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…

fb_img_1511147939594615577475.jpg

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.

fb_img_1511096520234342495538.jpg

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.

wp-image--599533431

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?

fb_img_1511147962104839920400.jpg

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.

img_20171117_151425_450945445049.jpg

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.

img_20171117_151345_2012128720475.jpg

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!

img_20171112_161454_6121918034519.jpg

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 ❤

img_20171117_171953_154752758896.jpg

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.

img_20171116_220740_8381406343740.jpg

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.

img_20171117_223956_2801398494704.jpg

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.

img_20171106_221602_2521587548745.jpg

Advertisements

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!

18581477_10102485882613254_7879915210959385771_n

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.

18527389_10102485447315594_3938030260530221224_o

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!

18557088_10102487649307784_4339783667456667667_n

Still A Little High

IMG_-a2sr40

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.

IMG_20170429_075825_341

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.

20170424_140740

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!

IMG_20170429_161508_510

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!

AKF 3-Phase : 4.23.17

IMG_2033

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.

IMG_1980

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.”

IMG_2059

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.

IMG_2067

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.

IMG_2083

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

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