Sunday, November 16, 2014

Checking In

I am missing everyone in the blogosphere , work is busy, but things are moving in a good direction. Abbey is getting lots of time off, some ankle haematoma stuff and a new haematoma on her butt last week. Vet on Tuesday.... More bills and hopefully some answers. I hope everyone out there is having a good begining to winter. It's been cold here, but pretty. More soon I hope!!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Witchy Woman

Happy Halloween! Abbey was kind of a nut ball last night. I lunged the crap out of her after she threatened to kick another horse as it rode by. She finally settled down and we had a pretty good ride. She is still not herself, but she's not in pain, so I'm chalking it up to time off, plus no trainer rides, plus cooler weather, plus being a mare, and some barefoot transition. Letting her sit won't fix anything, so we will just go to work and do what we can do instead. Trainer is back in a little more than a week, so I'll get some feedback after she comes back.

I got to sign a 'welcome home' sign for the rider and her horse who just won nonpro horsemanship at Appaloosa Worlds, so that was fun :) She is an amazing rider and a really sweet person, and it's pretty cool that she's a student of my trainer. Another girl is at the youth show at MSU this weekend, and yet another is going to Color Breed Congress and finally realizing a life-long dream. It's really awesome to ride with people better than me because it makes me work harder. It doesn't hurt that they are the sweetest, kindest kids I've ever met either.

Two sad notes is that the sweet older lady who has been taking lessons fell off her BFs horse this weekend when he spooked and she broke her shoulder. Not ideal at 65. I hope she gets back in the saddle again after she's better, but maybe on a more reliable horse. My closest barn friend is another axing kiddo who I have gotten to know pretty well, along with her mom. She was finishing up her ride and standing in the indoor just hugging her horse when I was walking through to go change. I could tell it was one of those horse hugs that is the only thing that makes something awful seem okay, and I asked if she was alright. She said no, that her mom might have breast cancer and is going in for more screening. I didn't know what to say, so I just gave her a huge hug until she was ready to let go. My heart aches for her; their family has had a tough couple of years with loss of jobs and health stuff, and I wish there was more I could do.

After witnessing such a range of highs and lows, it was really nice to just lean on my pony for some quiet time after my ride. I love to put her muzzle in my hands and rest it on my chest and lay my head on her nose. She leaned into me and we just stood there and breathed for a minute. It was heaven on earth. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Groovy, Baby


It was really nice to get to the barn last night after another day on the stress bus that is my job right now. It's good to be busy, but I am struggling to find that marathon pace groove instead of an all-out sprint while I am at work, so I am making sure that my barn time is about everything but feeling rushed.

When I used to row on the crew team, there were always a lot of phases to the actual race, even in a sprint. There was the start, short quick strokes building to using the full slide to pick up speed and get the boat up out of the water, then finding the race pace, or what is called settling in, and then some power tens and sprints within that to the finish where the cadence increases again and we win!

It's all about harmony, consistency, form, and communication. In a crew boat, there is a lot of feeling involved in feeling the balance of the boat, feeling the cadence of the stroke rate, staying consistent in form, and controlling your breathing as your body fights to consume oxygen. There is usually the added benefit of a person (the coxswain) in the stern or the bow of the boat yelling commands about stroke rate, power tens, and generally being a crazy person (I sat there quite often in addition to rowing - it was fun to learn to do it all, even if I was the heaviest coxswain know to the sport of rowing). Sounds a little like, riding, right?
I miss these long, skinny boats
It's the same thing with running, and probably any other sport. Finding that spot where your mind and body settle in for the work without working to exhaustion and burning out too soon.

