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Showing posts from 2021

Have it both ways

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Over the past few years, I've enjoyed posting something in "celebration" of Mental Health Awareness Month. It's always a good check in for myself, and I hope that it's a nice check in for readers as well. The plan for this year was to write about my experience with trichotillomania . However, the topic is a bit raw, and it would probably add more distress to my current situation. So things are staying light and a little vague this year but still touching on something that's been on my mind for a while. There seems to be a contradiction when discussing human emotions and when they are allowed to manifest relative to horses. On the one hand, horses are pretty commonly viewed as an emotional outlet for a number of equestrians regardless of discipline or competition level. Out of every shoddy coping mechanism I've ever had, riding has been the most engaging, enjoyable, and fairly consistent. Not to mention, it's rarely been harmful. As I've gotten ol

Keep the calculators handy

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So, it's Mental Health Awareness Month! And boy, oh, boy am I very aware of my mental health right now. I took a break from riding and blogging and vlogging because things crashed down on me very quickly. Thesis took a lot of my energy and was compounded with some issues at work. I ended up pushing my presentation back because I emotionally could not get through it. Honestly? Two days of not doing anything, uhh, helped. A lot. I hate presenting virtually, but some last minute creativity actually made the presentation very easy, and I was happy with the feedback. For now, everything has been completed in order for me to get a grade, but there are some little things that I'll keep working on over the next month or so. I want to give both of my advisors a solid copy to keep for their own CVs. On that note, my non-architecture advisor is super in support of doing a PhD in a different field, which completely shifts what my options are moving forward. More on that when it actually ha

Wordless Wednesday: Jack of all trades, Master of one

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Recalculating the recalculations that were formerly recognized as being calculated

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Y'all still with me? Okay, so, ya know those images I've been posting from my March bareback ride? I'm talkin' about these bad boys. That ride was therapeutic in more ways than one. First, it was directly after my really difficult lesson on Blackjack. Second, it was maybe an after Satin and her owner took a hard tumble in the ring, and I had to call 911 for the first time. They were riding alone, and no one saw what happened, but the gist is that Satin lost her balance while trying to take a tight turn after a fence, hit the ground herself, and sent her owner flying. Luckily, nothing ended up broken. Satin walked away covered in dirt, and her owner fortunately did not have a concussion. I was super shaken up by everything, so the bareback ride basically became a necessity. Fast forward two weeks or so from then, Trainer G asked me if I would like to start riding Satin. We're more or less trying to figure out what caused the trip. Satin is known to trip when out of s

Vlog #35: February 2021 (The Month of Liberty)

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  I am ridiculously behind on monthly vlogs, but here is February! Song: "Dreamin" by 53 Thieves. I've been loving this group lately :)

Wood, Steel, & Delicacy

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After reading a bit more on Figueras Polo Stable and seeing the overall positive reception that it gets even among traditional horse people, I wanted to keep highlighting stables that are different but also functional. As I said in the last post, horse barns are incredibly mundane in their fundamentals. There's no harm in having fun once you've established the basic layout. This brings me to this Chilean horse stable by 57STUDIO. As of late, I've been thinking deeply about what I want my future to look like with horses and decided that I wanted to go the route of actually owning a farm. In terms of overall aesthetics, this horse barn is nearly in line with what I would envision my future self building. In reality, this is an incredibly simple manifestation of the equally simple layout that is essential to horse barns. I think what makes this a hit for me is the material pallet. The wood for the stall fronts and the metal posts are both new, but the roof tiles were re-used

Recalculating

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It should be clear by now that my relationship with Blackjack needs some R&R. On the one hand, we do seem to have a good time when we're just plodding around and not doing anything serious at all. On the other hand, I can't do a hunter derby wearing a halter and a leopard print bareback pad. Correction: a halter, a bareback pad, and a mohawk I went out with the intention to try a different approach to our rides. The biggest thing for me was taking the pressure off and keeping everything straightforward and simple. His schooling bit has also been swapped from a Kimberwick to a Pelham on just the curb ring, essentially creating a Tom Thumb. With that in mind, I wasn't really keen on touching his face much either. It kind of helps since that was also one of the issues I was dealing with during my last lesson. I decided on a whim to try a new warmup. Because of my own balance issues, I try not to start my ride by going endlessly in one direction then switching to the other

Texas Touch: Follow Up

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A couple years ago, I posted some drawings on here for a barn that I designed based off of some farms I saw while flying over Texas. I posted those knowing that they would likely make no sense to people who aren't in my field. Which was okay with me! Because ultimately, I just love talking about and designing equine facilities. Plus, at that point, I really wanted to post about it, but I didn't have the time to make the drawings extra pretty. Well, fast forward a couple of years, I had time to make the drawings extra pretty! And I modeled it! And rendered it! I decided to be a Big Girl Architect ™ and put an actual column grid. Although, in hindsight, those columns are probably waaaay too small. Good thing I'm in school for architecture and not engineering, lol. The arena here ended up being relatively small, 72' x 168' at its largest points. The grid though makes this easy to scale up (or down). I designed it as something that could be phased in how its built and

