Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Like Candy

Like Candy

1. The Gallop To Greatness Pink Polka Dot Pony Sweatshirt
    customizedgirl.com/thegalloptogreatness
2. The Gallop to Greatness Ice Cream Pony Sweatshirt
    customizedgirl.com/thegalloptogreatness
3. Fix Design Alcantara Beige Knee Patch Breeches
    fixdesignhorses.it
4. White House Black Market Pink Skinny Belt
    whitehouseblackmarket.com
5. Barney's Maison Boinet Belt
    barneys.com
6. Tricoastal Stockholm Spiral Notebook
    bloomingdales.com
7. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Baby Pad
    shop.wilkers.com
8. Fix Design Alcantara Blue Knee Patch Breeches
    fixdesignhorses.it
9. Wilker's Hunter/Jumper Half Pad
    shop.wilkers.com
10. Glitter Jump Bat
    horsetackco.com
11. Kentucky Horsewear Half Pad Absorb
    kentucky-horseshop.com
12. Torpol Active Basic Half Pad
    torpol.eu
13. Joe's USA Baseball Belt
    joessocks.com
14. Horze Darrel Jumping Bat
    horze.com
15. Eclat Rose Dressage Whip

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Begin Again

Ah yes, another semester of suffering.

Today marked my official start of architecture studio. I'm excited but also terrified; I watched fellow students and brothers go through junior and senior studio last semester. It was a trip, I'll tell you that. My less important classes will begin tomorrow, but one of them already has a reading to do before the first day. I also don't know when I'm going to get the book for one of my other architecture classes. Fun times, folks.


The eq team had their first meeting yesterday. I'm pretty sure we've officially hit the 40 member mark, which is insane. We also got the lesson schedule, and I am on Fridays at 11am, which means I have to book it out of my 9am class that ends at 10. Also means I'll be wearing riding clothing early in the morning then have to bathe and change before studio at 2pm. I'm praying that we get back on time.

already miss the old man
I've put together a regular workout schedule, but since I got back on Sunday and didn't have class until today, I kinda haphazardly went to the gym these past couple of days. It's less me needing to work out and more me needing to keep myself occupied. I rested on Sunday night then did two workouts on Monday. The morning was mainly cardio and some abs. The evening was more cardio, then legs, but I didn't have my brace, and my left knee was not having it.

Tuesday was cardio, arms, and some legs. Basically, I can't feel my legs right now, and I don't imagine I'll be able to feel them again anytime soon. I did more arms this morning. I'm in this weird place where I feel exhausted and unable to do more when I'm in the gym, but the lack of tightness afterwards tells me that, nah, I didn't do enough. I just wanna be buff.

After some really wacky interval training
Also, push ups. Every workout has push ups.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Like an episode of House Hunters

If you've watched House Hunters, you know how an episode typically goes: a client (usually a couple) is looking to buy a house with amenities that include but are not limited to:
  • a large kitchen
  • "open concept" (Le Corbusier ruined architecture with this term)
  • large master suite with walk in closets and TWO sinks in the bathroom
  • a large yard
  • other assorted large items
  • updated appliances
  • etc.
And then their budget is the monetary equivalent of the burnt edges on baked mac & cheese: good, but not sufficient.

image from Sizzle
Sticker shock is a real thing, and it applies to leasing horses as well. My list of "amenities" didn't seem long: jumps 3'0", schools first level, at least 15.2hh, some show experience, and an owner willing to do an off site lease for no more than $300 per month. Not much, right? Well, the equivalent in terms of homes would be like trying to find a mold free studio apartment right next to Time Square with a parking space included. All for the same price.

"lmao, you cray"
I eventually struck almost everything on that list and was set up to try two mares when I got home over winter break. In an odd twist of events, the end of 2016 saw some redemption. I was standing in line at Cafe Rio, right after a really good lesson, when Miss El texted me about Silver. I let her know that I was interested and planned to try him on the same day I was trying the other mares.

Then, by chance, I ended up riding him the day after I got home.

And then I cancelled the other trials because it wasn't getting any better than Silvie.


I had my hesitations with him, but my hesitations with the other two were much more pertinent, and one of them gave me worries about the facility owner. So, while there isn't a nice, fancy warmblood waiting to be shipped to my home town in May, I got this old, ornery, ass kicker instead.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

New to the Shop: Geometric Horses!

