Snaps for Olivia

So earlier this week I had a little party about how my professionally-trained-for-years horse was acting like a professionally-trained-for-years horse. That even though he’s a little out of shape and out of a consistent program, he’s still a super capable steed with lots of buttons that can Do The Things. Because while I know it’s pretty normal for a trained horse to remain trained (especially one with his disposition), I’ll never stop being giddily grateful for my shmancy pony.

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Unrelated, I just think it’s funny how much he enjoys the vacuum. PC- Liz.

 

We had our first lesson since August this week, meaning we jumped for the first time in 3 weeks. I certainly didn’t ride at the level that I was at during show season- my muscles are much weaker, I was cursing out my trainer while doing our no-stirrup work, and our turns were…creatively angled. But Frankie packed me around cheerfully, adjusted his stride promptly when asked, jumped cute, and was overall an absolute prince for me. Seriously, I could gush about how great he was for hours.

But I won’t. Because today I want to give myself some kudos.

I arrived home from my lesson beaming from ear to ear, and told my fiance all about how great Francis was, how the jumps stayed around 3′ but that was kinda a welcome step back since I’m so out of shape, and how glad I am to have a horse that can take care of me when my riding is decent-not-awful-but-definitely-not-great.

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We’ll work our way back up to being able to steer in the air. For now it’s no shame grab mane.

And then he reminded me- only about 3 years ago, jumping 3′ was my white whale. It was my hump that I had never conquered in all my years of riding. Counting up my years in the saddle, it took a solid 10 years to get to the point of jumping 3′ with any sort of consistency. And because he is a lovely person, he gave me a big hug and told me how he thought it was pretty cool that something that had been a mental block for so long now feels easy enough to be a step back. He was there when I got back in the saddle, he was there when I jumped my first 3′ jump with Addy, and he was there when I came home from a show with a ribbon from my first ever 3′ division. He has many clear memories of my endless monologues about the journey to 3′. He’s been there for every move up over the past few years and he’s cheered for all of them.

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He took this picture, back in 2015. I was so excited to finally jump this height.
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Having him there means the world to me. 

So yeah, he reminded me to give myself some grace. I’ve been kinda disappointed about stepping back after being on such an incredible trajectory for the past few years. I needed that reminder to consider the bigger picture, and give myself some credit for the progress we’ve made instead of being glum about what we’re not currently doing. Because what we’re doing is still really cool.

Thanks for bearing with this remarkably self-indulgent post, and we’ll get back to the pony-indulging posts shortly. We all know that Francis is the real MVP 😉

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My Spending Freeze Wishlist

As you may have guessed, I’m currently on a bit of a spending freeze due to the wedding (helmet doesn’t count, Frankie earned me some dolla billz so that didn’t change my cash flow). And true to form, being on a spending freeze makes me IMMEDIATELY WANT ALL THE THINGS.

So sue me.

Here are a few of the items popping up lately that are giving me the grabby hands this fall:

LD Equestrian Leggings

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The best pic I could find was a gratuitous butt shot HAPPY TUESDAY

I saw someone wearing these on Instagram and they looked pretty cool, and I also like to look cool. Also they come in navy. So you know they must be good. I’ve been wanting to get some leggings for a while now, and will happily take any recommendations you may have for breathable, cleanable, pretty ones that aren’t too slippery. But until someone gives me a different recommendation, these are on the list.

Mountain Horse Sovereigns

“But Olivia, I thought you already had two pairs?”

Yeah, I do. But you know what I don’t have?

SOVEREIGNS IN DARK BROWN

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Be still my heart.

However, I can’t find these for sale anywhere. It was just one lone picture on one lone account on Twitter. But now I’m hoping. My current brown ones are looking pretty beat up, and these would be a gorgeous replacement. The two-tone lighter brown are def cool looking, but these are absolutely stunning. Hit me up if you find them anywhere.

Equifit BellyBand

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Finally, something for Francis. Despite going 2 years with zero problems, Homeboy started getting spur rubs pretty easily on his left side this past summer. A combination of my weaker left leg moving too much, and him being incredibly dull to that side (also likely due in large part to my weaker left side). It’s not really a mystery. But while I’m working on correcting that, I would also love to give him a little extra protection until I can control that rogue left heel.

Charles Ancona Show Coat

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Excuse me while I try to stop drooling. I currently have two lovely show coats- my more conservative hunter green one that I use for classics and my rare forays into the non-jumper ring, and my kickass light blue one for Every Other Time. But I’ve been starting to really covet something navy. Our barn colors are navy, red, and white (I’m sure you’ve seen our saddle pads and bonnets) and y’all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE color-coordinating. A navy coat with white and red piping?! I could cry. And the people I know with Ancona’s just love them, totally rave about the quality. I touched one once in a store and it gave me better posture. It’s literally over 3x what I’ve ever paid for a coat before, but unimportant. It’s fine. The Equiline coats also offer customization, and AT has one that’s just gorgeous. So what I’m saying is that I want a custom navy coat.

Haas Dark Bay Brush Set

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Back to stuff for Frankie! A couple people in the barn have gotten the Haas sets lately, and absolutely love them. And their horses are looking super clean and shiny too. Getting Frankie a full set of really nice brushes has been on the list for a while, so these have made it to the wishlist. Apparently the curry comb is Better Than All Other Curry Combs, and Frankie thinks any brushing system that includes moar brushies is a total win. Big guy does love himself the itchy scratchies.

