Guess what time it is?????? Saddle pad time! Well, maybe….. I made it to -30lbs but I am wondering if I should wait. I am headed to Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks and let’s be honest I am not going to follow my diet program while I am down there so I am going to gain. If I was farther from -30lbs it would be a big deal but I know my body and even a little bit of bad food or drinks and I skyrocket up. Should I wait until after Mardi Gras when I will be down 30 and stay down to get my saddle pad??? But I did decide on a navy pad with white piping and orange binding.
Getting SO close to -30lbs which means new Ogilvy pad! I am really indecisive on my colors though! I see so many beautiful color combinations on horses at our barn but I am failing at picking my own. I really like navy and orange so I was thinking the grey pad with navy and orange piping and trim. I have seen the grey in person with the light blue and it is beautiful but I just don’t know if it will pop. Please help me!!!! What do you guys think? What are your favorite colors? I am open to any suggestions!
Now on to cute puppy. I don’t know if you knew this but Catahoulas can climb trees. They use this skill to flush game out of trees. He isn’t using his nails to dig in like he should but here is Finnley’s first attempt and getting something out of a tree. I did realize after though that fostering this skill may not be a good idea since he has already been known to jump fences (and not the horse type).
Mother Nature has hit again! We are covered in ice and the barn (and me) lost power and no lights = no riding. Shout out though to TD, TS, and our barn staff for ALL that they do! Winter in Michigan is not easy yo!
I figured that it would be a good time to do a blog hop. I first read this on HelloMyOlivia’s page WAY back in November and thought it would be fun. I think that it is a fun way for readers to get to know you and now that I am really looking at and thinking about the questions a fun way of doing a little introspection.
1. Why horses? Why not a sane sport, like soccer or softball or curling? I actually did play team sports in high school. I played both softball and basketball but basketball was by far my favorite of the two. I think I liked it better because it was the only contact sport for girls. I loved pushing my way around down in the paint. (Uh I might have some aggression issues but let’s push that aside for now.) Even as an adult I enjoyed playing team sports until I blew my knee out two years in a row playing co-ed football.
Horses (and all animals) have always been a huge part of my life though. I love the unspoken connection you can get with them and testing that connection through various forms of riding. I am going to get a little emotionally deep here so buckle up. I also think that a big part of why I worked so hard to be a competitive rider (not just a for funsies backyard rider) as a kid was to set myself apart in my family. My sister is 5 and a half years older than me and she was a natural born athlete. She played a few sports but softball was her love and I was always “B’s little sister”. She was known as the athlete and pretty one and I was the smart one who needed to lose a few pounds. My sister was the Homecoming rep for her class 2 of 4 years and she might still hold the record for most stolen bases for our school. (This was not a label that my sister created! She is my best friend and my biggest fan and I am her’s. It was just how our small community, and my family, fostered.) Riding and showing are what set me apart. It is MY thing and MINE only! And I was good! I grew up with a very loving family but there were also some very hurtful things that my mom would say about my weight. The barn became my safe space and solace. It still is and if I could never compete another day in my life, sure I would be sad, but it would still be the place I run to when I need to breathe.
2. What was your riding “career” like as a kid? I started riding when I was 7 at the hunter jumper barn that I am at now with the same trainers that I ride with now. I did my first horse show there. Walk/trot on a school horse named Tag. I was the only one in the class so I got first. I remember that day so clearly. My cousin told me good job as she gave me the ribbon and my response was, “I was the only one in the class. They had no choice but to give me first.” To which she promptly responded, “well you could have sucked so much they didn’t give you anything and told you to leave the ring.” Touche
I rode there a couple of years but when I was 9 my mom’s friend, J, wanted to sell her horse, Odie, and just needed someone to take the time to ride her get her to lose some weight. She didn’t have time so she boarded Odie at the barn across the street and over one house from me. Odie was a super broke, palamino quarter horse in that anyone could hop on her and go but she didn’t have any fine skills. I wasn’t taking any formal lessons with the trainer there but she would watch me ride and give me tips. Eventually, she went to my parents and said that I had potential and wanted to know if she could take me to a couple shows. My parents said yes and Odie’s owner figured it would help her eventual sale so she agreed to. A couple of shows turned into a whole season! Odie was clearly a western pleasure QH so we showed that but english was my first love so I forced her to do that as well. Lol. After Odie was sold, my parents were still not ready to buy a horse so my trainer went out and found me a pony that a couple bought for their grandchildren but it was not grandchildren ready. She convinced them to board it at her house and I would put in the finishing training for free if I got to show it. After that I was able to charge a small amount to ride and show people’s horses until I was able to pay for my own when I was 12. At that time I had been doing just local open shows but starting to go to a lot more QH circuit shows. I was riding in any class that the owner wanted me to but when I was 13 my trainer and I really started to focus on dressage. She even set me up with a professional dressage instructor for weekly lessons. Can I just say that dressage shows are run so much better than an HJ show?