I am really enjoying getting Abbey back into working after some time off. In a way, there is less pressure to be perfect. Her usual soft jog is more of a racing trot, her canter departs look like a giraffe, and she is just all around not focused. And that is okay with me. I get a chance to see how much I have actually learned about feeling a horse, listening to what they are telling me, and asking them to please try it a different way. The fact that we had some really nice canter departs and circles after a lot of counter bending and flexing in both directions lets me know that I am actually communicating correctly what I want, rewarding her for correct behavior, and making progress, even if we aren't show pretty. And, the best part is that I am not on a schedule, there are no deadlines. It is all just up to me and Abbey to figure it out on our own time. How awesome is that?
Add caption
Maybe I seek out sports that require physical balance like crew and riding because my life-struggle is learning balance in the mental sense. Even when the world feels like it is spinning out of control, I can sit in that saddle and find my center. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quick Update

Thank you all so much for the encouragement this past week - I survived my meeting, but not without some incredible stress. Like many of you, I don't function well without my horse time, or my gym time, and add to that eating like crap and too much sitting for a week-and-a half in preparation for my meeting and then the actual meeting - yuck. The meeting was hard. I had to address a long-standing project that had been left unfinished for the larger part of the past four years. There are a lot of reasons why, staffing, shifting priorities, blah, blah, blah, but ultimately, it falls on my shoulders. And, like most things in life, these big, difficult, monster projects are conveniently pushed aside in favor of the easier-to-address, more urgent tiny fires. But, just like a fire, the hottest part isn't the flames you see, it's the embers that can reignite with enough oxygen and fuel.


A huge pile of embers was uncovered recently, and so now we are finally forming a bucket brigade to quench what feels like the seventh circle of hell in the inferno (being a bit dramatic, but, ya know, sometimes ya gotta). It's all going to work out fine, but it is going to require dedication to detail and a lot of Sherlocking to get all of the last four years of mess sorted out.

So with some steps made in a positive direction this past weekend at work towards sorting out that pile of yarn, I took a step in the right direction and got back to the barn last night. My husband actually insisted I go, since it was projected to be the last day above 70 degrees until next March or April (so, really May or June. le sigh). Abbey has had two weeks off after her shoes being pulled, and trainer is at Appaloosa Worlds, and I was MIA, so holy dusty pony, Batman. I groomed, we lunged, and even lunging she looked quick and short in front, but not lame. I asked some other barn people for a second opinion, and we all agreed that she was not her normal self, but okay to ride.

I kept it short, and it wasn't pretty, or amazing, but it was sure nice to be back in the saddle again after that long of a break. The best part is that I don't really care that it wasn't a great ride as far as getting work done and refining our technique. How could it have been? But, it was a great ride because after two weeks off, no trainer rides, a distracted pony with funny-feeling feet, and a floppy rider, Abbey had moments of focus and moments of collection. It was a win. She is a horse that needs routine, so two weeks from now after four or five days a week of riding, we will both be back to more of our normal selves. And, it was nice to be back in the barn, period. Nice barn peeps, a job to do, and a routine that helps my mind let go of all the stress it latches on to throughout the day.

And, after all, time spent in the saddle is never wasted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Courtesy of a favorite, Robert Frost...                          
Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower,

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf,

So Eden sank to grief.

So dawn goes down to day,

Nothing gold can stay.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Anxiety - We Haz It

skips class because of anxiety caused by skipping too many classes
So, no trips to the barn this weekend - just work, work, and more work. That's were I am right now. That's where I will be until God knows when tonight, in the morning, and hopefully not too late on Wednesday because I have a work meeting to run on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday... enter the anxiety of too much to doo, not enough time to do it, plus the genius, newly-coined phrase "multi-procrastinating" courtesy of Emma at 'Fraidy Cat Eventing.

I am officially not practicing what I preached in my last post. I am having a case of paralysis over how much there is to do, I almost want to just sit back, crack open a case of beer, and watch the world fall apart around me... not that I would let that happen, but holy shit, it is tempting at times like these.

So, stay tuned - I should be back next week with more pony-related blog posts, but until then I should probably take the blog off of my list of items contributing to my multi-procrastination.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


On the way to the barn
Since I can't ride for a little while yet since Abbey got her shoes off, here is a little philosophy for Sunday.

I usually roll my eyes at the signs that local businesses put up with encouraging phrases, or odd phrases... but this one was pretty funny. I don't even know what the business is, a machine shop or mechanics or something? But, the sign had a definition on it that made me chuckle.

Multitasking: Fucking everything up all at once.

Okay, maybe it wasn't the explicit version on the sign, but I like the F word.

