Win or Bruise

Do you want the good news or bad news first?

We had a show this weekend and let me tell you, I was both nervous and excited! My plan this year was to do the intermediate division but for some reason, no one signed up for the intermediate division for Saturday! Rude! Trainers S and D and I decided to do the intermediate classes on Sunday still but to also add in the primary division.

Saturday I had primary Eq OTF, primary U/S, primary warm-up (which was judged), primary hunter, and primary eq) OF. My classes went first thing in the morning with my over fences classes running first. He was SOOOOOOO good!!! Trainer S told me to feel free to add in the warm-up if I wanted but that we have been doing just fine with the strides. The course started on a long approach to a single on the diagonal then a 5 down the outside line headed home. I planned on doing the strides but for the first time ever I didn’t pull on him but got to stride #4 and went shit the 5 is going to be way too long so I had to package him up for the add. The problem with that is that he was ready for the steps on the next 2 lines but for consistency, I had to force him to do the adds. It must not have looked too bad though because we got 1st. The hunter course was a regular hunter course but starting on the other diagonal. Did the strides this time and O-M-G he was SOOOOOO good!! We took 1st again. Last over fences class was our Eq and this judge put together a super fun course! We got 1st in that class too! Wooo-hoooo!!

 

Super fun Eq course!
Super fun eq course!

Got into the flat classes and I lost my good boy. He just is not a fan of flat classes. Without having fences to concentrate on he tends to notice all of the scary things in life. We took 4th in both the U/S and the Eq class. I don’t think that the judge noticed his freak out in the eq class since it happened right below her judge’s observation box area. She did tell me after the show as over that I was one of the top riders until she noticed that we broke into the canter at one point. I am pretty sure if she saw the freak out she would have marked us down even more.

We finished early and would have loved to put him outside but it was pouring. The weather this weekend was awful with massive wind, rain, and freezing temperatures. Booooooo!!!! This meant no turnout and no lunging and all of that equals a psycho Winifred on Sunday!

Sunday I had both intermediate and primary with intermediate going first but not until the end of the day. God, I wish I could have lunged him! We had flat first this time. No one else signed up for intermediate U/S so we just did the eq. Since it was so nasty out we had no riding time before the class started. Winifred turned an bolted away from the clubhouse. The only thing I could think was that there was a guy standing at the window, but really?!?! He made quite a scene but I got him to go a little forward and just cut the ring short each time around. We ended up with a red and I was thankful that it was not an U/S class. His actions though made it clear that jumping was going to be a battle. 😦

He was very very strong and while I was able to handle him for our warmup and intermediate hunter and got 1st in both of those classes. The classes that I was looking forward to the most were intermediate eq OF and intermediate medal. Those are the classes that I was really looking to maybe get year-end awards in. The eq course started with the in of the diagonal, roll back to the out of the outside line, long approach to the diagonal, then to the other outside line. My course started great. My man loves himself some rollbacks! But he was getting stronger and stronger. The first 3 jumps went well although I was starting to fall into old habits and tipped slightly ahead at the long approach diagonal but when I did it again at the 4th jump Winifred said NOPE! I came down on my head and shoulder. But most bruised was my pride. Trainer S let me get back on to do the single diagonal jump but DAMNIT I did it again!! This time I must have really flown cause I flipped and landed flat on my back, which was actually more preferable to the first fall cause it was distributed evenly in my body. But now my confidence was SHOT!!! I admit, I cried. Not from the pain but from questioning whether I am a shitty rider who should not even be doing any of this! Trainer S was great and convinced me that I needed to get back on and complete a jump even if it was just a trot fence. I decided to scratch the rest of my day. Now, I wish I had at least finished the primary division but I needed a little time to come to that and by then the show as over.

I owe a big thank you to both my trainers and my friends for helping to pick me up after this but one of the best conversations that I had was with the judge after the show was over. I think it was the best because she doesn’t know me, she didn’t have to say anything to me but she saught me out in the clubhouse to tell me not only to get back on but that I had a good seat. That is when she told me about seeing him break into the canter and having to mark me down. She also said that she could see that he was not an easy ride but I seemed to handle him well.