3. If you could go back to your past and buy ONE horse, which would it be? This is a hard one. My best show horse was by far this cute little bay QH who was only about 15.2 hands named April. She could CLEAN up in any ring you put her in. Seriously, we would win in a western pleasure class then literally the next day kick ass in the dressage ring! She reminds me of Luther though in the fact that she hated the world and would bite you, kick you, and smash you to the wall but she loved her one person. Luckily for me at our barn that was me and when I sold her to this nice couple it was the wife she loved. Lol.
But the horse that I would want back is tied between Jamison and Chester. Jamison was a 16.2 hand, solid bay appy with a white “J” that I was originally hired to ride right after I graduated college but I ended up keeping him until he got cancer. He was actually purchased by his owner to be a western pleasure show horse but he clearly would rather be a hunter. We never competed so I didn’t bother measuring our jumps but I would guess that we were regularly doing 2’3″ to 2’6″. That is based off the scientific measurement in my head that there was a decent amount of space between the rail and a straw bale. He was all heart though. If I pointed him at something he trusted me to at least try. I also never felt the slightest unsafe with him. I miss him every day!
Jamison was all heart but 2’6″ would probably be his upper limit which is why Chester is in this tie. I bought him as a 4 year old and he was already 17.1 hands. He was a solid chestnut appy with tigering on his muzzle and around his eyes. (Wait, do I have a thing for appys and didn’t know it????) To this day he is the calmest horse I have ever met in my life! My friends used to joke that I had to have pot growing in my pasture cause dude barely ever had his eyes open. It wasn’t until he was 5 that I started popping him over some fences. For the first time in a year he opened his eyes! He was a natural! Knees tucked and he seemed to have no limit to the height. Since I just started him I didn’t push him too much but we got up to breezing over a 4′ single fence with plenty of air under him. He never ran down a line but his stride was so damn big that he didn’t need to. I sold him because he was not working out as a dressage horse but he is my adult ammy hunter unicorn!
4. What disciplines have you participated in? Hunters, dressage, western, gymkhana (does a gambler’s choice class count as doing jumpers??)
5. What disciplines do you want to participate in some day? I would love to say eventing but at this point in my life, I don’t think I have the balls to do it. I definitely don’t have the balls to do it on Winifred since you can’t even walk him out into the field.
6. Have you ever bought a horse at auction or from a rescue? I bought an OTTB from a rescue. He legit had the most beautiful trot of any horse I have ever ridden! Sadly, I had to give him back to the rescue to be a pasture pal for someone after a jack ass driving down the road (the barn I was had the riding arena was right on the road but a barely traveled on dirt road) thought it would be funny to honk his horn at us. Gavin lost his mind! He spun right into the stone wall fence and I ended up coming off and hurt my knee really bad. The guy drove off leaving me there by myself. Gavin had fractured his cannon bone when he crashed into the fence but limped his way into the barn where someone was cleaning stalls.
7. What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most as a kid? April, who I mentioned before. She was truly a bitch to everyone else but we had a connection.
8. If you could live and ride in any country in the world, where would it be? I love the English countryside and it would be amazing to ride there.
9. Do you have any horse-related regrets? Hmmmmm……. Maybe selling Chester and not seeing where he could develop in the HJ world but then again if I had kept him I would not have gotten April and learned the lessons she had to teach me. Maybe my biggest regret is not finding a sugar daddy to support my habit when I was hot enough to probably get one. LOL
10. If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be? Probably Karen O’Connor. She was the first big named female riding that I followed as a kid. Plus anyone who has the balls to ride a friggin’ PONY at Rolex (ok now the Land Rover three-day event) is just amazing!
11. What is one item on your horse-related bucket list? One “item“???? If we are taking this literal and looking at an actual “item” I can’t really say because everything I would want would be based on the horse that I am riding at the moment. I would like to upgrade my saddle I guess but that doesn’t really seem bucket-list worthy. If we are opening up the meaning, then I would like a >17 hand Spotted Irish Sporthorse that is dead broke enough cart me around and build me up enough to jump 3’6″ and do international derbies.
12. If you were never able to ride again, would you still have horses? This was a real possibility when I had to have back surgery and yes, I still went out to the barn. I was out there literally the day I got home from the hospital breaking two rules that day: 1. No driving (I live next door so not a big deal) and 2. Not being on my feet for more than 20 minutes at a time.
13. What is your “biggest fantasy” riding goal? First, I would have to have won the lottery and purchased the horse I mentioned in #11. I would love to compete on the A circuit.
