Confession and Advice

As I stared down at the stall assignments for this weekend’s show (and subsequently tried to track down a map of the Kentucky Horse Park), I realized that I have never actually done an overnight event. In Area II, practically everything (at least below Prelim) is one day, so we would trailer there and back in one day. (despite events being 2.5 hours – 3 hours away).

I did some away shows as a junior in the welsh pony/cob world, but that was a different beast altogether.

So tell me people, what advice to you give a first-time over nighter?

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Fall Weather and Flying Pony

I guess this is the week when I suddenly want to blog everyday. Go figure.

Yesterday, I posted the video from our lesson. It was every course we did after a short warm up over a vertical a few times. The pattern of the lesson was super simple. Mandy gave me a course. I did the course. We talked about it. I did the course again. However, I just couldn’t quite find the right balance last night between forward and running. It bit me in the behind a few times.

For some reason, I think due to taking in too much caffeine in the afternoon, I was feeling INCREDIBLY anxious and jumpy. I’m not quite sure how other people experience anxiety in the saddle, but for me, it literally feels like my whole lower body goes numb. Looking back, I wish I had just counted out loud the entire course, every course. Or sung to myself. Or something.

First course?

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Right turn to the oxer, left turn to the diagonal line coming home. Now, this line was SPECIFICALLY set at 5.5 strides. The first time in, I was CONVINCED we needed to do 6 and that the 5 would just run her off her feet. It was the wrong move. I got it done, but you can see how unhappy May was with my decision.

THEN since that first line rode so funky, I just kind of maintained coming to the other diagonal, which guess what, was set to a SHORT 5 strides. HHAHAHHA. May is cleaver, so it was fine. Then, I was so determined to keep her wide coming to the green panel jump at the end that I actually pulled her front end off the lead, and we almost turned right. Opps. Fixed it… and of course missed the distance. MMMMM K. Honestly, the first and last jumps were my favorite of the whole course. At least I seem to be over my first-jump-itis?

May was feeling VERY forward. I think the softer ground after the rain made her a bit more game than I have given her credit for recently.

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So we did it again. Advice? Stop being so harsh with all your aids. Just ASK for things instead of being like OMG DO THE THING I AM ASKING YOU TO DO RIGHT NOW. Oh… and stop trying to jam six strides into that diagonal line. I think a lot of this over riding was my anxiety kicking up, but again, I should’ve just started singing to myself.

Sooo same course again. The video missed the first oxer, but it rode just as well this time as the last time. If not a bit better.

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I could not find a good distance to the vertical purple and blue jump and my stupid fight with May caused me to really boogey down that line to get the five.  It ended up fine. I have a good little mare. Then… the super helpful barn dog decided to try and get underfoot. You can see May’s swishy tail feelings in the video… but here was my view.

Ahahahaha. Mostly though, May didn’t care. I really need to take this one fox hunting.

ANYWAY, we continued to the other diagonal, where… I didn’t make the best decision. After the dog incident, I pushed her forward to make sure she was in front of my leg, but then I picked a fight a bit too late to the first fence. I should’ve just realized that she was so game that night that I could’ve just left her alone.

Oh well, it rode fine on the out. Not surprisingly, I got a better (but not great) jump over the green panel. And then… right at the end, I got the MOST PERFECT CANTER to jump over the solid, skinny box jump…. Oh well, love us some solid fences.

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Overall, it was pretty good. I made the improvements we discussed previously, even with a little help from the peanut gallery. So we got a new course!

We started with the green panel, which I just COULDN’T FIND A DISTANCE TOO. (Note to self, stop looking for distances just fix your straightness and balance.)

finally changed my line to the in of the purple and blue line, so I got a better jump there. That allowed me to land, pick her up, and send her forward. I WAS SO EXCITED for how that line rode… that I completely forgot I had to make the sharp right turn to the pink and gray. AHAHAHAH. Oh well, I looked up, found a line, and rode it. Was it square? Nope. Was my horse straight? Yup! In case anyone wonders, May is really good at jumping fences at an angle only because I do this by accident A LOT.

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The bending to the five was fine, even though I made it extra bendy with my line to the pink. Right leg and all that jazz. I think when I did this one last time, we got 6 consistently so… go figure. (Just looked back, and yes, we got the six last time… I guess the hard ground and hotter weather really was making an impact.)

Anyway, we landed on our left lead, but then I did a magically thing that I didn’t even know I did until I re-watched the video (for the 10th time). I got a flying lead change. Out of May. On course. Oh and then epic-ally missed my distance, so no worries there. I still am who I am.