It made me laugh, but also think. Everyone is so busy trying to cram as much in every day as possible, and multitasking is an annoying buzzword that people seem to think has a positive connotation. Anyone can sit in a pile of clutter and spin in circles with all the demands constantly emailed, texted, and dropped on a desk, but it takes someone with fortitude to say, "No, not right now," and just focus on one thing at a time. I struggle with this severely.

I think riding is helping me learn to manage my time a little better, and to start putting things in phases. You don't get better by working on everything all at once in one day. It takes time, persistence, and the ability to put the building blocks together piece by piece. It's harder than it sounds to only fuck one thing up at a time.

When training on Horsemanship patterns and Trail patterns, you rarely if ever practice a pattern all the way through at actual speed before you show it. We want the horses to think, but more so to wait and listen for what we ask. That means that everything gets dismantled into individual movements. Turns on the haunches, turns on the forehand, strait lines, transitions, circles, stopping, and backing all get broken down to the fundamentals, kind of like the letters in the alphabet. That way the horse knows all the letters, but not the whole word and therefore cant read ahead and rush through the pattern and block out the rider.

My trainer will draw a pattern, and let a rider ride it once. Then she gives feedback on what was good and what could be done better. Then they ride the pattern again, but if the horse isn't listening to cues, or if the rider isn't cueing correctly, she tells them to work that particular movement, maybe a lope depart or a lead change. The most we ever ride a pattern is about three times. Otherwise the horse learns the pattern and anticipates what's coming, rather than waiting for the rider to cue. Sometimes the pattern is abandoned all together to work on something else, like counter bending to soften them in a stiff ribcage, or to work on small circles with forward movement to ask them relax through the poll and jaw to soften to the inside so the lope departs are softer, rounder, and driven from behind. Sometimes it has to do with physical resistance, but more often it is mental resistance that has to be broken down and overcome.

Shoulder in, haunches in, counter flexing, counter cantering, and lateral work have all become my friends in the quest for better lope departs. Abbey loves to throw her neck around on the left lead especially, and hates having to step through with her right hind leg to support and balance herself. We have a long way to go, but at least I know the steps I need to take to get there.

Its easy to get stuck in a rut and want to hammer it home, but to keep asking for the same thing and getting the same or worse results is counterproductive. I think that is my favorite thing that I learn from my trainer. Over the past (almost) two years, I have begun to understand that riding is a conversation, and I am finally starting to be fluent in the language. I can feel where Abbey is stuck, or off balance, or resisting, and then I can talk to her with my seat, legs, and hands to help her get unstuck. I used to understand riding as more of a learn the movements and then execute them sort of thing, because that is how most physical activities work, running, rowing, biking, and as a kid taking lessons that is sort of how you learn it when you are on a schoolmaster who knows the ropes.

As an adult rider with a green horse, I have had to learn that while there is still a place for learning the movements and executing them, it is more of dancing with a partner or talking with a friend rather than crossing some finish line or checking boxes on a list of accomplishments. It's creative problem solving with collaboration.

As for life in general, sometimes it feels like all I am doing is fucking it up all at once, but but I sure love for those moments of balance that happen from time to time.

Definitely Fall

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Barefoot Transition - Questions

I went to the barn last night for a ride, and even though I knew that Abbey was due to have her shoes off, and I remembered again when I picked her hooves, I was initially not sure why she was being all squirrely when I got on to warm up. She didn't want to go forward and after a few minutes of asking her to trot out, I realized that I was being a jerk for asking because she was probably sore on her front (the only place she had shoes). This is the first time I have transitioned a horse from shoes to barefoot, so I am curious if anyone has experiences or advice to share.

Should I give her time off? Reduce rides in time and effort? How long will it take for her to go back to feeling good? I know that this will vary from horse to horse, but I would appreciate any thoughts and ideas on this in the comments.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's in a Name

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
~ Juliet

Stop and smell the carbuncles just doesn't have the same ring to it... 
Wow - things have been so busy! Thankfully I have a minute to post, so here is  our name story...

