Saturday, October 31, 2015

Louie, Louie, Louie, Louiieee

I am thoroughly convinced that no matter how experienced a rider is, there will always be certain horses in existence whose trot physically cannot be sat. In my short time with horses, I have encountered not one but two of those horses: Vic & Louie.

I went to my first IHSA show today, and it's just like IEA, except, in general, the crowd is different. College equestrians are way different from middle and high school equestrians.

American University, our barnmates
I qualified to show in advanced w/t/c, so it was only one class. I spent the rest of the day playing dog sitter and photographer until my camera died and Coach took her dog back. *insert sad face* We got our draws in the morning, and I watched Louie go in one or two classes. My main goal was to keep him quiet because he is large and quite buggy but, fortunately, not spooky (HARDY HAR HAR THAT'S FUNNY CAUSE IT'S HALLOWEEN AND NO ONE LAUGHED WHEN I MADE THAT JOKE TODAY, SO NOW YOU GUYS GET TO ENJOY IT HAHAHAHAHA).

EL is calm. Just be EL.
So, yeah, all I had to do was stay calm.

And we know how that goes. I stayed somewhat calm, better than usual, but I did spend a couple of hours shaking on the bleachers before I went in. I personally would have wanted my stirrups shorter, but he was an 18hh beast. A combination of short legs, a super super super bouncy trot (they literally put in his description that he is bouncy), and rushing on my part made for a less than stellar ride. I picked up the wrong diagonal for just over half a lap going to the left, so at that point I knew I'd blown the class, and I just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Tbh he was quite calm for our class, less giraffe than expected.

Not my best day, but definitely not my worst, and Louie is definitely the tallest horse I've ever sat upon. He definitely justifies my 16.2hh limit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gosh dang ponies

Gosh dangit I am so darn diddly done with ponies.

Chestnut gentleman on the cross ties
So calm, so easy to tack up, so friendly until you get on, and then they're quick footed demons. Funny enough, Cooler is an ex-WP horse. Funny thing life is.

We did our normal warm-up, this time with even more no-stirrup work. The posting felt better, and my seated canter is feeling a lot better as well. Just trying to be less stiff and just go with the flow, if ya know what I mean. Cooler was forgiving to a point, and that point was my hands. We had a couple of just gross moments with each other, but we worked through them (kinda).

Part-time sweetheart
We did quite a few jumping exercises, even with only three jumps in the ring. The turns were super tight, and I did struggle, but Coach was very encouraging, and they did get better as I went along. I've noticed that I come up too soon over smaller jumps because I'm so game for the next fence (I'm a jumper on the inside, call me the eq reject). It's more fine tuning and paying attention in general.

Full-time HEATHEN
I did get a short video of the last bending line cause Kal is the second best person ever (Dia is the best, always the best).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Fall/Winter 2015 Sweater Line

It sounds so official, but fall & winter sweaters are now available for purchase in my store.

I don't think I mentioned it on here, but due to the reaction to the World's Okayest Eq t-shirt, I decided to open up a store on Customized Girl. I've been adding designs since about mid-June (yeah, you guys got notified of this pretty late). They've been incorporated into some of my recent Fashion Thursday sets, so if you see anything you like, go ahead and click on the link.

Here are the winter sweaters in both adult and youth sizes:

SwigSwooty Booty // Adult

SwigSwooty Booty // Youth
SwigSweg Leg // Adult
SwigSweg Leg // Youth
And the two that are only in adult sizes (for now):

Let It Snow Hoodie
Mother Beezie Sweater
If you haven't figured it out by now, Beezie Madden is my idol (and my mother in an ideal world). If you like a design, but you want it put on another item, feel free to let me know by email: theambitiousequestrian@gmail.com. I'd be delighted to have it done for you!

A Note on Sizing: I have the Mother Beezie sweater in a small, but it's a bit large on me. I'm waiting for another to arrive in an youth x-large to see how it fits. For reference, I am 5'5", 130lbs, 29" waist (somewhere between a 4 and 6 pant). I'll let you guys know how the smaller sweater fits!