I actually planned to use these as part of my 2016 blog stats, but I straight up opted not to do those. Fortunately for y'all, that means more cute horsey things (click on the image to see the item page).


I think I put these on pretty much everything Red Bubble has to offer. I might throw them into some other designs, but I'm on the fence at this point.


The perfect look for those upcoming spring days (or, if you're from Texas, those 80° winter days).

Friday, January 20, 2017

A "Good" Note

We had it, then we lost it.

same (image from Know Your Meme)
But I'll admit I'm being a bit dramatic. This week in lessons saw one jump school followed by a Dressage lesson the next day. I wanted to school Silver over fences one more time, but I also wanted to switch the jumps up. The way they were set up made for almost only long approaches. Yah, well, fuck the long approach. I used my five jump set up, but I need to make some adjustments. With that set up, I typically make it so that everything can be jumped from either direction. Rolltop made things difficult. I'll likely swap them with the barrels next time.

I moved everything then hopped on. Silver was just fighting me more than usual when we hacked, but physically, I still felt comfortable, and the good moments must have been pretty good. Trainer remarked that his soft moments were his best yet. We did our trotting on the serpentine, and then we did this fun exercise where we'd trot half a circle on a three point serpentine then canter the full circle on the ends. Truly enjoyed that one.

That face!!
Most of our jumping was Miss El telling me to look up and wait. There were no worrying distances or truly major mess ups (except maybe one gross fence where I lost a stirrup). The out of the line was a bit tight since I walked off four strides but walked it a touch too big. It rode as an ugly five, so I'll put it out the next time. Overall, I felt comfortable, but I'm kinda pissed that I didn't as for a video to actually see how I looked. This semester on the team will require lots of video for me to not lose my sanity.

When we finished up, trainer asked why I didn't move the barrels with the other jumps. I told her there are two reasons: 1) they were far away from everything else and heavy, and 2) they scare the shit outta me. Came out the next day for my Dressage lesson and saw the barrels moved right next to everything else. My next jump lesson on Silver will be interesting, no doubt.

Dressage day started with some decent walk, actually. More forward, but the trot and canter didn't have enough. We went back on the serpentine, except this time Miss El was following me on Sanibel. Nothing quite like being chased down by your trainer while she yells "!MORE FORWARD!" from what felt like a dangerously close distance.

image from #funscrape
We argued a lot through the trot and into the canter, but eventually he just settled and dealt with the whole using yourself properly thing. On the upside, downward transitions are getting better and better. On the downside, his owner just got back from a trip and was riding with us. Why could she not have been there last week when we were, like, doing well???

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fashion Thursday: 24k

Believe it or not, I made this set long before Bruno Mars released his song.

24k

1. Markus Lupfer Wool Sweater
    no longer available
2. Vince Camuto Gold Oversized Pyramid Stud Earrings
    no longer available (similar item)
3. Tory Burch Gold Logo Belt
    toryburch.com
4. HDR Pro Lexus Dressage Saddle
    statelinetack.com
5. EHA Piaffe Chenille Baroque Dressage Pad
    equestrianhomeaccessories.com
6. HKM Combi Bandages
    hkm-sportsequipment.eu
7. Success Equestrian Dressage No-Slip Half Pad
    shop.successequestrian.com
8. Gold Over Silver Snaffle Bridle Charm
    horsecharms.us
9. Equine Couture Super Star Knee Patch Breeches
    horseloverz.com
10. Samshield Custom Helmet
    samshield.com
11. De Niro Custom Ottaviano Dress Boot
    ruitersport-levade.nl

Monday, January 16, 2017

Vlog #8: What's In My Barn Bag?


There are two things I want out of 2017:

1) My camera to focus on my face (that's the important thing here, like it or not)
2) Someone who looks at me the way I look at my Bakugan

Filmed 1/15/17

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Highkey, lowkey

Gotta say I'm pretty impressed with Ol' Silvie this week. It was fairly windy and warm on Friday, which I don't mind. Decent riding weather in the big scheme of things. I hopped on Silver while Miss El was tacking up another horse, and we walked around the field, no stirrups, reins dropped, not caring at all. Wonderful idea to ride like that when it's windy, you're on a sensitive horse, and there are cars passing at 40+ mph. I think his owner is out of town for the time being, meaning that the only rides he's had this week are the two lessons I took on him. Concepts are starting to stick, and things don't take as long to achieve. Also means that trainer is being harder on me now that I know things™.