Then because I DEFINITELY am still who I am, I CHASED May down to the two strides because #Flashbacks. So it ended up being a bit short for her. Oops. The last five stride line was fine.

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So now we were supposed to do the second course again and finish on that. Hah. Advice this round? Just smooth it out. Make the turn to the pink better. Find the distances to the green panel better, and don’t chase her down the two stride. Cool.

Hah. Still missed to the green. Drifted HARD to the right on the blue and purple vertical. Fixed the turn to the pink tho! BUT SOMEHOW the five strides felt long now? I have no idea. This time I just pulled her off the lead up front and didn’t support with my leg. Fun fact, when you do that, your distances get crappy. Then, remember the whole don’t GALLOP down to the combination? I took that as “DEFINITELY PULL TO THE BASE.”

That… did not work. Luckily, my mare is clever and bailed me out. I pulled up at that point. Cantering on to the short five wasn’t going to prove anything other than the fact that I can continue to ride backwards.

So… no need to talk about that. Riding backwards is not the solution for chasing my horse. I got a reminder not to pull her off her leads, and I was sent back out to do it again.

And I FINALLY nailed the distance to that green panel. HAHA TAKE THAT! She took the rail to the blue and purple vertical. No real reason for it, but we did a lot of jumping. I think she was just getting a bit tired and flat on me. But… the five almost got SHORT here, so she jumped the blazes off of the oxer on the out. Oh which also magically got bigger. Funny how that happens 😉

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We got the best turn to the pink there. Balanced without a lot of fighting. Uh… and no I didn’t hear Mandy telling me I could go back to the purple and blue vertical. I had just COMPLETELY blanked on the fact that I had taken that rail down. Luckily, the rail had fallen into basically a ground line, so it rode fine.

But because I was really riding that right shoulder, we landed on our right lead. So we got the distance to the green panel AGAIN. WHOOT! This time, I just allowed her to move down to the combination and supported with my leg. (Shocker). I should’ve brought her back a TOUCH earlier for the red, white and blue, but she did come back. As a result, the five there finally rode fine. (Even if we were counter cantering and I was being bounced all over the place.)

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Did you all make it to the end? Cool. I guess I don’t usually go THIS IN DEPTH in my lessons, but I thought this was a good one to do it for. It all goes back to developing the canter I want early and maintaining it the whole course. May has gotten so adjustable now, that I sometimes get in trouble because I am trying to do too much. It’s looking like this will be our last SJ lesson before our show, and I am super happy with it.

It forced me to make a plan but also be flexible within that plan, and it reminded me to ride and trust that good canter and to STOP messing with it so much. Riding through anxiety is a special kind of skill, but I am pretty proud of my ability to do just that.

In case you missed the video from yesterday, I am plunking it down here for you all:

Hundreds of Hours vs. Ten Minutes

When you spend hundreds of hours to prepare for 10 minutes of competition those hundreds of hours have to be more important than the end result.

~ Bad Eventer

Tonight is my second to last jump lesson before our first BN competition in 3 (and a half) years. Nerves have been slowly creeping in and, along with them, purely irrational thoughts. (because the first rain KY has had in MONTHS definitely means that I have to have a full set of shoes, drilled and tapped for studs, put on my barefoot horse)

So I was sitting at work, doing work things stalking the Team Challenge entry list, and then I read the above quote. Ahead of all the last minute show prep, I figured I would look back on the last 6 months of prep and all that we have accomplished.

Basically, since April, May and I have been committed to our weekly jump lessons. If I am in the state, I am at the barn on Tuesday nights. There are some things that don’t make it into my blog posts a lot. Like all the times that I asked Mandy to make an oxer smaller or hesitated before a course.

The modifications that happened to ensure that I could give my horse the ride she deserved. Like making this small-ish oxer EVEN SMALLER to that I would ride forward to it.

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yes. I had to put the front rail of this oxer down.

In fact, this felt scary, and you can see me PLANTING my  hands on my neck strap because that was as much as I could get myself to do.

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But I kept showing up. I kept doing my homework. I kept working to rewire my brain. A few months later, and we have the photo above.

And then, we had this;

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Then this….

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And then we had this:

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Fear and anxiety are still there. Every. Ride. But it gets better with every good ride I get under my belt. It gets better as Mandy keeps filling my toolbox and confidence bucket, ride after ride.