Trainer S thinks that we just need to focus on sitting back but also getting a better pre-show routine. The girl who leased him before me used to give him Perfect Prep pellets for a week before the show then a tube of it each show day and lunged him a ton each day. This weekend I just used a tube of Smart Calm Ultra each day. Trainer thinks that Perfect Prep may be a better supplement for him. She also thinks that not having any turnout or lunging played a big negative role in his hyper-ness.

Sitting at the end of the day sharing a beer with my trainers and some other barn family, looking at all my blue ribbons and taking a mortin I realized that I either got 1st or I fell off. We all shared a good laugh when trainer S proclaimed that I don’t Win or Loose, I Win or Bruise!

 

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How Rachel Got Her Groove Back

I have had 3 jumping lessons since my last riding post. Each one has had little victories leading up to a major one last night!

**Side note on how I am reporting my trainers names. My barn is owned by sisters so they are both technically the barn owners and they both are trainers but I tend to ride more with trainer S so I have called her “trainer” and the other one the BO. But then it gets confusing when I do have a lesson with BO so I am just calling them TS for trainer S and TD for trainer D.**

Two weeks ago TS was out of town so TD gave my lesson. I love TS but sometimes it is nice to have a lesson with TD because she sees me with fresh eyes and picks up on different things. Winifred was SO dead on the flat! I had to push the crap out of him but I knew he was just saving his energy for jumping. The second I asked him to pick up his trot for our warm up fence holy shit did he wake up! My fellow lessoner laughed and said, “you called it!” He really was not horrible but there was NO way he was doing the adds. Victory at this lesson was that I nailed the long approach to the single that I have been completely flubbing on (and almost fell off at during the show). Literally in the air I let out a “YE-AH!” to which TD gave me a puzzled look. Lol

Last week I did not do much jumping. I had been having weird waves of not feeling well all day. We did out warm up x and line then did a two stride. The first time I did not have enough canter going in but Winifred being as amazing as he is made up for it and stretched his strides out like you would not believe to make the 2 strides. Good Boy! I am blaming my lack of leg on the fact that I have never had to leg this horse into a fence. Lol. We came back around to do it again and nailed it but when I landed I got very light headed, major hot flash, and thought I was going to vomit. Friend, K, told me my face was bright red. I told TS that I was done.

Last night I came into the barn to see that one of Winifred’s pasture mates tried to rip his throat out! I should have gotten a picture! He is ok and while it looked ugly it didn’t seem to bother him. The boys in his pasture like to play a little too much. Lol. K’s horse keeps losing halters, Winifred’s blanket is swiss cheese with the filling literally hanging out of it, C’s horse has nicks all over, and D’s horse’s throat has looked a lot like Win’s. I do not know when they do all this because anytime we ever see them they are all happily hanging out with each other. Boys will be boys I guess but I am off topic. Back to the lesson. Our flat was good. Win was a little up but in a happy way not his nervous way. We were the only one to jump so it was kind of a private lesson. Did our normal trot X and he was good. He was excited but not bad. The warm up line was a 6 trotting in and while we have been focusing on doing the adds TS said to do the 6 cause it was a tight 6. That rode beautifully.

TS had some fun jumps set up so next warm up pattern trot the X, roll back to a skinny (red) this was at the end of the arena so the right turn that came after was pretty tight, then long approach to the square oxer (purple). If you have been reading my blog you will know that recently long approaches and I have NOT gotten along but it is amazing things that happen when you sit up tall and trust yourself to see the correct spot! After warm up we usually do a hunter course then an eq course. The hunter course was to canter into the outside line, orange diagonal, long approach to the purple oxer, then blue diagonal. TS gave me the option of doing the adds if I wanted but I was feeling confident after I nailed the mini course so I planned on doing the steps which were 5, 4, and 4. O-M-G the course rode PERFECTLY!!!Presentation1

Seriously, I am not normally one to be egotistical but my God did it feel good to have such a great round again! Not once did I question my spots and Winifred and I flowed again! He wasn’t fighting me to go faster. He played a little in the corners but he always does and he came right back to me as we headed to the next line. I need to remember to talk to him. He LOVES to be talked to! A little “easy bub” and he generally calms down. The only thing that could have been improved was after the last fence I kind of collapsed on him to pat him and say thank you and he took that as invite to cut our turn and go fast. Lol. This caused TS to have to yell at me to sit up but to Win a good turn and burn is a reward. Lol. I looked over at TS and she had a huge smile on her face. She told me that was the best she has seen me jump in a long time and told me she could see that my confidence was back. I was very conflicted cause I wanted to jump more but at the same time that was so amazing and with the issues I had been having TS and I decided to end on that very high note. It feels so good to be back!

