Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Spring Sun

I'm still on the cheap Amazon shirts rage.

Spring Sun

1. Willtoo Long sleeve Blouse
2. Ariat Heritage Contour Field Boot
3. Tekna CLUB Saddle
4. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Show Pad
5. Annie's Concord Knee Patch Breeches
6. Fleeceworks Therawool Classic Half Pad w/ Rolled Edges

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

General Flatwork

I tagged along with my Eventing Team friends to their lesson yesterday, which was still happening despite quite angry winds. Yay for indoors! I joined on a flatwork day, and I also added myself to their lesson next week, which is jumping week. I was actually supposed to be in this week, but there was a scheduling mix up, but whatever. I'll take a nice jump school any day (so long as ponies aren't being wimpy).

There was a great variety in the type of horses this time around. A couple were either young or green, still trying to figure out forward motion and rhythm, with graceful avoidance of contact. Others, such as Coach from the interest lesson, were much more schooled and had started work on more advanced maneuvers. Steph was great about making sure that everyone was getting more individualized attention due to that variation.

Some Takeaways:

    - it's okay to lose rhythm for a moment when you're trying to establish forward motion
    - OTTBs benefit from coming about 5' off the rail
    - even if a horse is well schooled, make sure they aren't relying on the rail
    - the walk is important

One of the riders was small (like me) and rode a quite large Thoroughbred (okay, I ride a Thoroughbred cross). He's still figuring things out, and organizing 17+ hands of confused beast is difficult when you're in the under 5'10" squad. Her reaction to him is quite similar to what I do (though she has more experience and doesn't emotionally shut down). She would brace her forearm in order to keep him together, but Steph noticed that the rider's activity during the downward transition is what worked well to organize the horse. As with everything when it comes to horses, it was a matter of getting the right feeling.

Why does it have to be so vague and complicated?

Also, if anyone is interested in doing a clinic with Daniel Stewart, shoot me an email. The team has one coming up on May 6th & 7th.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Weight Room Adventures

And no it was not a fun adventure because I have barely any upper body strength or balance, and no I could not lift the bar today like a normal human being. To add insult to injury, Kal ran the workout because Brit is still home with family this weekend, and whilst I love him dearly, let's consider:

    - he made us do bicycles
    - he doesn't look anything like Jake Gyllenhaal
    - he isn't Brit

Sorry dude, you're riding lesson chill but not workout lesson chill (I'm kidding, he was awesome, major thanks).

image from Photobucket

Full workout schedule:

    - 20mins +/- cardio
    - 1 bench w/ bar
    - 20 bicep curls, 10 triceps x2
    - 10 weighted squats (machine), 90 total heel lifts x4
    - 10 weird thingies on a weird machine, 10 fliers x4
    - 50 crunches, 50 side crunches (per side), 50 bicycle crunches x3
    - 40 swimmers, 40 Russian twists x2
    - 60sec plank
    - like maybe 90 seconds of me laying on the ground at the end of it all

Ya know, I don't have a single ab to show for any of this work. Guess I gotta keep it up till they magically appear.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Yup, ponies will be the death of me

10 months, 10 days . . .

The chestnut pony was quite docile to tack up yesterday, which is quite far from his usual pace/eat/stare off at scary bits of dust/pace antics. I should've known right then.

One mischievous pony . . .
After fighting vehemently with my stirrups to get the right length, he settled into a nice trot. He was much nicer about moving left and right off my leg, but he's still a backed off pony and takes a bit to get going. We finally got to ride on the outdoor, and Coach had us trot around the outside of the ring, and while he giraffed the whole time, he was still attentive. He did have a moment off sass at the canter, which we corrected quickly, but he was fine after that. He even jumped our warm-up fence and first set super duper nice, and got a quick simple change. Might as well call him the World's Chillest Pony, right?

One majestic pony
WRONG. To put it simply, Pixel is a chicken, especially over fences. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that he hates blue barrels (tbh I kinda hate 'em too, but somebody has to be the grown up in this relationship). We tried to trot up to it the first time, and he just nnnoped it to the side, then took off crow hopping. I settled him, and he trot over it just fine like a big boy. Then, we tried to canter it, because now that he's trotted over it, he can canter over it, right?

