6 Years Ago…

I want to say that I can’t believe it’s been 6 years but honestly I can’t believe that it hasn’t been longer. It feels like forever ago I got the “free horse” call…

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I still remember the first time I saw you. Scared. Worried. Completely broken. Just like me. I didn’t know in that moment you were going to be what saved me in my darkest hour. And I’m sure you would tell me the same thing if you could. But you still followed me right onto the trailer in pitch black not knowing what your future held.

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Well B… It’s been incredible. You have brought more joy and happiness and friendships into my life that I could have never imagined. I am so thankful every day for what you’ve done for me and I don’t think I could ever repay you.

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Equine Affaire came and went and I found a few good things (like a new pair of Dublin Pinnacle boots that I still haven’t taken out of the box). But who are we kidding. I went for the “reunion”. New friends joined the group but we missed the old ones. Unfortunately K wasn’t able to make it but the good news is her baby is super healthy and happy so that’s what matters right?

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Plus that meant I got to start the E.A. weekend with my favorite little human. Don’t tell the girls but that may have been my favorite part. I’m already starting down the days until the next time that’s for sure. Maybe my shopping list will be a little longer next time around.

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Trying to get in as much ride time in on as many horses as I can. There was a little hiccup in my confidence over the last couple of weeks after a little spurt of barn crap. There’s no better way to fix that than more pony time that’s for sure. Especially with my favorite sidekick to my left.

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Cody has been absolutely super… So much that I think he might be sick. Or maybe something just clicked. Or I just learned how to ride over E.A. weekend by osmosis and he really appreciates that. I know I do!

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I’ve been trying to throw in a few rides here and there on this guy too while the BM is working her way back into the saddle. I forgot my barrel saddle so I hopped on him and I think he has a secret yearn for eventing and just doesn’t know it yet! His name is Jasper, the Little Red Ranch Horse ❤

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Lucky for me, W said I could hop on Elijah too. She’s had him since he was a baby and she has done such a good job with him. Even though sometimes he can be a brat about moving forward, he is such a pleasure to ride.

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Of course none of the other boys will steal my away from this guy. Just helping me become a better rider for him. I’m so proud of how far he’s come and we’re definitely in winter mode. Long, low, and no place to go fast. We definitely are in need of a quiet trail ride with our buddies but he’s not being a jerk about getting stuck inside now that my winter schedule has taken over. Thanksgiving is definitely going to be lots of treats and a kiss on the star while I run out the barn door.

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At least I got in one last hoorah before this crazy week begins with a few friends! Good friends, good beer, and a great band. I’ll take it. Oh… And here’s Mitch.

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It’s Over

The season that is. Brantley pulled his shit together and was a-okay for our last hunter pace of the season. I told the girls that if I got on and he felt at all off I’d just hang out until they got back but he was rearing to go (almost literally).

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G and I had talked about dressing up all last year but W wasn’t sold… until she had this amazing costume idea and boy did we not disappoint!

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Here’s a closeup of W and Elijah so you get a better idea…

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Obviously G and I waited completely last minute so we had to make our Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts but that was totally worth it. Add red and white thigh high socks, blue bows for the ponies, and bright blue fuzzy mohawks to our helmets? Costume complete.

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We had a pretty good ride but the two bays were total trouble. No brains, NO brakes… I lost a stirrup twice (once over a jump and once at a gallop) but my seat prevailed. Brantley total had his jumping game in check though and we popped over most of the scarier jumps… minus the tire dragon I was dying to point him at but apparently tires are still ridiculously scary.

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Last year we had come him about 7-10 minutes too fast so we tried to take it slow. Luckily with the amount that Brantley I argued… we came in just in the knick of time to place 2nd. Not only did we place 2nd for the pace, but we also placed 2nd in the costume contest (we lost to a group of super cute little pirates so I’ll take it).

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All in all it was a great ride and the pros outweighed the cons 100% (cons being my horse being stuck in 5th gear the whole time). Definitely the perfect way to end the season. I’m so lucky to have these girls to gallop around this year with. I don’t know if I could’ve made it without them by my side that’s for sure. As 2017 wraps up into a thankful month, I’ll remind myself all of the amazing things we’ve done in such a short period of time.

