Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Truthful Tuesday: The One with the Ego

As I mentioned last week, I went to a horse show this weekend! It was just a little one day about 35-40 minutes north of my house. But it was SO FUN to get back into show clothes and be out in horsey public again!
I'll recap that more tomorrow, but I wanted to chat about the feelings today. Since I started showing when I was 10, it's been pretty much nonstop. As a junior, I boarded at a barn that hosted shows all year round, so even in the less busy time, I was still competing regularly. College was the same. We didn't travel to shows in the winter, but my school's barn hosted a few shows throughout the season.
My point is, this three year stretch was the longest I've gone without competing horses.
It's been so long, that I was LEGALLY allowed to show as a modified adult. I haven't ever been eligible for that division. And it might seem unfair to the other riders for me to be in there, do remember I'm sitting on a green horse. And it was hunters. So fair enough.
Anyway, Eddie was a good boy at the show, but he was pretty excited. He's never been to a one day show before. He's never been on a REAL grass field. You get the idea.

literally the ONLY photo I took at the show...
 But despite all these things, my ego still thought we'd probably win the classes. He's a great mover after all. And we were just flatting. (Which was weird to me in itself... go all the way to a show and just flat?! But really, that's all we were ready for.)
Spoiler Alert: We didn't win. 
And you know what? I'm kind of glad we didn't. It shows how much work we need to do, and it reminded me that the rider I once was, is not the rider I am right now. My ego needed that little check. While it was disappointing to not win our classes, it was good for me to see that I need to work harder. Get stronger. I know that rider is still in there. She just needs to get more fit and find herself again.
Eddie's mom made a really good point. She reminded me that I've only ridden him about 6 times. If he were my own new horse, that's not even a week together yet. I can't expect to know everything about a new horse in a week! Never mind the fitness issues... (Mine not Eddie's.)
Have you ever had unrealistic expectations? And/or a bit of an ego? I think the answer to my issues right now is just lots more time in the saddle. But how did you overcome that? Any hints or tips?

Friday, September 14, 2018

If I had a trillion dollars: A Blog Hop

Olivia over at Hellomylivia started a fun blog hop about how her horse life might be different with more moolah. Who doesn't like to fantasize about life with an unlimited horse budget?! I definitely enjoy that past time. So what would I do? Buckle up kids, it's gonna be a fun little fantasy.

In all honesty, I don't think I would move. I love my little farm. But I would definitely make some changes. First off, there'd be some surveying of my property to see what's really wetlands and what isn't. Next up, I'd buy the two properties between my house and the next side street. They're not for sale technically... but everyone has a number. And I have a trillion dollars.

My property is the yellow outline (more or less). As you can see, there's a large wooded area I'm not using because much of it is considered wetlands, and it's heavily wooded. The two neighbors are in blue. I would buy those places, knock down the buildings and create lovely grass paddocks. And maybe throw an indoor up in the wooded area if I could pull that off.

Next I would hire a better landscaper. Pretty tired of my place being an afterthought. Would love to have my planters actually planted again.

Within the past two years I already replaced my truck and trailer, so I'm all set in that department. But I think I'd hire myself someone to drive it. I kind of hate hauling to be honest.

I would also hire a barn manager. It would be a pretty cushy job since I like to be in charge of everything. But this way, I'd have someone on the books full time that could tend to the kids if I want to go away, or if I'm off showing with just some of the horses.

Which leads to the fun part... What would I do for horses?! Well obviously the first thing I would do is clone Rio. I'd probably do one a year. I would hate to run out of Rios.
Since I wouldn't have a rideable Rio for about four years, I would still need to find some horses to ride and show. I would get myself a lovely A/O hunter and a high AA jumper. (I don't want to die over 4'6", I just got rich)! And I'd also get a mini. Because who doesn't want a mini?

Since I wouldn't have to work anymore I'd have plenty of time to ride everyday and hang out with Jamp and Rio of course. I'd definitely get back to showing regularly.

Come winter, I'd be down in Florida. I wouldn't bother with my own place, but I would rent out stalls at my trainer's barn and take my full time groom down with me. That job isn't too hard either. Mostly just stall cleaning and turnouts/in. I like to feed and groom. I'd probably let her/him get them cleaned up for shows though.

