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.

Still A Little High

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I’m still a little high from Sunday… ridiculous I know. But can you blame me? Look at my boy… he’s so happy and ready to get sh*t done.

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We haven’t been doing too much this week. Monday came around and the farrier showed up. I guess I forgot an appointment that we made last week? By the time he was done we figured we’d be better off just taking a day and going on a hike. He was pretty content with sleeping all day though.

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I planned to ride on Tuesday even just some quick flat work but then Surprise! Apparently we scheduled our second round of shots and strangles vaccine. After that I figured hey… a day off definitely won’t hurt… and then he had Wednesday off…

Put him on the line Thursday and he definitely had a little more piss and vinegar than I wanted to deal with but I was determined to go for a nice walk/trot on the trails with the BO. We have a 10-mile ride tomorrow so I needed my horse to have a brain. He was great and we did do a little canter headed home. I tried to keep our “Brantley, stop being a dick” conversation quiet so the BO wouldn’t get worried as she cantered off. He finally relaxed after realizing that not being in the lead isn’t too bad. He really wanted to go though… so Friday happened.

Walked into the barn after dropping all of my money on vet bills for the other four-leggers and said, “I’m tacking up English and we’re going for a gallop.” to the BO. I love how game she is for just about everything. We ended up having a fantastic ride and I definitely pushed passed my English tack safe zone a little. Worth it!

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I got to go visit my boy Rio today which was a lot of fun. We hopped over a little branch. He was adorable and definitely not the bravest of ponies but he obliged. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a little more time with him in the near future. ♡

I figured I should get a good flat ride on B before our ride tomorrow. Life can’t be all about galloping on the trails and jumping… although I definitely think I’d be happier doing that as well. We were both really not in it to get anything done but we got a good 30 minutes in before the bugs got too bad so I figured I’d call it before things took a turn.

Told him I needed picture for today’s post… and this what I got.

I may or may not have streamed XC today on my phone… while driving. More like I listened to the commentary and caught what I could at the stop lights. I know. Super naughty but it was incredible. The jumps themselves looked pretty straight forward but the course itself looked pretty rigorous. Man those horses are crazy athletic and LOVE what they do. Next year I’m so going!

Entrance is Everything

I was worried about our dressage test. I have NEVER done one before and I’m pretty sure neither has Brantley. I thought to myself as we trotted around the arena and waited for the bell, “Just make the entrance.” And we did that for sure. It was sexy AF.

We were marked down 40 points due to being above the bit and having our circles a tad too small… but I’ll take it. He was quiet and curious but responsive and waited for my cues. I couldn’t ask for much more out first time around.

 
There was a little break before our stadium round. Enough for a quick snack and a tack change. Brantley didn’t even bat an eye through it. As soon as I put his fancy bonnet on from F.U.N.Bonnets, he was ready to roll.

We had a great warm up. Didn’t take any time at all to hit the cross-rail and the vertical set up… And then we cocked and ear and an eye to the oxer. Small, yes, but we’ve never hopped over one before. Even Kate was surprised. He absolutely shy’d away from it at first but I let him take a look, turned around, and we popped over it without an issue. Then it was time to hit the arena.

When it comes to B, the first jump is what counts. There’s that whole “make the entrance” again. Of course he shy’d at the flower box but I wanted to set him up for success, not push him over because of the environment we were in. It was totally worth the 3rd attempt and he popped right over.

It paid off. He take a jump and I’d let him canter off, then I’d bring him back to a trot and make sure we took the next jump straight and with even aids. There’s a method to my madness but I didn’t want him to rush the jumps and take a chance of him dropping out and building up anxiety. I wanted him to sit, wait, be straight, be forward, and be confident.

Of course I screwed up the last two obvious jumps but I don’t think I’ve smiled that much in a long time. Especially on camera…

He was so proud of himself walking out of that arena and seemed to know exactly where we were headed next. That countdown goes by quick. Almost didn’t make the start box!

He was VERY strong coming over the jumps and the course was pretty compact with higher level jumps in the same direction of ours… including a ditch that B decided he was ready to take. I had to bring his head around and let him reevaluate. Luckily he wasn’t a dick about it, just ready to run and do what he loves.

I had to pull him up a few times although the logs were small just so I could make sure I would have a horse on the other side when we landed.

We were both pretty proud of ourselves after and feeling pretty badass… he definitely could’ve gone around again and again. He locked on some larger jumps out there but how many times can you go off course at a schooling event before they catch on.

I am so lucky I had this opportunity and I’m still feeling a little high from it. I’m really thankful for everyone involved! The BO was nice enough to truck us up there even though she wasn’t competing and Alicia held on to my camera and got some great shots. Wendy is always my grounding rod and PIC so it was great to have her there too. Kate was able to make it and also got some amazing shots of us which I am always thankful for… And B and I got a huge hug from Hannah at the end of it all to make it the perfect day.

Not sure what this week will bring but I’m already looking into the “local” cross-country derbies and horse trials… we may be hooked.

AKF 3-Phase : 4.23.17

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So here’s my horse being a BAMF in the warm up ring before our Stadium round… Yup… The unrideable horse over-jumping what is supposed to be a 2′ vertical but honestly, I didn’t get down to measure.

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I was definitely nervous. I had never done anything like this before and our issue of the year has been getting on. Not that he won’t stand at the mounting block or for me to get on, just this uncontrollable flood of anxiety when I put my foot in the stirrup. Like those random flashes of that car wreck you were in years ago that you get when you touch the handle of a car door. But you still somehow manage to open the car door like I still manage to throw a leg over. It’s funny how his whole body just breathes for me when my tiny butt sits in the saddle. “It’s okay Mom, I’ve got you.”

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And he did today. He totally had my back even when he was completely unsure of himself… Or me… He took my word for it that we’d make it through.

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I think I picked the right discipline for us… Finally. It only took 5 years and a whole lot of work… Worth it? I think so.

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I couldn’t have been prouder of this horse today.

I couldn’t have been prouder of either of us.