I am hoping that I can slide into the lesson on Saturday since I leave for Shanghai on Tuesday. I hate missing out on pony time!

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Cookies for this perfect pony!

30 Things You May Not Know About Me

I have been catching up on reading the blogs I follow and $900Facebook Pony and HelloMyOlivia just had a blog hop of 30 things you may not know about me. I thought it looked fun so I thought I would join in. I tried to make them as little about horses as possible. Lol

  1. I have 3 nephews. They are 18, 17, and 9 and they amaze me every day!
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OMG they make my heart happy just thinking of them! All cozy on their way to FL for spring break last year.

2. I grew up Catholic and while I do not attend church as regularly as I should I still talk to God every day and try to be a good Christian.

3. I love to travel! I am very fortunate with my job that I get to visit some beautiful places that I would never have gone on my own. I am getting ready for my third trip to China in 2 weeks (Shanghai this time but have also been to Beijing and Hong Kong). My longest trip was 3 weeks in Europe (Rome, Budapest, Vienna, and Prague). I have also been to a few places in England and Scotland as well as within the US. An Alaskan cruise is high on my bucket list!Beijing.jpg

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I got up at 4am just to get pictures of Charles Bridge without it being crowded with people.
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Looking at Prague Castle from the Charles Bridge. I learned an awesome story of how the castle got it’s lights. I need to do a whole blog on what I learned traveling!
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The Spanish Riding School was absolute HEAVEN!
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My view from hiking the Dragon’s Back trail through the mountains. I ended my hike at that beach and dove right in!

Hong Kong

4. I have always wanted to live in a different country for ~6 months to a year.

5. I am petrified to live far from my family and friends even for a short time. Lol.

6. One of my favorite things to do when visiting another country is to go into a grocery store.

7. I have Hashimoto’s disease. This makes life a little difficult at times and losing weight is hard but I deal.

8. I have 3 tattoos but I have been tattooed 4 times. My first tattoo was a butterfly on the back of my neck when I was 21. The artist talked me out of the butterfly that I wanted. Instead he gave me a super simple one. I found out years later that he just sucked and that is why he went simple and why the color faded so quickly. I got a better butterfly over it like I wanted in the first place. Tattoos

9. I am a huge Potterphile!!!! I love Harry Potter (although Ron is my favorite)! I have been to multiple Pottercons and I have waited in line to get the midnight release of the Harry Potter books and movies! I have also gone to Chicago for a weekend just to see the temporary exhibit they had in the Chicago Science Museum. And yes, if I am ever in England again I WILL go to Platform 9 3/4!

Me every time a new book or movie came out!

10. I used to show western pleasure. That is a dirty dark secret in my barn. Lol

11. Sushi is my favorite food! But I am a snob about it. It has to be good sushi not grocery store sushi! EWWWWWWWW!!!!

12. I will try almost anything once. That goes for food or jumping off a cliff although I have gotten more cautious about some things in my old age.

13. I used to lie to my trainer at horse shows and my friend would lie to her grandma that we were staying in each other’s trailer/camper but we would sneak into the show arena with our other friends to do stupid things like play football, chat, and/or play music/sing (its not as corny as it sounds my friend David was a really good guitar player).

14. Our senior year one of the facilities that we used to show at a lot put a sign above it that says “mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” cause David and I used to seem it all the time. Turns out we weren’t so sneaky but our parents and trainers let it go because we really didn’t do anything too bad.

15. I love mud! One of the most fun things I have ever done was to run in a Mud Factor 5k obstacle course. I have also done multiple mud volleyball tournaments. We even won one of them! I am all about diving in!

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Yep that’s me!

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16. How do you follow up saying that you love mud……. By saying the complete opposite, I was once in a fashion show. Lol. It was based off the Sex and the City episode where they had professional models and then a few regular customers. I got to wear 3 different dresses. It was so much fun!