I decided to parlay the story of Abbey's name into words for the ole' blog. As a lover of imagery, descriptive writing, and visual arts, symbolism is pretty important to me. Most people will agree that names are rather significant. I think most kids dreamed of changing their name to something much more suitable at some point in time. I, myself, narrowly dodged a bullet before I made an entrance into the world, which I discovered when I found my mom's list of baby names. Only two names had three stars... Kristen, and Belinda. What? I am not sure, but I am fairly certain we don't have any Belindas in the family, so where that came from I don't know. Its a perfectly fine name, but man-oh-man, I can't imagine my life as a Belinda.

Anywhodle, the I was a pretty unimaginative pet namer for the early years of my life. My first rabbit, a grey and white lop-eared beast, was named Smokey. My second rabbit, a smaller black lop with one ear up and one ear down and a white paw, was named Shadow. Our dog, a cute apricot-colored miniature poodle who was a gift from the aunt (who wanted to buy me a horse) who lived in California, was named California Apricot, or Callie, for short. I know. Mind. Blown. I am also fairly certain that every lizard I ever caught and forced into captivity was named Lizzie. Nutmeg, my current dog came with that name when I adopted her, and it really suited her, so she kept it. We tried a bunch of other names, but that one just stuck. She also kind of looks like a nutmeg in coloring, so there you go!

Well, when I  found myself handing over the check for Abbey, I knew I wanted to change her name. I felt like she was getting a new beginning, and that the name was a way for me to make her mine more than a monetary transaction ever would. Her registered name stayed the same, but her barn name, Rory, was too much of an awkward mouthful for me even though it was so short. So, I started thinking about the registered name to see what I could get from there. Unbridled Aurora is definitely a big name for a little horse.... nothing came to me. Then aurora... aurora borealis... A.B.... Abby. I liked it. But just Abby, it wasn't quite there yet.

The barn and horses have always been my sanctuary, a sacred place. From the first time I set foot in the stable at Girl Scout camp, I knew I was home. A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. The use of such places as a safe havens caused them, by extension to be used for to describe any place of safety. For thousands of years people have sought the solace of a sacred place in abbeys... the building or buildings occupied by a community of monks or nuns.

My Abbey is truly that sanctuary for me.

When I told the story of her name to the man I bought her from, a man who had become my horse dad and called me his daughter when he introduced me to people, he got a look like he had seen a ghost on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he looked at me with narrowed eyes and told me that Abby was the name of his daughter's first horse that she ever broke out herself, and that she had been a sorrel paint. This was years ago, and that horse has been gone for quite some time. He had never talked about her before then. We were both kind of quiet, and I know that to me that was a sign that it was meant to be. Fast forward a few years, and when my mom was visiting me in my new barn and went for a little spin on Abbey, she gave me a huge hug and told me how proud she was of me, and that she had always dreamed of having a little brown and white paint horse. I always saw myself with a bay or chestnut hunter/jumper type gelding when I dreamed my horsey dreams as a kid, so no one was more surprised than me that I feel in love at first sight with this little Western Pleasure Paint mare, but it all makes a little more sense now.

Whether or not there is or isn't divine intervention, or magic, or fate involved in life, I guess I like to think that there is, at least a little if we look for it. Good, rational decision making is still important, but sometimes that leap of faith is worth taking, and there is more to a name than just some letters in a familiar phonetic arrangement.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Foggy fall mornings outside my office are so pretty.
I rode last night and it was just... meh. I didn't lunge, just got on and rode. Abbey wasn't super focused, and neither was I. Our trot work went pretty well, but she was tense about cantering. Trainer said that the big lump on her right rear ankle (from the show three weeks ago) is probably a hematoma, which I assumed since that is what happened to the rest of her leg, is probably bothering her enough to make loping a little uncomfortable.

I am not super worried about it, and neither is she. Sweating it didn't seem to help, neither did DMSO, so unless we have the vet drain it off (not interested in more bills) I don't think that there is much we can do. She's not lame, just a little quick and stiff.

I wish we could have worked through the stiffness and distraction a little better last night, but not every ride is going to be great. I am just happy that I went and that we tried our best to sort it out. We had a few okay lope overs with one log both directions, and I was able to get her to collect a little riding one-handed both ways, and be balanced and have a fairly even cadence. I am wondering if asking her to move out a little will help, and then we can work on slowing things down. I may try that tonight. Also some more 2 point practice - think I need to shorten my stirrups on my work saddle, which is hard because someone royally effed up with the leather punch on a lot of the holes. A small drawback to buying used equipment.

