Saturday, November 28, 2015

Product Review: Every Single Dressage Saddle

Before I begin this review, or, rather, scientific analysis, I guess I should go over my credentials:
- riding for 4.5 years
- keeps all 7 saddle pads meticulously organized
- once had 20+ refusals over two courses but still won the hack
Now that we've established some ethos, I'd like to make a claim: Dressage saddles suck. Why, exactly, do I need a seat deeper than a Jaden Smith tweet? Can you give me one valid reason why the knee block has to be as big as my bicep (AN: my biceps are big)? We're already aware that such a lengthy stirrup doesn't work for my stubby little legs, and don't even get me started on the billets.

If that's not enough, please refer to the figure below:

I rest my case.

In conclusion, Dressage saddles are surprisingly enjoyable, even if you've ridden in nothing but jumping saddles with the occasional western saddle for most of your career. I'm not sure why everyone isn't doing this. They're missing out. I will say, using my leg is a lot easier when I don't have a stirrup iron in the way.  was still doing my "sitting" trot. I considered wearing my full seats, hoping that I'd be able to fake it to an extent . . . but Miss El likes my pinstripe breeches, and I didn't want to be a complete disappointment today, so there's that.

Look how cute :3
I rode Abbey, a green Friesian cross. A combination of her greeness and my slight lack of body control due to new equipment meant that the picture wasn't always that pretty. I've been getting lazy about asking Coach S's horses to bend, and I knew from the minute I got on that I was gonna have to micromanage myself to some extent. The struggle to the left was keeping her on the rail while the struggle to the right was keeping her straight.

We focused mainly on the walk and trot because she needs someone to hold her together at the canter, and, well, I'm not that person. Every once in a while she would get a bit speedy at the trot, and it would take me a few strides to get her to settle back down. There was one time where I was more timely, and I received praise for an early correction. Score!

Don't gimme that look
Abbey wasn't a simple horse at all, but after thinking a bit about this ride, I've come to realize that my attitude has changed greatly in the past year or so. Typically when I have a challenging ride, I would think that I was simply not ready to ride that particular horse. I've now moved into a more "I realize that this wasn't the best ride, but I want to try again" mindset. The former isn't necessarily bad, but the latter allows me to maintain my confidence while also taking steps outside of my comfort zone. Riding more challenging horses makes my flaws more apparent (with Abbey, the balance issue was so much more obvious). That causes the fix to be more apparent as well.

Plus it's just pretty darn fun.

Oh, I forgot to mention, she walked out of the ring during cool out. Just stepped right over it.


Monday, November 23, 2015

The Holiday Season

I hate to do this, mainly because I put my foot down in my own household and forbid talks about Christmas until after my birthday. However, this is business.

It's true, the Holiday Season is approaching. Some would argue that it's already started, but, no. Hanukkah doesn't start (apparently) until December 6th. There's time. Just enough time, in fact, to put in orders at my shop. Due to the fact that all the items are made at the time of order, I just wanted to send out this reminder. If you were planning on getting something for a family member or friend or even yourself, make sure that you place the order in a timely manner. I don't know exactly how many orders Customized Girl gets during this time of year, but orders already take over a week to get done, and I don't want you guys to have to wait any longer.

As always, I greatly appreciate the support! Just remember, you're funding the future of the sport.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Alright, I think I've figured it out

There's a strange combination of things that I need to do in order to not be nervous at horse shows, including but not limited to:
- doing dishes at 11:30pm the night before
- not cleaning my boots
- re-enacting the mating dance of the bird of paradise
- large amounts of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
- tbh Erin's cooking in general
- Fall Out Boy (obviously)
- threatening to fight Kal enough times that I'm actually kind of serious about it
- cruddy Naked juice knock offs
Again, that's just a few, but if you're the nervous type, I'd give some of these a shot.

We had our home show today, and it went hella smooth. Started a half hour late, but still ended around 3:30pm, and we were out by a little bit after 4pm.

Me, the awkward yellow lime, posing with the team
I think part of the reason I wasn't super nervous about this show is because I was in a familiar place with familiar horses. Of course I'm not gonna be nervous . . . although the dancing was definitely a stress reliever.

I pulled Pixel, the wiggly green pony that I've been dying to ride again. He wasn't too pleasant as I was getting on, practically having a panic attack outside the ring. Finally, we get in there, and suddenly he wants to back off my leg. Dang ponies. For the most part, it was a good ride, although the sitting trot was more of a "sitting" trot, and yes I leaned into my canter transition, and he may have been running off at the trot at one point. Still, I placed second.

And of course that photo is the final outcome of many failures because, again, Pixel has no concept of standing still.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fashion Thursday: When will Divoza restock these boots in my size?


When will Divoza restock these boots in my size?

