Slacking

*Last week’s post* …Whoops…

You’d think that with all this downtime from work I’d be more on a schedule for blogging but apparently not. It’s not like I’m doing anything extraordinary at night to make up for it like going to the gym. Just vegging in front of the TV like a pro! Maybe eating a jar of queso too…

This past weekend was the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Springfield, MA and I’m happy to report that my really good friend Grasa was not only named Rookie of the Year, but also Reserve Champion for the overall competition atop her mighty steed Xena ♡ They were incredible and I cried like an absolute baby… as well as the rest of the crew we were with.

Wild to mild in 100 days ♡

Pretty damn cool right?

On Sunday, Brantley and I competed at the Groton House Summer Classic. It was considered a schooling show but probable the biggest venue I’ve been to in my life. Lots of stuff going on and they’re Elementary was considered 2’3 but luckily, height is not an issue. It’s just consistency and focus… Which Brantley did not have.

I really have no complaints. He was super quiet and level headed. Just strong and distracted which is totally understandable. He had a great warm-up before dressage and even gave me a couple of flying changes which is our new trick. Second half of our test was pretty good but he was still and a little dead to my leg. Oh well. He had his eyes on the cross-country course already.

The 2 hours before stadium went by really fast seeing as walking the XC took about an hour. It was huge and definitely not just cute little logs. We had a little table type jump and a red house… things we’ve never seen. I said, as long as we get over the first jump we’ll be good (which was an easy log).

We took a couple warm-up jumps and he was ready to go. The course was a little heavy than what we’ve been doing. Especially because all I have are poles at home. We faced planks and two oxers which we’ve never done. I rode a little stronger and shortened my stirrups knowing if he was going over, he’d jump big… Which he did. But after the first refusal, I knew he was tired. He wasn’t locking on to the jumps like he normally does and was VERY distracted to everything outside the arena. But once faced at the jump again he hopped over without a second thought.

After that I was a little worried about XC but he headed to the first log like normal and then his ears were twitching this way and that. I thought I caught him in time to lock on and he bailed on him at the last second… I turned him around and he hopped over it and cantered up the hill but he was still not into it. We came up to the next log and he kept looking around and locked in at the last second luckily and went over. Then the table. I circled around the get straight and pushed him forward, and he bailed. I turned and let him look at it knowing, “Well, I’m already eliminated…” I let him turn around again and he jumped right over it. It seemed the second time around once he knew what he was supposed to do, he didn’t have an issue. After the red house they pulled us up and had us leave the course which sucked because I just wanted to get over the last few jumps… there was no one behind me. Oh well… It was 90% humidity and I only was able to ride maybe 5 times beforehand and it was a hell of an experience. I think we’ll head back for the Fall Classic and really kick some ass.

Wordless Wednesday

Literally Wordless. I’ve been trying to comment on everyone’s blogs and send my love and happy thoughts but apparently… they’re not good enough…

Or better yet the internet is trying to tell me that my comments are super annoying and non-supportive. Although I am loving WordPress in some ways… it has made a few things difficult but I’m sure they’ll work themselves out. So back to the point… I’m reading. I’m hoping. I’m sending happy thoughts to all ♡ Sorry I just can’t verbalize it on your post.

Not so awesome ride last night but I’m 100% to blame. So here are some pictures I purchased of our last horse trial at Course Brook. I would’ve purchased more but when you’ve been spoiled by awesome photographer friends… you can’t budget paying  $10 per Lo-Res download more than twice…

Downtime

After the trial last weekend we definitely took it easy the following week. I went out for a couple great trail rides with the pup in tow and for once Brantley seemed completely content just standing and talking to strangers for a bit which is new. Usually he’ll dance around wanting to keep walking but I had him on the buckle and he dozed off as we chatted.

We had a couple of quick flatwork days but took a break from jumping and our dressage test. He had Saturday off and then we had a 15-mile ride at the Myles Standish State Forest with Wendy on Sunday.

I didn’t start my watch at the beginning of the ride so I didn’t get to track the whole thing but you can see where we should’ve started. Loooots of gallop time which is what him and I both needed for sure. There were even a few times that I asked him to move out and he questioned it for a second and then obliged like the gentleman he is.

We trotted through puddles and passed dead trees on the sides of the trail without a second thought and even had a couple run in with not so nice cyclists flying by on the main road. One was probably doing 40mph while grunting and moaning so loud we thought he was having an intimate moment with his bicycle. Both boys handled it well and Wendy and I were laughing too hard to even be mad.

After kindly passing another group of horses with a not so happy/friendly chestnut, we took off down the trail so that we didn’t have the chance of getting mangled up in that mess. We were having too good of a ride. We came up again to another road and stopped to check the map. Of course my ears as well as Brantley’s perked up when we heard a motorcycle roaring around the corner… this guy was not going to slow down.

