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!

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Mid Year Update

I have been pushing at work to make mid-year reviews an actual thing, and it seems like those are happening. So in the spirit of taking my own advice, I wanted to do my own little mid-year check in! Back in January, I set some really frilly, really not S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Actually, instead of goals, I set up focus points, so let’s talk about them!

Fitness – This started in 2018 and has been a great addition to my regular routine. I am not setting a goal of “x” number of times in the gym each week. Instead, I just want to keep an emphasis on moving and listening to my body.

So I fell off the bandwagon basically from April – June. It is SO HARD to stay motivated to go to the gym when it is so nice out. However, I have gotten back into it over the past couple of weeks, and it is SO NICE to be back. I even found a class that makes me WANT to get up at 7AM on a Saturday. (Yes, below are some PASTY calves)

Blogging – I really LIKE blogging. I really want to get BETTER at blogging, AND AECs are in KY this year, so I even have a chance to see some of you. Blogging shall continue… but I would like to get some new media for you all.

So I am officially volunteering at AECs as a Dressage scribe on Thursday. Super excited to see anyone who ends up making the trip!

Friendships – 2018 was a weird year for me.  It marked 2 years of living in KY, and I have definitely felt the loss of some of my East Coast friends. I want to say yes to more things with my friends here in KY.

Some of my favorite moments of 2019 have come from saying yes to my KY friends more. Into the second half of the year, I am going to try to say yes to even more (including a book club because the nerd in me cannot resist that!)

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A last minute “yes” led to a lot of fun with my horse. 

Enjoying May – I want to ride and have fun with my horse. I want to try new things and be in the moment. I want to let the bad rides go easier and hold onto the good ones a bit longer. Heavy competing still won’t be in the budget this year, but hopefully, we can find some fun things to do within our budget.

How did I forget that heavy competing wouldn’t be in the budget this year? Hahaha apparently I lost sight of that one in April, when I made this insane post. Either way, we have had mostly amazing rides lately, so it has been REALLY easy to let the bad things go. Annnnnd we have managed to do some super fun things, like XC schooling at the KHP.

Honestly though, I wish I had my own trailer so that we could do more. Either way, we have a hunter pace on the agenda for August, and I am HOPING to get out at BN at SOME POINT this year, especially with May going so well.

Continue Improving our House – We have some projects that need finishing touches, and a lot of painting still to do. However, it has been a labor of love, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Oh gosh… we spent all the money on getting the house painted (worth it). Doggy vet bills have also dug into that budget, so there is a lot that isn’t getting done at the moment. Honestly though, painting and redoing our laundry room have made a MASSIVE difference… now if only I could get the chandelier hung in the Dining room. 😉

I think its been a year of unexpected progress. May is going better than ever and refocusing on consistent lessons over showing opportunities has made the biggest difference. Fingers crossed that we can get out this fall and have some fun!

25 More – Blog Hop

Jumping on the blog hop train. L found the questions on Tumblr, and after a few other people chimed in (Amanda & Olivia among others) I just had to join.

1. What is the first thing you do when you get to the barn?

My work is incredibly… non social. I work with a lot of analytical types, so when I get to the barn, I want to actually interact with people. So usually, I seek out the peoples first! haha. I think it gives May a chance to adjust to the reality of having to work again.

2. Is there a breed that you would never own?

Gosh… Probably a paso fino. I LOVE them. When I did Welsh breed shows, they were often around, and they are the COOLEST. However, if we got a gaited horse, it would be something my husband could ride. At 6’6″ish… a paso fino is just too small.

3. Describe your last ride?

Our jump lesson this week! Still on cloud nine from it! Even if all my muscles and joints hate me.

4. Have any irrational riding fears?

Oh so many. Because May isn’t the MOST athletic, I am convinced that we will miss big to an oxer one day, and we will both get seriously injured. Clearly… that fear is pretty unfounded at the heights I have any interest in.

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5. Describe your favorite lesson horse?

Oh definitely Buddy. I rode him on and off for like… a decade. So much love for that little thoroughbred. Because of him, I will never rule out owning an OTTB.

6. Would you ever lease out your horse?

Yeah. I probably will when Matt and I start a family. I think she would be a great horse for a pony club kid to play around with.

7. Mares: Yay or neigh?

Uh duh… hahaha. I have ridden and loved MANY mares. If they are smart mares, I tend to really enjoy them.

8. How many time per week do you get to see your horse?

I shoot for five days… which means that I typically make it there 4 days a week.

9. Favorite thing to do on an “easy day” with your pony?

Trail rides. We both love just wandering around wherever. It’s been a while since I hopped on bareback. Maybe I will this week. 🙂

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10. Conformational flaw that bothers you the most?

Ahahahaha…. well, my horse is kind of a conformation train wreck. That being said, a horse that is downhill would be pretty tough for what I want to do. Cantering downhill to a Novice oxer on something downhill? Just doesn’t sound fun to me, and I think it makes Dressage miserable for everyone

May Jump911. Thing about your riding that you’re most self conscious about?

My weight. I feel like being on the bigger side of the rider spectrum makes every flaw so much more noticeable.