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That’ll help me get through the current barn drama that’s for sure… To be continued…

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Looking at the Pros

Brantley is certainly getting fuzzy which could be a fair warning about the upcoming winter. Why do I say that you might ask? Brantley as well as some of the other horses I have the pleasure of working with never get this fuzzy… especially this early in the winter. Plus it’s been so warm…

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Fuzzy Pony

I’ve never clipped a horse before and although I keep considering it, I haven’t pulled the trigger. I have a few friends who have already but with Brantley’s fitness level, it takes a lot for him to get super sweaty anyways. Does anyone have any takes? To clip or not to clip. I think Brantley deserves to be a wooly mammoth for once.

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Pony Pajamas

So tonight we were supposed to be a part of a group lesson with NQ. As always, we need about 30 minutes to warm up so I walked him out to the indoor and did a quick hand-walk around the arena while the lights warmed up. Unfortunately the stiffness that I thought he was experiencing didn’t subside. I hopped on when the other girls came in to have them watch him trot around and we agreed he was a bit short in the hindend. Didn’t help he was being a dick since riding in the arena with other horses isn’t his favorite. I waited for NQ to come out and have a look. One giant lame step later we decided that we’d spend the lesson standing/sleeping in the center of the arena for a bit before I tucked him in with his with his BoT pj’s and soaked alfalfa cubes and remenicesed about our rides over the weekend.

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Jumping Bean

After our Jersey trip I was dying to get in a jump school since I wasn’t able to ride with Lauren on Monday before we left (I had a tummy ache…). But watching her jump around really gave me the itch. I set up our favorite exercise and only added one giant cross-rail. Apparently I am no longer vertically challenged! B was so ready to go.

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Get it B!

He felt so soft and so light to my seat that all I did was look around a bend and he was right there with me. We centered the whole pattern and he didn’t miss a beat. So proud! (Of both of us)

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Beeeend… and SNAP!

We had a few other great rides before our hunter pace on Sunday which may have been the reason behind the soreness… some of the roads we galloped down were pretty rocky and it poured so his hooves must’ve been just soft enough. I have a game plan for his feet but that will be another post.

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Gorgeous rainy day!

Grasa, Wendy, and I had an amazing ride with the ponies. They were absolutely spectacular and we actually met a single rider out on the trail who ended up joining our group. The boys handled the add-on just fine which shows how far they’ve come this year. One of the association members built and set up all the jumps they had out on the trail and they were beautiful. I was super picky because I brought my western tack (plus didn’t want to soak my Bates again). We did take a look at a canoe stuffed with hay bales and flowers…

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#weride #ponyshenanigans

Thinking B would shy away, I walked up to it to at least get him to look at it. Instead of shying, he locked on and was ready to leap… I stopped him. Turned right. Waited until the other girls went ahead and let him go. Almost died but it was worth it and he was so proud of himself. I didn’t want to take the chance of not going over and disappointing the girls so I didn’t warn them so all they heard was a thud and me squeal.

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Surpise!

We got back and when we heard the Trailblazer time we thought there was no way we placed. They were waiting for one more group in our division so they said they’d call out first through third. “First place, Team #19” … I proceeded to spit out whatever brownie I was eating and yell, “What?!” So that happened…

Hopefully some poultice and bareback rides will do B some good. We’ll see where he’s at Friday and make a decision for Sunday. I’d hate to miss out but B is more important. ♡

New Jersey Vacation

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Clarity

I had been waiting to head out for months and everything just kept getting in the way… But the last thing I was going to do was tell Lauren that my truck was unable to haul and there was a slight issue with getting a trailer. I knew it was going to work out. It just had to work out. I needed this trip. We needed this trip. With a stroke of luck and some bartering, I was able to borrow a friend’s trailer and Dad so graciously handed me the keys to his brand new Dodge… I was one lucky girl.

