A Horse is a Horse

A Horse is a Horse

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

3 Years

So the beginning of this month was my 3 year anniversary with Holly.

Yep still have her. She's for sale (again). Because I had a month or so of being totally smitten with her again and when you stop checking your bank account that's awesome. Then you remember your cars are all super high mileage, kids are growing, and you're pretty sure that's rust in the back of your microwave (seriously they do that?!).

When I first went to look at her, I wasn't so sure. She was taller than I wanted, and had training but in WP, so she was downhill and either threw herself at jumps from quite the distance away or did an impressively small chip in.
Such a baby face
Now she's pretty much a well oiled machine on anything 2'9" and under. And quickly finds her rhythm at 3'-3'3". She knows lateral work, extends, changes, turn on haunches/ shoulders, etc. She is everything my trainer said she'd be.

But lots of things in my life change, and I am slowly accepting that's ok. Having two kids was more time consuming than I expected (hey I'm an only child- I have no frame of reference lol). And ya know, take more money too.

She is a saint as soon as my son is aboard
We've had some really good (and some not) lessons lately. I even had my big girls panties on and did some really relaxed baby jumps, proving to myself, my confidence is in there somewhere.

OMG feet leaving ground
My trainer has been doing lots of transition/change/halt/turn drills for us to fumble through. Brain work. I'm working on really focusing on what the heck all my body parts are doing (despite how I look in photos). I'm amazed at how keeping my seat still affects how well we change, or hold a counter canter. Always a duh moment for me ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

What's Wrong with the Blog?!

Ok, so after some elbow nudging from a beloved barn mate who reads my blog even though she's at the barn for prob at least half of my shenanigans (hi E!) I decided to post an update.

So... There's the D'Alonzo show I totally neglected to say much about. In fact I'm really bad because I haven't put it on the barn's web page either, because after a few days of harassing people about what classes they were in and what they placed, I got tired of trying and went back to neglecting it like laundry and dusting. Basically we moseyed in fairly late, I totally spaced it and only had time to do 1 lap of WTC one way then had to start flatting.

Needless to say in the stuffy indoor, Holly and I were a little out of sorts and didn't shine. I got all 2nds or 4ths. I kept getting pushed off the rail and then ended up in the endless circle of doom trying to find an open place while still looking pretty (Holly, not me, I try to look like I'm not gonna vomit, no promises of anything better). Again one horse dominated the 1st place spot in the flat classes, who conveniently they knew... and was for sale. Hmmph.

I did warm up Holly over small rails for WS to jump in the 2'6" stuff. If I hadn't been so hot I actually could have seen doing some of the little stuff because the sucky flatting had pissed me off, which made jumping less scary. But I was paranoid about going off course, which ironically WS did. Seeing as she was riding 3 horses back to back, I don't fault her for it. It is the very problem that keeps me chicken about jumping classes... well and the jumping....

I've jumped very little since then. Holly is awesome blossom summer mode, no lunging, no fuss. Little more leg, which my recently aged up ass needs.I have been regularly putting the boy on with me, he's still scared to go at it alone (can't blame him at 16h) but starting to really feel comfortable perched in front of my saddle on her. It was definitely easier riding with him on my friend's pony.

Trooper doesn't care who's on his back,
 as long as he's headed towards food
...... The barn is at a weird place. Karley left and rarely comes out at the same times as me. L is leaving. M's horse just had surgery and will be rehabbing well into the next year. E works and often doesn't make it early enough for weekday lessons. Two kids has my schedule jumping around and me tired.

This pretty much wipes out the majority of adults I ride with. I don't mind lessoning and riding alone or with tweens, but I'm first to admit that losing the social aspect makes me really bummed. I had a really cool group at the barn, of good friends, and I mourn the passing of the "Ladies Night" era we had.

But life is about changes, and how we handle them, so I'll just read blogs and enjoy the times I do have friends with me at the barn. Getting to have my kids be a part of it has been such a hard but unexpected source of happiness for me... my wallet...well...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

All the Many Updates...

So of course, I still suck at blogging with any consistency. Que sera sera..

Lets just make this as brief as my overly descriptive brain can:

1.Hives. Once again its the season of Holly looking like a 3-D topography map of the moon. Still not totally clear on what the cause is, most likely evil little fly/gnats eating my poor princess. Several rounds of Dex without much luck, but now she is hopefully turning the corner after 2 doses (and prob just time) or Hydroxizine. It wasn't real fun to still see those on Sunday when I was pulling her out to load up for the show.