Still, I like being productive. Our focuses were softening, changing direction, and body positioning.

On softening, he's still doing it. We don't fight as much, and he's holding himself properly for longer periods of time. This ride was more consistent in softness, rhythm, and forward movement. I think letting him walk out around the field helped to get the idea of forward into his head. He still gets sucked back when I shorten my reins and take up contact, so that'll be something to work on. One of the big things I wanted to work on was his downward transitions, and they were so so good for this ride. It's much easier to get when I use the letters, plus it helps me remember the letters, too.

Do not underestimate him.
On changing direction, more with the body and less with the hand. It's coming along, I just lose focus sometimes. After some canter work (also, another ride w/ 0 leads lost), we went back to doing serpentines at the trot, and not only was he a lot softer, but he remained consistent in the direction changes, and they were more fluid/less braced overall.


On body positioning . . . shoulders back, stop leaning to the inside, close your fingers. The usual.

After that awesome ride, I hopped on Roman bareback which was an adventure. First, he was laying down when I went to catch him and kinda refused to get up at first.

How about no?
Second, it took two tries to get on him. Our mounting block has mysteriously disappeared (I am not kidding, it literally just up and left), and the temporary replacement is somewhat small in comparison to Roro. Yeesh, anyways, third, I asked him to trot and he started trying to pirouette. Buddy, you are 6 years old and have been trained maybe through first level. Settle yourself.

*pirouettes into my personal space*

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Finally made a New Year's Resolution

As I got older, I realized that I don't like the concept of New Year's Resolutions. If something in your life needs to change, just change it, fam. Time is a concept. New Year's isn't real. As much as I don't like it, I made a (low key) life choice recently, and since it's still January, I might as well peg it as a resolution.

the motto
Guys, I'm going to do more push-ups this year. I hated the PE tests in grade school because 1) sit-ups suck, 2) my asthma was so bad back then I could never go as far as I wanted on the pacer, and 3) I could do, at max, five push-ups. 1 & 2 have been resolved. Now it's time for 3.

The inspiration for this actually came from a workout set that I found on The Sun's Secret:
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 20 squats
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 20 push ups
  • 10 jumping jacks
  • 20 sit ups
Squats and sit ups are nothing to me (except I do crunches, fight me). Still, I can only do five regular push ups before putting my knees down, and even after that I'm still suffering. I did this Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in conjunction with my regular ab set. I lost a lot of tone this semester. I want my definition back.

I want ominously large hamstrings again

Friday, January 13, 2017

Forward past the bridle

When I first rode Silver, his owner remarked that I would need a whip because "you won't get anywhere without one."

ha haha ahah ahahha

Post ride, pre treats
Silver is honestly one of the most responsive horses I've met. He doesn't always respond in the way you want him to, but he responds. Case in point, Sanibel has been on stall rest for a little while, and my trainer took her out while she was teaching me on Wednesday. Since Sanibel has gone stir crazy in the stall, Miss El joked that I would have to be the one to call 911. About 90 seconds later, I mounted up, and Silver took an unexpected bolt forward. No, my trainer didn't want to trade.

Anyways, small horse shenanigans aside, it ended up being a really good lesson. We got caught in super nice weather, so nice that I had to shed layers while grooming because it was too hot. I opted to ride in Dressage tack since I hadn't done it yet on Silver. He walked fairly well, forward and relatively soft. Trot had too much forward, and trainer reminded me to just regulate him.

Post roll, pre contemplating life
We worked on the rail at first, changing directions, adding circles and all that jazz. Then we moved onto a figure 8, putting a couple laps on each circle before switching directions. We continued with softening and moving into the outside aids. In the direction change, trainer reminded me to make the change with my hips and shoulders instead of the reins. Our right to left change is nice, but the left to right needs work as he tends to fall on the left leg, and I forget to support.

His canter was a dream to ride. The first transition was without relaxation, but the next couple were great in both directions. He didn't swap off at all to the right, and he was softer than usual. I don't think my trainer has ever praised me more during a lesson. Small horse makes me look good.

Rubbing off the hard work

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Men's Winter Collection

Might have been a good idea to do this at the start of the season, but I didn't, so here we are.