So what stuff would I buy? That's a fun question!
I probably have enough boots already... But if something new and exciting came out, I'm sure I'd grab that. I would probably replace my Hermes saddle with a new one, but custom made this time. Probably one for each horse. Why not? I have a trillion dollars. I'd probably have another shopping spree at Boy O Boy Bridleworks AND at Dark Horse Jewels. No such thing as too many browbands.

Speaking of stuff... I'd have my house renovated and figure out a better way to organize all my crap. I might do that in real anyway, because the clutter is driving me bananas.

And the last thing I would do? Hire a chef and a personal trainer. I want to fit back into all my show clothes! I'd have plenty of free time for working out, and I'm too lazy to cook for myself. Having people help me in these areas would be ideal.

I think that's about it. What do you think I forgot? What would you do if you had a trillion dollars?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday's Threads

Outfit Day! Unfortunately, it's a short one today since riding was rained out yesterday. We got 5 inches of rain yesterday! It did finally stop raining around 6, but the ring was under water at my neighbor's house. She doesn't have an indoor either. Boo. In lieu of having a riding outfit to share though, I wore ponies to work. I think that's a fair trade!
I forgot to get a full length photo this morning... so this awkward pose of me at my desk will have to suffice.

Top: Haley and the Hound
I have this shirt in a few colors. I love that it's basically a t-shirt, but it's classy enough for work. Plus the solid colors match all my crazy pants nicely.

Belt: Mane Jane
I just ordered a new Rose Gold buckle from Mane Jane. This one's starting to show how much I love it...

Jeans: Paige
HORSE PANTS!!! I have these in two colors because I'm a 10 year old girl basically.

Shoes: Sperry
I'm just not really ready for socks full time yet... So stretching out sockless boat shoe season as long as I can!

I wear this everyday, but I'm showing it this week because it matches my pants! My mom gave this to me for my birthday this year. I love it so much!

Arm Party!
Lefty is wearing a couple mantra bracelets. One says "Roll me in fairy dust and call me a unicorn" and the other says "Wine & Ride- AA life". I think they're so fun!

Righty is totally horse-ified. First up is a a bit and stirrup bracelet that I think I got from Ebay. Followed by this fancy pants Hermes bracelet that I finally caved and bought from Poshmark. Got a good deal though! And last is a bit bracelet also from Poshmark.

That's it for today! Short and sweet! Any favorites? Would you wear horse pants as a grown up?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Life's getting a little busy all of the sudden over here! But also, it rains a lot these days. We did get to see the sun for a few minutes yesterday for the first time in several days. Right before it set.
And oddly enough while it was raining. Check that rainbow though!
I woke up Saturday thinking I didn't have too much on my agenda, but then I realized I had just forgotten to write things down. First thing was that I wanted to stand at the bottom of my road for awhile to cheer on the bike riders in the Closer to Free ride.
 This is a 100 mile bike ride that benefits the Yale Cancer Center and their research. Great cause! One of my coworkers has been doing this bike ride the last several years, and I was hoping to see him ride by. Unfortunately I missed him. But we did get to see plenty of other riders.
 I took the pugs with me, and they had a blast. Artie would bark whenever I would clap for the bike riders.
Ok, maybe P thought this was silly...

But this is an excited face!
Next we wandered over to harass see Rio.

Next on the agenda was getting the boys groomed and walked. And after THAT, I headed to the neighbor's house to ride Eddie.
Honestly, we didn't have a great ride. The temps had dropped 30 degrees and I think Eddie was fresh? He's the type though that only gets fresh in his head and not so much in actual body. Basically, he was just REALLY distracted. There was a rafter of wild Turkeys hanging in the field next to us.

I just couldn't get him moving forward and connected at the same time. So we had a lot of chocolate chips at the jumps. And at one point he pulled a Jamp and ran off with me! Which was kind of hilarious honestly. After that, he was a bit more engaged and I found the last few jumps better. It does make me a little nervous for our show this weekend. But we're only planning to do the warm up over jumps, and then decide if we want to show over fences. So there's really no pressure. I'm riding him tonight (weather permitting) and again tomorrow also weather permitting. So lots more time to prepare at least!
After Eddie, I headed back to that beautiful barn I showed you guys a few weeks ago to braid that cute little chestnut hony.

