Horse Life

We’re BA-ACK

So…as some of you know thanks to LiveScores, this past weekend was a biggie for me- Leo’s 5th show, my 2nd show ever with Leo, 1st BN with Leo and 1st EVER recognized competition for me (at a recognized level). I finally have a USEA record!

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I’m still digesting.

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A couple weeks ago, Trainer B and I were looking at the show schedule, trying to figure out a plan. War Horse (my personal favorite show series) was sold out of stabling for the July HT, I wasn’t sure if I could make it to Virginia International since they’re running during the week, so it looked like our only option was either the August Windridge or the August War Horse, both of which were so very far away.

And then Trainer B said, “Or you could go to Chatt. It’s in 2 weeks, though.”

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Thanks to Leo’s time off when he cut his leg, I’d only jumped the horse maybe 4 times at that point since he’d gotten back from FL. So while Leo was ready, I wasn’t so sure about me. So I hemmed and hawed over it, then entered the day after closing and buckled down to work.

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Dressaging at Trainer B’s
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Halt needs some work ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I caravanned down with Trainer B + his 4 horses in his trailer, and the owner of Trainer B’s farm, her daughter and her horse in their trailer, and we made it to Chatt in about 6 hours, arriving around 6:30 PM Thursday evening. Since we all entered a day late, we were banished to the temporary stalls, which was miserably hot with no air flow, BUT had the best view in the venue, right in front of the main SJ ring.

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SO. HOT.
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Leo being a masochist and not standing in front of his fan like a normal horse

Since RV hookups were sold out, I rented a cabin on the grounds and it was small, but perfectly lovely. It had a bunk bed with a double on the bottom, and a little sleeping loft that a tiny person (or kid) could fit into, as well as AC and a mini fridge. And it was super close to the bathrooms and showers. 10/10 recommend at $75/night.

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Friday we had an absolutely lovely, relaxed ride around which left me excited to FINALLY show again, for the first time in 8 months, on Saturday!

 

Horse Life

Two Posts in One Month…

I should get a medal.

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P is still doing dressagey things. While his transitions are coming along…

…and you can actually point him down the long side or across the diagonal without him running off…

…though lateral work continues to be very snake-like…

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Oh mer gerrrr…just BEND

He says his life is hard.

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Yesterday Leo won the World’s Most Ammy Friendly Horse award during our jump lesson. I’m so glad I don’t have any media of it. The entire lesson consisted of me aiming him at jumps, then sitting there wondering which way I was supposed to turn afterwards, completed by being surprised that I was supposed to keep both stirrups upon landing from said jump.  This happened over and over and was utterly absurd. I should offer to pay for Trainer B’s next eye exam, since I’m sure they were bleeding.

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Me: Thanks for not killing me. Leo: Get it together, woman

Then I ordered 5 pairs of stirrups, because CLEARLY the stirrups are the problem.

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But I’m overdue for some new stirrups anyway, as mine have been making my knees hurt. I thought it was just my own problem, until I rode in Trainer B’s saddle with his Antares stirrups, and had zero pain. Here’s what I have coming:

Lorenzinis

Stubben Maxi Grips

Freejump Air’s

Freejump Soft’Up Classic

Tech Iris XC Irons

My new-to-me Antares jump saddle arrived last week, and the trial/loaner dressage saddle from Takt is supposed to be delivered today. I have a week to decide if it’s the right model for the boys and I, and if it is, then this beauty will be made for me:

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Takt TSD-37. The deep seat is heaven
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I chose bison leather. It’s softer than buffalo and grippier than calfskin
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I’m going to get silver piping along the seat and bottom of cantle, but not that big patch of silver on the cantle

Complete with a swarvoski crytal rope like below:

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I’M SO EXCITED.

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Definitely more excited than P getting his pedicure from AGF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Life

So Jealous…

…of all you that have had the motivation to keep blogging throughout this. I love writing, but after spending the hours of 8 AM-12 PM doing schoolwork with the kids (and the 6th grader’s school is ALL on the computer), then 12 PM-4 PM doing my own work, breaking to ride, then back to the computer pretty much every evening to do MOAR WORK, I’ve had zero desire to remain on my computer one second more than absolutely necessary. And I have SO MUCH media from lessons that I haven’t even looked at or attempted to edit. Plus the world’s gone crazy.

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But the kids are now done with school-HALLELUJAH- so that’s one less thing. My office has still not reopened, though Husband’s has, so I’m still home.