Q1 Goal Review: Habits Baseline

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To recap, my goals this year have been focused entirely around building good, healthy habits. Next year, I'll certainly feel much better about jumping back into specific riding goals, but for now, as my life approaches major turning points, this seems to work much better. Workout Once Per Week Absolutely not. Two Point, Stretching, & No Stirrup Work Every Ride I definitely jumped in with both feet on this one for absolutely no reason. Warming up at the two-point has made a valiant return, but I could go a little harder with it. I noticed that I struggle with it more when I'm riding in my trainer's saddle. It has normal fillis irons while I've been riding in my own wide footbed irons for several years now. I'm doing my best to push through the foot pain and not be a spoiled brat about it. The no-stirrup work is kind of meh. It's one of those things that was easy to make myself do in the past, but now? My aged body is battling a young mind. I have been the mos

Lessons learned in pain

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In writing the post about my last lesson, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to talk about the actual lesson in addition to my current frustrations because the post would have been an even longer novel than it turned out to be. So, here we are. Definitely going to milk these photos for a while lol As I said before, the warmup started very nice with minimal arguments. He was fiery but manageable. Frankly, my type of horse. It felt good to have him come off my leg and be alert but still willing to trust my aids and channel that energy into a high quality trot with good self carriage. Whenever a horse is like this, I tend to soften my corners and turn the short sides of the arena into a semi circle. I've noticed that if I push too hard into a corner, they tend to compress on the turn then shoot out on the straight away. The bigger arc helps to keep the pace consistent and gives me more room to push with the inside leg, correct with the outside leg, and slowly fill the outsi

Vlog #34: January 2021

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Whew, this one is late, but bear with me.

What's not clicking

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After my last lesson on Liberty , Trainer G and I made a plan to do a similar jump lesson on Blackjack. It was clear that I knew how to work through the exercises. The next logical step was to do them on the horse that I'm, ya know, actually paying to lease. Long story short, it did not go well. Blackjack came out pretty amped. He was injected, did a beginner lesson a couple of days later, then my jump lesson maybe a day or two after that. Between the newfound joint mobility and the lack of undersaddle time, he came out pretty fresh and ready. He was very looky, and there were enough things happening outside the arena to hold his attention. It's not a big deal; Liberty was literally the exact same at my last lesson. We worked through it without an issue. What bothers me is that it feels like every time I get on Blackjack, he's amped. It genuinely feels like the horse straight up does not like me or my energy. As much as I try to remain calm, it's getting disheartening t

How to film your rides when you're broke and also accidentally got lots of dirt inside your only good camera

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The title says it all. Back when I first started filming my rides, I had a trusty, cheap Canon that got the job done to say the least. It was honestly a great camera, and I got some nice shots on it before upgrading to my DSLR. When I eventually got dirt in the cheap camera, and it stopped opening up, I needed a different option. At the time, I couldn't afford a new video camera. With that in mind, a Solo Shot or Pixio were out of the question. The DSLR is also not great at filming. Like, at all.  I've always been a visual learner. I get a lot out of filming my rides and watching the videos. Additionally, running a blog (and a vlog) means that I need media otherwise you would all shy away from my big blocks of text. When cameras were no longer available, my next best option was a cellphone which inherently does not capture as good of an image as a camera. Over the past few years, I've learned some tips not only to improve the video quality but also to get the most out of y

In Due Time

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After my last off property lesson, Trainer G and I chatted about what her goals are for me. She explained that when I was riding Blackjack, he didn't engage himself as much as when my co-leasee was riding. In response, I let her know that I, uhh, like, never jump him. It was like a light bulb went off for both of us. I don't really jump Blackjack because I know he gets used in lessons, and I've grown much more concerned with my horse's comfort and longevity as of late. She was grateful for my caution but assured that his lessons are light enough that I don't have to worry about over jumping him. She also really really wants to see my do a hunter derby with him. Like, she's fully visualizing it into existence. Never had a trainer straight up manifest for me, haha, but it's appreciated. With that, we scheduled a lesson for the following Saturday to specifically gain some miles together over fences. Saturday came along, and good lord, it was a tense morning. Sp

Let's talk about my back again

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When I was in the process of moving to Florida, I told myself that I wasn't going to do any horse shows. I Was so certain about it that I left all of my show gear in Maryland and didn't think twice about it. Now . . . here we are. Shout out to my girlfriend for the wonderful pictures <3 I haven't quite started a "show season" yet. And, honestly, the one or two shows I do this year can't qualify as an actual show season. What I have done is 1) buy an entire show outfit and 2) go schooling at the show grounds. This has been a long time coming for me. I was actually supposed to go schooling last fall with Lucie, but Trainer G got tied up and had to cancel. After that, we just never really got around to it, even though I did genuinely want to take Lucie to a show. For now, I'm interested in showing for myself. Getting back into the equitation ring has been a goal for several years now, and I'm itching to finally go around a 2'6" course like it&