It was only about a 4 or 5 hour drive but the closer I got, the lighter I felt. I think Brantley some how knew exactly where we were headed and I didn’t even stop for snacks. We pulled into the barn to L waving her hands and jumping up in down. I could of cried.

B unloaded like he was already home and once Charlie caught a whiff, the air was filled a thick bromance once more.

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Bromance

So of course when we started fitting Brantley for a halter for overnight turnout… Charlie lost his shit in his stall which included rearing, striking, bucking, and making all sorts of, “YOU JUST GOT HERE! DON’T LEAVE ME!” noises…

Luckily that ended real fast when C realized how dumb he was being. After a couple errands we had a quick ride before it got too dark and got the trailer ready for the next day. L had a list of places that she wanted to check out and I was psyched! The next couple days were going to be a great way to prep us for the hunter pace we planned on going to.

Our first ride was out to the Round Valley Reservoir and man did we have a blast. It was Charlie’s first outing in a while so we took it easy until he settled in and B was an absolute rock. As things went on and they got comfortable, we started to move out pretty well. Luckily down one strip I got hit in the face with a rock sooooo… We stopped bantering just in time to not get hit by a car.

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Whoops…

Thank goodness we survived that because L decided to explore a hill we both thought led to nowhere when actually it was an incredible gallop path with an even more incredible view at the top.

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Saturday we had breakfast with L’s hubby and headed out for another adventure at Deer Path Park which was about 8 minutes from her house. We didn’t have the highest of hopes for anything spectacular but we really just wanted a nice easy ride to follow our 6 miles mountain ride the previous day.

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We got both of those things including a few fields where we clocked about 25-26mph. Poor Brantley is not used to losing but he ran his heart out!

After tucking them away we prepped for the hunter pace which was the perfect way to end the weekend that’s for sure. Lots of walking… and galloping… and even a few jumps. Unfortunately we came in a bit too fast (13 minutes?) but I don’t think we would’ve wanted to ride any differently. The best part about the weekend (other than stealing a dog at the finish line) was watching L and Charlie click all over again.

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It was definitely difficult to leave… But I was glad to get home to my other boys. One of which I think missed me a lot. Luckily Equine Affairs is right around the corner so I can get one more Lauren fix before next year.

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All of the Ribbons

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Now that our schooling horse trial season is over, it’s time to go back to basics and rebuild our bodies. That includes me… I really took a turn for the worse this year (I say as I scoop queso into my mouth with delicious salty tortilla chips… #nojudgementzone). But I’m finally mentally ready to be make those physical changes I worked so hard for last year. I also want to plump up Brantley a little bit (if only I could donate my body fat) before the winter… he’s got an eventer body as of right now and I really want to go into winter with a… fluffy eventer body. Thinking alfalfa cubes at night check to start. Anyone have an input?

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I pulled out my bareback pad after 7 years and decided to take it for a spin on B for the first time. I know I should be working on my 2-point (which I added 2 minutes to Friday night) but even just walking and doing some fence-line work I’m quickly building a more solid seat. We’re getting prepped for #NoStirrupNovember!

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Last night was the Fall Fest for WGHA and we were surprised to hear we placed 4th in our division! We’re already excited for next year as always. We’ve still got a few left for this season though. Today was our favorite at Tyrone Farm in CT. The Annual Pomfret Hunter Pace! Rumor was rain but we were okay with because last year we were caught in the aftermath of a hurricane and since the boys were totally fine and confident galloping through the woods, so were we. And to top it off, we placed 1st in our division! So we definitely had high hopes for this one especially said rain was nowhere to be found…

Until we started taking up… My ass was soaked as soon as I mounted but away we went with a bay thoroughbred wannabe ready to rock ‘n roll! I don’t think it rained as hard as last year or for as long but I feel like we get more wet the before. We moved pretty steadily along and Brantley offered to jump some of the cross-country jumps but it was really slick and the last thing I wanted to do was put a damper on his confidence. By the end of the ride we were all pretty exhausted. I spent a lot of time up in my 2-point for obvious reasons and between that and the chill, my legs were shaking like I had just done a thousand squats…