14. What horse do you feel like has taught you the most? Tough one because I think they all have taught me something. Winifred is still trying to teach me to sit back. Lol. I think April though. She is a LONG story but the short of it is that she was abused. I eventually bought her from my trainer but it was my trainer who rescued her. We weren’t sure if she would live but she was a fighter. When I say that shew as a bitch it was for a reason but she taught me patience, trust, and loyalty. She also taught me lots of riding skills cause she was not a fan of anyone on her back for quite some time. Lol
15. If you could change one thing about your current horse/riding situation, what would it be? I absolutely love Winifred, I do, but he really isn’t the horse I would pick if I had my choice. First, he is a very nervous horse. I can generally handle him on the flat but since I have taken a few falls and have had major surgeries like my back and knee I am not ashamed to admit that I am a bit nervous over fences too. It is a mental block that I need to get over because when I am nervous I make mistakes and Winifred does not handle mistakes kindly. He needs a strong confident rider or he stops. I was that when we started together but then I had a show where he revved up to a jump and I thought we were taking off so I tipped but he changed his mind and I went FLYING! I came off 3 times at that show because he just grabbed the bit and ran but then slammed the brakes. It is because I needed to sit hard like a jumper rider and make him take more stride but now I second guess my spots. This is just a mental block and I am working my way through it but it would be nice to work my way through it on a horse that can say, “don’t worry, I will take us over this even if you make a mistake.”
16. If you could compete at any horse show/venue in your home country, where would it be? Man, these questions are making me feel like I suffer from a lack of dreams. Shit, I just want to get through a home show with no falls and feeling 100% confident.
17. If you could attend any competition in the world as a spectator, what would be your top choice? The Olympics or WEG
18. Have you ever thought about quitting horses? I have thought that I suck enough that I should quit jumping but never riding.
19. If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the horse industry, what would it be? The abuse that happens.
20.What’s the dumbest horse-related thing you’ve done that actually turned out pretty well? I have no answer for this one.
21. As you get older, what are you becoming more and more afraid of? This one is easy…… getting hurt. I have been laid up in the hospital having full body seizures because the disc between my 2 fractured vertebrae was compressing my spinal cord. Not gonna lie that scared the shit out of me!! That is the reason for my mental block with jumping right now. I have been there, I have felt excruciating pain and complete loss of mobility. That sticks with you.
22. What horse-related book impacted you the most? Horses for Dummies! Lol. I have not read that but my friend and I gave that to our barn-mate as her wedding gift. Lol. I have not started it yet but I am hoping that Brain Training for Riders: Unlock Your Riding Potential with StressLess Techniques for Conquering Fear, Improving Performance, and Finding Focused Calm may become a positive impact on my life soon.
23.What personality trait do you value most in a horse and which do you dislike the most? Calm confidence and just the opposite nervousness
24. What do you love most about your discipline? The feeling of flying with another being that you have to silently communicate with. For real it is such an adrenaline rush!
25. What are you focused on improving the most, at the moment? My confidence
Yes, yes, late again I know but at least not as late as it was last week. Fridays can be hard for me with having to go into the clinic in the morning to weigh in, working all day, getting some exercise for Finn, and making it to the barn. Not a big loss this week but considering I was up 6lbs on Monday morning after the Super Bowl I can’t be too mad since it was an overall loss. Can I bitch for just one sec about my stupid body though??? I mean, I get that I have not had salt and it was probably the salt that jumped up my weight but ONE meal causes me to go up SIX POUNDS?!?!?!?! What the literal F@%K?!?! I honestly, did not even eat that bad compared to everyone else or compared to what I wanted to eat. Lol. I had 2 chicken wings, a 1/4 cup of the buffalo chicken dip, veggies, but the kicker was the cup and a half of the BEST mac and cheese I have ever had in my life!!!! For reals, the BEST!!
Had my first jumping lesson in weeks last night. It has just been too cold the last couple of weeks. As you know, I have been fighting with a mental block on my jumping ability. Winifred has always tried to run at the fences but I used to be able to handle it. It took a few times of him running at the fences then slamming the breaks so that I jumped the jump and he stayed on the other side. The last time was September and I hurt my knee. Ever since then I have been paralyzed by fear which has completely removed my ability to adjust, see a spot, and believe in said spot. My nerves before my lesson were perked when I watched the lesson before mine struggle with the gymnastic TS put up. I like to watch this lesson because it has all of A show and big eq riders in it and I can learn from them. Last night though watching them struggle through the grid got my nerves up. The strides were big strides and all but two of them ended up having to add a stride.