2. Schooling Show. Did a schooling show. More details later. Basically I did some mediocre flatting and some good flatting, which was not rewarded any better than my mediocre work. Was too dang hot, tired, chicken to jump actual course, but did warm her up over baby X (volunteered!) for the WS.

3.Sale pony. Yup, princess is still for sale. This is hard because she is in her Summer Personality, where she's awesome-sauce and my biggest complaint is I can't ground mount because I'm not flexible. A few have come and looked at her. Its a very mixed- emotion thing, with lots of anxiety on top. I'll do a full write-up later.

4.Jumping. So, yeah. I still do that. In the most weenie, the kids jump higher most days, sorta way. Most days trainer lets me decide if I feel up to it, but some days she just point me at jumps (when its hot and she knows I'm too tired to whine). So I pretty much decided I'd test Holly's ability to pack me. If I keep my leg on enough, but hold her from rushing, or wandering, she really will pretty much pack over <2'6".

 Truth- I need my core back because on the backside, I have a really hard time sitting up. My back is done with working OT for my absent Abs.

IDK why, I hate this gate sooo much
5.The rest. Holly is pretty well versed in the basics now, and its fun getting to play with cleaning things up, better haunches in, better canter departure, better downward transitions, etc. I may not have been alone in putting the buttons on her, but I'm certainly helping the process, and I'm proud when I sit back and watch others on her, and see how good she can be.

My 4 year old finally like riding. Mostly at a walk, with me, but its a start. Trainer even had me ride schoolie bareback (loose pad only) with him. Its only been a decade since last bareback ride, why not? Lol. Holly has also been most tolerant of my little minion riding pretty much no her withers for a few laps around the ring. I'm proud mamma of them both on that one.

L in background, Liam telling me not to run into things.
Holly so chill with the extra passenger
 (who does where a helmet now)

6.Blogger Meet Up. Many others have posted, let me just say, so worth not sleeping after my night shift (although I'm sure I was a bit goofy to converse with). I look forward to more horse-related get togethers, after years of car related activities, its a fun change.

Gee, glad I kept that short ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Ok, trying again to dust the old blog off. Honestly a lot of posts I end up waiting on media editing, then they get so outdated they sit in the draft folder, shelved and unloved...

I have been making a solid 2 lessons/wk lately. Its better than 1/wk. For the most part our weather has been awesome (with the exclusion of one lesson that included jumping in a light rain) and we have been enjoying the outdoor arena again.

Not an Eq Princess 
Yes, I said jumping again. Trainer finally gets that I am in no hurry to jump anything over long-stirrup height. Sometimes I just do the one cross rail warm up and WS gets on, sometimes I do a little 2-3 rail course. Since I don't do height, trainer makes sure I do plenty of turns and changes lol. Rollbacks with lead changes are hard for princesses.
Here mommy, lets pretend these are taller
Holly isn't real happy at baby jump height, she gets rushy because she is sure its work to be done fast so she can get on to the real stuff. Tuesday I warmed her up, she was slightly looky at all the moved-and-stacked-things along the rail (as were all the ponies), but otherwise very channel-able with her energy.

Every once in awhile she cleans up for baby jumps
Then we jumped. She was kind of a sluggo to the jump. Then she'd take off, needing a strong half halt or to stop and reverse. Nothing horrid, just fussy. Then I let another girl jump her a bit (that's another story) and she was exactly the same. Its nice sometimes getting to see what is happening from the ground. The WS that usually rides her is light-years better than I ,so its never a fair comparison.

Then I hopped back on and asked for a little more jumping. Yup, little weenie me asked for more. Trainer  had us do a cross rail away, rollback to another cross rail. Princess was a little upset over seeing the other horses leaving while she had to work again (even though L was warming up  wonder-twin  Ramone around us).

So bored mom
We had a little fight discussion, got over it, and ended with some good pace before and after the jumps.

Then I watched L jump like a boss and we headed up to the barn. At this point it was just us (and hubby) and we had a nice long conversation about all things horsey, which was so nice. With kids its soooo nice to have non-kid related conversations every once in awhile.

Eventually I'll edit some video, new computer doesn't have editing software (that I like) yet so slacking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SHOWing Off

OMG, I've written like 3 different posts in the last month, then scratched them, either feeling they were whiny, or out of date by the time I was ready to post...

I've been riding sadly like 1-2 rides/wk. I have hopped on a few other people's horses to cool them for WS and finally see Holly is way easier to push gas and when I'm not fetal, her canter is pretty nice. It takes a lot of open hip for me to sit still. I even jumped a bit. (Not so) shockingly I may miss it a little.
The one pic she bothered to actually jump baby xrails
So, I'm more confused now than ever, because we went to a schooling show almost two weeks ago, and I totally fell in love with my mare again. 