Looking forward to the weekend, and hopefully some nice riding time.

Sunrise on the way in to work.

More misty morning shots.

Cute shot of me and the pony with my little Polaroid camera.

Best beast ever. So patient to hang out in the Jeep while I ride. (No dogs allowed in the barn)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends...

I am not a huge fan of social activities during the week - I am getting old I guess. The barn is my only normal detour between my desk and my house, but In keeping with my goal of spending more time with my friends, I bit the bullet and went to hang out last night. One of our group of buddies got married, bought a new house, and is now expecting her first bambino, so we went over to see the new place, have some dinner, a tour, and a little wine.

I was proud of myself for persevering through having to make a trip to the store to pick up stuff for the salad I said I would make and finding that they were completely out of the dressing I needed (improvised with a different one - meh), taking care of the dog, getting a quick shower, throwing on leggings and a sweatshirt, then missing a turn because I was talking to my sister, getting rerouted by GPS into another horrible construction-related detour, and being an hour late (it only takes 20 minutes to get anywhere in town). The hassle of getting there was totally worth it.

These friends are non-horsey friends who I met when I was about 25 and going through a divorce. I decided to start running, and discovered that it was incredible therapy. There is a lot of time to get to know people on a thirteen mile run, and a lot of time to work through life's challenges, or not. Sometimes I would just let my mind go blank, and it was wonderful. It took me until I was 25 to finally meet some good girlfriends who I enjoy, I can be myself around, and trust not to judge, or at least not in a mean way. Our lives aren't always free enough to spend as much time together as we used to, but when we do I always walk away feeling lighter even though the hours that we used to spend burning calories have been replaced by hours consuming them instead.

One of my favorite quotes (I love quotes) is:
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. #howtonetwork
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~ Jane Howard

I am pretty fiercely independent, and always have been. I used to scale the kitchen counters like a mountaineer when I was little rather than have to ask my mom for help getting a glass down. The reality is that to make it through the world, we all need those people who are our safe haven, our shelter from the storm. In that sanctuary we can lay down that heavy stuff, catch our breath, and be ready to pick it up again when we leave.

Girls night helps me remember that I am really blessed to have a family who loves me, friends who listen and help me find the humor amid the stress, a husband who is on my side, a sweet and amazing dog who has been there for me through the darkest valleys, and a horse that lends me her legs to run the miles that my own body isn't quite up to covering any more.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the people who carve out space for me in their lives. Thank you for stopping by to read what I write, and a special thank you to those of you who have made me fell very welcome and supported in the blogosphere of horses by including me in the conversation, leaving kind and encouraging comments, and for sharing your thoughts and stories on your own blogs. I am glad to have found more people in my tribe :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Troubles have a way of sneaking up on us… we see them on the horizon sometimes, and then before we know it they are staring us in the face. I have been in a funk the past few weeks, nothing major, just probably some change of season blues in alignment with some impending work deadlines. It's all good, really, and I am totally equal to the challenges that lay before me, sometimes I just have to remind myself of that.

The first step in the right direction is seeing the beauty and goodness around me, and recognizing that I am only responsible for myself, no one else's bad behavior belongs to me.

Here are a few beautiful things that I saw today, and I am thankful for :) My horse isn't here, but she's always in my heart.

Sweetest puppy ever.


Moooooommmmmm…. stop embarrassing me!

Fine… take my picture, if you must.

Fairy ring.

Fall shroomies. 

Lovely lavender.

Last blooms of the year.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blanket Shopping

I wish
Why is everything horse-related so damn expensive? I just bought a new sheet and blanket for Abbey since the weather here is already chilly, if not downright cold. Her old 72" blanket and sheet are still in okay shape, but they were too tight on her by the end of last winter now that she is a big girl. She is measuring at 74", so I figured a 75" should fit okay. It was 45 degrees this morning on my way to the barn to try a sheet on her that I bought from my local tack shop. The owner swore to me that it would fit, even after I explained that she is a stock horse and this is a strictly hunter/jumper/dressage shop. She said, "I only sell blankets that fit." Yep, and I got some ocean front property in Arizona... if you'll buy that, I'll throw the Golden Gate in free.

