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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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!

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.