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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Itty bitty updates

As of November 7th, 2014, our new IEA team is active! Our first show will be on the 23rd of this month, which is closer than it seems, but I'm acting like it's far away, so I don't freak myself out. Since I joined this team, I've been slightly bothered by the thought that I might pick a crazy horse, or even a horse that has a bit requiring double reins cause I don't know how to use those. That is some complicated shit. We do have one horse at the barn that's super forward and requires a steady rider; I've been attempting to convince myself to try riding her. My attempts have failed, but that's okay because Corbin is cooler. I guess the day will come, eventually, when I have to place my behind on the back of a raging beast. I want to be a show jumper, after all. They don't have pleasure pony in the Olympics. Technically, I got close to that with Zoey, but she's a lot closer to the ground than your average show jumper. The fear factor isn't quite there.

I was also greeted by a very (very) nice package in the mail from Equestrian Home Accessories. I came across their site while looking for a saddle pad for a Polyvore set. I couldn't resist the Baroque saddle pads, and they had them for AP saddles. Baby is going to look so fabulous in this.

That flash power tho . . .
 This is honestly just a post to keep the flow on this blog. I have a couple of reviews coming, and I'll get on up for that new pad of mine after I use it a bit. I'm hoping to have a lesson next week with Miss S on Baby. I want to do lungeline work to aid some more with relaxing my upper body, and I want to try jumping 3'0" and do some oxers. I've just now noticed that Baby over jumps 99% of her oxers. I need to learn how to prepare for that.
This is not necessary. Photo by Tami Tritapoe

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Simple changes

God bless flatwork. It's so strange to think about how nutso I've become about spending enough time on flatwork. Back when I first started riding, all I wanted to do was trot. When I learned to trot, all I wanted to do was canter. When I learned to canter, all I wanted to do was jump. Now that I've learned to jump, I've come full circle. All I crave is flatwork. Sure, jumping is fun, but you're in the air for all of, what, two seconds? As they say, jumping is just Dressage with speedbumps.

I've already decided that I want to focus on Junior Equitation and the Low Children's Medal next year, and I decided (rather haphazardly) that I want to try to qualify for the Mid-Atlantic Equitation Finals. They have a class at 2'6", which is perfect, but to qualify you have to win an equitation class at 3'0". It's likely that I won't be able to try a 3'0" course until well into next year's show season, but I have until October (I think) to do qualify, so I'm not trying to rush anything.

To be honest, the more flatwork I do, the better my jumping gets. Flatwork is relaxing; jumping is stressful. Today, Baby was certainly relaxed, and I was for the most part except those damn stiff shoulders of mine. Relax, shoulders, you have nothing to worry about. I got some feedback on my last video from, and stretches were recommended to me. There was a method to Miss El's madness. I did the half-moon type stretches and the head-to-tail touches, one lap of each both ways, plus two laps of two-point both ways. My core has seen some work this weekend.

I did quite a few circles and changes of direction across the diagonal, and I also did a figure-8 two times both ways. I actually cantered today, too. Baby was fussy about her left lead, as usual, but her downward transitions didn't leave too much to be desired. I did simple changes across the diagonal, then I long trot her out and hand walked her for the cool off. It wasn't too much of a work out. She started out today not so happy in the mouth, but she was comfortable after five minutes or so. It's a good sign. I'll roll with that.
There was lipstick, I swear

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Just a *bit* hectic

Do you ever have those moments where you're not sure if your trainer is being passive aggressive or if they're just indifferent? I had to take two SAT subject tests today, and they ended up going over the allotted time, then I got picked up late because my dad was attempting to get something done with our boat, so my mom had to rush to come get me, and, by that time, I had missed the jumping lesson that I was supposed to be at. Plus, my phone bill hasn't been paid, and that caused issues of its own.

I apologize for sounding spoiled with my boat and cellular device; I haven't had a day this bothersome in a while. I've coped with the stress of college applications, but that was anticipated. Today was not anticipated. I did still get to ride in the 3:30 lesson with all the flat children, plus Miss Jan and three other girls who usually ride in the jumping lesson. When I got to the barn, I was a bit uneasy about this morning, and I was waiting for a scolding about how important scheduling is, but it didn't come. Still, I was suspicious.

I started out on Romeo, and he honestly didn't make my day any better. For one, he was an absolute brat when I went to catch him, and I had to deal with the rope halter, which I am still crappy at handling. I finally got him haltered and put him in a stall. For some reason, Romeo can't be brushed. He tries to kick and bite, absolutely hates it. I didn't want to saddle him entirely untouched, so I went to just wipe some debris off of his back . . . nope, not happening. He got pissy again, so I could only touch him with long intervals in between each touch. There's a sentence that would sound strange out of context.

We did two-point at the walk and trot, then rising trot, then Miss Jan, the three jumping girls, and I had to drop our stirrups. We went straight to posting trot, which is genuinely torture, and we had to do circles in every corner. I wasn't completely balanced today either. Somehow, when I got up this morning, I twisted my leg oddly while getting out of bed, and my hip has been bothering me all day. The sitting trot and canter were just completely off, and it didn't get better when we went to jump.