Duh. Something has snapped in my head over the last few weeks in the process of looking at other horses that has changed the way I ride her. I stopped being such a ninny and start riding her like the rider I am capable of being. We are working, not hairy eyeing the corners, not hanging our head as heavy as possible. Once I set the rules in a few laps, she became the horse my trainer kept telling me I had. Again, Duh.

So, back to the show. After working all night, I went with two kids and another AA with a green bean QH to a local show. It was kinda weird having one of the more trained horses of the group because I haven't shown a lot, but Holly has a completely different persona when we trailer her out to a show. Game face was on.

She got a quick run in their worlds smallest and hardest round pen, then we went to work around all sorts of things she wasn't so sure about being around in the outdoor. 

By the time I had gotten on, the indoor where all the flat classes were held was already being used, so we went into there for the first time, while being judged. It has stalls surrounding it and people walking all about, horses calling out and a judge sitting in one corner Lots of new things to pretend like we didn't see while being hunter princesses of the flat.

We must have done pretty well at that because we became the Queens of 2nd place. To the same, really schooled grey horse and rider. Kinda felt a little shady since she won 1st in Eq, Pleasure, HUS classes every time. Since I had prepped almost nil and had worked the night before (yay for being to tired to get nervous) getting a bunch of red ribbons was A-Ok in my book. Especially in eq, I'm not your most graceful rider. 

My only 3rd I managed to cue a counter canter (seriously mare, when do I ask for that?!) instead of a canter to the right, leading to this slug of a pace and in a panic, I did the worlds worst lead change near practically into the judge. Um, yeah, I blame sleep deprivation. New rule: if in doubt, return to trot.

That moment where you feel so 'at home' on a horse
WS hopped on Holly for o/f classes. I kinda wanted to do the baby crossrail classes (i.e. < 2ft), but honestly it was kinda hard to when even the kids were starting at 2'-2'3".  Considering a nasty storm blew in during the last class, Holly was amazing, She hasn't schooled over flower fill in a long time and it was straight raining on her for the last round. She got 1st in all her o/f classes because the WS, J, makes all horses shine their best. 

So, of course almost two weeks later, the high has worn off, and I'm still torn between my really pretty, trained, sweet mare that I don't really have time for, and a possibly smaller, easier unknown new project. I get bored admittedly after a few years with things, and am trying to sort out what I really want to do with a horse and have the time for with work, house projects out the kazoo, and two very active small kids....

Guess I'll keep drinking wine and playing the lotto while I sort all this out ;)

Equestrian center turned winery... awesome wine and scenery :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This Cheat'n Heart

So years ago I was half paying attention to TV and hubby commented on this cartoon commercial that he couldn't believe they were advertising on cable. I perked up, confused at who used a cute little cartoon of people looking like they were dating. Hubby had to explain the Ashley Madison website. For those that had no idea like me, its a site where you can basically find others who want to cheat with you.... (hubby is lucky I trust him lol)...

My point? I've been perusing horse ads. And I told trainer if she caught wind of anyone wanting a horse that fit Holly, she could show her. It totally feels like cheating.

Cheating lol
I got Holly right after I had my first kid, and knew realistically I may get too busy with two kids to keep a horse that needs more saddle time like her. But she is pretty and lets my kid feed her treats without nibbling on his fingers. And since I started thinking of dealing with her as temporary, she honestly has been easier to ride.

I better get a cookie for this
Taking each ride on its own helps me to not get overwhelmed when she is being a spooky butt. Then the behavior usually stops because duh, she reacts to me more than anything.

She honestly is the kick-ass hunter horse I wanted her to become when I got her, its just now, my desires have changed. I really feel like  I want something shorter, less intimidating to my son, so I can start getting him interested. Less intimidating to me lol.

No pony for my bday? Guess I'll ride the dog

Plus judging by how many cars I've had, I'm a little ADHD when it comes to things. I'm likely just getting that itch to see what else is out there. That's why it feels like cheating, she's done what I've wanted, and here I go looking for something else.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Yesterday this little stinker turned 1. Love her so much :)

Not sure where that last year went.

More horsey stuff tomorrow promise.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Stuck in the Middle With You

Ah those Winter Woes.

Sorry, really, my sympathies for those with real winter weather.

I mulled over posting this. Its kinda whinny. Be forewarned.