WRONG. Little bugger lost it at the last second, ducked quickly, and threw me off. It had been 10 months and 10 days since my last fall, and I was finally thwarted by a large pony. Coach said I had it coming considering the fact that I've been riding a greenie. Heh, just let me dream. Unfortunately, I did land on my head (which hasn't happened in a very long time), and there was a moment where I feared that I'd sustained a concussion. I sat down for a moment whilst everyone finished up, then I hopped back on and took the pon over a cross rail. It was arguably our best jump of the day.

I still love him

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fashion Thursday: How I Keep It

How I Keep It

1. Unisex Emoji Shirt
2. Gucci Leather Logo Belt
3. IRH Elite Extreme Helmet
4. TuffRider Ribb Kneepatch Breeches
5. Hunter/Jumper "Winning Colors" Saddle Pad
6. Fleeceworks Therawool Half Pad w/ Rolled Edges
7. Stubben S Portos Elite Saddle

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Actual, literal journaling

Because I finally got my minimalist bits journal from Darcy White Designs!

I don't believe I said this earlier, but I plan on bullet journaling during the summer to keep better track of my rides. In the beginning, this blog was quite useful in helping me become more aware of my fall backs; that being said, in the time between riding and writing, I still have the tendency to let my emotions get the best of me. Take these posts with a grain of salt.

My plan for setting it up is to focus on a whole week of rides/workouts rather than getting super duper into one ride and not being able to connect and compare it with the next. I plan on writing everything directly after my rides, before my emotions have time to cloud my judgement. The key items would be strengths and weaknesses for that day with the idea being those that repeat are my overall strengths/weaknesses (and we already know about some). I would also include inconsistencies, such as new issues that arise either with myself or the horse, and try to hypothesize solutions. Outside of those items, I would also include any useful analogies/sayings that help me remember to do something a certain way.

At the end of the week, everything gets synthesized. Repeated strengths/weaknesses get recorded, and a plan for the next week is made. I may or may not post those on here. It just depends on what happens on Sunday. If I ever plan on doing specific exercises rather than focusing on something for the week, then I put those right next to the day.

This is my new, literal riding journal. Also, in order to keep myself thinking forward, I made myself a little inspirational coloring page.

Monday, March 21, 2016

She's stepping it up on me

Darn you, Brit. She's started to make this whole exercise thing waaaaay more intense, and physically I wanna quit, but I'm too stubborn, and also she's really cool. Thank you, Brit, for existing.

Full workout schedule:

    - jog for however long an episode of Grey's Anatomy is
    - 50 crunches, 50 side crunches, 50 bicycle (3x)
    - 50 Russain twists
    - switched off between partner sit-ups and this rolly thing
    - weird, 3-way, plank thing
    - 100 crunches

Yeah, it was only me, Brit, and Kal, and figuring out how to turn partner exercises into three person exercises was a struggle, but we made it through.

My endurance continues to go up. I can do the 50 crunches and side crunches straight without breaking, but the bicycle crunches are still a struggle. I got through the 100 crunches as well without complaint. I still struggle with picking out the right running speed; I want to make sure that I'm actually getting a work out, but I still have to be aware of that dumb asthma nonsense that I should've grown out of a long time ago but genes so uuuuggghhhh. I have found that rap is the best music to run to.

image from

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Oh those baby pons

Yes, Gigi is big baby #3 of this blog. The weather finally took a turn for the undesirable. After a very slowly warming up throughout last week, a cold front began to swoop in, and Saturday was quite cold and gloomy. Despite the sad look outside, the rain wasn't to come until much later, so we rode anyway.

The Snoop
I took Gigi out for a little spin on my own, but, being that the weather had shifted quite dramatically, she had an equally dramatic reaction to it. After running from me in the pasture, her aversion to my presence subsided and was replaced by a general alertness at, well, everything. Feed bins, the cross ties, piles of rocks, literally anything. I could barely get her to lunge a nice circle at the trot, and even when we accomplished that, she quickly reverted back to a hyped up baby.

