Friday, September 28, 2018

Show Up, Show Out

I had decided a while ago that I wasn't planning on showing this academic year. Studio, work (i.e. commuting), grad school applications, fraternity matters, and even this blog take up a decent amount of my time. Actually, not a decent amount. They take up all my time. Every second. Nothing left over at this point.

But then, at my first lesson back, Coach S asked if I was showing this semester. I said no, to which she replied, "But you're showing next semester, right?" Cue panic.

We had a practice show coming up on September 16, so she recommended that I sign up for it. I wasn't sure what the format would be, but it ended up basically being a regular IHSA show but with divisions instead of individual classes. She also added a test for each division since this show was entirely flat classes.

My draws were Ed, Kodi, and Murry. Kodi and Murry I've ridden before, but Ed was new, and he was my first ride. I was holding him for most of the day as well and happened to watch him have a not so stellar class with one of the more experienced riders. Ha, love feeling . . . terrified. I ended up having a great ride on him. Ed is an experienced equitation horse, just quirky. Our ride was straightforward, and the judge said that she liked my position but my open fingers affected my placing. Personally, I think my riding is still a bit messy and unorganized right now, and I need to think through my cues and movements. My ride with Kodi was pretty much the same as Ed; both of them got lots of "Good boy"s throughout the class. I placed 3rd on Ed and 2nd on Kodi.

The test is where things kinda went south. Murry and I started fine with our entrance and trot across the diagonal, but I couldn't quite get him off my inside leg for the left lead canter, so our transition was super late and super gross. We finished the rest of our test, and the judge commented that if I hadn't messed up the transition, I would've won the class.

I actually loved the test that she had us do. It was just the right amount of complexity for where I am physically and mentally with riding. I'm typing this post as I'm waiting to leave for my next lesson, and hopefully I can convince Coach S to let us practice it again.

Also, while I'm here, as great as it's been getting back into writing and riding and writing about riding, I'm thinking it'll be easier to do monthly vlogs. Actually, through the process of creating one for September, it's a lot more straightforward than writing out posts and takes less time. Shocking, I know. So I'll have one for September and see how that goes, then maybe one for October but definitely one for November. Time will tell.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Equestrian Essentials for Fall

Now that we've officially hit the first day of fall, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorites for the season. We all know that I hate winter, the cold, and anything having to do with snow. Fall is usually the time where I start to get ready for the impeding suffering, so here are some things that help make the shift a little bit easier.

1. Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Yes, friends, I am that girl who will wait in a line of any length, credit card ready, to get my goblet of pumpkin coffee. I pair it either with a pumpkin muffin or a buttered croissant for a quick snack before I head to the barn. If you're not a fan of the taste, get a Starbucks gift card for a friend because I know you have one that likes pumpkin spice. We all do.

Firs Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season!
2. Pumpkin Spice Fly Spray
Since climate change is forcing warm weather well into November, pumpkin spice fly spray keeps the bugs at bay (lol horse joke) while also giving a nice scent to the barn. It's basically horse perfume. How can you say no?

3. Tailored Sportsman Pumpkin Spice Breeches
Hunter princesses, clutch your pearls. Tailored Sportsman just came out with a new Pumpkin Spice line that I've heard is quite similar to the Trophy Hunters. The main difference is an innovative CinnaTECH Fabric which infuses spices and minced pumpkin seeds into their traditional fabric for a smoother feel. You'll have cinnamon in so many places it just might revive the cinnamon challenge.

4. Pumpkin Spice Arena Sand
We've made it this far, so why not

5. SmartPak Pumpkin Spice Supplement

Disclaimer: 4/5 of these products aren't real, and if you can't tell which one is real, please seek help. Also, this post was not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned, but, frankly, it should have been.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Not dead

Who else hated this 13 month drought as much as I did?

By some miracle of god, my schedule managed to work itself into something doable this semester. I cut back to 12 credits, which was only possible since I front loaded so many classes freshman and sophomore year. I'm working eight hours a week, which is less than I wanted, but it's also a three hour round trip commute . . . gotta love the DMV.

Lessons are on Tuesdays this semester, and we get three practice rides per semester too, which is, as the kids say, lit.

I'll probably use those rides to do polework and other assorted riding things that I've missed. No, hip stretches do not fall in the "things that I've missed" category, but I'll do them for my sake.

The first ride back was fairly uneventful. The most exciting part was just my ridiculous Instagram story. Coach S put me on Leia, which was surprising but appropriate. Fun fact: when you only go to the barn a handful of times in the course of a year, the ponies start to look larger. A lot larger.

It actually wasn't as difficult to get back into the swing of things as I thought it would be. The whole ride was mostly painless, including the no-stirrup work. I can't hold my two point for very long. My lower leg kinda flops all the time. There weren't any new or shocking issues; mostly, I just need to be less stiff and keep my thumbs up. We've heard it all before, folks.

I did also switch onto Penny at one point. Besides randomly spooking then bolting at . . . nothing . . . she was a doll.

I decided to do a quick workout after the lesson, just to stretch things out and keep myself moving. If you're coming back from a hiatus, leg lifts are the way to go. The only place that had opinions was the inner thigh muscles that I used to settle Penny when she decided we were Preakness competitors.

I also bought a new pair of breeches because I'm young and dumb. Your favorite barely 20-something is back, this time with no limits.
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