Would it be great to come home with some satin from Team Challenge? Hell yes. Does it really matter? No. Not really. What really matters are these videos above. The changes in my riding AND in my horse for the better. I can confidently say that the hours leading up to October 19th and 20th are worth WAY MORE to me than the results of this singular show.

It’s Fall Ya’ll!

This is me. This is me when the weather finally drops below 90 degrees. Seriously, it has been glorious. Want to know what’s even better it FINALLY RAINED yesterday into today. Sure there may be flash flooding, and I had to weave through puddles to get to work today, but Kentucky has been in basically drought conditions and everything has been dead. ON TOP OF THAT, the ground has basically been CONCRETE for the last month.

Even arenas with good footing have fallen into basically being concrete with sand on top. ugh. So I am super happy to see the weather turn.

You know who else is happy?

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This oddly shaped polar bear. How happy was she about the cooler weather? Well we decided to go for a trot set on Friday evening. Towards the end, I let her canter a bit. No big deal. Then, I asked for a little more canter, and… well, I felt May’s body drop out from underneath me as she TOOK OFF.

You know that combination of trying to say whoa and laughing? If you don’t, trust me, it’s not very effective. I think May thought for about a stride more and realized that I probably wasn’t asking for a flat out sprint, so she came back to the quiet hand gallop I had actually asked for. Oh well, a happy mare is a happy mare.

On Saturday, the weather was even cooler, as we snuck in an earlish ride with some friends. The joy of friends? MEDIA! (kidding because I love you all even if you don’t take video for me). Below is a really boring super exciting to everyone I swear Dressage video of us running through our Dressage test in our not-to-size arena.

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Sometimes, she’s just too cute for words 💕 🦄 ✨

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Overall, May feels good, but not great during our tests. We need to clean up the canter transitions (forever and always). So that will be the main focus of our flat rides. The rest? I am just going to accept as is. Everything could be better, but I am more concerned with getting her fitness up a bit more and getting myself confident in the jumping.

Until then, enjoy the cooler weather friends!

My Weird View on Buying Horses

First off, I am laughing at that old picture above. You know why I have a death grip on the lead line? Because she literally would NOT stand still… She would just try and drag you around. Oh May. ❤

As a result of… a lot of drama in September, I now know more than one person who is unexpectedly horse shopping. What does it mean for the average person to be unexpectedly horse shopping? It means a low budget, practically no time, and the understanding that this is going to be a purchase and then train type of situation.

I would love to have been one of those people that can follow the adage of “Buy something that is already doing what you want to do,” but for many of us, that is RARELY an option. Instead, it falls into more of “buy something that seems like it might want to do the same thing you want to do and train it.”

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perfect post for some OG photos. I think this was the XC schooling where I realized she was going to be a pretty good eventer.

Do you know if a horse is going to be a good XC horse by trotting it around an arena? Nope. Do I have any idea how much of being a good XC horse is nature vs. nurture? No clue.

So apparently, I have a different view when horse shopping than most people. When I purchased May, it was with the intention of “having a fun project”. Did I think I would own her almost five years later? No. Not really.

When you buy an inexpensive, green, off-type horse, you are taking a pretty big gamble on whether or not that horse will turn into what you really want. Also, that horse might be the right horse until you get to Novice, but when you want to move beyond that, you find you just aren’t sitting on enough talent/ability/bravery etc to make that next step.

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I remember thinking this house was HUGE

As a result, I tend to approach all horses I have ever tried (because I have never had more than a low four figure budget), as a project. May was a project that needed to learn how to steer, but we didn’t really know if she would enjoy eventing. Four and a half years later, I think it is pretty fair to say she is staying.

I wish I had bought my first horse with this mentality. I really do think it would have saved me a lot of grief. He was supposed to be  my #Hearthorse that I kept forever. In reality, I ended up just making us both miserable by trying to make the wrong thing work.

So what about you? Do you look at the purchase of a green horse as a potential project that you may or may not keep? Or are you always looking for your next dream horse?

Sometimes – We Spicy

May was FEELING her oats at our lesson this week. She’s been in pretty solid work lately, so I wonder if the other saddle really was causing her to suck back a bit. Either way, it made for an interesting jump lesson.

We started with a baby gymnastic. Short turn, three poles, vertical. Now if you all remember, this short turn is basically my nemesis. May is…. not a sports car and keeping impulsion, balance, and power steering is a forever kind of struggle. However, we got it going pretty well, and it really got her tuned into my outside aids. (you know… almost like it was built to do exactly that….)

It started low but eventually built up to the above. You can see May being a bit more resistant to my right hand, which really just felt like a symptom of her being super forward.

