Monday, August 21, 2017

Isabel F deSzinay Memorial Dressage Show: Sunday

After Saturday's success, I went into the show on Sunday with the goal to simply improve on what we had the day before. With a ride time around 3:30p, there was plenty of time to work with. Also plenty of time in the morning to take a lot more pictures. I ended up clearing my SD card midday to free up space.

Y'all ever see something so beautiful it kills you on the spot?
Fi had her two tests back to back, first with Sanibel then with Roman. There were a couple of scratches, so I ended up moving my ride time up to 3p at trainer's request cause it was a long drive home.

He is, quite literally, a beast
With the down time between Fiona's last ride and mine, we got the trailer mostly packed. Then I changed, we went to school, aaaaaand it wasn't as good as Saturday. I could not, for the life of me get the horse to bend. I think it was a combination of him being tired and not wanting to be away from Sanibel, but it wasn't happening. I kept trying and trying until it was our time to go in the ring. I got him to step off of my left leg just as we were turning in at A, but that's as good as it got.

The test was rough, to say the least, but I was much happier with our stretch and free walk. Haven't looked at the report card fully, but I think we did go up in those areas. When we were done, he got some big pats, a hose off, and then we finished packing. It was a pretty silent ordeal since I was thoroughly pissed with my ride. When we were basically ready to go, I went to the office to grab my test . . . 57% BUT first place. And I got a free bottle of liniment with the ribbon.

Cute and talented!
Conclusion for the weekend: Dressage is weird, and I can't wait to do it again.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Isabel F de Szinay Memorial Dressage Show: Saturday

Had an easy start to the day on Saturday. Woke up around 6am, and we were on the road to the show grounds by 6:30. Trainer was the first ride of the day at a little bit after 9.

It was a pretty dreary morning since the rain had stuck around from Friday. It drizzled on and off, but the clouds finally departed by the time I had to get myself ready. As we were schooling the night before, I noticed that my old and worn out show gloves were ripping and shedding onto Roman's half pad. Since I 100% did not want to walk into the ring with flakes of faux leather dotting my tack, I grabbed a pair of Heritage gloves from the VTO Saddlery that was on site. Bless vendors.

My ride wasn't until 1:21p, so we grabbed lunch at an Italian joint beforehand. Guys, they had tuna bruschetta. I haven't had tuna bruschetta in forever. I nearly sobbed.

After eating my weight in bread and tomatoes, we went back to Commonwealth, I changed and tacked up while trainer braided. Then it was off to school, which went just fine, and then we were ready to head into the ring.

Not gonna lie, I was definitely mortified heading in. I remembered my whole test (miraculously), but after the right lead canter, I was super worried that I had forgotten something. You ever tried to pull yourself together between H and C? Doesn't take a genius to see that the test wasn't perfect. I was tipped forward, didn't have myself or the horse together, like, at all. No bend, no softness, and that stretch? Lol, embarrassing.

But I genuinely couldn't have been happier after the final salute. I did it. I freaking did it. My first Dressage test that I learned two days earlier on my lunch break. I honestly wasn't expecting much in terms of scores or placings, but lo and behold, a 62%! And third place! Go Roro!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Isabel F de Szinay Memorial Dressage Show: Friday

Yeah, it's a name. Sounds nice when it's your first Dressage show. Did I mention it was in Culpeper? At Commonwealth Park? Ya girl is moving on up.

Since Virginia is so damn far away, we hauled out around 8am on Friday. Earliest I've woken up on a Friday in a long time. After packing literally everything at 10pm the night before, I was pretty tired and went in and out of naps for most of the drive. We arrived a bit after noon, unloaded with no problems, and got the horses settled. After that, we checked into the hotel, sat around for a bit, got lunch, then head back to the show grounds to school.

The town was really cute, too! This is where we had lunch.
Fi and I went for a very long walk with Ro and Sanibel around the property. We talked about things, laughing when Roman would give big snorts and arch his neck at, well, everything. He honestly took everything pretty well and only had a true spook when he saw something off in the woods at the edge of the property. After walking around, we actually schooled, and Roro was fantastic. Honestly, super duper, and I'm pissed I didn't record or take pictures. We kept it simple; trot/walk a couple steps/trot along the rail outside of the Dressage ring, then some trot around the ring, then we practiced the canter pattern both ways, then some stretchy trot. After that, I just walked around the outer ring while Fi schooled.

