Weigh in & Finnley Friday

Another great weight loss this week. I know that it has to slow down but damn I am enjoying this pace! Lol. I am feeling better but I am wondering when I am going to start to see the change. Not for a while, I am guessing with my weight but in my lesson this week I was strong enough to stay up in the 2-point the entire time without wanting to sit my fat ass down. I will take that as a win!

Week: -5.8lb                                                                                                                                               Total: -16.6lb

(I was incorrect last week when I said I was down 5lb. I heard my doctor wrong. I was down 6 last week for a total of 10.8)

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Weigh in & Finnley Friday

In the past, I have done Finnley Fridays and he just too cute so I have to continue that but I am also going to add a bit about my weight loss journey on Fridays. I know that this is a horse (and a bit of puppy) blog but for me, weight is part of my riding. Plus they say that being accountable helps keep you on track and what is more accountable than posting weekly for all of you to see. Every Friday along with cute Finnie pics I will also post my weight loss (and I am sure some gains) for the week and then my total. I started this journey on  12/31 so I have had 2 full weeks.

Weekly Change: -5lb

Total Change: -9.8lb

Banquet 2018

I know that MHJA year-end awards banquet was back in November but I did not post about it. I am having a pretty crappy week and I find myself thinking about happier things so I thought I would remember and share that night with you. Even though we had some rough moments and were not able to ride in finals we ended up with some decent year-end ribbons: 5th Primary Adult Hunter (Winifred is not a hunter so this was a shocker! We missed 4th by only 1 point.), 4th Primary Adult Eq O/F, 6th Primary Adult Eq OTF, 6th Intermediate Adult Eq OTF, 6th Intermediate Adult Medal. Not bad for only 2 shows. (I did a couple more shows but only did the unrated classes.)

But even better than that was a fun night of getting all fancied up great friends. I always find it funny how hard it is to recognize some of my competitors when they look like “normal” people. Overall our bard did OUTSTANDING this year!!

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Some of my favorite ladies!
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For those of you who follow StampyandtheBrain my barn-mate in this picture will look familiar. Check out her impressive reserve with #notachestnut
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I know that this is weirdly cropped but I didn’t feel like asking everyone for permission to post this but I just HAD to show you how AMAZING our barn did as a whole!
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Weird side story from the night…… I received a text from a wrong number who was trying to win “me” back. He was confused by my response so I had to send a picture to prove I was not who he thought he was texting. LOL

Hello Again

I have not posted in so long because I did not feel like I had anything to post about. In reality, it is because I have been a little a lot disappointed in my riding. At last, I left we were on the struggle bus with me tipping and Winifred stopping.

Well, the stopping theme continued into finals back in September. TS was schooling us the day before the show and we continued to struggle. This time though there was something about the one line that Winifred didn’t like. Him hitting the breaks without me tipping was not something he had ever done before but there was just something about the diagonal line that he didn’t like. He refused the in, circled and got him over it, he then refused the out, circled and got him over it, then came back around and did them but he was nervous. He was fine with the other jumps though and TS assured me that I was not jumping ahead. Ok, she did say at the one I was about 2 seconds early but not enough to warrant a stop.

We then went to practice an eq course and when I rolled back to the out of the diagonal I did totally jump ahead. I landed on the other side and Winifred did not. Ultimately, it was not what I would say was a bad fall but bad luck for me. I blew my right knee out 7 years ago. I tore my ACL, MCL, meniscus on both sides, and dislocated my patella playing football (but, hey, I scored the touchdown!). I ended up having to have two surgeries to repair it. One year and four days after the incident I was playing football again and tore my ACL AGAIN! The surgeon told me that he could fix it, but the recovery would be worse this time and he would tell me to stop playing sports or I could live my life with a torn ACL (as long as my knee remained stable) and quit playing sports. Since it was stable, and the outcome was the same no matter what, I decided not to have surgery and I quit playing football and basketball. In the last 6 years my knee has slipped out maybe a handful of times but always went right back into place. I am generally sore for a couple of days but then it is ok. So back to my bad luck fall….. I landed on my right leg in a twisting motion which caused my knee dislocated. I straightened it and it went back into place, but I was not getting back in the saddle right then. TS asked my friend, J, to hop on Winifred to make him do that line again. Now J is by far one of the best riders in our barn. She has mad skills, especially with tough rides. I was excited to see her on Win and completely surprised when he refused with her too. (Not gonna lie I felt slightly vindicated that he stopped with her too!) Unlike me though she was completely unphased and forced him down the line after that without a single moment of hesitation after the refusal.