So, that was a complete waste of $50 since it is a clearance item and non-returnable. It was too tight in the shoulder and waaaay too long off her butt. Clearly cut for a more narrow shouldered horse. I am hoping that my trainer has a use for it on one of her horses and will buy it from me - it's a nice 1200D rain sheet, but not cut for a stock horse.

On top of that, I logged into my bank account and saw that I had somehow managed to overdraw my account a few times last week due to a forgotten check that someone took forever to cash. Next time, I think I will just take $100 bill out and burn it, at least that would give me the satisfaction of seeing it in person. Super pissed that I got no emails or anything telling me about the first occurrence, cause you know, that would be nice.

I also am owed a rather large sum of money from a coworker who keeps "forgetting" to write me a check. I have asked twice. Shame on me for even getting in this position. I hope I see it, because it would at least pay for my second new rain sheet.

All of this made ordering another sheet and blanket online that much more painful. But, it had to be done. I went with two Weatherbeetas, since that brand is supposed to be cut for stock horses. I got them both on clearance, and was told (again by the crazy tack lady as well as in online reviews) that they run large, so I went with the 72" since the only other option is 75". Fingers crossed.

I know that when it comes down to it, my money woes are mostly my fault for not paying attention/trusting people I shouldn't have, but if anyone has a line on a money tree, fill me in.

Cheers to Being Grand!

L. Williams - Blogger Extraordinaire
Uberblogger L. Williams at Viva Carlos has just reached an incredible milestone - 1,000 posts (a grand)! And, because she is awesome, she is celebrating her achievement by thanking her readers and giving away some super-useful SmartPak gift cards.

You can read her thousandth post here and enter to win by commenting and/or posting about it on your blog and letting her know.

Each morning, I sit at my desk with my coffee, and knowing that I have my favorite blogs to look forward to makes the painful journey to leave the comfort of my bed a little more bearable. L. has inspired me to blog more myself. I love getting comments and knowing that people are reading what I write is fun, but I am really doing it for me so I have a record of this incredible dream that is coming true each day I spend with my horse. Its a great reminder of the progress we make together, but an even better reminder that to love a horse is a joy, and to have the love of a horse is a gift. That and writing has always helped exorcise the crazy from my brain, so it's a win for me and those around me :)

I am sure all of the people who visit me here at Green on Green already know and enjoy L's blog, but if for some reason you haven't yet, stop by for a read. Chances are you will fall down the rabbit hole and enjoy every second of it as you come to read her stories, aspirations, salty quips, and introspective thoughts. Thanks a million, L., for sharing your thoughts with all of us :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week in Review

My favorite shoes... four years in the making on October 1st

This week I set some new goals. Here is a little progress report, since a month can be a long time to wait for a little check-in.