Romeo had not been relaxed for most of the ride. We went through a gymnastic three times, with no improvement, and he was getting even more nervous, so I had to switch horses with Miss Jan. I was kind of bummed that I couldn't get through the combination with Romeo, but the horse I switched onto, Corbin, caught my eye when I first started doing formal shows. That was two years ago. I have waited for this moment. I actually made it through the gymnastic and to the oxer without much even; he rushed the last three strides a bit, but I don't care. I fulfilled a dream. That is all that matters.

Miss J said that I could ride him again if I really wanted to (and I really wanted to). I thought about perhaps doing the Hunter Derby on him next year, but I also have this dream that my parents are going to get me horse this year (not gonna happen, but I'm allowed to be hopeful), so I'm waiting to ask.
The pain I endured to upload this photo . . .

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm gonna make gold fetch

Someday I hope to have a gold medal, but, since today is not that day, I will be satisfied with gold in other forms.

24kI like goldThe Princess Is In

That darn Tori Burch belt will always escape my grasp.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A winter hurricane

That's what swept through my area this weekend. Of course, it shows up on the day that I have to clean the pasture, which hasn't been done in three weeks due to the fact that my parents have been out. I barely got a third of it done, but at leas that third was done meticulously. Next week will be just as brutal.

After five hours of shoveling shit, I treated myself to a nice relaxing ride. Baby was all for it, ready to go, but not being overly excited. When I got her on the cross ties in the indoor, I realized that I forgot her bridle at the other barn. I took the run back, thinking I could trust her for two minutes by herself. When I got back, she had her butt completely pressed up against the stalls to her left, and she was trying to eat the right cross tie. Bless these creatures. I got her straightened out, tacked her up, and hopped on.

I went straight into the two-point today and did a few laps at the walk and the trot, then I went to rising trot. I did mainly circles today, and they were looking nice for the most part. I did have to remind her at times that the outside leg is not to be ignored. We changed directions across the diagonal a lot more than I usually do. I just kept it simple—minus the failed attempts at leg yielding. After that, I did some no stirrup work just at the sitting trot, then I hopped off for some pictures and a cool down.
She was calm today, despite having no other horses around and with the wind beating the crap out of the arena. She definitely didn't gape or gag or root as much as she usually does, so that's a good sign. Another plus is that these winter breeches are supah fine, and I stayed really warm during my ride. All I want are toasty thighs, and that's what I've been giving.

Critiques are certainly welcome on this video (read: please give me whatever advice you can think of, even if it doesn't have to do with horses).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What month is it???

Students everywhere tremble in fear of the eleventh month. As the last of the warm days disappear and the clipping season sets in, the dread of having to drop the irons almost permanently sweeps over the nation of the equestrians. We all know the horror that lies after the command "Cross your stirrups"; even the most talented and experienced equitation riders get a shiver down their spine as they approach the barn for the first time in November. George Morris says a prayer for us all. It is the trainers—only the trainers—who relish in this tradition. They lure the newbies in. "Everyone does it," they say. "Do you want to have the seat of a GP Dressage rider?" they ask, and the newbies, due to their ignorance, nod their heads yes, and watch as the leathers are plucked from their holdings and left in the barn for the next 30 days. On this month, both our thighs and likely our pride will be sored. We must, however, persevere. For the next month, you are a soldier in the war against ineffective riding. For the next month, you are a warrior, and you will fight to the death to become a better rider (except please don't die this month cause it's just no stirrup work and their are better things to risk your life for). On December 1st, you will emerge victorious. Your core will know how to fight through the pain. Your will shall be strong and your quads even stronger. I bid thee only good luck this month, for you shall need it. God speed.

In short, Happy No Stirrup November! Whoop whoop! After seeing the results last year, I'm excited to see what will happen after a second year. The amount of hours I've spent doing no stirrup work since last November has been 0 to none, so the Tylenol is on hand.

I was entirely alone in my NSN endeavor last year, but Miss J is super adamant about it, so everyone has to do it this month. The only time that you're allowed to keep your stirrups is if you're on a horse that isn't so reliable, but today I rode Ginger who is reliable. We warmed up with stirrups at the walk and trot, two pointing for most of the time, but I don't mind. After about 20 mins, we were given the option to either cross our stirrups or take them off completely. I am lazy and don't feel like putting stirrups back on saddles, so I crossed mine. That's when the real fun began.

We started at the sitting trot then to the rising trot. It really was a trotting day. I had on my Annie's breeches, and I think that full seat was really helping me out. My lesson group has 8 people in it, but we all somehow manage to work very well around each other, especially when it came to doing a group serpentine. Miss Jan led while I took up the rear. It was honestly the most fun thing I've done in a while, and I typically stink at serpentines because, for some reason, I can never split the arena in the right sections.

After the serpentine, we all cantered, and goodness, Ginger surprised me. For the most part, she was together at the walk and trot and actually trying to do something correct, but at the canter . . . it felt like Baby's left lead. She was completely on the forehand, and that is one of the most uncomfortable strides to sit. It was worse to the right than it was to the left, and we did the right lead at the end of the lesson, so I was fairly tired by then, and I had to just stop her because I was so flustered.

Despite her crazy cantering, I like Ginger. She's sweet as could be, and calm, so yay. After the lesson, we had some (probably too much) fun on the swing by the treehouse. There was Halloween candy involved too. Ain't nothing like kids on a sugar high.
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