Friday, August 23, 2019

Four Years of IHSA

It was much harder to close this chapter of my life than I thought it would be. I cried at formal, and it was a drunken cry, so you know it was real. I don't wanna make myself sob while writing this post, so here's a four year highlight reel.

September 2015

I had my very first lesson with the team on the infamous Twinkles. I remember trying very hard to impress Coach S, and she simply told me, "It doesn't bend." It still does not bend, but there is no other Haflinger that will be as iconic as Twinkie.

October 2015

I had my first full lesson on Vic. Fun fact, the first time I ever saw Vic in person was when I confused Jacob Pope for a 30 year old man. Of course, I really wanted to ride him. Honestly, I hate how I initially wrote about that lesson because I only remember it fondly. Yeah, Vic is a difficult horse for me, and we never clicked, but that was a damn good ride.

He will never not be an absolute beast
November 2015

I went to WIHS for the first time.

Also that month, I rode to a 2nd place with the Pixel, the world's cutest and spookiest almost pony.

February 2016

I started the best semester of my life and got to swap back and forth between Pixel and Romeo. They kept me (mostly) safe and happy for four months straight, and I will never not be grateful for those two amazing animals.

I'm pretty sure this was also the month that I started working out with the team. While I'm not as buff as I want to be, I was able to figure out a lot of useful methods to maintain properly balance, strength, and endurance.

I took these guns for granted
December 2016

I jumped, like, 2' on Boomer and felt on top of the world.

February 2017

I started riding Carlos with some regularity. For the first time in a long time, it felt like I was actually doing something. I don't mean this to discredit any of the other horses I was riding (hell, I was on Roman AND Pixel within the same year). I wasn't on easy horses, but they were horses where I did have some ability to sit there and trust them to carry me. Carlos was the first horse after Baby that didn't make me feel like a passenger. With him, I was doing something. I was putting in work. He was improving; we were improving. There was a long period of time where I wanted to lease him, and if I see myself in a situation where I can buy him, then I'll do it. He's an absolute nutcase with four bad feet and two dangerous ends, but I wouldn't have him any other way.

June 2018

I wasn't able to take lessons for the school year, and my coach made a comment on how badly she wanted me to be back. I already missed going to the barn every week, and I had been feeling out of the loop and less like a real member of the team. Her enthusiasm only made me more determined to get back in the saddle.

September 2018

After not riding for over a year, I had a lesson on Leia.

November 2018

I got to go back to WIHS again, and it was just as thrilling as the first time. This time around, I actually took the metro from work directly to the show. The experience combined my three favorite things: architecture, horses, and public transit!

April 2019

A stellar lesson on Dori again gave me that feeling that I was actually riding and not just a passenger.

May 2019

Summer :)

August 2019

I had my last lesson and my first jumper show on the same day. It was riveting to say the least.

There's more that went into my Bachelor's than the things I learned in studios and lecture halls. Dust, dirt, fur, and hay went into it. There were some tears (not enough) and some bullshit (more than enough). There were 31 school horses, most of them bay Thoroughbreds, but hey, my trainer has a type. Only one blocked phone number but many many more worth staying in touch with. I love my team more than anything, and I can't wait to keep supporting them in the future.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Goals Check In

Here's where we stand with June/July goals.

Go to a show

By some freak of nature, this managed to happen. I'm so so so happy that God made me ambitious and a push over.

I think Doris and I made a good team
Get into a doable fitness routine

The key word here is "doable" because I can't really do much. Between preparing for a move, then moving, then not knowing how the new gym works, I've been sticking mainly to running. I haven't been in a serious routine since the end of last year. Even the simplest of workouts leaves me incredibly sore. I just work around the sore days and go when I'm not in pain. Prior to the move, I could go a full 2mi on hilly terrain without any breaks. After moving, that's proven pretty difficult, and I've been taking at least one break in the middle of my run.

My most recent run. Not sure what that huge dip in pace is all about.
If anything, my diet has required much bigger adjustments. I won't see any physical changes until both my workouts and my diet are corrected.

Fix my wrists

Truthfully, I didn't ride often enough to really address this. The plus side is that I think about it a lot more often, and being conscious of how my hands are oriented makes me micromanage the rest of my body a lot less.

Get a new saddle


When your parents are packing the car and ask "Is your saddle coming?"

Sunday, August 11, 2019


Alright, so, lemme lay down the facts one more time:
  • I only rode 3 times this past summer
  • One of those times was the morning of the show
  • I woke up that morning fully intended not to show
  • I am easily convinced to do just about anything
Okay, are we good? Are we all on the same page? Cool.

Summer, who genuinely does not care about anything these days
I would like to shout out Lizzie for being an absolute gem the whole day. Not only did she pick me up from the metro, she also gave me boots (because I sent mine home), a helmet (which I also sent home), a shirt to show in, paid for all my food throughout the day, and gave me some much needed time with my favorite pooch, Moose.

The unofficial graduation pictures
Since I rode Dori for my lesson, Coach S said I could just ride her again for the show. It was four classes total broken down into two speed rounds and two power & speed rounds. Y'all, we had POWER, we had speed, we're still finding control, but I'd say there is potential.

Despite being very laid back during our lesson, Dori channeled her inner HH Azur and took me to every fence, whether I wanted to go or not. It was a sit up and hold type of day, but I was so taken back by her sudden change in demeanor that I, uh, lost all logical thought as they say. Guys, she got slower each time we jumped during the lesson. What was I to expect?

We ended up with a 1st, 2nd, 6th, and 2nd in that order. Not bad for my first fully impromptu and completely unexpected jumper debut.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Vlog #22: My First Jumper Show

Some day I'll learn to half halt

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