  1. Get to the barn three to four days a week to ride (preferably four). Rode Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
  2. Get back to the basics and really work on consistency, balance, collection in all three gaits, but especially at the lope. Riding with intention - paying more attention to cadence, collection, and consistency at all gaits. Trainer complimented us on our loping on Thursday.
  3. Counter canter exercises. Check :) Still needs work, but am able to get her to slow down and stand up in her shoulder using my seat and leg with some strong rein aids at first, and then softening the rein and going more to my seat and leg.
  4. Make sure to add in patterns and trail to break up the ride, because my little mare has ADHD just like me and just going in circles makes us a little nuts. Adding in lateral work, shoulder in, haunches in, circles, and counter bending to soften her lope departs.
  5. Ride bareback a few times this month to strengthen my seat so I don't rely to much on my saddle. Rode bareback last week on Saturday. Got her to lope consistently until I asked her to stop (hard to do without a saddle and spurs!)
  6. Participate in 2pointober - Thanks L. Williams at Viva Carlos and Hillary at Equestrian at Hart for allowing me and my western saddle to participate :) We will see how this experiment goes - I have added posting trot work to our warm ups, so this will be a good addition to the routine that I am doing instead of lunging (unless she is being a big idiot, then the lunging resumes) First day of 2 pointing went well - need better video footage so I can make sure we are getting it right.
  7. Lesson starting again in November or December. I love my lessons, but I want to find my internal motivation and make that stronger and be accountable to myself and my horse first. That and money - vet billz, ya'll, I haz them. Paying off vet bills - its a good thing.
  8. Work on loping over logs. Worked on this Tuesday - she wants to rush in and hollow out - need to remember to sit down and not chase her over them. Look for my landings.
  9. Side pass logs. We did some nice side passes on Tuesday - there was a trail course set up for Miss E, so we borrowed it :) Work on slowing it all down. Take a step or two, pause, settle, then another step.
  10. Get better control over backing and maneuvering through and around obstacles while backing. Merp. Needs work. That ass is all over the place!
  11. Hop back in line with my diet and exercise outside of the barn. Double merp on the eating habits. Crossfit twice this week - and it kicked my butt. Aiming for three days next week, and less chips.
  12. Make more time for family and friends. People aren't what I am built to love - I do much better with the furry beings in my life, but the ones I do like probably won't stick around forever unless I hang out with them sometimes. Celebrated my four year wedding anniversary with the husband on October 1st. It's my first four year anniversary (was married before and made it to three, against all better judgment, so four years is kind of a big deal, since no one has ever been able to hang in there that long, nor have I been able to tolerate someone that long, either.) We have our ups and downs, but like all good things in life it is worth the work at softening my sharp edges and learning to share my space and time with someone who loves me for me most of the time, and who usually lets the crappy parts slide. He is the one who has helped me realize two of my lifelong dreams - becoming a successful, professional photographer, and owing my own horse, which turned into training and showing my own horse, so he's pretty much reach saint status in my mind. We took the motorcycle to pick up pizza, have a beer, and then went home to a bottle of my favorite sparkling wine and a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy. It was perfect :) Looking forward to a few weeks before I have to travel again for work, so hopefully more husband and horse time in there.

Wore these on my wedding day for the first time, and hundreds of times since. Just getting broken in the way I like them :)
And so it begins...

Friday, October 3, 2014

2pointober - Day 1

So, I have too many photos on my phone. My video stopped part way through my 2 pointing because I don't have any available storage, so I'll have to get my baseline this weekend :( I got into 2 point at 5:33, but the video cuts out less than a minute later, and I know that we went for at least a few more. So, I will use a stopwatch this weekend to be sure I get a correct time. (I am on the Paint in the pink shirt, and N is on the Appy in the black, hopefully she doesn't mind that I videoed her lesson a little.)

I do welcome comments on the 2 pointing, I want to make sure I am doing it correctly, and I haven't done any hunter/jumper stuff since middle school. I may need to ask her to move out a little more, since that jog is so smooth and easy to ride.

The good news is that it went better than I expected (no saddle horn in the gut and Abbey didn't duck out and leave me hanging - score two for me). The first part of the video is me working on other stuff, but towards the end is when I started 2 pointed (around the 5:33 mark). Walk/trot only for now :) I'd like to be loping in 2 point by the end of October, so that will be a subset goal for me.

The quality of the video is pretty crappy, it's just so dark in the indoor. They have been working on putting in the outdoor for a while, and I really hope that it gets done before the snow flies so we have it next spring. Riding outside will be so nice :) I might try bringing in my really nice camera to take some video, but I worry about the dust getting into everything and ruining it. Until I figure out the video stuff, I know now that I need to work more in the center of the arena if I want to actually see anything I am doing. The far end is too far away, and the closer I get to the camera the less of me you see - common sense, but at least now I have some better markers for where I need to be riding. Also, there is definitely sunlight between my butt and the saddle when I go past the open door at the far end (5:50).

The commentary on the video is from a beginner lesson for N. She is 64 and just started riding about six months ago. She is riding her boyfriend's horse here, Titan, and he is trained in a very unusual way (as in he moves in to pressure instead of away from it, which makes riding with your legs ready interesting, since everything is opposite of what every horse I have ever ridden does), so the fact that she can steer him and get him to walk, trot, and halt is impressive. I rode him one day, and it was all I could do to get him to walk from one end of the arena to the other. It was like we were speaking two completely different languages. So, I give N a ton of credit. She got a lot out of him, and he is teaching her to be more assertive and direct in asking and getting what she wants. These tough horses always teach us so much, even though they make us work for every step. You can hear our trainer and N's boyfriend in the background as well.

