Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Goals in Review

The year is complete and here's how this year's goals stacked up, excuses and all. :)

  1. Post the trot for 5 minutes, walk break, post for 5 more minutes - I honestly don't know because I haven't tried to do it. I certainly haven't trained specifically for it, which was the intended format. So I guess it's technically a fail.
  2. Reliable left to right flying change - ACCOMPLISHED over summer, and we have 100%
  3. School a course of all 2’6” jumps - ACCOMPLISHED Aug 2. I jumped my PR that day and all the jumps were at least 2'3", if not all 2'6" and up. I feel the average of the jumps factors in, lol.
    • Show locally, hunters 2’6” - Because I didn't show all year until Oct, I didn't move up to 2'6" yet. So this will have to be slated for next year AGAIN. Hopefully I will have funding.
  4. Jump 24” bareback - ACCOMPLISHED over summer
    • Jump 24” bareback and bridle-less, neck rope ok - I did jump bridle-less, but I believe it was a little X. I found out that Sam goes wherever he wants when bridle-less, so we've been working on seat/leg only while warming up - with loose rein as backup. I feel this is a goal we can easily get this coming year. We just weren't ready.
  5. Weigh-in at 155 pounds - Not even close. I actually put back on the 10lbs I lost late the year before. :(   I am starting a new program next week, an actual program, so not only will this goal be on my list next year, I seek to make it even smaller. My normal, pre-children/old age weight was 135.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Red Ryders Day

At my barn we have Red Ryder's day. In the spirit of the comic strip that had a 20 year run.
Cookies and sweets are provided in our hospitality area.

And people ride in all their holiday garb, with some of us subjecting our mounts to festive attire.

Sam totally doesn't mind wearing the antlers
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all ye with mighty steeds. Hug a loved one and go for a ride.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December's 10 Questions

1. What size horse do you prefer to ride?
Cutest reindeer EVER!
15.2 to 16.1hh

2. Do you school in tall boots or half chaps and paddock boots?
half chaps and paddock boots

3. What do you do with your ribbons after shows?
Write the classes and placings on the backs, fold the tails up under the rosette and put them in their placings jars.

4. Do you ride/board at a large show barn or a small private barn?
Large private barn with about 34 horses. Some of us show, but it's pretty independent.

5. Have you seen a horse give birth?
Nope, but I've seen a 1 day old.

6. What is your favorite breed?
AHHHHHHHH. Such a hard question. Probably easier to list what I don't like. I'm drawn to appys.

7. Favorite tack brand?
Also a hard question. I'm more a specific piece of tack brand lover. I guess I'll have to go with ADT, but I wish their variety wasn't so limited.

8. Would you ever buy used tack?
Yes, but I've only purchased used saddles.

 9. Ever been on a carriage ride?

10. How often do you go to the tack store?
Hardly ever. There's only 2 in the area and only 1 is really viable. I visit online tack stores at least once every few days ;)

Thursday, November 27, 2014


I'm thankful for this guy

who lets me keep this guy at a super awesome barn

and supports me jumping over sticks, going to shows and nursing my bruises.

Thanks and love to my husband for making it possible to have this guy, 
even while I'm unemployed (again) because I don't know what I'd do without this special horse
that I'm super thankful for and lucky to have.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

FS Pipers replace KP Pipers

Remember all my cute breeches I posted about last month?

I can't stand wearing the same ol', same ol'. Must have variety!

I originally switched all my FITS Beka breeches to Piper breeches in the spring. I love the knee patch Pipers. They fit me well (I do have to wear a belt to keep the crotch where it's supposed to be) and are super flattering on my big butt.

Well... Where the seam meets in the back looks all smooth and to the touch is pretty smooth. However, maybe it's the way my ass is shaped, or the it's the shape of my saddle seat, but I was rubbing a spot in my saddle all summer. It happens while sitting mostly.

New saddle purchased in Dec '13. Rubbed right through outer finish. My saddle is otherwise perfect.
See how the fabric of the euro cut 'full seat' section actually meets UNDER the top pocket area, creating a overhanging ridge? They don't meet flush like full seats do. So that center spot where it's thickest is the culprit. Tho, honestly by the touch, they feel pretty smooth, so you would't think there would be any damage.

Piper KP: giant arch of ridge - so cute! so naughty!

Piper FS: flush meeting of fabric, slightly less flattering on butt.