12. Will you be participating in no stirrup November?

I actually dropped my stirrups this weekend for a while. I am not sure if I will totally leave my stirrups in November because I don’t think that’s fair to May. But I will definitely increase my focus on it.

13. What is your grooming routine?

Curry all over, brush with a hard brush, maybe a soft brush… wipe down with fly wipes. Pick feet. Either apply durasole or keratex depending on what we are dealing with. If I have time or before a lesson, I brush out her tail.

14. Describe a day in the life of your horse?

She gets night turnout. So she comes in for breakfast typically in the late morning. She hangs out in her stall in the afternoon. I ride in the early evening. Then she gets fed dinner and turned back out for the night. Most days, she spends less than 6 hours in a stall, which I LOVE.

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Lets roll CLOSER to the fence. 🙄🙃🤷🏻‍♀️

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15. Favorite season for riding?

I love the fall. Part of it is the weather, as it tends to be beautiful in KY. But a lot of it is how we feel in the fall. After a full season of lessons, hacking out, XC schoolings, shows etc, we feel pretty solid and in sync in summer. May is always super fit, and it’s just a really fun time of year for us.

16. If you could only have 1 ring: indoor or outdoor?

Outdoor. Always outdoor. I ride in the indoor at my barn so rarely, and I would probably ride in it even less if the outdoor was bigger. When we were at our old barn, I only rode in the indoor when it was too dark to ride outside (no lights).

17. What impresses you most about the opposite discipline (english vs. western)?

I think its incredible how quarter horse people have been able to breed these SUPER specialized horses with incredible instincts. Like cutting horses or western pleasure horses. It’s really interesting to me.

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My Wenglish Attempts lol

18. You have unlimited funds to buy one entire tack set for your horse, what is he/she wearing?

Oh gosh. I don’t even know. May is such special body type, that I think finding the saddle would be the biggest issue… even with a huge budget. Can I just go with custom everything that actually fits her? lol

19. How many blankets do you have? When do you blanket?

She has 4. A sheet, two mediums, and a heavy with a hood. I have two mediums because they tend to get the most wear in our climate. Especially since I just do a bib clip. We blanket when it gets cold? lol. May is a yak, so her tolerance for cold is pretty high, and she had a round bale in her field at night. However, we also get a lot of wet, so the blankets are more used to keep her dry and comfortable.

20. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Favorite place to be scratched?

Everything? Awkwardly, I think she loves probios cookies the most. Go figure. At this point, if I don’t cross tie her, she will creep towards my tack trunk when I go over there, hoping for a cookie. Confession time: I know it’s a bad habit.. but it’s cute so I don’t correct it. Oops.

As for scratches, she likes the inside of her ears rubbed and her tail. But only on her terms. When she is done with you, she would rather you just not. Ok?

21. Something about your barn that drives you crazy?

Gosh. Sometimes it is a damn zoo hahaha. We have horses and kids and dogs and a cat. It can be a lot, so I have learned what times/days are a bit quieter. At the same time, I really love all the activity and May just EATS it up. I think we both prefer it to all the nights we spent alone at my old barn.

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22. Roached manes, pulled manes, or long flowing manes?

I actually really prefer pulled manes, but May hates having her mane pulled. I really do think it is painful for her. I decided to roach to save her from that experience and because she gets SO HOT in the summer, a roached mane helps her stay cool.

23. Can you handle a buck or a rear better?

I used to be able to sit a buck, but honestly, it has been a while… I rode a couple of horses that rear, and I could ride it… but it’s not fun.

24. I would never buy a horse who ___________________?

Reared haha. I am with Amanda on this one. It is a deal breaker for me. It is just too dangerous.

25. Favorite facial marking?

Oh I love snips. Just too cute for words.

If you made it this far, you get a shameless plug to please buy my Dressage saddle. 😉
Ebay Link

The Smoothing Effect

When I watched the video from my lesson on Tuesday, my first thought was “I wish we had nailed that first jump.” And that was true… but my second thought was “Maybe I should edit out that first jump before posting it.”

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Honestly, I hear a lot about other riders doing just that. I will reach out to someone, to comment on how much progress they have made, and I will get a response along the lines of “Thank you! That part of our course was really good! Just be glad you didn’t see the rest of it. 😉 ”

You know what? I am not glad. I am not glad because I see all this manicured social media everyday. (I am addicted to instagram… sorry not sorry.) You see stadium rounds of all perfect distances. Video stills that show the smile at the end of a ride. And you miss out on the chips, rails, run outs, scrappy distances etc etc etc.

One of the greatest breakthroughs in my riding career was stadium scribing at a horse trial. I saw WAY MORE scrappy rounds than flawless ones. I saw pros, ammies, and juniors alike all make mistakes. It became pretty apparent that our social media lives do not fully reflect our actual barn lives.

So, I left the chip in the video. I left the head flinging in the video. I post XC posts of me getting left behind and supermanning through the air. It’s all out there like dirty laundry, and I am proud of it. Because it means that I love this horse and this sport enough to keep trying, even when it’s hard.

So let’s air out those fails to the world. AND laugh while doing it!

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