I was kind of pooped after that, so I spent the rest of the evening hanging with the puggers. Sunday was actually a quiet day. Ran some errands in the morning and took care of the boys in the afternoon.

It's like he's never seen trees before...
 I brought Rio down to the back paddock to graze. We haven't been down there all year!
It was so chilly out you guys. I don't think it even got to 60. Last week it was in the 90's. The weather is NUTS.
Sunday night we celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, at my mom's with a delicious dinner.
Monday it rained so the boys had to skip walkies. I'm talking pouring rain! We would walk in light rain. Or I would. Jamp would probably stand around staring at the rain drops. Last night it cleared up in time for walkies, though Rio's was in the dark already. It's like actual night time at 7pm here already. Ugh. Worst.
I've been collecting videos of horses to try for my stepmom. I found one I thought was pretty perfect, but my parents were scared off because it won't pass a vet. Honestly, probably no horse that will be a good teacher for her will pass a vet though... So I'm keeping that one on the list for later if nothing else pans out. We're planning to try an adorable gray horse (white, he's white all over... glad I won't have to groom it everyday!) on Saturday. And then there are a few in the southern states that we may take a trip to see. After Florence of course. Are any of you in the path of that storm? I hope you'll stay safe, that one is a doozy. If they say to evacuate, PLEASE DO! Happy to help in anyway I can if you need it.
That's about it from here. How was your week? Get to any horse shows? Go horse shopping? Anything else exciting?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blog Hop: The horse you bought

Nope, this isn't a post about horse shopping for stepmom. This is a hop I jumped on started by Catherine at Two and a Half Horses. And sorry for not actually linking, but I'm epic in my laziness today.
Now, this post has mostly been about transformations from the green to the less green, but my version is a little different. I'm doing my mine on my journey with Rio, and if you've been around for any length of time, you know he's ancient getting up there in years. But I think the theme still applies. And anyway, I'll take any excuse I can find to talk on and on about Rio.
The very first day we met, in Holland.
Before heading out on the hunt for Rio, I had a horse named Cosmo, who was no longer very sound. He had one really good leg. The rest... not so good anymore. After much consultation with several vets, it was decided he was best suited for a 2'6" job. At that point in my young life, I was wanting to do more than that, but I had just moved home after graduating college and working as a barn manager for a year. I wasn't in a position to buy a horse, and so I was content to just enjoy Cosmo.
There was a young professional at the barn at the time who had been doing some importing of young horses  though. My dad got to talking with him one day, and the next thing I knew I was on a plane heading to the Netherlands. I know this might make some of you hate me. But I'm also fully aware of how lucky I've been to have my dad's financial support while I try to keep horses in my adult life. I very obviously couldn't have done nor do all that I have without him.
Anyhow... Rio was actually my second choice horse. Horse number one turned out to be out of budget for us. I'm not actually sure why they even showed him to us. But Rio was a very close second, so it wasn't hard to decide to vet him and arrange for him to fly to CT. Since Rio is a gelding, he arrived home pretty quickly after our trip out to meet him. And to be completely honest with you all, I didn't really love him when he first arrived. Rio had been ridden by very large Dutch men. Do you guys remember the Dutch guy in the last Olympics who got eliminated for a spur mark on his gray horse? That was Rio's trainer. Very tall. Very strong. Basically the opposite of me. Also it was winter when I got him, and he was rather cold backed. I would get on thinking this horse with the hump in it's back was about to launch me. But by the time he was warmed up, I couldn't keep him cantering. Forget about getting in a half seat at the canter! He thought that meant walk!
I didn't get frustrated though. I figured this horse could always be an investment. I could learn from him, get him to some horse shows, and sell him. Then I could find my next one that maybe I'd like more.
We started out slowly together. Rio was very much a made horse at 8 years old, but I hadn't been doing much in the year or so prior since Cosmo spent much of that time rehabbing. We began the year doing the low adult jumpers.
And getting to know each other. He was always very honest, but it took some time for me to figure out that I needed to have more contact with his mouth in order to keep him going. Seems counterintuitive. He was always ridiculously handsome though:
By summer we had moved up to the high adults. We had really started to find our groove! I was really excited for our future, and it seemed likely that we would be able to move up to the amateurs next year. At the end of that first year, we also dabbled in the hunters. That's when I realized this horse could show in any ring.