Accidentally cut it, too

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Washington International!

On the rare (and I mean rare) occasion that I go to watch an A/AA show, I like to remind myself that no matter how expensive and talented those horses are and no matter how much precise care they receive because of that cost and skill, there is still a small number of them that poop in their water bucket. Or, as I saw last night, there's a small number who fart over every fence in the Grand Prix.


Yes, that actually happened. One of the horses in the Presiden't Cup farted over every single fence except one, and the one fence that it didn't fart over was the one where it had a rail.


Callan Solem had the best ride out there and came very close to the win. Only .11 seconds separated her and the winner. Pretty amazing if you ask me.




And it all would have been just a little bit more amazing had the girls behind me kept their commentary at a lower decibel. Not only were they loud, but they were constantly complaining about the equitation (read: LOWER LEGS) of upper level riders. Allow me to rant for a moment. I am American, and like many American riders, I have been educated on and encouraged to compete in equitation. It's a very American thing, and it's not bad, it's just what we do differently from other countries. I fully understand that what we consider "proper equitation" puts the rider in a balanced position over their horse and allows them to communicate effectively. I whole heartedly agree that riders should start in equitation because I believe that it teaches invaluable skills with lower risk (slower speed, bruh). That being said, if a rider is making it over 4'0"+ fences in a manner that is effective and not detrimental to the horse, then I am going to kindly ask you to shut your trap. Every rider has a style. Find yours, stick with it, and don't complain about others'.

And as an aside, if you're going to complain, in an equally loquacious voice, about a girl you know for riding western, you have 0 business complaining about any other rider on any grounds. Fix your attitude before it comes back to bite you.



Back to a happy note, I did exchange money for goods and/or services. I'd like to formally apologize to the woman running the Equiline box. I did not mean to make awkward conversation with you. I was just trying to look at stirrups. The vendors were pretty good, and there was a PRI booth. I absolutely had to go; there's no way you can pass up PRI. Baby pads were only $12, but there was also a 2 for $22 deal. Alliteration is my weakness. I got pastels. I couldn't resist.


Music is gonna look like a million bucks in these babies (which is not bad considering that the initial cost was only $22, how's that for return on investment?).

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ponies . . .

Well, to be more specific, school ponies who are ridden by many tiny children and develop bad habits as a result. Yeah, those are the bane of my existence.


I took a step back when I saw "spurs" written next to my name on the assignments list. The two horses that I've used spurs on were Twister and Corbin, and those were always an adventure. Of course those dang spurs made me late to mount up because finding them was an adventure. The reason as to why I needed spurs (and a stick for some) is because Sammy, the pony, has a habit of just stopping randomly. Yes, I'm talking about on the flat. She just stops, no warning at all.

Of course, since I think I know everything, I concluded that establishing a forward moving pace from the beginning would discourage stopping. Coach wasn't quite ready when we I got on, so I did a couple of laps in a nice, marching walk to get started. She complied after some persuasion and maintained it for a while. When Coach S made it to the arena and told us to pick up a trot, the pony stopped and absolutely refused to move. Little bugger one upped me too damn quick. Touche, Sammy, touche.


She did get going after some not so gentle persuasion, and it was smoothish sailing. We didn't really get a left lead canter, and the right was only maintained by adding spur every other stride.

Fortunately, I was able to survive the gymnastic set up, which makes Sammy one of two horses that I can actually do a gymnastic on. Life is complicated. Pony decided she was ready to go when we added in the barrels, and for likely the first time in her life she experienced a half halt.

Ponies are weird, man.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fashion Thursday: One Posh Pony

I'm honestly in love with this set.

One Posh Pony

1. Posh Pony Tee
    customizedgirl.com/theambitiousequestrian
2. MANGO Wide Leather Belt
    mango.com
3. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Baby Pad
    wilkers.com
4. De Niro Ottaviano Brushed Jachtkap
    kooleruitersport.nl
5. Lesebi Carval Bracelet
    lesebi.com
6. Horze Grand Prix Self Patch Breeches
    horze.com
7. HKM Roma Open Front Boots

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thinkin' 'bout stuff

Just over a month into school, and I'm already missing the mare. I can't tell you the number of times I've dozed off thinking of all the wonderful things I want to do when I get back home, including multiple, specific plans for next show season that I keep jumping between.