So, after looking around online and ruling out other cute KP brands like Equine Couture for the same reason, and trying a few other brands via SmartPak, I decided to go to full seats of Pipers. They are just so cute on me with the color stitching and often contrast seat. Even though I totally don't need fullseats. They weren't annoying or even sticky. So it's really like they aren't there for me. I did have to order up a size from the knee patch though (big thighs, less stretch with the seat). 

So in under 90mins, I sold all my knee patches on FB and ordered a few new pairs of fullseats!

I super duper loved the way the KPs fit my butt. I basically looked like the butt in the navy pair above, that's how cute. The location/size of the euro seat probably has a lot of do with it as it is wider and more of a giant arc, where as TS for example is like a tiny patch in my crack and more narrow - and no cool stitching or POCKETS! My iPhone 4s LIVES in the right pocket, even while riding. The FS will just have to be cool enough. And hopefully not hot in the summer. Cross that bridge when I get there.

So, buyer beware. Hopefully SP will fix the error of their ways - or it's just totally my body and saddle combination.

And if you haven't tried the new Piper sidezip tan show breeches, make sure you super squat in 2-point in front of a mirror. Remember that lovely arc that the regular Pipers create on your butt that is flattering? Well, the show breech is a lighter fabric, so that euro stitching line makes a nice slice into your cheeks and over fences you'll have a nice horizontal disected butt. UGLY! You have been warned.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

10 more things...

Thanks Viva Carlos for the hop.

  1. Is there something you don’t like about your riding? That I'm super lazy and quit trotting long before i should.
  2. Does your horse buck? No. He definitely has a hump in there but we've seemed to fix that issue. 
  3. Is your horse head shy? Not at all. I can even spray his face for baths if I'm thoughtful about it.
  4. Favorite barn chore to do? Cleaning tack. Rather do that then curry my horse. o0
  5. How many times do you ride a week? always minimum 3x/week. Typically 4-6x/week. Winters, I usually stick to just the 3 days. My horse can do any combiniation and I always get the same horse.
  6. Who is your favorite pro rider? Right now I'm loving Lillie Keenan. 
  7. If one pro rider could train you for one day who would it be? I bet I would enjoy Dom Schramm :)
  8. Favorite Facial Marking? Love a nice wide blaze.
  9. Leg Markings or No Leg Markings? I super love stockings.
  10. Ever broken anything falling off? Nope, knock on wood. Never had a broken bone, except when my 9yo aunt dropped my 9mo self and my arm broke and they had to wrap the cast around my torso because I kept whacking my arm on the table leg at the doctor office after the original cast.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Uniform = Costume

I bet people think I'm wearing a costume today. Happy Halloween!
Had some shopping in town after riding.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October's 10 Questions

1. How many pairs of breeches/jods do you own? 
Fleece on the left, everydays on the right
  • 4 are Kerrits KP Sit Tight and Warm fleece lined that I use in Dec/Jan when the temp is sub 45.
  • 1 Ariat demins that are still too small for me, so unworn.
  • 1 FITS Beka in tan that I show in.
  • 8 SmartPak Pipers, all of which are KP except the plaid which are fullseat.
2. How many horses have you ridden?
I probably rode around 9 different horses as a kid, which was divided between vacation trail ride horses and random chances at a ride. I took a few months of lessons when I lived in Cali around my mid-twenties and rode probably 3 different horses. From there I can solidly count (not including any horses I tried at while shopping - which wasn't many) 8, owning 5 of those.

3. How many trainers have you had?
  1. Mrs. Pennington of Pennington Farms. As a kid I took 16 weeks of lessons total, once a week. She and her staff of teens taught me everything I know about basic horse parts and tack. What I learned there, I muscle memory and apply as an adult. It's amazing that that information sticks when the rest of my memory is crap ;)
  2. Claire of a barn in the silicon valley that I will never remember the name of (see memory is crap). I was in my mid-twenties with three kids already and my trainer was around 18/19 yrs old with a total alternative look, complete with piercings everywhere. And she was awesome and I was sad to move away.
  3. Lorraine? was a dressage instructor who came to my house for approximately monthly lessons for almost a year when I got my first horse at age 28. 
  4. Jessica is a top dressage rider of the slightly famous Welsh Cob, North Forks Cardi who competes at the CDI GP level. She was my trainer for monthly clinics at my old barn with Brie, lease horse and then with Smudge, the mare I owned. We worked together for about a year in dressage.
    Jane & me, 2013
  5. I started working with dressage trainer, Harriet, when I moved barns four years ago so I could get weekly lessons instead of only monthly. She's kind and clear and I super love her. While I don't take dressage lessons anymore, she's also my barn manager and the main trainer at the barn, so we have a great relationship anyway.
  6. Jane is my current jump and everything else trainer. I started with her 3.5 years ago when I had issues with my mare and took lunge lessons with her. She comes to my barn twice a week. Eventually I switched horses to Sam because I decided I wanted to start jumping and needed a horse I could learn on. For 2 full years, I took twice a week lessons every week with Jane. This last year has been more miss then hit on even weekly lessons due to finances, but Jane still yells at me from across the arena when I need it. ;) She's my biggest cheerleader, has tons of experience both as a rider and working with other top trainers and is just super awesome. 
4. How many barns have you ridden at?
Five. Boarded at 3 of them.