2 weeks ago, I was pretty frustrated with my horse and myself. She was jumpy, I was super reactive and letting it all get the best of me. I have zero confidence these days.

Perusing horse ads became a little more than idle time killing. I was curious what else was out there. Not that I totally expect to find a unicorn, lets be real the #1 thing my mare has been spooking at is other horses spooking. That hasn't been lost on me.

I told trainer come spring I would heavily be thinking of selling Holly, and if someone came out to lok at barnmate's sale horse, she could show Holly (insert instant guilt). She's damn pretty, smart, trained, and could take some serious ribbons, but I'm not sure what my 2016 goals are anymore.

 I rode a few times in a beautiful but absolutely wrong for us dressage saddle (Thanks N!). We don't need anything helping push me forward. It did feel pretty good to open my really really defensive hip angle. I relaxed a bit and focused on feeling the newness of the change in position. Then returning to my CWD I realized what I needed to do with my hips to ride her canter better. Now my knees hurt after riding in the jump saddle. NOT telling hubby my $$$ saddle causes me discomfort, he's already a little miffed at my wanting a dressage saddle too.. (poor hubby).

Not dying in the scary corner
Our last few rides have been good. I've taken less shit, she's given less. And that's the rub, she needs a regular, confident rider to shine; neither of which I am currently. I'm not quite ready to downgrade to the old plow mule, but something that mellow sounds kinda nice. I kinda want to have the steady horse of the pack. Most likely in a few years, that will be her, she has to acknowledge that QH side eventually.

Sorry this post is kinda scattered like my thoughts. I've looked back through my blog and realized we've pretty much struggled every winter and things generally get better as the weather warms. That feels a long time away, even in Cali.

Decision decisions... guilt guilt guilt....saddle shopping?

Ugh, chin straps are not attractive

Finally riding w/ Karley

Holly's opinion of work, such a lady ;)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Candy Canes, GM, and Naughty ponies

Freezing cold wind makes for rough Xmas photos

Trying to get back into blogging is proving to be hard. But at least now  I have a little help with a new laptop. So now I can sit here in bed, and type away. no kids, glass of wine... Hmm... this may not be super productive...

XMAS scored my another 2 sets of Piper breeches and assorted Under Armor tops along with said laptop and other wintery things like beanies and my beloved scarves.

I'm also on a major sugar binge, so hopefully I can clean out the candy and start some cleaner living with Nicku and her #goalbreeches

Anywhoo, I audited the GM Clinic with Karley, getting to watch L once again brave riding with someone who will tell you exactly how he feels, good, bad, and brutal. L and Karley did pretty good synopsis of the clinic already, so I'll keep it short.

Being the second time, but a few years removed, it was interesting to see what new things I picked up.
#1- Dressage
#2- Leg-hand, Leg-hand, Leg-hand
#4-Outside rein
#6-I'm never riding with him.
#7- Dressage
#8-If GM can make a horse engage his hind quarters in 10min without stirrups, I have no excuse for not demanding better frame/ uphill work.
#9-Dressage- No really, GM really pushes the power of sound flat work. Which makes me feel better about returning to focus on it.

Seriously, I need to do no stirrup work if GM still rides without them

I was so inspired by GM I even tried jumping a little bit a couple weeks ago, really thinking of riding in a "crotch seat" as he terms the proper American jump position. It really helped me think of the right spot to be in, and helped me not get ahead or left behind.

But ya know...
Its winter....
Naughty ponies do haunches in/out, shoulder in/out
I don't know why it catches me off-guard every year that the ponies all lose their minds when the temps drop and the winds gust. Well, at least my beauty does. To be fair, she isn't getting the same turn-out/ saddle time either, and she's a girl who needs to kick her heels up regularly.

Rode her the other day without lunging, since there really wasn't room in the indoor. Umm, yea, YeeHaw.

That was a learning experience to say the least. If you didn't let her channel that spooky energy forward, she gave me upward then forward. Nothing nasty but we caught some air, because she's wasn't keen on being the horse in the arena that got eaten.

Ok. Ok, we always lunge first, point taken princess.

Style points :) 

I have worked really hard at keeping my hands up and more leg leg leg since GM and have really noticed a difference in my ability to keep her in a nice frame. Not a lot of media proof since hubby isn't a fan of low-light indoor photography in 30F weather ;)

I leave you with my grumpy kitty
Been busy with the holiday family stuff, hopefully can get regular rides back into the mix, because not riding isn't helping either of us. Luckily WS had last two weeks off and has put some good rides into Holly.