She still rode fine, and I did my best to keep correcting her rhythm since that's pretty much where she's at on the scale. The whole ride was walk/halts and trot/halts. She has a pretty good stop, but it got even better and more timely after only a few times. We trot through some poles to finish out the ride, and by then she was much more supple in her mouth and jaw.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Flash Back Friday: The Sleepover

I could go on and on for decades about how welcoming my last barn was. The family atmosphere was just a reflection of Miss S's personality; she's a Christian mother with that natural "Southern Hospitality." Ironically, she's from California.

Ah yes, tiny, baby (13 year old) me with my dear Izz and Shebsheb. Despite being a rather socially awkward and highly introverted teen (and I still am), I jumped on the chance to sleepover at the barn. I didn't know Sheb, Izz, or Miss S that well at the time, but they were kind, and it made for a fun night. We had pancakes in the morning after feeding the horses. and I tried blueberry syrup for the first time. Lee came early before lessons, and we helped her clean out her trailer a bit (that's how I got those rainbow clip on reins for me sidepull). In return, she let each of us hop on Fish for a bit. That was my first time ever closing my eyes on a horse. Shout out to good ol' Fisher for keeping me safe.

At the time, I was in love with my trainer's three year old, Bella. I spent some time with her that morning, just enjoying her presence, living up to the weird horse girl title.

Belly Welly <3

The rest of that Sunday was just your average lesson day. I used to help out during those, but, as they say, times changed. I do greatly appreciate the opportunity though. If every riding student could do that, the horse world we be a perfect place. The hands on experience is invaluable.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fashion Thursday: Striped Shirt

So, someone on the tumblr asked why no one does sets for men's equestrian wear. Personally, I tend to make sets based on things that I (more or less) would wear, so I never really thought about menswear. Nevertheless, there is a lack of fashion options available for male equestrians, so I'll do my best.

Striped Shirt

1. Paul Smith Grey Sweatshirt
2. English Laundry Striped Woven Dress Shirt
3. Alexander Olch Heavy Canvas Belt
4. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Pad
5. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Half Pad
6. GPA Speed Air Evolution Helmet
7. B Vertigo Sander Self Seat Breeches
8. Ovation San Diego Jumping Saddle
9. Ariat Volant Tall Front Zip

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

So I heard you like unicorns AND flowers

Okay just look at this cute little thing.

Now I'm on the fence if I wanna get it tattooed or not. So simple. I love it, just one of those spur of the moment things that turned out pretty nice. Here it is on a couple of items.

Tanktop // iPad Smart Case // Travel Mug

Monday, March 14, 2016

So that's what it's like to be a Dressage rider

After a week of mostly death due to midterms, I'm glad to finally be on spring break with exactly 0 (okay, minimal, but I like to think there are none) obligations to worry about. Workouts have continued at a slow place. I dragged Dia on a run on Wednesday and lowkey forced her to do abs, but she's still alive, so it was worth it. Also, I promise to actually post a set this week. I've continued to traipse around Amazon looking for cheap shirts, and they're looking decent in the sets.

At around 6am on Friday morning, after spending 5 hours working on a paper that I would actually have to scrap and spend 5 more hours writing in the correct format, I got a sweet message from barn owner C inviting me out to the barn once I got home. I had to cancel my lesson at school this week due to the dorm closing rather early, so I 100% said yes.

My beautiful wife
I rode Gigi, who's a green, semi-baby (she's like 6). I explained my constant issues with the right side collapse, which (unfortunately) is related to my weak core, and means that (unfortunately) I will have to hurt more in the abs before I can stop hurting in the hip. It's a total win/win. The main focus was to prevent me from locking my ankles, which in turn locks my leg. It's fairly easy to see in my first ride on Abbey. We fixed this issue by having me work in sitting trot sans stirrups for the majority of the lesson. When trainer had me pick them up again, the idea was to not change anything, as in stay on my seat and not rely on my braced leg to keep my body still.

