, but now it's just the children on him, and it's frustrating. He just doesn't even respond now. I barely got him to trot. The canter didn't happen at all.

After the lesson was finished, one of the boarders was having some issues with her horse being off, so she let me hop on her to see how the horse was moving. The horse was off in the pelvis, as suspected.

And that was the majority of my Wednesday, minus the whole standing around and freezing my feet off thing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I wish I could do a Wordless Wednesday

But there is literally so much that happened today that I can't be satisfied unless I say it all.

Quick summary if you're in a rush: I rode four horses, Molly was awesome, and I jumped 3'0".

Long, drawn out version: I opted to join the group lesson today instead of having the private on Monday. It worked out better, actually. I got there super early to help Miss S set up everything that I wanted to do: Swedish Oxer, gymnastic, narrow fence, and a four stride line. Simple stuff. I wasn't too enthusiastic about moving the poles, though. A lot of them are wooden and heavy, and it was cold and rainy today, literally the two worst weather related things that could happen.

We got everything set up, then I head out to bring Baby down to the indoor and tack her up. I got on and just two-pointed until Miss S had us pick up a trot. We did basic posting, sitting, and two-point at the trot, then some no stirrup work. After that, we did the outside line a couple of times at the trot, then we cantered out, then we added the narrow as a trot fence, which Baby did perfectly two times in a row.

After that, it all just fell apart. Miss S had us do a course. We started out with the gymnastic, then the narrow, to the outside line, then the Swedish. For this course, the outside line and the narrow would be taken from the opposite direction. The second we got out of the gymnastic, Baby just hit the gas pedal. Luckily the turn going to the narrow was too tight to take going fast, but then she refused the narrow multiple times, and it wasn't pretty when she finally did go over it. Outside line was iffy, then going to the Swedish required a circle and a very sloppy simple change, and the approach was just the two of us fighting each other and somehow getting a nice distance despite the absolute separation.

The second time wasn't any better, especially considering that Miss S took our stirrups away. I didn't want to start at the canter, so I trotted Baby into the gymnastic. At that moment, she was so laid back that she knocked the pole of the 6" high cross rail (reddy 4 teh grom pre), then she cantered away slowly but still collapsing on the forehand and leaning to the inside. Miss S wasn't happy with that decision of mine, and she told me to do it again at the canter, and I asked her if I really had to (Whenever I don't want to do something because I feel uncomfortable, I ask, "Do I really have to?" instead of flat out saying, "No," because asking sounds slightly less rude, right?). I had to, so I did, and it was decent minus Baby running to the turn, but, again, she couldn't do that tight of a path without slowing down. She refused the narrow again, and when I did manage to get her over it, she leapt over it. I went back, she went forward, somehow I stayed on, and I stopped her when we were only 20' out of the arena. I took her back in, we finished the course, then we all got our stirrups back.

I was feeling all kinds of emotion by that point, so I took a much needed break before getting back on. Miss S asked if Cas and I wanted to try 3'0". I said yes. The lesson couldn't have possibly gotten any worse. We started at 2'3" and worked our way up. When we got to 2'9", I had Miss S take a video. 2'9" came and went, which I am honestly super happy about because I can finally say that I jumped 2'9" instead of the disappointment that is 2'8.25". Then came 3'0", but the video was blurry, so I did it again, and the video was clear.

Yay, I jumped 3'0", whoop whoop, but the entire middle part of that ride was not okay, and, to be frank, I never want that to happen ever again.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The real IEA experience

More like the real reason I should do Western Pleasure. I'd venture to say that I'm better off going slow and not jumping things.

Since we didn't go to a show today, we, instead, had a show. Miss J and Miss Jan decided to do a mock show for us. We watched all the horses get schooled first by J² and Sam. It seemed that everyone was feeling their oats today, with the exception of Twister and Leo. When it came time to draw names, I got Twister, and I thought myself to be lucky. All I had to worry about was getting her to move forward and not not duck right. Simple.

No, not simple, not simple at all. I messed up both warm-up fences because of unclear signals and bad timing. Miss J had us pick a number 1 through 20 to see who would have to do the course first. I picked 16. The number was 17. I hate the number 16 now. The only jump that really bothered me was the first one, a gray wall. Twister took it nicely. We came around and took a left turn to the bending line. The first one was nice, the second one was kind of funky. Coming out of the line, she was somewhat speedy, and we had a tight-ish turn to an oxer. A sloppy turn + a stiff body + jumping ahead = SPLAT!

Right in between the poles I went, and I brought the poles down with me. When I got up, all I was thinking about was getting back on, and one side of me thought that was the only option, but the other side was more focused on my hyperventilating that needed to be taken care of. I got back on and did the same fence again. Twister went over it, but it was a line, and I swear to all that is good and holy . . . she refused the next fence, and I had to climb back on her like an obese orangutan going up a tree. I refuse to fall off twice in a day. Twister just refuses, so I did end up falling off, again, on the last fence, but I can't even remember what the total number of refusals was. At that, Miss Jan had Sam get on the pony, and I was sent out to take a breather and get a drink (the non-alcoholic kind . . . unfortunately). Miss J was going to let me pick a different horse.

I sat down ringside and watched everyone else do their courses, and all of them got through it without any event. I guess the only gasp moment could be when Carly went to jump Sailor. Like I said, they were feeling their oats, but Carly kept her cool and got through the whole thing without missing a beat. When it came time for me to re-mount, Miss Jan asked who I wanted to get on, and I said Twister. I'm an independent equestrian. I don't need no pony deciding whether or not I get to ride it.