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The boys were happy to finally get to enjoy the unmowed hay field we had to park in after the ride. We had a great lunch, made a few new friends, and went home 5th out of 30. I can’t believe this is the 4th time I’ve done this ride and I have yet to get sick of it… minus today we came home with two shoes instead of four. I warned my farrier I’ll be calling him Monday… I’ll never forget my first ride and unbridling Brantley in the middle of an open field when I went over the jump and he didn’t. Just the look he gave me as he stood over me and waited for me to get up like, “It’s okay, we’ll get it next time.”

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And man, are we gettin’ it 😍

Reflections + 2Pointober

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My heart hurts… I know everyone’s heart hurts. Just yesterday I was bitching about not wanting to pay $30 for a digital download of our cross-country pictures and then I wake up to… this. I’m asking the same question everyone is asking… why? I’m reading posts about who and what is to blame and know, it won’t be enough. Learning more and more people are gone from this world and most of them scrapping together cash to get tickets and beg people to cover their shifts at work so that they can have that night out with their friends. One girl… it was her 21st birthday.

I don’t have much to say or wonderful words of wisdom. I do know that greatness always come out of tragedy if you let it but it’s harder and harder to see through all the darkness that we’ve been dealt. I just hope that all of your family members and friends are safe as well as yourselves… and your ponies.

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I’m still waiting on some pictures to decorate my entry of Groton House. It was pretty much an on and off mess involving arguing with stewards and crying tears of joy with jump judges I’ve never met. All in all I would say that with everything thrown at us over that 48 hour period, we did pretty well and I’m happy to have ended our season the way we did. Just another learning experience!

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Now that the season is over for us, ’tis the season for hunter paces, blog hops, and monthly challenges! This month? #2Pointober !!! I headed out this afternoon to grab my baseline (due Wednesday Oct. 4th @ midnight) with Brantley but I really had just galloping on the brain. He although… did not. It took a little coaxing but we had a nice canter going so I started my timer and put my heels down. Not our best time but 1:15 will do. Probably not the best to try to get it done out on the trails but hey, I knew if I didn’t do it today… I’d forget. Typical me!

Head over to Fraidy Cat Eventing or PONY’TUDE for more information!

Horse Show Pre-game

*Disclosure: I used my phone for this entry… Sorry*

So we all know about horse show hangover… but what do you guys do when it comes to the pregame. Do you work weekends like me where you cram everything into the trailer the night before and pray you don’t forget anything? Or do you have a list you check twice… maybe three times… And spend all day prepping. Or are you the one who waits until that morning with the thought, “Nothing can go wrong this time, right?”

If you are the latter… I pray for you.

I’d love to say I’m the one who has a list written out with cute little check mark boxes beside each item… but I’m not. Mental check list? Check! I think my biggest problem is that I’ve been in the mode to be ready for a friend to pick me up that I have a system first thing in the morning. Now that I can trailer myself… I always tend to forget something. Go figure! I’ll be late anyway.

What about riding habits? Do you try to cram in one last practice for that dressage test? Go gallop a cross-country course? Or head out for a leisurely trail ride to clear your mind of pre-competition jitters…

I’m definitely a galloping trail ride to rid my mind of everything kind of pre-gamer as we all know.

Apparently that wasn’t Brantley’s plan today… The itch factor screams bee sting…

Cue panic… Just kidding. This doesn’t ruffle my feathers one bit. He’s not painful or bleeding so we’ll be fine. Just going to miss out on the pre-game gallop… dammit.

Lucky for me, I only have some night feeds tonight (yes I’m still working this weekend) so going out for a hike was definitely the next best thing after a refreshing bath… for both of us.

I’ll head out to grab the trailer when we get back and then do my feedings then pick up pizza and beer for my tack cleaning ritual (that’s what pre-gaming is all about!). Then home to pack my coat bag and make sure my breeches are clean and sparkling white!

Spoiler… they won’t be.