But, I'm more focused on what I want to do at home in our own arena. I'm a huge proponent of Classical Dressage, and while I may not end up being entirely classical depending on whether I do a dressage show or not, the fundamentals and their theories are still important to me. I've figured that in order to learn more, I might as well start where I can: on the ground.

photo from Diane Followell
I'm starting with classical in hand training. Of course, we won't look like that cause 1) I'm not braiding her twice a week, and 2) we have a ways to go until side reins come in. But she will definitely be that shiny. The beast keeps herself quite clean. I would've asked about long lining as well, but, Emma made it sound complicated (and no I did not spend half an hour looking for that post), so we'll stay with one line for now.

This is the video that I sent to Miss El for reference:


Also, because I have no chill when it comes to pole work, I sent her a link to John Marti's Vimeo page. For once Facebook did something good for me. I came across his FB page by chance and followed a few links until I found the Vimeo. He sets up some pretty cool things, but I requested that we keep it simple for now meaning keep everything on the ground. This is my favorite video so far.


I can already hear Miss El yelling at me to stay straight to the channel of poles.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Apple" Picking

So I had my first real "bonding" event with the team. I'm still figuring out how to be social, so most of what I did was people watching. At least they know who I am.

It was a massive property tucked at the end of a road that winded like like a child's toy. We gathered at the market then made our way to the pumpkin patch. It was originally supposed to be apple picking, but at some point that changed. I just rolled with it. Pumpkins are cool, too. I played photographer for the day because that's what I like to do, but the president's BF was also there snapping some shots.



I personally didn't want anything large, and I was actually hell bent on finding a white pumpkin. Unfortunately, all the white ones were rotting. When we got back to the market, they had some in a bin, but it just didn't feel quite as authentic. Besides, I couldn't decide between white and cheese.


I made away with a giant peanut butter cup and a slice of pumpkin roll, both more than satisfactory. 

We went out for lunch afterwards at this restaurant that they all really love called Cafe Rio. It's pretty good food, but the weird thing about the place is its obsession with limes. As far as I know, there is only one item on the menu that has limes in it, but there are so many signs about their fresh limes. To top it off, on the receipts, it says that they squeeze approximately 1,000 limes every day in every store. That seems a bit excessive, if you ask me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Flash Back Friday: The Really Real IEA Experience

As much as I love #tbt, Thursdays are for fashion, and the day that I'm flashing back to is a Friday.

Just over a year ago, I joined an IEA team, and I will always consider it one of the best decisions of my riding career. I was super hesitant at first. I had only ever ridden at one barn. I knew of people on the team already who were much better and much younger than me. I wondered how I was going to balance it with my regular lessons. Plus, the cost, the location of the barn, and the location of the shows didn't make it an easy decision.

Willow, my o/f draw from the first IEA show
I eventually caved to Miss S's persuasion, took a break from lessons with her, and joined the team. Even after the first lesson, I was still unsure, but I kept up with it, and I'm glad I did. Within the first month, I had a major turning point in my riding (and I remember that exact moment clearly). I became stronger, both physically and mentally.

And I had an awesome, energetic, supportive team.

I didn't get the tall boot memo


But I did get the paddock boots & half chaps memo
And I had a lower leg at some point.


And winning a grooming tote was pretty cool too.

Smiling even though I was freezing my butt off
Not to mention the amount of one on one time that I got to have with Baby as a result of not taking any lessons on her. It taught me how to deal with problems on my own (i.e. running off, rushing fences), and we built up a much better bond in that time. I could go on for days about how great that was.

Bond not always present
I honestly felt like I was on top of the world.