Luckily Brantley lived in a field on a main road by a motorcycle shop so I wasn’t too worried. But the guy saw us and still took the corner hard, kneeling to the ground, picking up speed. Wendy and I just looked at each other and before we could say anything, three more flew by. Boys didn’t even twitch. I was sure something terrible was going to happen after that. There’s no way this ride could be that perfect…

But it was. We went for a quick dip and had an amazing lunch, boys loaded up nicely, and we were homeward bound. Guess this means back to work. Horse Trail #3 on Saturday and we’re so going to kick ass.

Another One Down!

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Will I ever get tired of this? Especially now that we brought home a little satin this time? Yay for schooling shows and super awesome judges right? It’s the white breeches. I think they’re my new lucky breeches. Or the snazzy C4 belt, I can’t really decide. All I know is that Brantley was an absolute super star this weekend.

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Oh and a quick review on my “Horseware Competition Jacket” I nailed on clearance from RidingWarehouse.com – OMG IT FIT PERFECT! I literally hadn’t tried it on until we got there like a doofus and it was great. And honestly if I lose the weight that I’ve gained back this year, I think it will still look great. I didn’t feel constricted and it’s super lightweight. Of course the new ones come in a nice blue but I am definitely a fan of the classic black.

Anyway, we pulled in a bit late and after frantically getting ready, I had about 10 minutes to warm up before my dressage test. Now if you know anything about Brantley by now, he needs about 20 minutes… Just to canter around like a loon. Then 10-15 minutes of actual warm-up and stretching out before we can even think about trotting into the dressage arena (which was like half the size of the last arena we rode in). But alas, the bell rang and in we went, head up like a llama, ears locking onto the cross-country jumps behind the judges.

It was a complete mess with touches of beauty and a splash of, “OMG WTF ROCK!” I missed a canter cue but refused to ask for it while my horse looked like he did at that moment. The bell rang… The judge and I chatted for a moment and she asked, “How long did you get to warm up for.” “Well… We were a tad late so maybe 10 minutes.” “He needs 45 doesn’t he.” “Yes ma’am.” “Finish your test. You’ll get it next time.” Ummm… Thank you? So we finished and his halt and salute was the best part. Oh well… Back in the warm up ring we went for about 20-30 minutes until I finally got the horse that I had expected to walk into the dressage ring. Walked back to the trailer, untacked, and had a 3 hour wait until stadium.

Which by the way was pretty fantastic. I gave him about a 30-minute warm up for this but he knew what was coming and he was ready for sure. In the back of my mind I though, “I should just let him canter these” – but I wanted to make sure he took every single one confidently, straight, and forward. Even if I had to walk and pick up a trot a few strides out. If he broke into a canter and he locked onto the jump, I let him go.

That fucker did not throw me a single refusal. Every single jump got better and better. I had to break him down a few times because we’d lose our rhythm and I didn’t want to go off course, but we’d pick it right up again. The last jump of course had a scary flower box and he sat back like he wanted to stop but I had committed and I wasn’t going over without him. I screamed “YES!” when we landed and yelled at him telling him he was a good boy over and over… And then we had a victory gallop around the ring. I apologized to the woman who was waiting to go next as I was crying because I’m a sap and she just smiled and said not to worry. I walked him around the grounds on the buckle just crying, everyone looked confused of course. I was so proud of him.

(For some reason I can’t upload videos anymore so click this for a YouTube video)

It was about 30 minutes until we got to hit the cross-country course and I wish I had my GoPro but I have yet to buy a new charge cord for it. Derp. The first jump was a doozy. Probably the scariest looking thing we’ve ever jumped. Two 5-6ft high by 3 ft wide boxes for standards… Dark wood. Dark pole set as the vertical. Dark hay/straw/gross bales of hay… with branches piled up. All I could think was that if we didn’t go over that one, we weren’t going over anything. Aaaanndddd… We nailed it.

There was a lot of space between the jumps on the course and they had pretty direct routes so we were both thankful. After each jump we had a few strides to really celebrate our victory and still enough time to come back, get set up, and follow through to the next jump. I don’t think I could have been any prouder of how he did and I actually felt really good about myself which hasn’t happened in a while. I felt like I really rode well and I gave him what he needed to succeed. Of course I could definitely pick myself apart but I won’t. I know what we need for next time and that’s what schooling shows are for.

 

 

We looked pretty adorable and pro-fresh too. The photographer just posted the pictures from the show and I’m contemplated grabbing some of them. $10 for a Lo-Res Facebook pic and $40 for a Hi-Res… I have no problem paying for pictures and I’ve picked out the two I really like, but I’ve been spoiled having some pretty talented photographer friends so I have to weigh out buying pictures, or putting the money towards eventing camp because that could be a thing this year.

Thank you everyone who believed in us! This won’t be the last time around for sure!

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The Suspense…

It’s a good day. Just a few years ago today I tacked him up for my first ride. My first real ride… Rope halter and a lead rope. The first time I felt like we were really a team and everything I had worked towards on the ground finally paid off.