And that was definitely the biggest takeaway from Saturday. Don't change a thing. Aside from finally being able to soften my ankle, a lot of mental habits seemed to subside as well. Once I got my seat situated without my stirrups, I felt much more secure and able to correct mistakes. It's pretty nice to feel in tune with the pon.

Miss Goober

Monday, March 7, 2016

Fun, New Exercises from Horse Physio

Okay, so remember when I talked about working on in hand classical work and more advanced pole work with Music? Well, the same dude who made the polework video just posted a new one to Facebook today (or maybe he posted it earlier and I only saw it shared today).

Exercise X2
Einfaches TrainingFormation de baseBasic training
Posted by Horsephysio on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I partially want to do it because it looks like so much fun but also because I think this might help with some of my straightness issues. I tend to rely on the rail a lot (which is why I get smacked by trees all the time), and if I'm not relying on the rail, I'm falling awkwardly close to jumps. When I come off the rail, especially on the diagonal, I find it hard to maintain straightness. Hopefully this exercise might help guide me in the right direction.

I think I might hold off on the cantering over poles (especially not raised poles) until I have it together in a straight line, but the arc that they use should be fine to trot through. Ideally, it would help to back her off of fences some.

zoom poneh

Sunday, March 6, 2016

So I heard you like flowers

So this year, I'm going to release my spring items actually on time. I was kinda late with winter, but also El Niño made summer go longer than it was supposed to, so I was somewhat there. There are four new designs for the spring in a style that I've truly fallen in love with.

"Dream On" Graphic
Izzy's is where it all started. From there, I just kept on going.

"Great Things" Magnet
Here's Car and Roy with "You're gonna do great things".

"Positive Vibes Tank"
 Babes rocking a flower crown with the "Positive Vibes" design.

"No Scope, No Hope" Treat Tin
And finally Miss J on Romeo for the "No Scope, No Hope" graphic (personal favorite).

Again, these can be put on almost anything available from Customized Girl. Just click the "Customize this design" button in the top right of the page.

Dream On // Great Things // Positive Vibes // No Scope, No Hope

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Déjà vu

The last two weeks have been an emotional hellstorm, so I wasn't really on my A game. Last week was quite meh, and this week was meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhh, so I'm hoping things get better next week.

Happy, hay munching pony
I guess it was somewhat fortunate that Pixel wasn't on his A game either. He just had his back shoes pulled and is trying to figure out life whilst being naked behind. He's a sensitive redhead. Everything just took a little bit of effort, which I more or less put in, but it wasn't nearly as good as our last ride. The canter was kinda gross because my stirrups were too long for an effective half seat and also I apparently cannot half halt. He jumped considerably well today. I was all over the place, but he still did everything without a fuss.

I asked Coach S if anyone was showing Pixel this year (just out of curiosity because he is quite fancy), and she said no one was, but I could. Say, remember last year when I was gonna show in eq on a horse that ended up moving into the jumpers instead? Déjà vu.

yes, I repeat .gifs

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Slightly less dying

So, I've had my second (technically third) workout with the team. It was only five of us this time but still ended up being just as entertaining. A lot of other people had their own workouts scheduled throughout the day today around classes. I guess Thursday will just be the big group time.

It was straight cardio, which is ridiculous, but okay. I still didn't hit my threshold asthma wise. I got kinda close, but I didn't get there, so ha.

Full workout schedule:

     - 1/2 mile jog
     - walk break, then 2.5 mile jog around campus
     - mix of lunges and other stretches
     - handful of suicide sprints
     - crunch sets to finish out

Feeling pretty good about this one. I can still feel my lack of balance; my left side works significantly harder than my right. I'm slowly increasing endurance wise. On Thursday, I had to break after seven crunches, but I got all the way up to 14 consecutive ones yesterday. Boom. I'm the next Michael Phelps.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

God Bless America

For the record, I don't have any religious affiliations, but I will take any and every opportunity to spread the American spirit, so here goes nothing.


And of course my personal favorite:

Bonus: I'm 80% sure they're equitation legal.

All of these are from HKM and should have click through links to their pages. Other countries available include but are not limited to: Denmark, France, (clenches fist, grits teeth) the UK, Australia, and Japan.
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