1. Doublju LS Slim Fit Turtleneck Sweater
2. Wilker's Hunter Jumper Saddlepad
3. Joules Black Vest
    no longer available
4. FixDesign Cotton Breeches
5. Mondoni Winchester Boot
    no longer available
6. ModCloth She's A Lucky Gallop Scarf
    no longer available
7. Tory Burch Robinson Logo Belt
8. One K™ Defender Matte Helmet
9. Roma Gold Thread Dressage Whip
10. Horze Selena Glove
11. Mattes Correction Half Pad w/ Trim
12. Stubben Portos Elite Saddle

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

TRM Blog Hop: 25 Questions

That Red Mare has created a 25 Questions blog hop, and I'm all for spacer posts between lessons, shows, and Fashion Thursday, so here's some more stuff about me.

1. Mares or Geldings? Why?

Mares, but that's because I've connected with them better in the past. I definitely won't gripe for being put on a gelding. After all, Corbin is still my jumper soul mate.

2. Green-broke or Fully Broke?
People trust me enough to put me on green horses, but, frankly, no. I'm still anxious about it.

3. Would you own a "hotter" breed (ie. Arabian, Trakhener, etc).
Psh, absolutely.

4. What was your "dream horse" growing up?
I played the Bella Sara game, and I had a black colt named Golden Pepper, and for a while, I really wanted to own a Friesian stallion named Golden Pepper, but I don't think I can do that and still maintain my dignity. Oh, and he also had blue eyes.

This pon from WEF defines my current fancy
5. What kind of bit(s) do you use and why?
I'll use whatever someone tells me to, mainly because I am not super experienced but also because the horse likely isn't mine, therefore I have no say. My only qualm is when I don't have a snaffle rein on a gag, elevator, etc. I think Music goes in a single jointed D-ring, maybe a French link (it's been a while). I use my sidepull when I can.

6. Helmets or no helmets?
Mind ya damn melon

7. Favorite horse color?

Chestnuts with chrome

8. Least favorite horse color?
Chestnuts with not enough chrome

si, Patrick
9. Dressage or Jumping?
Well you can't have jumping without Dressage, and you can have Dressage without your horse trying to jump over that tiny barrier, but it's not as much fun that way. In conclusion, both.

10. How many years have you been riding?
About 4.5 years at this point. April 11th, 2011.

How I celebrated 4 years this past April
11. Spurs/whip or no spurs/whip?
I think it's always convenient to have both, even if you're not planning on using them. That being said, I don't own either, although I'm considering getting these fancy thangs if the situation calls for it.

12. Your first fall?
My first fall was more like a slip off. I tried to trot April bareback, and she kinda leaped forward in the transition, so off I went. I think my first real fall was off of Molly, and I've likely suppressed the memory.

13. When was the last time you rode and what did you do?
Last Wednesday. We did a lot of no stirrup work. My thick thighs are getting thicker.

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
My saddle, which I'm trying to sell, but that's what I get for buying an ancient Stubben.

15. How old were you when you started riding?
13, kinda late in my opinion, but my parents wanted to be sure (read: they wanted me to be a doctor).

First show @ 4 months in
16. Leather or Nylon halters?
Leather. Looks nice. Feels nice. Is nice.

17. Leather or Synthetic saddles?
Synthetic, but only high quality (i.e. from Europe).

18. What "grip" of reins do you like?
Literally nothing. I like a clean rein. I deal with the rubber on Music's reins, but I'm dying on the inside. Laced reins are okay. That canvas type stuff is from hell.

19. English or Western?
Both B)

20. How many horses do you currently own/lease?
Just leasing the old lady.

21. Do you board your horse? Self-care/full board? Home board?
Nope, she's right at home in her owner's barn.

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
No, but props to those who have been able to get through it, because just the thought is painful.

23. How many saddlepads do you have?
What is this, Saddlepads Anonymous? . . . . only 5, but it's cause I need variety

24. Slant-load trailer or straight haul?
I haven't hauled, but my dream trailer is a two horse straight load with living quarters, so there's that.

25. Why do you ride?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

One Lesson & One Lime

Someone please remind me why I ever thought CC saddles with no knee rolls were a good thing to ride in. Also, someone please remind my right leg that it actually needs to put in some effort.

I got Boomer (I think) on Wednesday. He's slightly older with a somewhat sensitive back, so I got to half seat the canter. Woohoo! We did some more intense no-stirrup work. It was lots of posting, but it was much easier this time. My muscles are starting to build up again, but I'm still struggling with the collapsed right side, which I might have to go to yoga or pilates to rectify.

ya filthy animal
We did a bit of jumping, which was 99% successful. By that point, my right leg stopped slipping, and we made it over everything pretty nicely. The 1% is when we went to do a bending line for the first time. I decided to be the unorthodox one and take the barrels for my second fence whilst everyone else was in the hay bales squad. We barely (and I mean barely) made it over the barrels. I'm pretty sure half of his body actually jumped it while the other half just kind of side stepped. It was much better a second time, and that's where we finished.

adorable filthy animal
I made the rather hasty decision to join Dia on her way home this weekend. Her horse needed to be ridden, so I tagged along to take pictures.

I also decided that I'm going to remodel their indoor arena, even though they've already decided to build a new one.