Look at those locked in ears!

Once we nailed that exercise, we moved onto a short course. Through the gymastic, up the pink, bending 6 strides to the liverpool, then down the diagonal in 5.

How’d it go? Fine… except that she just kind of ran past the distance to the yellow jump in the first part of the diagonal. Ooooook. Thanks mare. Mandy reminded me to, you know, maintain rhythm, and we moved onto a more complicated course.

Through the gymnastic, bending 4 to the red, white and blue vertical. (Yeah, that got a hairy eyeball from me, but rode great). Then, left turn to the pink, bending to the liverpool again. Then the yellow and around to the skinny blue “block”.

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Aiming for the base with these skinny/solid questions

Whew! Lots of related distances, turns, and different questions in a rather short course. The first time through, the first line rode GREAT. Then… we got in a bit of a disagreement TURNING to the pink. But I got her straight and she jumped the SNOT out of it from a longish distance.

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However, I made ZERO corrections going to the liverpool, and it rode in 5.25 strides. Cool. I made a BIG correction to the yellow, which felt ugly, but she jumped it ok.  Finally over the blue box, which rode easy peasy.

All the jumps stayed up (yay), but there was definitely room for improvement. As the saying goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” I suddenly had a horse that was really thinking forward, and I had to be a bit faster and more decisive with my corrections to smooth things out. We did the same course again, and I am REALLY happy with it.

To my, the big difference between the video from yesterday and the video from March is how forward thinking May is and how decisive I am in my decisions. Is it perfect? Nah. I could nitpick every. single. fence. However, I had a plan, and I went out and executed that plan.

I am also SUPER happy with how confident May feels. Even just a few months ago, the higher height of the red white and blue and yellow jumps would have backed her off. Now, she is hunting down those fences without blowing past my half halt. (When used correctly and decisively).

Both videos are below, but let’s just say, I am super excited to get out in less than a month!

Useless Saddle Marketing

So I had a local saddle fitter (yes, a new one) out on Sunday to take a look at my Genesis. Originally, she was going to look at the Diablo, but I decided that wasn’t going to be the right thing, even if we could get it to fit May. So I mostly just wanted to see if there is anything we could do to help the Genesis sit more in balance for me and reduce the rocking for May. (nope… ) So the conversation  mostly turned to my “next” saddle.

The conversation went something like this:

Saddle Fitter: “Well, what have you tried so far?”

Me: “In alphabetical order?… of saddles I actually put on my horse’s back and didn’t just rule out immediately? Albion, Barnsby, Black Country (Solare and Wexford), Bliss, County, CWD, Duett, Ovation, Prestige, and Stubben…. at least as much as I can remember.”

Check out the full recap of my last deep dive into saddle fitting here. 

Let me just say, that when you outline it like that… you get some crazy looks from your newest saddle fitter.

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Super cool saddle… Didn’t come CLOSE to fitting her

Saddle fitter “oooook. I am surprised you didn’t like the black country saddles.”

Me “Well… the one that the rep sent me was way too small. I have picture evidence!”

At least she agreed that it was definitely too narrow for May. Her recommendation was to find a black country in the width/seat size I needed, and we could reflock it to get it perfect. She isn’t the first saddle rep to suggest this brand to me, so I decided to take a look.

did ask her what model of their saddles would be best for me. Her response, “Your specs are going to be hard to find, so just start there.” Yeah… no. I already have a saddle I don’t love for ME, so I am not going to buy another one.

Fine, so I turn to black country’s website. You know, the place that should explain the differences between their models. Right?

At first, it started out pretty good. Below is the description for the Wexford:

The Wexford is a deep-seated jumping saddle, similar to the GP range, though offering a wider seat for comfort than most traditional jump saddles.

This saddle comes with large supporting knee and thigh blocks for the ultimate in rider security and an extra forward flap option for the taller rider.

The panel and tree combinations within this saddle allow for a multitude of profiles.

Now of course, I remember I sat in the Wexford, and it put me in a bit of a chair seat, so I am crossing it off. (Thank you blogging and making tags for stuff.)

So let’s look at the Quantum.

The Quantum Jumping saddle is built on a close contact tree and panel, it gives a flatter seat required for stadium or cross country jumping. Knee and thigh blocks to support your position. This is also available with an extra forward cut flap, for taller riders.

I mean… alright. A flatter seat. That is somewhat helpful. Except, it looks like this:

Not what I call a flat seat

So by flatter… did you just mean flatter than a GP? Huh…

Then I remember that I had really liked the Solare. So is that similar to the Quantum?