On to our lesson….. Our flat was going well. It was obvious that Win was in a forward mood but in a good way. We did have a mini freak out though when the cat entered the ring as we were cantering past the door. (Ever since last year when that cat jumped out of the tree at us Winifred is petrified of cats. Lol). Not only have I been struggling with my jumping the other person jumping with me has a new lease horse that she has been struggling with a little so TS kept them LOW. For real three of our jumps were pony kid Xs, two were 2’3″ and the last was 2′. It is funny because the girl jumping with me is struggling with almost exactly the same thing as me. C is a good rider but is letting her nerves get the best of her when her horse gets a little strong with her. Does that ring a bell????? While we have the same struggles our horses prefer two completely different rides. I need to sit hard and keep constant contact with his mouth whereas her horse wants you off his back and a light rein.
I am very fortunate that K from Stampy and the Brain secretly filmed us. Our first line was pony X to pony X in a 6. You can’t see my first jump in the video but he jumped huge which meant I had to take a strong hold to make sure I got the 6 and not a 5. Then around to a verticle which felt like a total flyer. It doesn’t look as bad as it felt but I definitely popped him in the mouth but in my defense, he was trying to run away a bit. He was pretty pissed at me after that but eventually came down to a nice trot without having to circle before the gymnastic. (Those cute bay legs that you see is Maestro.) Remember when I said the riders in the lesson before had to add, well you can see from his head toss that he was pissed I didn’t let him drop a stride. (I will add that the lesson before was a canter in for a 2 stride and TS made our’s a trot in for a 3 but he was pretty sure he could show up the other horses and do a trot in for a 2.) Our last fence was a long approach to a small 2′. He really wanted to launch himself at it but I decided that he needed to listen to me and take another stride so I buried him into the fence. It worked out though. So, in the end, the course was ok, but right now I am ok with ok. Since show season is starting we need to start getting better than just ok. We actually have a schooling/rated show (mostly schooling classes but there will be rated medal classes) this weekend but I will be announcing instead of riding. I just don’t think we are I am ready to jump around at 2’6″ and TS won’t let me compete in the cross rails division! Rude, right?!?! Here is last night’s ok course:
And a nostalgic video (quality is not great) of us at a show last August when I could ride my horse. You can’t hear the full conversation but someone must have said something about Mr. Pyscho Pants’s running cause you hear TD comment “better settle down, settle down, settle down, settle down this is a retired jumper”. Lol
Quick update on Luther is all good news. Still getting his meds, walking, and cleaning/wrapping his wound. Monday, when I took his previous bandage off it, was full of gross discharge, even more than the days before. Yesterday (Tuesday) though this bandage was clean and smell has gone down significantly. His bandage still reeked but I had to bring it to my face to smell it whereas before all I had to do was put my head down to his shoulder and the smell hit you in the face.
Alright, last week I didn’t lose anything but I was horribly sick and on steroids so I was trying to stay positive. That positivity paid off and I am down big this week! They also took my measurements so I am posting the updates on those too.
Week: -6.6lb Total: -23.2lb
Neck: 0 (Not complaining overall but I would like to see this number go down so my show shirts don’t feel like they are choking me! Or maybe they just feel that way from nerves. Lol)
Chest: -2.5″ (I have plenty of boob to spare but why can’t my waist go down as quickly as my chest???)
Not too shabby for a month! I have tried so many things and I can’t tell you why the Medical Weight Loss Clinic is working for me but clearly, so far it is. Sure I do get hungry every now and then but I have never felt starving and sometimes I have to eat more than I feel like I need to in order to get the nutrients I am supposed to have each day. It is uber expensive but for someone who has struggled with her weight her entire life, I am willing to spend it on something that works. If anyone out there is interested and have more questions about the program I would be happy to answer them.
Before I get to the most handsomest puppy weekly update, I have one more thing on weight loss. I believe that rewarding yourself is important and I decided a while ago my reward for losing 30lbs would be a new custom Ogilvy pad. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I will be at -30lbs and I need your help picking some colors! Ok, I just made a bunch of options but I am still in love with my first pick. What are you favorite colors?
Ok, ok I know that it is actually Monday but I just have not logged on this weekend. I have been fighting a bad case of bronchitis and losing. Lol. My only energy has been used to go to the barn cause priorities yo.
Well, this week did not go so well for my weight loss. I did stay on plan but I lost nothing, nada, not a thing! Of course, I am not happy about it but I also am trying to not get mad. As I said I have been crazy sick and have been on drugs including steroids. With my autoimmune disease, any stress to my body and it clings on to fat like a dryer sheet to your underwear.
Finnley has been a bit stir crazy. I am starting to feel somewhat better but now we are looking at -36 wind chill so we will not be going out to play this week either. Poor guy! Also, poor me cause no riding this week! Hand walking only at this temperature.
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)
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.
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!!