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FO’ REAL

Pilgrim is still plugging away at dressage, and I’m taking advantage of my flexible work schedule to do lessons 2x/week with Trainer K. We’re working on a lot of counter canter, keeping his neck and withers elevated,and trying to pull a consistent trot extension out of him.

Leo was doing absolutely fantastic, then he decided he needed to slice some skin off his leg. It was superficial, but ugly, and Trainer B and his team took extremely good care of him to make sure he healed as quickly and completely as possible. OF COURSE, due to that, we missed being able to enter the first show back, which was a bummer. But good news- he’s back home with me!

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P sure is brave when Leo’s behind bars (given Leo kicking him for no reason last year, I don’t blame him)

BO and I have been trail riding machines. We went a few weeks ago to Blowing Rock and it was AH-MAZING.

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15 miles of this…it was gorgeous

We added a new family member- Jelly Bean! One of the boarders at the barn found this little guy thrown out of a car right before Easter, so has been taking care of him (she’s a vet tech), until he was ready for a family.

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He looks like a real life Beanie Baby
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I mean….really

The chicks are all grown up and outside in the coop Husband built. The Tiniest Dictator still insists that his favorite chick, Koopa Troopa, love him (facepalm).

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Koopa sort of just gives up on life when she sees Noah coming

Husband and I celebrated our 13 year anniversary and while shockingly, he didn’t gift me with ANOTHER horse this year, I AM getting saddles! My beloved Voltaire no longer fits Leo so I’ve been riding in Trainer B’s saddles, but obvi would need to get my own once Leo came home. And the dressage saddle I’d been using just wasn’t a good fit for me. A replica of Trainer’s B’s Antares jump saddle should be here tomorrow and a custom saddle fitter is coming Monday for us to try dressage saddles!

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I think I’ll keep him

And now to catch up with y’all again!

 

 

 

 

 

Horse Life

Well, This Is…Uhhh..Interesting

When we decided to move, friends/family thought we were nuts for downsizing from our big, gorgeous house. But my response was, “We’re never home, the house is wasted on us!”

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Joke was clearly on me, as 48 hours after cutting our living space in half, we were all told not to leave our homes.

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10/10 don’t mind never leaving, with this view from my back patio. Adele is in HEAVEN.

However, despite the amount of work that needed to be done to bring the house into this decade, it’s been great to be kept busy (and have Husband home to complete projects). And because we now have 2.5 acres (across from the barn), we simply HAD to become farmers!

Husband and I are incredibly lucky that we’re able to work from home. My job can go wherever I am, but I wasn’t sure how Husband’s job was going to fare, since he travels so much (not anymore), but so far so good.

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Though work/school time is a wee bit crowded.
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100% true

My barn is still open to its few boarders, and is pretty much the only place I go to when I leave the house. That, and all the takeout restaurants- a lot of our locally owned restaurants are really struggling right now so we almost exclusively eat takeout.

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Leo is back in NC, but is staying with Trainer B until the end of May, to make the transition a bit easier for the both of us. I was a bit nervous to have him just come home, since I hadn’t ridden the horse in 5 months, but I’ve been able to get up there 2x/week, and am much more comfy on him now. We’ve even jumped XC, which was soooo exciting (for me, Leo was bored).

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Missed this view so much

 

P has found his calling…as a dressage horse, of all things. It started when Leo left for Florida and my surgery got pushed back a few weeks due to the stupid spider bite. So I took some lessons with my BO’s dressage trainer, and then picked back up when I was cleared to ride again. I was 100% certain P would be so bored and awful, but to everyone’s surprise, he throws himself into the work.

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He IS still P, though, and sometimes throws himself right into a tantrum

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With regular hauling to trails, lots of hacking, and lessons 2x/week, he’s definitely the fittest he’s ever been. He seems to understand that he’s no longer going to be asked to jump and his attitude towards work has completely shifted. If shows ever come back (gaaaahhh), I’m actually toying with taking him to some USDF shows. Who even am I?

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I hope everyone is staying safe and doing ok during this incredibly weird time. Can’t wait to catch up with everyone soon!

 

 

 

Horse Life

I Promise I’ve Had a Good Excuse…

For not writing in, what, a month? More? But that’s because I was busy moving.

From this:

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After the woods behind our house were torn down and we found out they were putting THREE houses crammed together along my back fence, we said ADIOS

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All of that used to be woods. Now it’s all houses that look EXACTLY THE SAME.