We are proud to introduce you to the new Solare Jump Saddle – ideal for those riders looking for a quality saddle and the latest innovations.

Made with vintage leather, the Solare offers excellent value for money with the saddle combining cutting edge design and technology providing riders of all levels and ability with a close contact saddle and a forward-fitting seat that allows freedom of movement.

Custom-made as always, this saddle has a discreet knee roll providing support without blocking the leg position whilst the forward cut flaps help the rider’s balance and security.

I…. what? The above tells me nothing about the saddle. So… then I jumped down to the solare monoflap. (Nearly impossible to find in my specs but hey, a girl can dream.)

Providing an outstanding closeness to your horse, the Vinici Solare jumping saddle is certainly one that stands out from the crowd.

This saddle is high-spec throughout and has been developed to incorporate the well-established Vinici single/mono flap design.

Feeling at one with your horse is key to success and the hugely popular Vinici design has now also been developed into a jumping saddle with a slimline, one-piece tree making it ultra-lightweight.

This superb saddle incorporates the highly regarded flexible overlay girthing system with the straps lying on top of the panel, helping to aid rider-feel.

Designed to enhance rider position when show jumping, the Vinici Solare is a fantastic example of the craftsmanship and technological advances available today.

Really? Does anyone care about all the marketing speak? I get it. They want you to talk to their reps in order to buy their saddles. (Upsell! Upsell! Upsell!) However, it is a really frustrating experience when you already know that you don’t like the rep in your area, AND you have limited funds to try all their models without the support of a rep.

I figure it is worth comparing this to the Stubben saddle explanations:

The S Roxane is a deep jump seat, square cantle saddle that features matching panels and large blocks in both the front and rear. It offers great security while using softer leather on the layered fronts to provide for a very comfortable ride.

Starting at $3,695.

The Ascend offers a classic hunter coupled with the advanced technology of Stübben spring tree at an affordable price point. It features an extra soft seat with a narrow twist and square cantle. The nicely padded smooth fronts combined with the versatility of our velcro block system allows the rider to choose the level of support desired. The rich redwood colored leather, complimented by a soft contrast stitching, offers an immediate broken in feel.

The hunter rider will experience an effortless, close-contact feeling with the controlled performance of this exquisite creation by Stübben.

Starting price of $2,495.

Alright so… You can see through these two examples that the Roxanne is a deeper, more secure saddle. Probably better for fox hunting. Meanwhile, the Ascend has a more narrow twist and is probably better for jumping in the ring, but with more support than a more traditional jumper saddle.

So while I continue to try and sell my Dressage saddle, I will probably keep the Black Country Solare in the back of my mind. I LOVED the bliss, but the chance to save $1000+ and still end up with a great saddle… that is hard to pass up.

So what do you all think? Do you think this is a purposeful tactic on Black Country’s part to encourage people to use their reps? Or do you think it is just a marketing person gone haywire? Ooooorrrr Does this type of thing not bother you at all?

Let me know your thoughts!

May’s Weirdest Injury

Timehop decided to remind me that its been four years since we diagnosed May’s weirdest injury ever. All of the below happened back in 2015… about 3 months after I bought May. It is worth noting that she was barefoot at the time.

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❤️ #may #palomino #draftcross #ponylove

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08/31 – Rode May. Sound and happy.

9/2 – Farrier Visit

9/3 – Grade 4 lame on the left front. Worked lightly for 10 minutes to evaluate and get a baseline. Horse put away. No heat, swelling, or other symptoms.

9/5 – Grade 2 lame on left front. Only worked for 15 minutes with limited turning.

9/6 – Grade 1 lame on left front. Rode horse in boots for 20 minutes. (Pics of boots below… these are STILL going strong!)

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Because she's not spoiled enough… #easyboot #may #princesspony

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9/10 – Grade 2 lame on left front. Rode in boots but more consistently lame than previously. I was convinced that her toe felt a bit soft. Began soaking and wrapping foot. (assumed diagnosis at this point is abscess or stone bruise)

9/12 – Grade 2 lame. Continuing to soak and wrap. Buuuuut the hoof no longer felt soft.

9/13 – Grade 2 lame.

9/16 – Grade 2 lame. Coronary band swollen. Now thinking it might be an abscess that will pop through coronary band. (could explain the VERY Lame, less lame, more lame pattern)

9/18 – Grade 2 lame. Vet visit with x-rays.