I know. Really, really, ridiculously good looking.
We had decided that year to finally go to WEF for a few weeks. I had never been, and was stupid excited about it. But a few weeks before we were supposed to leave, Rio wasn't feeling quite right. He wasn't terribly lame, just not quite right. After having our vet out, it was decided to take him to the vet hospital for some scans to try and find the issue. It turned out that he had torn his SI. Not career ending by any means, but he would need some time off. No Florida for us, but that was ok. He had a couple months of rest during the winter, and by spring he was ready to roll! And we did move up to the low A/O's. It was kind of a dream come true for me. I'm not very brave to the big jumps, but on Rio, it felt completely doable. Which isn't to say we didn't have our troubles.
I fell of in our first big class together. At the second jump. Oops. But I got back on, and we had a great rest of the horse show.

And our season continued on pretty nicely.

When I had first gotten him, Rio was very shy with his humans. He wasn't very social, and he thought all treats were poison except carrots. But over time he came out of his shell.

We only had the one full season doing the bigger jumps. The next year started out great.
We did some shows at our home barn and things were going well. But then he was off again. This time a torn suspensory right front. That took a while to heal, but I let him take all the time he needed. By now he was my very best friend. Rio could have whatever Rio needed. And at this point my own barn was being built.
When I first brought Rio home he was just starting back to work. My years are fuzzy as to which injury we were on at that point. I think it was suspensory injury number 2. Over the years, he's injured the same leg's suspensory in three different places. But every time he came back. This horse is like a cat. Has at least nine lives.
It was obvious though, that it was time to start stepping him down. So he became a full time adult hunter at that point. No more jumping any higher than 3'. He would double as an eq horse sometimes too. And he was really good at those jobs. It's pretty rare to find a real three ring horse, but Rio certainly has been just that.

In his last year showing, I decided at the last minute to take him to Ct finals. I was originally going to take Jamp. But Jamp had been bitten by a tick and was exhibiting some signs of lyme disease. So I asked Rio to step up to the plate. I knew he'd be just fine in the first round. But I was worried about the flat class. He often got worked up when horses came up behind him, and sometimes would kick out. Once we made it through the flat, we were sitting in fourth place. They test the top four. I thought for sure I'd stay in 4th for two reasons. Rio was a cheater at the trot fence and liked to canter the last step and also, I didn't think he'd actually halt at the end. But he proved me a big liar and we had pretty much a PERFECT test. He really is a magical unicorn. We finished in second.
We had a nice winter off after that, and come spring is when disaster struck. That one weekend when he started acting weird. Couldn't chew his hay to start and by Sunday couldn't stand up without a wall next to him. After a couple vet consults we were on our way to Cornell to receive his EPM diagnosis.
Rio enjoyed two years of being a pet after that, while he regained his strength and balance. And that spring, two years later, Doc said I should ride him. I told him not to toy with me like that and he said he was serious. We spent some time just lunging with tack and remembering what a bit was. I'm sure it felt different to him after the EPM problems. It had affected him mostly in the facial nerves, so his tongue worked differently than it had used to. But he took that all in stride, and I had the very best moment of my life when I climbed back on him for the first time in so long.

It was like nothing had ever happened. Sure he was a little lower in the head, and a lot less strong. But overall, he was the same.
This year he came out of winter with a bowed tendon. It's not looking like it's going to heal, so he's officially retired. But he's still ridiculously good looking.
And he will forever be my very best friend. He's not the same horse that I imported from Holland all those years ago. But he's a better horse. He's my best friend in the whole world. He's come completely out of his shell to the point of sometimes having too much personality. And there's not a treat he'll say no to anymore.
I hope he still has lots of years left to spend with me. He's twenty-two now so who really knows. I'll definitely treasure every second of every day though. And that my friends is how Rio has changed from the horse I bought. He grew into a magical unicorn.