17. I was voted Most Likely to Come Back and Prove All My Teachers Wrong and Most Likely to Become The Next SNL Cheerleader my senior year of high school. (No I was not an actual cheerleader.)

18. I graduated from the University of Michigan where in my junior and senior year I taught an Organic Chemistry lab there. I loved it!! The only problem I had was with a few students who were older than me and had an issue with me being younger. I spent my 21st birthday administering and then grading over 800 exams!

19. I am a fanatic about theme parks! I could live in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Universal, etc! I love feeling like I am in a new and magical place. I am happy right now just thinking of walking through Frontier Land in Disney. I can’t wait to go to Universal to see the newer Harry Potter land and ride the Hogwarts Express this fall!!!!!!

20. The book I have read the most in my life is The Outsiders. I have seriously read the whole thing in 1 day. I do not even know how many times I have read it. I still say “Let’s do it for Johnny man! Let’s do it for Johnny!” and “Stay golden” but I get weird looks a lot for it.

21. I am a huge nerd! I love doing scavenger hunts, escape rooms, and murder mystery games and yes even dressing up in the character. In fact I am such a nerd that at one of the murder mystery games my bestie and I went to we impressed the  actors who organized it so much with our detailed FULL background on the murder,victim, and murderer that they said they were going to make it part of their act from then on.

22. In high school basketball was my favorite sport (besides riding). It was the only contact sport for girls.

23. I cannot only fold my tongue in half but then in half again.

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24. I had to take an art class in college and had a piece picked for a student art show. I cannot draw to save my life but I am ok with paint.

25. I am a slave driver on vacations. I have 2 friends who travel with me and think I am crazy but I can’t help it I want to see everything! Plus I am not a chill on the beach kind of person. Thank God I have the best friends ever who deal with me.

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Casey doesn’t take pictures so all I can show you is Lisa. She is the only person I know who can travel with me for 3 weeks and didn’t want to kill me. Well at least she didn’t act on it if she did! LOL

26. I am really good at making tasty and fancy cakes and cupcakes but I don’t do it very often. My kitchen is small and I am a perfectionist so it stresses me out to make them cause they MUST BE PERFECT!

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I hated the corset cause I got rushed doing the lacing up part and it looks like complete shit! Not sure why I even put it on here.

27. I was mugged in Beijing but in a karma flip I was invited into a private mass service in the restricted area of St. Peter’s Basilica when I was in Rome. It was so beautiful and such a blessing that I teared up.

28. I once sang the Star Spangled Banner before a horse show.

29. I truly believe in angels and know that I was saved by them at least twice in my life. Once as a kid I was caught out on a boat in the middle of the lake when 3 tornadoes hit the lake. My dad got my cousin and I on to land but in the time it took for him to get back to my mom my cousin and I lost them. All I remember is an arm pulling me into their house. A wonderful couple let us bunker with them until the storm let up and then helped us find my parents.  The 2nd time was in Boston when I was 22. Someone must have slipped something in my drink at a bar and was being walked out by 2 guys when some girl stopped them and took me to the bathroom. I distinctly remember her telling me that she told my friend Sarah to come to the bathroom. She stayed with me until Sarah came into the bathroom but Sarah said I  was alone and no one came to get her and could not explain why she came to the bathroom.

30. If I was independently wealthy I would be a substitute teacher cause I would have summers off to horse show, could set my own schedule if I wanted to work any day, and I enjoyed teaching in college. Since I wouldn’t need the paycheck I would donate all of it to charity.

Randoms

So I was going through some of my pictures and I realized that there were a couple of things that I forgot to post!

The first is happy. I finally got the boys’ Christmas presents in. They both got stall name plates. I went simple because I really like the clean look of just the brass name plate not mounted on wood on our stalls.

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I considered putting Lucifer on the second line but I was nice and put Luther. Lol

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Then on January 24th Winn had to get stitches. It happened outside and I am thinking it was a wicked game of halter tag. I was not there when the vet was but I got a text from the BO that “your boy was horrible!” When I did get to the barn I was stopped by multiple people and told what an a$$ he was. The vet had to tranquilize him so much that the tranq cost more than the stitches! Winn says hey man it was in a scary place! God love him!

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Winn: “Mahm that was SO traumatic!”
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Extra kisses to make it all better
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Forget extra kisses. I take extra cookies!