5. What is the name of the horse you consider yourself to have the greatest bond with? 
That's easy. Sam.

6. What is your favorite show name you've ever encountered? 
I don't encounter many names really. I like plays on words or something witty. I've only shown two horses and have used both their registered names - because I'm not cool enough to come up with my own. But Sam's old owner showed him as Teacher's Pet because she is a teacher. That's pretty cute.

7. What do you consider your greatest weakness or flaw in riding? 
Laziness. It's too easy for me to just stop trotting because my legs hurt, or I'm hot, or I'm out of breath. And it doesn't help that my horse is all, "We should stop." And I'm all, "Good idea."

8. What do you consider to be your greatest strength? 

Brie, my lease
Surprisingly contrary to being lazy, is my competitive edge. I want to be the best student and win shows. So I am very picky about what I work on and I don't drill to death, just get it right and move on. I think my horse appreciates that too. I'm a quick learner and pretty sporty, so I don't usually make the same mistakes for very long.

9. Have you ever leased a horse? 
Yes. Brie, a welsh cob mare that I rode 3x/wk. I leased her for 2.5 months. Then I had to buy again. :) I'm definitely an owner.

10. What is the name of the first horse you rode? 
Blue. A carnival pony ride horse. I was probably around 5 or 6.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The show of the year.

I ended up only going to one show this year due to finances. And while it was far from perfect, it turned out favorably.

This was the first show I went to with both my barn riding buddies, so that made it super fun and helpful in the several hour wait until our warmup time started. It was a MUCH longer wait then prior shows due to many jumper entries.

We had 3 over fence classes and 2 flat classes in the Open Hunters 2'-2'3" SS/LS division. This was the same class/show I competed at the end of last year and earned division champion.

Eventually the warmup came which was in the show ring, as this was a local schooling show. And it was a very short 20 mins, full of riders zig-zagging everywhere. That's ok with me since I like to do very short warmups - just hop over each type of jump or a strange line and be done. Sam was his normal relaxed self in warmup.

After that, it was all, heavy in my hands - though not really on the forehand - though forward. Sam's not naturally a forward horse. So, I spend most of my energy managing Sam and less effort on things like good releases and chicken wings. I can only keep track of so much :) Plus, I was actually nervous for this show because I felt a lot of pressure to do well from my barn mates, etc since I always get champion or reserve. But it had been exactly a year since my last show.

Our first class was the worst. I was distracted by his head shaking and we got a long distance that I wasn't ready for and left me behind to start the course. Then he was forehand heavy and I knew I wasn't getting that right flying change. So a simple change. After I was done I thought we had counter cantered to both lines, which I didn't realize until after I was lined up for the lines (too late to change then). So I came out VERY disappointed and frustrated. It wasn't how I wanted to start the day. And I think it fueled me. (I did see later on the video that I had my leads.)

The softer lady voice in the videos is my trainer - so not a random lurker critiquing me, haha. Some of her comments are funny.

Second class was smoother. Still had to trot the change in that same corner. When Sam's pulling/leaning we NEVER get that right change, and it just gets worse if I try, so I didn't. A pretty hard chip in the first line, but I pushed him and had a great distance on the exit. We did finally get a right flying change off the last jump which you can see me rewarding. I wanted to be clear to him that that's what I was looking for. And in the next round, he figures it out :)

The last jump class was the EQ O/F. And while still not perfect, couple small chips, crap releases, it was our best round of the day. If you watch the video, I had forgotten to move my sunglasses to from my helmet to the face so you can see me barely doing it in the ring (right in line of the judge box) as we are trotting to the first jump. Sam was apparently ready to show off too, because we did not one, but two flying lead changes after the first jump and before the corner, also right in front of the judge. And then another flying change off the 2nd jump - the right change is his harder side. Ah, now we have Sam paying attention. He is still crazy pulling in my hands (my legs ended up getting the whole day off) and you can see my nice white shirt cuffs easily when I come around left after jump 3 as I'm lifting him up and half halting so we don't actually touch the fence.