I am aware that success in riding is mainly based on the quality of the training. Joining an IEA team alone won't turn you into a Grand Prix show jumper . . . although having a Corbinator can aid in that. With that being said, if you are in middle or high school, I highly encourage you to join a team, and if there isn't a team around, look into starting one. There is a lot to learn from having to effectively ride a wide variety of horses while sitting pretty.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fashion Thursday: The Twins

The Twins

Left:
1. FixDesign Men's Breeches
    fixdesignhorses.it
2. Men's Ariat Heritage Select Zip Field Boot
3. Crocodile Textured Patent Leather Belt
4. Pony Prince Tee
5. Grey and White Arrows Saddle Pad
6. GPA Speed Air Evolution

Right:
1. Mondoni Kendal Riding Boot
    divoza.com
2. Cole Haan Classic Fabric Belt
    discontinued
3. FixDesign Lady's Breeches
    fixdesignhorses.it
4. Pony Princess Tee
    customizedgirl.com/ambitiousequestrian
5. Equine Couture Fleur De Lis AP Saddle Pad
    discontinued
6. Samshield Helmet Alcantara Center

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All that & a change of lead

Ah, yes, Mark (or Marcus, whatever boats your float), the first horse who was genuinely a joy to tack up. Tacking down was not as fun. I got a couple of threats for trying to curry his stomach, but I'd go ahead and make the observation that a bad attitude makes for a fun ride.

Low quality ROOTD shot
The otherwise curious and in your pocket pon managed to highlight my short comings: stiffness and heavy handing here and there. I was warned to stay quite soft, and I completely understood why. I had too much hand to even get an inside bend. Downward transitions on him are apparently never timely, so I just tried my best. I was also dealing with a saddle that was too curvy and too wide for Mark (couldn't find a better one to switch it out with), and I probably could have gone up another hole for a bit more comfort.

We did our usual flatwork then move on to some combinations, including a line which I haven't done in some time. I managed to both chip and fly at the second fence. I was told that Mark doesn't have a great flying change and to just try for a simple. To my surprise, we jumped the first fence in the second grid, landed on the incorrect lead, and he did a clean change without me even asking. I'll be riding that high for a while.

Curious Pon

Friday, October 9, 2015

Living la Vida Victor

Because it is Victor's world and we are all living on it at his will.

"Fear me"
Remember what I said earlier? About being excited to try riding Victor again? No? Good. Neither do I. My stomach dropped when I read the horse assignments for this week. The tack up process wasn't made any easier by the fact that his bucket of grain was sitting in the aisle right next to the cross ties. The ding bat decided that putting on the bridle and running martingale should be as tedious as possible. Such a lovely animal.


Disagreements continued on the walk to the ring because God forbid he not get to graze while I'm attempting to mount up. His trot is still an up and down stride that his hard to post and nearly impossible to sit. After half a lap of useless half halts and trying really hard to relax my hips, Coach S just apologized for his gait and said that his canter makes up for it (tbh, it does).


We had a couple of moments of complete separation. I still don't like it when the pons go fast, and no amount of telling me to sit will make it possible for me to sit. The downward transitions were 100% better, though, and we still didn't break gait.

When we got to the jumping thing, it started out with an ugly distance and a questionable style, but it eventually evolved into planned close spots and a relaxed rhythm. We even got to jump into the ring (jumps along the fenceline). I'll consider that another cross country experience.


So, yeah, it came together. It took an hour and some internal screaming, but it happened. On the downside, Vic isn't great with selfies.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fashion Thursday: As Fall Sets In

It would be great if I had access to Cartoon Network in college, but stupid me forgot to bring the cable hookup for the TV. Add that to the list of things that I need to pick up over Thanksgiving Break.

As Fall Sets In

1. Jake The Dog Sweater
    amazon.com
2. Aéropostale Long Sleeve Top
    aeropostale.com
3. FixDesign Breeches
    fixdesignhorses.it
4. Ariat Heritage Contour Riding Boot
    victorycanter.com
5. Barneys New York Leather Belt
    barneys.com
6. Ovation® Sync Helmet
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