I think it is awesome that someone who is in their 60s is still seeking out new hobbies, and especially one as complicated as horseback riding. You can ride from the day you were born and never learn it all. Seeing someone start as an adult near retirement who is able to set aside any issues or insecurities many people might feel (I'm too old, I might look silly, what if I fall, what if I fail...) progress and be successful is pretty cool. She really wants to learn how to post, and is struggling with it. Its neat to see everyone who watches her lessons lean in and want it so bad for her, but we all know that the only way she will learn is to do it herself. That's the best part, is that your trainers and barn mates can cheer you on through the struggles, but it is up to you to climb up there and make it happen. Which in turn means that all the joy of success is that much sweeter.

I want to be an old dog learning new tricks forever.
Abbey was awesome for our ride. Her loping is getting better, still struggling with the left lead, but we got some compliments from the trainer on it which she doesn't give unless they are earned. She also settled in to the feeling of me being in 2 point, so that was a good thing :)

Now to clean off my phone!


Thursday, October 2, 2014


San Francisco Giants :)
I'm not the biggest baseball fan that ever was, but I have actually grown to appreciate the sport for the strategy, the talent, the precision, the beer, and the cute butts. Sounds like another sport I love with cute butts... one where the athletes just happen to have four legs and tails. I don't really know why there are three seasons, pre, regular???, and post, it seems to me that it really should be all one season, but I guess maybe that some guys decided that one season of the sport they loved just wasn't enough. I get it.
Great view, and the scenery was nice, too.
Show season here in Michigan is drawing to an end (or maybe we are in postseason with end of circuit shows, congresses, and worlds coming up in October and November) but for Miss A and me it is over for the year. There are some circuits that continue with fuzzy shows, but our barn doesn't go to them because the weather is just too unpredictable and the idea of putting my horse in a trailer in the ice and snow and crazy drivers sounds like at best a horrendous vet bill and at worst a death sentence. The Buckskin Congress is this weekend, and a few riders from our barn are going. I know they will do an awesome job and I can't wait to hear all about it :) One of the girls, Miss E, is a senior this year and she qualified for a special trail competition that will take place on Thursday night. She gets one hour to learn the course (on paper) and then go ride - scary exciting!!!

I am still not sure how to feel about not racing headlong at a set of dates/goals. It's a little strange to think about a year from now. It seems so far away, but I know that time has a way of flying by, even in the endless winter of lake effect snow. My goals for the near future are simpler than they have been in a long time.

October Goals
  1. Get to the barn three to four days a week to ride (preferably four).
  2. Get back to the basics and really work on consistency, balance, collection in all three gaits, but especially at the lope.
  3. Counter canter exercises.
  4. Make sure to add in patterns and trail to break up the ride, because my little mare has ADHD just like me and just going in circles makes us a little nuts.
  5. Ride bareback a few times this month to strengthen my seat so I don't rely to much on my saddle.
  6. Participate in 2pointober - Thanks L. Williams at Viva Carlos and Hillary at Equestrian at Hart for allowing me and my western saddle to participate :) We will see how this experiment goes - I have added posting trot work to our warm ups, so this will be a good addition to the routine that I am doing instead of lunging (unless she is being a big idiot, then the lunging resumes)
  7. Lesson starting again in November or December. I love my lessons, but I want to find my internal motivation and make that stronger and be accountable to myself and my horse first. That and money - vet billz, ya'll, I haz them.
  8. Work on loping over logs.
  9. Side pass logs.
  10. Get better control over backing and maneuvering through and around obstacles while backing.
  11. Hop back in line with my diet and exercise outside of the barn.
  12. Make more time for family and friends. People aren't what I am built to love - I do much better with the furry beings in my life, but the ones I do like probably won't stick around forever unless I hang out with them sometimes.
Just need to add chocolate, coffee, wine, and naps. Then it would be perfect.