Final diagnosis? May had a piece of gravel jammed up into her white line. Given the size and location, we decided not to extract it.

 

Yup… It was a bit clearer in the original copy… but that was our issue…

Instead, we continued to soak and wrap until I was convinced her foot was going to disintegrate. At that point, I stopped the soaking and let the hoof harden back up. By that point, the gravel had disintegrated on its own, and we went back to riding as if nothing had ever happened.

Oh so… are you all wondering by now how I had such detailed info FOUR YEARS after the event? I was the crazy lady that had a post-it note going with all this info.

What about you? What’s the strangest injury your horse has ever had?

Blog Hop – 10 Questions for September

Kentucky is still going through it’s final tantrum of summer, and my knee is still a bit out of whack. Soooo when Viva Carlos posted a blog hop, I just had to jump in. 🙂

1. Favorite quirk your horse (or a horse you’ve spent time with) has?

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This is not a good habit. It is not a habit I condone… but May’s proclivity for escaping and causing zero trouble is somehow endearing haha. I am sure my trainer is rolling her eyes so hard at this, because it is a terrible habit. BUT she doesn’t “break out” of her stall. She only sneaks out if her stall guard isn’t fully attached, sooooo I think it’s cute. Honestly, other than that, she’s a pretty business-like mare.
2. Three adjectives that perfectly describe your horse?

Opinionated, pretty, confident

May isn’t a conventional beauty. She’s more like Ashley Graham. Aka – part of her beauty is her total confidence in herself. It makes her a fun eventing partner for sure!

3. Plan your next ride. What will you do/work on?

Ahahahaha well… someone on COTH called me out for my fat horse. (fun times) Sooo I think we will be doing a fitness ride tonight. She got a bit ribby in June, so we upped her forage. Then I got busy with work/travel/life, so her work load dropped a bit and BOOM fat mare. We pulled back the calories and are increasing the workload to help her be a bit more fit for Team Challenge next month.

4. Have you ever trained an OTTB? If yes, what was the biggest challenge?

A straight off the track OTTB? Nope. As I mentioned before, I have ridden lots and lots of green horses. From 3 yr old pony’s just being broke to saddle, to older horses of the slaughter truck bound for Mexico. Training horses is definitely one of those “learn on the job” type of things. Experience is exactly what you get 30 seconds after you need it.

Here is a video (MANY YEARS LATER) of one of the Welsh Cobs I started. He turned into a pretty cool dude!

5. Have you ever groomed or worked for a professional rider?

I have spent a lot of time as a barn rat… I used to go to HITS Saugerties, Old Salem, etc as a groom for friends. Since moving to eventing, I have tried to get to events to support pros and friends. However, true groom/working student situation? Not something I was able to do.

6. Favorite horse and rider combination?

Oh man. I know she is having a huge year right now, but I loved Beezie Madden & Judgement. He was a horse that just looked like he LOVED show jumping. The higher, harder, and more technical the jumps got. The better he was. SUCH a cool horse, and of course, I have major respect for her and her program.

7. Have you ever ridden a horse at the beach?

Yes! Actually, in the Grand Cayman Islands. They heard I could ride (big mistake mom), so I got this spicy little mare. Who I ADORED. Gosh I wish I knew where the photos were from that, but it was an amazing day.

The Grand Cayman Islands are a British colony, so I was actually fairly impressed with their horsemanship for what resources they had available. This was YEARS ago, but it looks like they are still around and still have nicely fed ponies: http://ponies.ky/ 

8. If you could experience the equestrian community (i.e. ride and compete) in another country, what country would you choose and why?

Ireland or England. And I would foxhunt. I would probably die, but I would die with a smile on my face.

9. In your opinion, what is an item of tack that is given unnecessary hype?

This was actually a hard one for me. I think that all horses are individuals and what is useless to you and your horse might be a godsend to someone else. I guess I will say like lorenzini stirrups are probably something I don’t get. I have seem many on resale pages for a lot less than their purchase value due to the paint scratching and chipping.

I will take my MDC Stirrups any day. Had to look up the instagram post when I got them… turns out, they predate May! Next month they will be 5 years old, and they still look this good. To me, that’s a great purchase!

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Oh hey beautiful

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10. What was the first horse you rode called? Are they still alive?

Aww Frisbee. He was OLD when I rode him, and that was… 23 years ago. Unfortunately, he passed away like 3 days before my first show. He was a saint of a horse, and I am 100% sure he is in the best part of heaven.

Stacie also did this blog hope, and I look forward to seeing more of y’all answers!