Men's Winter Collection

1. Bugatti Aerolithe Chronograph Watch
    prestigetime.com
2. Harry Rosen Current/Elliott Flannel Shirt
    harryrosen.com
3. Harry Rosen Hartford Flannel Shirt
    harryrosen.com
4. L. L. Bean Signature D Ring Webbed Belt
    llbean.com
5. Tom Ford 3cm Brown Leather Belt
    mrporter.com
6. Trouva Corkcicle Thermos
    trouva.com
7. GPA Speed Air 2X Helmet
    smartpakequine.com
8. Horze Grand Prix Extend Men's Full Seat
    equestriancollections.com
9. Easy Rider Phil Knee Grip Men's Riding Breech
    divoza.com
10. Ariat Extreme Men's Zip Paddock Boot
    smartpakequine.com
11. Irideon Wind Pro Riding Breeches
    equestriancollections.com
12. Horze Supreme Dorian Men's Long-Sleeved Functional Polo Shirt
    horze.com
13. Horze Darrel Jumping Bat
    horze.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An Open Letter to my Right Side

Dear Right Side,

First off, let us both agree that I am painfully average. I am right side dominant. From the day I was born into this world, I have favored you. Right Side, I have groomed you and strengthened you all my life. 19 years I have spent giving you ample attention and praise while my left hand can barely open a door knob (it can, but I'm being dramatic here, just roll with it).

Right Side, I have done everything in my power to give you the upper hand, and yet, you forsake me. Every time I get on a horse, you scrunch up and let my left side bow out, like it's the one that I've spent nearly two decades building up. And honestly, I don't get it? Where did I go wrong?

Right Hand, you don't know how to let go of the rein. Right Shoulder, you're far too low. Right Hip, you're stiff, and you make Right Thigh incapable of support. Right Knee and Ankle, you bear no weight because those above you have distributed it elsewhere. Right Foot, you could barely even kick a soccer ball when I was younger, and Right Eye, yes, you are the worse eye (no, really, it is significantly worse).

Right Side, I am begging and pleading with you to please get it together. I'll do weighted lunges and bench and run on better sloped terrain. All I ask is that you do your part and work with Left Side as a team so that I can one day successfully balance the canter. And also there's no rush on this, but Training 1 has working canter, and show season starts in a couple months, so I'd appreciate some gusto.

Sincerely,
a frustrated adult amateur who really hates hip stretches

Monday, January 9, 2017

A fortunate snow day, believe it or not

So, yeah, it snowed, and waaayyy more than expected. Forecast said we'd get 3"-6". Final totals were anywhere between 8" and 11" for the Eastern Shore. My Saturday lesson was cancelled, and the sub-freezing temperatures haven't let the snow melt at all. It's supposed to warm up tomorrow and Wednesday. We'll see.

Still, it's fortunate because guess what's happening down in Wellington???


I'm still on Anne Kursinski's ride, but her horse and the information she's giving is a little bit more relevant to my current riding state than the whole session was last year. First, the horse she's on is quite similar to Silver. He's an apparently laid back gray gelding that, every once in a while, loses focus and gets dramatic. He's even weaker to the right and occasionally swaps off behind, just like Silver. Big difference is that Anne's horse is significantly less dramatic than Silver. He swaps off, thinks for a minute, then gets his legs back under him. Silver swaps off, demands to know why I asked him to do that (I didn't, buddy, your physiology needs work), then threatens to drag me to Valhalla. I wish one of the auditors had asked more about the right side/right hind weakness so there'd be more discussion on it. Her main thing was to just not make a big deal out of it and just correct him.

She said "Dressage" so much. I liked that.
Some other nice takeaways:

  • She reiterated the idea of position (i.e. equitation form) being more than just a pose you hold.
  • She focused a lot on basics, which I think is a good way to start out the session.
  • She tied the basics of flatwork back to jumping, a concept that took me way too long to understand and execute.
  • She said funny things to her horse every time he spooked at something
Could be a levade, honestly
  • She brought up the importance of work off the horse, including groundwork, body work (for humans and horses), and peering through the fence of a top rider's stable so you can watch them ride at 5am (best tip overall).
  • Probably the most relevant point, she said that sometimes we blame ourselves too much, and that's where the body work comes into play. We can say that a horse acts a certain way because of our riding, but it might just be that the horse needs some chiro or massage or perhaps the rider needs chiro or massage (or weighted squats). There's no shame in that.
Now onto the children riding!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Independent Student

Another day, another Dressage lesson on Roman (and possibly another one tomorrow if Silver isn't available). The day started with the usual trek across the pasture to catch him because the only place he likes to graze in that massive piece of land is the area furthest from the gate. Much to my delight, his saddle got passed around more than usual and ended up with a nice, sparkly pad. It would've gone nicely with my Horze chaps, but I prefer my Mondonis when I'm in Dressage tack.