To THIS:

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Yes, that’s totally the barn I keep P & Leo at. I 100% moved across the street total stalker-style.

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And I couldn’t be happier.

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P: y iz u always hur now?

Back to regularly scheduled content (and catching up on y’all’s adventures) soon!

 

 

 

Horse Life

OH MER GER

So I’m not dead, and I have been following along with y’all’s blogs, but typing one-handed sucks so much, commenting has been non-existent. I’ve been that silent stalker that brings your page views up, but clicks off without a trace.

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Things are healing and I ditched the sling pretty quickly.

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It’s literally covered in chocolate from this box of chocolate covered strawberries. Worth it.

And the bandages were taken off last Thursday, where my dr said we’d talk about riding in FOUR MORE WEEKS. I fired him. Sort of. Ok, I didn’t.  Then yesterday a kid I tutor told me my arm looks like a “zombie arm,” so that was helpful.

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I started occupational therapy last Friday and the OT read me the notes my doctor put in. He legit warned her via my medical chart that I’d try to persuade her to sign off on me riding. Har har, Doc. Har har.

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Me: P, aren’t you dying for me to ride you? P: No, let’s just cuddle

Leo has been bopping along in Florida, doing event horse things, such as HIS FIRST CORNER last week. Of course, no media exists of said event. Wish professionals were as media-obsessed as amateurs. Srsly.

And I haven’t really even been out to the barn (gasp), as much, choosing instead to spend evenings at Crossfit so that I can retain some semblance of fitness when I’m authorized to clambor back aboard.

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Can you tell which kid is actually comfy with horses and which one would prefer to be 50 feet away?

AND we’re considering moving to the other side of town to be closer to all the things we do (such as the barn), so readying our house that we’ve lived in for 5 years + has endured 2 growing boys has been no minor feat.

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A rare Husband sighting on a day off from work and/or home improvement things

I swore when we bought this house, I’d never move again. But that was before I was boarding where I am now, which is paradise-on-earth. The area we’re looking at has my barn commute time between 5-8 minutes, so bring on the home repairs! For Husband, that is. Obvi.

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I will do my best to start commenting more on everyone’s adventures- keep ’em coming so I can live vicariously through you all for the next, um, FOREVER #Desperation

Horse Life

Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

So this was my first year participating (because I never had my life together enough to get in on time) and it sure didn’t disappoint! I was lucky enough to have my Secret Santa be Sarah from Three Chestnuts and she sent some amazing goodies!

Turquoise, whitening shampoo, P’s fave treats AND a floofy wash thing-a-majigger? ER MER GERD

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Someone knows the stuff I like 🙂

P’s demolished half the treats, he actually APPROVED of the floof for his bath today (with the whitening shampoo), and I wore the belt to my lesson today (but didn’t get media because #FAIL). Thanks so much, Sarah!

And thanks to Tracy from Printable Pony for hosting this!

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Merry Christmas from P & I!

Horse Life

The 2010s Picture Challenge

Praise be Emily, for some blog content! This was a fun one, as 2010 was the year I got my very first horse, and rode for the first time since I was a teenager.

I bought Jester as a pretty much unbroke 9 year old for $700 with delivery included, and the day he arrived was one of my favorites EVER.

2010
2010

We spent awhile getting to know each other, then headed to our first show, where we dominated the Adult W/T class. Hey, that was what local J-ville shows had to offer.

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2011

And when I finally became mobile with my own truck and trailer, headed out on our own to do real shows. He was a hunter extraordinaire.

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2012

Then I sent him off for training with an eventer while we waited for the T.D. to arrive in the world, and Jester had a pasture accident that he wouldn’t have recovered from. So he gave me my best day and my worst day.

2013
2013

2014 saw a new adventure…

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2014

And in 2015 we headed off to attempt eventing.

2015
2015

2016 brought a LOT of challenges, and was probably the roughest horse-y year for me yet. Trainer issues, barn issues, I wasn’t having fun anymore.

2016
2016

In 2017, after a failed attempt at selling P, we met Trainer B and things just turned around. We were pushed to new heights (literally), but I was having fun again, for a change.

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2017

And we had a major break through in 2018, where we finally, FINALLY competed Novice.

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2018

Then, naturally, P injured himself and I rode other horses and brought home a new family member. And 5 months after coming off the track, had the absolute most fun on XC that I’ve ever had before.