 What a lot of people don’t know is that yes, Brantley has been a part of my life for the last 5 years. But when it comes to paperwork, he’s not mine. It was a “he’s not staying here another night” type of situation and I loaded him on the trailer in the dark. No questions asked. His current registration. An old blanket. And some super expired wormer. No bill of sale. No transfer of ownership. Just a halter and a lead rope with a horse attached… And it’s been haunting me.

Why did I take forever to reach out to her and get it done? I was terrified. That thought floating in my mind that she’d decide… She’d want him back. Well after my post about memberships I decided to join AQHA due to some incentives… may have included a free pocket knife in the deal too. Anyway, the “Transfer Ownership” link caught my eye after joining and I knew it was time.

Lucky me, we’re linked on Facebook and she happened to ask if I wanted her two extra tickets to Jason Aldean… Totally random I know. After some thought I declined but mentioned it to my friend who jumped on the opportunity. So… I messaged her asking if she’d sign the paperwork, got a thumbs up, and sent him to the concert with this one thin, rippable piece of paper and tried not to think about it. Who are we kidding. Longest 2 hours of my life.

730pm – *bing* Text from George… “B is yours.”

She signed. No questions asked. Just scribbled away.

I kept my shit together until the BO and I took off on the trail and I let him go. We stopped on the top of a hill and it finally hit me. He’s finally mine. No more worrying. No more bad dreams. Brantley is mine.

Lessons & Trail Rides

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– Man oh man is he handsome –

Brantley and I have our first Hunter Pace of the season this weekend and like the rest of the… month… it’s supposed to pour. Derp … But I’m super excited! It’ll be nice to get back in the woods with Wendy and Elijah, that’s for sure. Saturday is our warm up in CT… Beautiful 20-mile ride through Tyrone Farm and “cross-town”, whatever that means. ^.^ Of course it’s not supposed to rain on that day! Oh well. It’ll be great.

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We were lucky to get a couple of chances to ride with Niall again last week after the Blessing and we are really on a roll. I would love to write about our lessons and tell you things that I learned… But apparently I cannot focus on this post to save my life. All I know is that he’s getting softer in my hands, using his hind end correctly, and even going to straight! Which is huge! Because he definitely likes to fall to the inside… And I definitely let him. Whoops…

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Today we went over some cross-rails. Unfortunately I scratched my cornea again but I gave in and rode with my glasses (I don’t know how some of you do it). I definitely did not feel myself. I felt off balance and like I couldn’t focus. I’ve only been wearing glasses since I was… 8. But! I did it and we hopped the cross-rails and I was just going to call it a day until the BO said, “Hey, let’s run through your dressage test!” – So we did… And we rocked it. I’m getting pretty excited about the entries I sent out this week.

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I think we’ve got the bug… Next schooling show is on the 20th and I’m super psyched. Hoping we can fit in at least one cross-country school before then but with work… It’s looking like a no but here’s to hoping.

Memberships?

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Oh hey guys. I’d like to apologize for my oddness of my last two posts and ridiculous picture size. I’m still getting used to the WordPress app on my phone because I was computer-less for a few days.

Sunday was the Blessing of the Horses with a 10-mile ride. The BO and our friend Candance joined Wendy and I which is the biggest group that we’ve been with. We’ve only had one successful ride with more than just us. Both boys were totally well-behaved though so we were really proud. Brantley did have a little incident… aka his annual Spring-time bolt session. Of course normally my reaction would be, “Fine b*tch run!” but I knew the BO’s horse would not react well if I just took off in Brantley-shenanigan fashion, so we fought a bit but I finally slowed  him up (thanks to some horses in the woods). I think we’re having some cinch issues again. Not sure if I’m cinching up too tightly or what. I do need to replace some straps here and there and looking into a couple other cinch options. We’ll get it figured out!

So here’s my “get the audience involved” question for the week – What memberships are you guys a part of? Especially friends in the eventing world. And is it worth something to look into? Here are my options…

I was hoping to apply for a scholarship that USEA was offering because I want to go to the eventing camp that GMHA is holding in Vermont… But I didn’t join in time. So that just brings me back to what I should join or if I should really even bother. I’m not planning on doing anything sanctioned unless all of a sudden we can click into Beginner Novice gear, but obviously I’m in no rush. I had a friend say I should join the USDF, but not really sold on that either because I’m just starting to dabble in dressage tests because of the eventing thing.

Then there’s AQHA. We trail ride… A lot. And we’re actually going for mileage this year through our local horseman’s association and rumor has it from what I’ve been told, this could count for points with the AQHA. Plus I could legally transfer his paper under my name. He is a Quarter Horse and I feel like that’s the one membership I should definitely go for. Other than that though, I don’t compete in anything that would count towards points so I’m not sure if it’s worth the money.

So my question to my readers, what are the memberships or associations that you’re a part of? Pros? Cons? Worth it?

Thank you in advance – And for possibly saving me money.

A couple of lessons with Niall this week and maybe a trip out for cross-country schooling with the BO. Then adventure day on Sunday with Wendy and I cannot wait! Scavenger hunt on horseback? I hope she’s ready to carry everything.