The flat classes were more of the same pulling, esp at the canter, which from where I sit, feels almost behind the vertical, but it was actually a bit nose-pokey which is good. With 11 people in the ring, it was busy too. The good news was that I didn't get very tired since I wasn't needing to prod with my legs every stride (or any stride). I felt the flats (one Hunter U/S, one EQ Flat) were pretty good for us, though I'd have preferred to have a loser rein, but I had to ride what I had that day.

Originally the adults and kids were pinned together. I was the only adult (4 of us) to pin all the classes and I actually took 1st in the last jump class, EQ O/F. And that made me really proud.

The SS/LS COMBINED placings. I took Fifth, Third, First, Fifth and Third in that order.

I did win Reserve Champion, but didn't know it until the next day after points were published. Later that week, I went to pick up the ribbon and was asking the show owner how many adults where needed to split the SS/LS and she said only 3 and that we should have been split. So, to make it right, she went through the judges cards with me and gave me and my barn mates the ribbons we should have been given at the show. And that's how I got my first clean sweep show and named for a second year in a row at the same show/same division, Division Champion. :)

And my LS only placings, as it should have been. :)

A few takeaways:

  • I'm really happy that per the videos, I had heels down every fence. (working on that lately)
  • Almost all my distances were good.
  • We improved every jump round.
  • It was my first show in a show shirt and jacket - YAY! And I didn't overheat and die!
  • Cuff up my show shirt going forward so the white cuffs don't give my hands away!
  • Keep working my releases, even if Sam is pulling - still need to release at fence.
  • Keep my elbows in - which is actually easier if I'm actually releasing.
  • And I already knew this one, but keep remembering, my rounds always look better then they feel, so don't get so angry after imperfect rounds. ;)
More pics:

Weeeee, pulling pony!

Dem heels, like a boss!

We are so cool

Ah, yeah, you can totally see my hand fisted, no time for pinkies!

My favorite trot shot
My current all time favorite shot of us

Friday, October 17, 2014

Clean Sweep

My first clean sweep. Feels awesome. Full write up on Monday. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Trot it out Thursday

More to come about my show last weekend. But for now, here's a great trot shot. Love my EQ and the random gleam off my stirrup.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WW: Flock This!

My new saddle purchased in Dec is getting its first flock in about an hour :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spoke too soon, helmet eats dirt.

I was just saying last Friday that I never fall on my head and last night I did just that. Went completely upside down, front tuck off the side of my horse, hitting the crown of my head first and rolling it out onto my back.

Nice knowing you CO AYR8

We were galloping down the long side of the arena, no biggie, do it often enough. Always balance up the corners and take them nicely. But this time he went flat out - like at the beach - and it was fun and cool and I was just mesmerized by the sheer power.

And then I saw the corner coming. And I watched Sam see the corner coming and I could see his gears turning about what to do. It's actually a legit corner with some jump standards in it, and then next to it is an opening to the back arena and then more fence, so in theory, we could have gone that way.  But I guess Sam decided to turn the corner, because I sure didn't tell him a darn thing.

We took the corner at flat out speed and our bark chipped, mostly dust bits, footing didn't appreciate our speed. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sam's back legs disappear left underneath his belly and down he went. I was apparently also pulling my inside rein. He must of recovered quick because I remember seeing his legs all around me as I did the full summersault. Bark down the back of my breeches...nice. I was told he nicely avoided me. Good boy.

I'm ok. My head hurt at the crown for about 30 mins, and then slight side of head headache on both sides. It was agreed that I probably didn't get a concussion. My fall was witnessed in full view by 2 people, with 2 others nearby. Today my head was totally fine, though a little achy tonight, and my right shoulder/neck area is very stiff and some general stiffness/soreness in my back. Went to the chiropractor last Friday... guess I'll be going back next week.

Luckily, I have a spare CO AYR8 that I normally just use for shows, so now it will become my full-time helmet. I haven't decided if I want to do anything interesting with my fallen helmet or just toss it (straps cut of course). I did peek inside and the foam didn't show any visible damage there.