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2019

What an amazing (and expensive) decade it’s been since having horses back in my life. Here’s to 70 more just like it!

Horse Life

Update City

With surgery scheduled for exactly a week from now (unless another spider decides to bite me), I’ve been riding as much as I can. I’ve even been taking some actual dressage LESSONS with an honest-to-God dressage TRAINER in a real-life dressage SADDLE.

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We even HACK in said dressage saddle.

But it’s been really good for me. I’ve always gotten by in dressage, but I’ve never been what I consider to be a really good dressage rider. I’m way too busy with my aids, I have hunchy shoulders, turned out toes, straight arms, and am forever fighting the fetal position instinct.

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2014-Fetal fo’ Lyfe

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2019- aaaalllmmooosssttt

But my BO has decided she’s all in on the USDF stuff and has been working with a local dressage trainer who, bless, COMES TO THE FARM. As much as I love working with Trainer B, it’s an hour trailer ride one way, and while totes worth it, being able to arrive 1/2 hr before a lesson and walk 2 minutes to the arena? IN LOVE. P’s less enthused that Home Base has been infiltrated and eyes the arena suspiciously every time we walk down there.

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The look that used to be reserved for trailer rides comes out every time we go in the arena now

But it’s working and P is more forward than before, starting to carry himself in small bursts, and even the canter is coming along. And as for me, I’m getting more comfortable being in the correct position. I tend to have fairly straight arms, especially in transitions, thinking I’m “giving,” when really, I’m throwing contact away and then yanking it back. And keeping my toes turned in and my ankles out is keeping my leg more correct.

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This is still a major work in progress, though 

All good stuff. We have another lesson this afternoon, which, depending on her schedule, might be my last for awhile since my surgery is next Friday.

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Legit the best meme ever. Trying to cut out the bad food for now since both riding and CrossFit will take a temporary backseat

In Leo news, he arrived in Florida safe and sound, but had some trouble settling in at first. I know horses aren’t like people, but I DO feel a bit guilty. He’d only been with me for 6 months and every time we went to Trainer B’s, he, ya know, came home with me. Until the time he didn’t and instead got on a much different trailer and drove 8 hours to a new farm with strangers (minus Trainer B). But he’s been settling down and both working students have even gotten on him to hack him (at the walk only). He’s tentatively going to be hitting a show in February, and I’m so hoping to be able to make the trip down to see him at least once.

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They sent me this picture- still adorable as ever

I did ask Trainer B to try to ride him like crap at least once a week so he’s not too shell shocked when he comes home and I climb back aboard. We’ll see if he complies with my request.

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Less of this good riding stuff…

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…More of what Leo will be coming home to

And speaking of being a total ammy, the other night I rode P and he was sooooo good, that when it hit 20 minutes, I felt like it was enough and hopped off. Went to loosen the girth and…

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Oh Em Gerrrr….Sorry P

If I don’t get a chance to write again before, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Horse Life

Gone…All Gone

HOW in the world is it December?

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Me lately. Winter is NOT my favorite season

So since I last posted, uh, 2 weeks ago (oops), not much of interest has happened. Leo was on break and took full advantage:

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So tired from all the winning he’s done since coming off the track in May

P and I went to Trainer B’s for some dressage lessons:

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P’s face when he got on the trailer was PRICELESS

P’s been ridden more in the last month than he has in the past 18 months, and is finally in some semblance of shape:

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My only goal for this winter is to learn to keep my shoulders back

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Getting the stretch back

4 days before I was supposed to have surgery on my nerve, I got bit by a spider AND got poison ivy on the arm that was supposed to be operated on. So now surgery is scheduled for the 27th, which means 3 less weeks of healing time before the end of winter.

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Naturally the incision is supposed to end where the bite is.

Family came from Chicago for Thanksgiving and I tried to show off P:

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P: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

But really, I have no leg to stand on because, as my mom pointed out, this is what I did when everyone thought it’d be great fun to decorate for Christmas:

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Me: If I pretend I’m sleeping, maybe they won’t ask me to do anything

And finally, Leo left for Florida this AM with Trainer B. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a bit (and that I’m not TOTALLY JEALOUS). I’m hoping I’ll be able to find some time to go visit down there, and if all goes well with the arm, be ready to go once he comes back.

Until then, I’ll be here in cold, dark (by 5:30 waaaahhh), wet North Carolina, dreaming of this:

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Happy holidays, amirite?