I am now in the company of a very inviting family and, like, four different animals, two of which are Whippets. They are amazing. 10/10.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fashion Thursday: First IHSA Show

I am an absolute genius. Instead of leaving my white show shirt open to the elements, I put a nice, white sweater over it. Genius. Smartest thing I've ever done.

All sarcasm aside, I did receive my SwigSweg Leg sweater a couple of weeks ago, and the fit is perfect. For reference, I am 5'5" with average upper body proportions (I think 32" chest and 29" waist), and I got the youth x-large.

First IHSA Show

1. Equine Couture Ingate Shirt
2. J.Crew Relaxed Wool Sweatpant
3. Anne Klein Gray Glass Pearl Earring
4. Brooks Brothers white belt
    no longer available
5. SwigSweg Leg Sweater Youth
6. Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boot
7. IRH Elite Extreme Riding Helmet
8. Shire's Oakland Side-Zip Show Breech

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Witch Story" Excerpt 1

So I know that I said I'd be doing posts daily about this, but this is the first chance this month that I've actually had time to write, so enjoy this short bit from Chapter 2:
Fourmi always hated having to go out late for her parents, especially when she had school the following day. An odorium plant at her bedside released its fumes right on time, waking Fourmi instantly. She groaned, pulling herself out of bed, and having to wake herself up with some cold water to the face. She dressed in simple clothing: a t-shirt, jeans, and flats. Steven dropped her off, bidding his goodbyes before leaving for his job. By lunch time, there was fresh gossip.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Today's lesson is sponsored by 'The Correct Lead'"

My first sponsorship. So long adult amateurs.

Haha, no. I could barely sit the trot without stirrups on Wednesday, let alone post. Coach S wasn't happy with how the last show went, so it was all about flatwork. I started out on Oscar, another gray gelding. I typically do well with those. Then it was on to Diego, then Dori, then Murry. Of course, I was the only one who managed to pick up the wrong lead . . . twice. It was a very "ugh" type thing, along with not being able to do anything without stirrups, which I'm usually good at.

So it was a bad lesson, and I was pretty bummed out, but fortunately, Dia and Kal are absolute idiots, and I mean that in the most endearing connotation. Dinner with them made me feel 100% better.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fashion Thursday: Fabulous

College is destroying my sense of creativity when it comes to names.


1. Polo Ralph Lauren Sweater
    no longer available
2. Joules Lightweight Vest
    no longer available
3. Accessorize Pearl Earrings
    no longer available
4. Train of Trot Scarf
5. Ted Baker Belt
    no longer available
6. Horze Grand Prix Self Patch Breeches
7. Horze Santiago Tallboot

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Going Old School

It's been years since I've successfully made a drawing by hand, mainly because 1) I always had computer programs at my disposal and 2) nothing can motivate me to get hand cramps. Nothing. Absolutely nothing . . . except not having computer programs. I caved fairly early in the year and bought some graph paper and a binder to keep all of my new nonsense in.

So here's the first design of the year. You likely can't read most of it, but that's one of the limitations of hand drawings. I promise to do better next time.

Its got five stalls total, three 16' x 16' and two 16' x 20'. The main breezeway is your standard 12' wide. The front wall is where are the necessities are: feed room, tack room, wash stall, and an office (okay, not quite a necessity, but it's there). Above these rooms is the hay loft, hence the steeper front side slope. Don't ask me how you get the hay up there. I was getting frustrated, and my hand was cramping hard core. I wanted to be done.

It's meant to be somewhat over the top, which can be seen in the picture that inspired it.

Monday, November 2, 2015


And also No Stirrup November, but who cares about that.

It's National Novel Writing Month, and, after much consideration, I finally settled on a story to work on for this month. It's what I call my "Witch Story". It doesn't have a title yet, and I'm barely through the outlining stage. It's just a fetus of a story, most of it still mentally noted. That being said, it's a simple plot that I enjoy and want to have published. It's easier for me to write than my (hopefully) three book series, and it's the only stand alone story that I actually brought with me to school.

A while ago, I wrote a draft version of the first chapter, which you can read here. I'll try to keep you guys updated on it, most likely by posting a sentence or two at the end of a post.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

At the mercy of a chestnut mare

And mercy she had, or rather pity.

Little Miss Rita kept me safe and sound through my class today. It was an easy ride, but towards the end of the day of a two day show. She was pretty tired and trying her best, but it was quite the effort. She broke at the canter to the left, which wasn't a big deal. We got going . . . then she broke on the right, and apparently, I forget to actually achieve inside bend before asking for the canter. Picked up the wrong lead for a couple of strides before breaking back down, organizing, and getting the canter again on the correct lead. Made out with 4th place.

Some highlights of the weekend:

- Animal facts, so many animal facts

- My general, daily levels of saltiness

- Selfies

- So many friggen missed leads



- Appropriate use of the phrase "sick ass"


- At one point, a non-horsey person tried to understand my SwigSweg Leg sweater


I am a large child
It was a grand time.
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