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My braider could not figure out how he pulled the end of his braid through like this! Special!

I was pretty sore the next day, but I thought I would at least see how my knee would hold up. I was already having trouble flatting. I could not keep my lower leg steady but still tried a couple of schooling jumps. Both times I landed my knee collapsed. I just was not able to hold myself up over the fence so I had to scratch finals.

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Even though we didn’t show I could not resist taking pictures of him since he was already braided.

I ended up taking two weeks off from jumping because my knee was just not healing up as fast as it had in the past. I guess that is from a combination that it was a pretty good dislocation and that I am getting old! When I started jumping again TS and I decided to go back to the basics to get both my physical and mental game back. I then took a couple more weeks off in October because I went to South Korea. When I came back we were still doing just mini-courses for a few weeks. Knowing that TS was also on board with me going back to basics really took the pressure off of me and brick by brick my confidence has been growing. We are back to doing full courses and just last week after a particularly technical course and TS saying that it was the best she has seen us jump in 3 months I asked her if we can start to raise the fences again. My next lesson is tomorrow so we shall see how that goes.

So, what am I doing to try and fix my riding????? The top thing I am focusing on outside of the saddle is my weight. Over the past 2 years my doctor and I have tried diet plan after diet plan after diet plan and all I have done is gain weight. I do have an auto-immune disease that affects my thyroid so that doesn’t help but my doctor finally threw up her hands, said that she gives up, and sent me to see a diet specialist. I have been on the new eating and supplement plan since 12/26 and I have lost nearly 8lbs! My new doctor thinks that she can have me down 125lbs by the end of October. I think that is a bit of a stretch, so I am focusing on smaller goals like being down 20lbs for Miami in mid-February and then another 30lbs for Thailand in June. Winifred is great and carries me well but there have been times when TS said I tipped when I really did not feel like I was. It hit home when she commented that I am top heavy so any little bit of leaning forward makes a big difference. (Please note that she was in NO way being mean about my weight, but it is the truth.) I have never been the skinny girl, but I did use to have an athletic body. Having Hashimoto’s definitely affects my ability to lose weight but so far, the supplement and food plan combination my new doctor has me on is helping. Fingers crossed it continues to help. Losing weight will improve so many facets of my life including riding!

Riding outside in Michigan in January AND a calm Winifred!?!? You will have to excuse my sniffles though but what do you expect in January? Lol

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.

Another brick added

Well I added another brick to my confidence wall last night. It was such a nice small lesson and since everyone else was just flatting it turned into a private jump lesson for me. Trainer put the jumps down small 1) for my self-esteem and 2) it was cold and there is no reason to jump big in this cold when you don’t need to.

We did the exact same start as we did on Saturday. Warm up trot X, then a warm up of trot X, roll back to cavaletti, roll back to another X, then long approach to a skinny oxer. The oxer was one of the jumps that I really had an issue with 2nd guessing myself over. This time was much better. Next was our hunter course. Did the steps on the outside line to the long approach to a single vertical on the diagonal. He got a little spunky after that one so I circled before going to the outside line which was a 3 stride. I felt that rode nice then on to the diagonal that I flubbed on the lesson before. We jumped in and I wanted to do the add since I failed on it last time. We got the add but let me tell you it was not pretty! I failed to start to ask for it until our 3rd stride and given that it was set up as a 4 stride it was a little late to ask for it and have it fit nicely but he did listen and fit it in. As ugly as it was it reminded me that this horse does listen to me! Well he listens to me when I ride correctly. Since we flubbed trainer made us canter around and do it again. This time I asked right away and *wala* 5 fit perfect. Next we did an equitation course of X, roll back to other outside which was now a vertical, to the cavaletti, broken line to oxer, then broken line of the skinny oxer to the single vertical on the diagonal. Thanks to Kristen from Stampy and the Brain I have this on video, unfortunately, Maestro wanted to help video so I am out of the frame a little but I am still grateful for the media. Anytime I watch our videos it amazing me how little you can tell how hard he is pulling. Lol. Again the jumps were some but it is what I needed. I felt like myself again making the choices of where we take off and the pace I wanted. I also need to remember to breathe and talk to him. He really does seem to do much better when I talk to him.

I really needed this since I am out of town for work next week this was the last time I get to jump before our first show! The jumps will be a lot bigger but I feel like we can do this! I stated to get that fun feeling again.

Side note: You can see my baby Luther a little in the video. His owner rides him once a week and it is usually during my lesson. I just LOVE seeing him go around and how happy he has been lately. I need to do a whole post just on him soon!