Training 3, here we come.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vlog #14: My First Dressage Show!

Finally happened. Another goal off the list.

Song: "Aloha" by Møme

(I don't the music, but you should definitely check Møme out)

Filmed 8/11/17 to 8/13/17

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Easy Taco Salad Recipe for the Discerning Athlete

And by "discerning" I mean "couldn't cook even with the blood of Gordon Ramsey in their veins".

I tried out this recipe a couple weeks ago after finishing a work out and having no dinner planned. I went straight to the Equestri-fit Group and asked Gabriela for some ideas. She recommended taco salad. I hadn't had Mexican food in a while, so I rolled with it.

I used this recipe as my reference but decided to put a bit of a twist on it. It's easy to make one serving of this, and it's probably decent in the nutritional value things, but I don't pay much attention to all that. Just follow the 20 steps, and you're good to go.

Step 1: Rush to the grocery store directly after riding because you need to get the pictures done for this blog post before your parents return from Turks and Caicos and start asking questions.

Step 2: Venture into the produce section. Avoid buying copious amounts of blueberries while simultaneously losing it at the amount of lettuce options available. Miraculously find shredded lettuce at the end of the vegetable labyrinth.

Why is there so much? Who is buying all this???

Step 4: Mistakenly find canned chili and conclude that the process of cooking ground beef and beans separately is dumb. Also, you'd probably screw it up because, again, can't cook, y'all.

Step 5: Find tortilla chips. Find cheese. Pick up milk and Greek yogurt because you can at least prepare for breakfast ahead of time.

Step 6: Drive home.

Step 7: Time to start cooking! But first, make sure to put on your "Liked Tracks" playlist on Pandora that plays mainly all the songs you liked from 2012 when you actually used Pandora.

Step 8: Open can of chili. Realize it smells like dog food. Check the back of the can and see that it contains 16g of protein per serving. Remember that you want to get swole. Ignore dog food smell and empty into pot. Follow cooking directions (Sidenote: I do add about 1/2cup of water because this is the chunky chili).

Step 9: While the chili is cooking, sit down at your computer and ignore the open flame on your stove because being a responsible adult is a concept.

it's over there, waaay over there, in the back, open flame, 0 oversight
Step 10: "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes comes on your Pandora. You start to feel lonely. Text your Australian friend Darcy asking for insight.

I was going to have a picture here but her response wasn't PG enough for this blog.

Step 11: Hear chili in pot about to boil over. Dash to the stove and start stirring, ignoring the fact that chili is now burned onto the side of the pot.

Step 12: Reduce heat and prepare other ingredients. I did mine lettuce first, then chili, then everything else on top.

Step 13: As you prepare the other ingredients, consider making a cover of "Wanted" as a way to express your feelings in a productive manner instead of internalizing and trying to sleep them off.

Step 14: After the chili has cooled for a little bit (cause I don't like eating foods that are too hot temperature wise), pour desired amount on top of lettuce. Add crushed tortilla chips and cheese on top.

Step 15: You still with me? Shocking. At this point, you should start looking for Picante sauce. As your search continues, you slowly realize that you live in a house with Africans who don't know how to eat less than a pint of Picante sauce per hour.

All this orange juice and no Picante
Step 16: Miraculously find Picante sauce in the depths of your fridge.

Step 17: Realize that the Picante sauce is the "hot" version which your mom uses for her home made chili and doesn't let you use lest you wanna get beat.

Step 18: Take the L.

Step 19: Record a cover of "Wanted" but get nervous and don't post it because you refuse to let people know that you can sing.

Step 20: Enjoy your delicious taco salad!

Saturday, August 12, 2017


So, drowned my first iPhone after about two months of having it. Only my second fastest time killing a phone. With it went a decent amount of media (and also my sanity for a day & a half since most of the people I need to communicate with do so through text).