Sam seems fine. I'm fine. I was just unprepared for that level of galloping in an arena. Next time, I will be the rider, not the passenger. :)

WW: At sunset

Friday, August 8, 2014

CO AYR8 wins over CO V8

During the recent Helmet Awareness 20% off sale, I ordered a CO V8. I don't have much time left on my current helmets, both CO AYR8s, so I thought I'd get ahead (haha) of the game.

The fit was great, I got the same size I have in the AYR8. There's zero forehead pressure due to the cutback front vent system that is apparently similar to Samshield. There is a little more pressure on the sides, but was comfortable after wearing it for 5+ mins and busying myself with something else - ie. not focused on it.

I do not like the removable liner at all. It's a great idea, ugly execution. It attached by velcro strips along the edge of the material part of the helmet, right along where the visor starts. So you can see the finishing edge of the liner. Not classy to me. In theory, you could take the liner off completely and ride like a normal helmet, but then you have the pokey part of the velcro strips exposed to grab your hair.

The visor and overall profile of the V8 is also flatter then the AYR8. You can see from the all angles that the visor is flatter, in opposition the shape of my head - as well as the side profile being straighter. Again, not a fan.

I didn't like the clip. It's a plastic casing, but the part you press to unclick is metal. That might seem good for longevity, but it was actually hard for me to press to release. I think it may be be a little smaller too, and it's not like I have fat fingers.

The vents up the middle are smaller (not as long of a cut) and there's less in the front. I didn't appreciate the look of the black gloss finish behind the mesh either. It didn't really make the helmet look blingy, but it definitely has a shine quality.

Overall, the V8 helmet is slightly heavier and just a larger profile then my AYR8. I already feel a little mushroom heady in my AYR8 - but wearable, but the V8 was just worse. I can only imagine the extra volume of the V8 is to provide more protection in a fall. I get that. But bigger isn't necessarily better and it's not like I'm currently riding in a bicycle helmet. I feel good about the safety of what I am wearing.

I know it only takes once, which is why I wear a helmet, but of the 12+ times I've fallen in the last 3 years, I have yet to hit my head. Instead, every time it's been on my right hip... they should make something for that.

For the mushroom head, ugly liner, and clip reasons - the V8 went back to SmartPak.

I'll just be ordering another trusty AYR8 that looks classic and fits great. Bonus that it absorbs all my forehead sweat for me. And honestly, I don't have a problem with smell with my AYR8 even though I'm a sweat-a-holic. Every few months I clean it with CO cleaner and daily hang it in an open helmet bag with 2 Fresh Helmet Sacks inside.

Both helmets have the same safety ratings. So that made me feel good sticking with the AYR8.

Here's a visual comparasion.
In all the following pictures, the V8 is on the left, the AYR8 is on the right.

From the front, around my face, the V8 looks great. But look how much taller it is then the AYR8.
I already have an oval head and LONG neck, don't need help there.

Why is there so much more helmet in the back? I presume to keep me safe, but it's just so much.
You can see the flatter visor very well here. Probably good for sighting, but contributes to mushroom head.

I like the smaller, blacker mesh on the V8.

Not a fan of the wider back of the helmet.

The V8 only has 3 shorter vents in the front, same number but still shorter in the back.
The V8 does have the forehead vent space though.

Decent shot of liner. You can see I don't have it perfectly aligned after taking it out. The velcro sits along that rim underneath. There's like 7-8 little strips. You can also see how much helmet is in the back. I have these lined up at the top equally and the V8 is just longer. It makes the harness in the back sit weird as well. It's probably more secure, etc, but I wasn't a fan. Though not thrilled my AYR8 grommets are pantina now. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jumping up, new PR

I had a great jump lesson a week ago Saturday and we worked on my landings not being so disconnected with higher jumps. I caught on pretty quick - must keep hands at withers. Which in my case, is FAR FAR away because Sam's head is set pretty low.

During the week we easily popped over a 2'8" oxer - a new oxer height for me. 

So this Saturday's lesson was more of the same, plus higher jumps. Husband came out to watch and record for me. I do love video because I really get to see what I'm not feeling. Like I can clearly see that chicken wings are back and I haven't quite solved the leg slippage riddle. But my landings are much, much improved and I don't look as leaned over as I feel trying to ride around with my knuckles touching the withers ;)

Here's some still shots off the video, with the first one my new PR of 2'10".

2'10" - my new PR