DQ mode enhanced
While Miss El was warming up Artec, she had me do hip stretches and arm circles because these old joints need stretching. Believe it or not, Roman was actually a bit fresh, well, as fresh as Roman could be. He was a bit looky and dodgy at the walk, then we went to trot, and holy inconsistencies, Batman. I'm still not chilling with these stirrups 100%, Roro. Please don't make me have to half halt.

Big, sweaty baby
I did a lot of trot work with rather minimal direction. I got bored going to the left, so I switched to the right, then I got bored of being on the rail, so I started doing serpentines. Then I got bored of posting, so I started sitting. Of course, the judgmental watchful eye of trainer was there giving me all sorts of corrections. Once I put myself onto the serpentine path, much of the ride was focused on accurately changing directions and reacting properly to Roman testing the contact. Being fresh made him a bit stiffer than usual, so more inside rein, more inside leg, and more give when he either gets it right or when he's straight up hanging.

Shameless glamour shot of the old man
The trot keeps coming along, as does the canter. The left lead got shoddy at times (i.e. falling in on the short side), but he was much more consistent in the softness department. The right lead only took four tries to get this time. That's a major improvement. Maybe I kinda know what I'm doing with this Dressage thing.

Also, snow is in the forecast, so get ready for my annual shaming of the white nonsense.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Fashion Thursday: Check Mate

Check Mate

1. makeitmint Cable Knit Pullover
    amazon.com
2. Zanzea Check Plaid Button Down
    amazon.com
3. Le Frame Belt
    no longer available
4. Horseware Polo Nina Knee Patch Breech

Monday, January 2, 2017

Goals Part 5: Taking a Gander at 2017

Ok, yes, I know, fourth post about goals in the past 6 months. Just bear with me for a minute on this one.


Typically, I tend to pick 12 goals for the year for the whole "12 goals in 12 months" thing. Some are significantly more probable than others, some I'm very loosely attached to, and some are highly dependent on how my situation changes over time. I've actually never minded mixing everything in because the years were typically less stressful than this past year. I always aimed to accomplish at least half of my list, and I did do that the last two years. This year . . . 2/12 accomplished, and that's being generous.

To partition my aspirations and also give some more leeway on certain goals, I've decided to divide my goals into categories.


Without A Doubt Goals
    For goals/items that I seriously need to work on and improve and cannot let myself slack on
  • Improve my equitation
  • Continue to open hip joint and soften ankle
  • Strengthen my right side & continue to improve balance
  • Exercise 5 times per week
  • Ride with Miss El at least once a week when I'm home (weather/finances permitting)
  • Be more fluid with different tack (i.e. Dressage form vs. Hunter form)
Concept: both at the same time
Goals That Need Hashing
    For goals that currently require a little more planning, discussion, and thought
  • Qualify for Colonial Classic
  • Qualify for MAEF Finals
  • Qualify for MHSA Regional Finals
  • Go to Brandywine, HITS, or Upperville (only once though and preferrably Brandywine)
  • Compete at First Level & begin working towards my bronze
  • Go to Rolex
  • Compete on Roman
Maybe I'll get really lucky and do WEF
Magical Unicorn Fairy Fantasy Goals
    Self explanatory
  • School at 3'0"
  • Compete at 3'0"
  • Compete in Ariat Adult Medal
  • Qualify for Ariat Medal Final
  • Start saving for a horse of my own
It's easy to pick which ones to focus on and work towards while not getting distracted by the final category. Reading other bloggers' goal posts actually encouraged me to start goal setting in 2014, and I love it, but my method thus far has been fairly simple, and there are a lot of ways to go about setting, accomplishing, and reviewing goals. So, if this doesn't work out for me, what are some of the ways that y'all put together goals for yourself? And (if you feel like explaining) why did you pick that method?
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