Trainer had to cancel last week's lesson, so I ended up having two this week on Roman. At the end of my lesson on Tuesday, I let her know that I planned on doing the show this weekend, which I thought she knew, but apparently she didn't. Many emails later, my (very) late entry was in. Bless show staff.

They dealt with me at this stage and continue to deal with me
Roman has just been his normal self lately. It's really the same update as usual: softness is getting more consistent, pace is getting more consistent, less bracing, less curling, better canter transitions, less sticky.

The canter transition is the most frustrating part because the quality of his canter is getting disgustingly good. The quality of my canter position actually took a huge step up this week on both horses. But holding myself together through the transition is difficult, and I think it's because of my mindset when it comes to cantering. Part of it is leftover fear; I'm afraid to canter thus the whole process is me trying to get through it as quickly as possible without even thinking of trying to make it look nice.

Exhibit A: Bad position means bad transition
Second part has to do with how Baby/most stock horses are trained. Canter transitions are prompt, and I know this may seem like the most obvious thing in the world because almost every discipline calls for prompt canter transitions. It's quite a bit more strict and timely when it comes to stock horses, and Baby was a horse that was always timely no matter how trash I was. Rarely did I have to deal with the whole fast trot/might canter/might not canter/probably will get the wrong lead thing because I was blessed with a horse that was beyond perfect and incredibly reliable. So, however long later, I'm still expecting every horse to be trained like a stock horse with the mind of a complete baby sitter and just step into the canter. In summary, I'm lazy. Just a matter of getting in the right mind, setting the boys up well, and putting myself in the right place to get a good canter. Doesn't have to be prompt right now.

In addition to the regular serpentines and diagonals, Miss El also had me do a modified serpentine exercise where I would walk to cross center line but have a really forward trot for the rest of the arc. The goal was to keep him soft through the down transition but not so dead that he couldn't hop back into a solid trot. We also tried a moderate spiral starting on a 20m circle in the center and circling to 10m across two circles. Goal was to encourage a true bend - stretching of the outside muscles and a lift in the inside hind - rather than him just curling away from contact.

Lastly, to add to our warm up, she had me trot him on a dropped rein while standing in my stirrups and doing one of my arm stretches. Best. Day. Ever. It was soooo much fun. Our ring is just a big field with letters and a plowed area for the Dressage ring then the rest is just grass. Roman trot everywhere with his little brain trying to process it all, and it was hilarious and surprisingly easy. No lie, I highly recommend this exercise. Zero hesitation.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Equestri-Fit Challenge Week 5

Gonna be honest, I *think* we're on Week 5 at this point, but I haven't had to do math in a while, so no guarantees here. I've been meaning to write posts all this week because I have been doing things, but my mood took a turn for the worse last Sunday, and I haven't had the motivation to do much of anything. I ended up not even riding on Friday because riding green horses when you're an emotional wreck is definitely not a good idea.

Yeaahhh not easy when your serotonin abandons you
Despite how this week turned out, it actually started out pretty good with the 8:45 mile. My pace has stayed generally around 9:00/mile, sometimes getting too close to 10:00. Most of the fluctuations come with the weather; when it's hotter, I run slower because I'm dying. Simple correlation.

Riding 5x a week has definitely put a strain on how long I can make my workouts, but the elimination of intense abs with every workout has opened up the schedule quite a bit. Things would probably be a bit easier if I didn't start every workout with a 30 minute run, but I'm not getting rid of that part. I love cardio. She is my wife.

This is complex for me because I love the squat rack as much as I love cardio
I had one pretty intense leg day this week, and next time I do legs, I'm adding in weights. 20 reps of squats is just a tad too easy right now.

I can also do 10 pushups in a row! Without wanting to quit! It's amazing!

Diet wise, I'm still pretty lost. I am very resistant to the idea of giving up carbs. I'm surviving right now on fruity toast, pasta, and overnight oats. I tell myself that since I run so much, I need the carbs, and I definitely do, but maybe not as much as I consume. That being said, I try to get protein with every meal, even if that means just popping some peanut butter on my toast instead of cream cheese. I definitely need more vegetables, and I've been tackling some of my toast cravings with salads instead. I bought a huge box of arugula, and by God I will finish it before I get back to school.
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