2018 Horse Show Season Opener

Well we completed our first show and we did not die! YAY!!! We may not have placed great and I may have almost fallen off (we will get to that) but overall I am SUPER HAPPY with how the show went!!

This was not a typical show in that it was only a one day show with mostly schooling classes but also a few rated classes too. Because it was smaller the adults and juniors were combined, at least for my division they were. There are a lot of things I do better as an adult but riding is not one of them. Lol. Let’s face it the skinny little 16 year old looks a lot better on a horse than big-o-fatty me but hey what the hell we were here for the experience.

Normally I would enter all the hunter and equitation classes but since this was a one day show I decided to only do eq. I didn’t want to over burden my boy. If you have read my previous blog posts you will know that Winifred is a high-strung, ex-jumper who is known to spook so I was pretty nervous.

We schooled on Saturday afternoon and the ring was CHAAAAAOOOOOS! There were people going in every which way and some had to get yelled since they were in the way of people jumping down a line and one horse had a major meltdown right in front of us. How did Winifred handle all of this???????? Like a complete pro!! Seriously folks he was calmer in the middle of that than he has been in our lessons this past month! What a champ! Our crew did little canter fence to start that I biffed solely because Winn was being lazy and I did not know how to jump a lazy Winifred. He woke up a bit but just enough to do the adds quietly. I wanted to be one of the first to do our course so we could get out of there. He went around super quiet without me having to pull much at all and I immediately jumped off before the metaphorical shoe dropped and he changed back to his normal self. Lol

For the show we did the 2’6” warm up, eq O/F, Intermediate Adult Medal, and the eq OTF. I still can’t believe it but I had schooling day Winifred again! During our schooling time there was around 20 horses in the ring and with jumps up it made it even tighter, the club house was packed and even had a young girl swinging her legs right at the window but Winn was on point!

Trainer and I decided to do the adds the whole day because the indoor is so small there would not be a lot of room in the turns to calm him down if he got too lit up. He was phenomenal. The only line in the warm up that I had to pull him was the diagonal coming home but we fit the add. The last jump was a long approach to a single and Lord help me but I still have been having spot issues and could not make a decision. I dropped my hands, leaned forward and we chipped a little. Could not have been that bad though cause the warm up was an open card for every one so I was being judged on eq against a lot more than those in my division and we took 6th out of 17. That is not bad for my first class in 2 and a half years!

We stayed in for our eq O/F class. Sadly, it was really just a hunter course though. Again we had to jump the long approach single but this time I nailed my spot. The last line was the diagonal home. It was set to be a 4 stride but since we were doing the add I needed to do 5 strides. I was asking for the 5 but Winn said NOPE I do a 4 now! We placed 6th out of 10.

Our medal class had an interesting turn to a skinny that I was concerned about but we totally nailed it! After the skinny was a roll back to an oxer and that rode great too then to the damn single vertical again! Why can’t I see a spot?????? This one ended with me almost going over his neck. Thank God he was a saint and did everything he could to safe me and safe me he did! I was so excited that while I was still on his neck I was shouting, “I didn’t fall off! I didn’t fall off!” I started to walk to my trainer until she yelled at me to finish my course. I was seriously so excited that I didn’t fall off that I forgot to finish! I am so pissed at myself for again dropping my hands and leaning in because every other jump was perfection in that course!!! A friend who watched all the rides said that I was likely 1st had I not did that. Another friend asked why I insist on trying to kill myself and called me the Embarrassment of the Barn for the day. I swear we really do like each other! Lol. There were only 3 in the class and we got 3rd.

Ending the day we had an eq on the flat. This had 8 riders which with the jumps made it a little tight. Winn was being a perfect gentlemen but we had to make a tight turn at the canter in a deep spot which caused him to trip and break right in front of the judge. I can’t be mad at him it was a complete fluke. We still placed 6th.

While I have had better placings at shows I am absolutely thrilled with how our 1st show went!! We ribboned in all of our classes and my confidence with Winifred has grown so much! Now I just need to get my eye back but I think that the trust I have him my boy now will help get that back in focus.

**Thank you Kristen from Stampy and the Brain for videoing my almost fall and to SK for videoing my other rounds!