I was gifted with spurs for the occasion. I couldn't think of a better situation to use spurs for the first time. Plus the straps had rhinestones. They matched my half chaps. I pushed her each way with the spurs, then I got right to it. I got through the whole course with two refusals at a rather large oxer, but you get eliminated at three. I gave Twister lots of praise coming out of the last jump because you can't hate a pony. You can be highly annoyed and very stern with them, but you can't hate them. It's impossible.

After all that, we had to draw for the flat. Suddenly, my luck showed up (why do you think I have clovers all over this blog?). I got the lovely Ginger/Glitter/Matilda. My favorite saddle was on her to boot. She, too, was forward, but it was only an issue in one corner at the start of the class. For the rest of the time, she just wanted to go to the inside, so lots of inside leg, outside rein (with a little inside rein because she likes the inside rein). When Miss J placed us, I got third in the flat and an honorable mention over fences.

Now, please enjoy these .gifs of the even crazier children I ride with. They remind me that I'm the oldest.

I'm worn

I'm busy, busy, busy. After (FINALLY!) getting my phone replaced and working, I was able to head to the barn today carefree. I cleaned the pasture with the intent to ride so I could try out my new saddle pad. I knew there would be lessons, and I thought Baby was going to be used, so I asked for permission to ride Chess. I was allowed.
My precious
I tacked him up in the small barn and let him munch on a bit of hay to keep his attitude about me positive. On the walk down to the indoor, I noticed that both the pad, the charm I made for his bridle, and my pants all matched. Blue polos would have really brought it all together. I got on and did some two pointing. Miss S had a lesson going on, so I stuck to the rail. When I started to trot, she noticed that Chess was off in the front. She had me work him in circles to put him back on his hind end, but I suck at doing that, and Chess's muscle is so minimal that he sucks at it too, so we spent 10-15 minutes just going around doing suckish circles, serpentines, and figure-8s, and Miss S ended up getting on him at the end of the lesson.

I decided that it would be better not to risk Chess's health considering all the lameness/offness issues he's had recently. I cooled him off, put him out, and went to grab Molly. Too bad she was being a little shit and refused to be caught, which resulted in a very angry me and then eventually ended with bribery.

I tacked her up, got on, and started walking until she calmed down, then we hopped into a trot, then some canter, then a little jump, which she refused the first time, but then she launched over it the next six or so times. The pony was good, unreasonably sassy, but good. Since I completely forgot about showing her this past season (no, seriously, I got so caught up with Baby that it completely slipped my mind), I'm probably going to ride her on lesson days. I'm not allowed to ride her unless Miss S is there, but I can just clean the pasture on Saturdays when there are lessons.
New phone's camera ain't bad
Also, a new boarder who is an eventer/Dressage rider has offered to help me out with my Dressage, which I am psyched about. Miss S was cool with it, so we might start working in two weeks or so, depending on what I'm doing when she gets to the barn. Since we've ended up having to stay home for Thanksgiving this year, I'm going to ride on Saturday and Sunday (which means videos, yay!). Baby has nothing else to do besides eat and poop. Some work time won't hurt.

After all that happened, I still had a banquet to go to tonight, my first one ever, actually. I got two thirds, one for my medal and the other for Delmarva 14-17, then I got a reserve for Junior Eq. I've settled on Junior Eq and the same medal for next year since I still qualify age wise, then I'm going to add Low Children's Medal. I'm going to try to qualify for both MHSA Regionals and MAEF next fall, but it's more likely that I'll only go to MHSA because of the cost.
Need new glasses
The year's loot
I get three days off next week for the holiday, but I still have another IEA lesson tomorrow (we couldn't go to the show because there weren't enough spots, next show is December 13th), plus a private on Monday, and the general homework and college applications to deal with. Busy, busy, busy . . .

Monday, November 17, 2014

I dare you

I do consider myself to be rather traditional when it comes to show attire. Dark coat, plain shirt, black accents, it's what I prefer. However, after being in the hunter world for so long and itching to be in the jumper one, I've come to crave the non-conservative.

Clearly, eventers know what's up. Maybe Amanda C will let me switch lives with her next year so I don't have to go through another conservative season.

Photo from
Even the Dressage ring is beginning to step way out of the box.

Animo Coat, photo from
Of course, being a fan of Style My Ride doesn't help much. Their sets are always different and flawless, and the Vincero Boot will grace my feet sometime in the distant future when I can justify having multiple pairs of tallboots that aren't for showing in.

The hunter/eq world needs to keep up with the times. I guess for bigger medals and more elite shows the traditions should certainly be kept, but what harm would a poppy red shirt do at the local level? It'd only be risky if Devon is local to you. Of course, there are sets to go with my slight rant.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bridle Charm Bonanza

At the start of this year, I was afraid that my job with my mom was coming to an end. I pay for all of my riding, so I panicked and started looking for a way to make money. I thought about starting a business with Fifi, and one of the items that I wanted to sell was bridle charms. My mom has a whole lot of leftover beads and supplies from when she used to make jewelry, so I had a lot to work with. My job lasted (I'm actually going to it in 15 minutes), but I still make the charms for fun.

If you're planning on entering the tumblr category of my giveaway, you can pick from any of the charms below plus the charms in the original post. That's a total of 11 charms to choose from, and you can pick any three. If you want something custom, just tell me. I'll see what I can do.

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