OK, your turn now! What’s giving you grabby hands these days?

Mirror Mirror

More than 3 years ago, I wrote about how my emotions were affecting the DragonMare and how she mirrored those back at me. She was definitely the type that would react to any stress being emitted in her direction. Frankie is an extremely different horse (the actual polar opposite of her in pretty much every way), and is almost entirely non-reactive to that kind of stimuli.

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IF YOU’RE A STRESS THEN I’M A STRESS 
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vs. Lady I can feel you vibrating and I cannot make myself care

This past weekend, he reminded me that he does still read me EXCEEDINGLY well. And don’t I feel foolish about it.

Because for a couple weeks now, I’ve basically been calling him a fat lazy sack of bones (very affectionately, of course). And so I’ve hopped on and expected a lazy sack of bones.

And what does he give me? A fat lazy sack of bones. Homeboy ain’t dumb, he knows this is his ticket to No-Worksville.

How do I know this is true?

Because this weekend, I was feeling particularly motivated to get a good workout in. I pulled out his figure-8 bridle with the leverage bit (we’ve been riding in his basic snaffle lately). I put my spurs back on. I grabbed my crop. I prepared to really talk him into working with me.

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Jeepers crow he looks so handsome in his work-hard-uniform

And I didn’t have to. He was right there working hard with me from the moment I swung into the saddle.

Turns out my lazy horse was being lazy…because I was expecting (and allowing) him to be lazy. WOW THIS IS TOTALLY COMPLICATED ROCKET SCIENCE. Not.

As soon as I brought out his “work clothes” and actually rode instead of just passively sitting on him, he was right there. Prompt upwards transitions. Correct lateral work. Adjustable gaits. You know, all the things we’ve trained him to do over the past few years.

It may sound silly that I’m absolutely giddy about my well-trained horse acting like a well-trained horse, but I am. It affirms for me that slowing down is not ruining the work we’ve put into him. He’s not going to forget all of this just because we’re not jumping every week. We’ll have to do some bootcamp to get full fitness back, but he’s holding on to his know-how and will absolutely be ready for me when I’m ready.

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Ready for SMOOSHES ALL TIME FOREVER

As long as I don’t expect him to be a pokey pony. Because then he will 100% be a pokey pony.

Blog Hop: The Horse You Bought

Y’all know I’m a sucker for a blog hop, so I just had to jump in on this one from Cathryn at Two and a Half Horses after seeing L’s post.

We all know that Frankie has grown and progressed a TON from when I bought him. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and talk about it some more.

Bought: end of March, 2016

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Doin’ some jomps in our trial ride
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His Coggins pic, looking mighty cute

Here’s what his ad said when I bought him:

“He is Eventing at the Novice level and has the ability for much more. This kind natured horse is quiet and easy going, with good movement and a super jump. He goes XC quietly in a snaffle and will jump whatever you point him at. He is also a good Foxhunter. A competitive horse suitable for an amateur.”

And you know what? That was entirely accurate. Honest, quiet, sweet, and athletic. A genuinely good egg. In short- exactly what I was looking for!

However, he was inexperienced in several ways. He was started quite late (as a 6yo) and had done relatively little until he was 8 or 9. By the time I bought him, he had roughly 12-18 months of consistent training. He was nicely broke and very willing, but didn’t really know how to use his body to best effect (especially over fences). While I think his late start is certainly good for his long-term soundness, I think it took him as long as it did to figure out his jumping form because he came to it so late. Luckily he was big enough and naturally powerful enough to step into the 1m jumper ring pretty quickly.

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HOW DO LEGS GO IN AIR HUH?

Which he was also brand new to. His first show with us was a week-long A rated show where he was stalled the whole time, at a height that was new to both of us. Bit of a trial by fire. For the first full year or so, he would land off of every jump and stall a bit- he didn’t ever think to continue on to another fence unless explicitly told to. I had to override to everything since he didn’t have the know-how to maintain a powerful collected stride. It made combos tricky since those were also brand new to him.

In a nutshell- he was a forgiving, fun, inexperienced horse who had lots of ability and lots to learn to be able to use it.

Fast forward to 2018.

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The most handsome angel
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Show pro, anywhere we go (sick flow)
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Happy boy totally knows the drill now when we walk in the ring

To say he’s a different horse than I bought two years ago couldn’t be more true. He’s (clearly) figured out his body over the jumps, and we haven’t found the upper limits of his scope yet. He says yes to all of it with that same happy face. We went from struggle-bussing over 1m, to easily doing the 1.15m with me and 1.20m with a pro in the irons. He’s learned how to stay powerful and collected so we have lots of options on course, he lands looking for the next jump, and he knows that the start bell means it’s time for zoomies. He’s an absolute professional in the jumper ring. He’s extremely well-broke on the flat with lots of buttons, and we can throw him in any ring and know that he’ll go around. He’s that fancy horse I could never afford, and I’m so proud and grateful that we put in the work and time to bring out that hidden potential.

He’s also a little less forgiving now that the jumps are bigger. He expects me to carry my weight and give him a good ride, or at least not an actively awful one. Now that we know how to rate our stride, he gets (justifiably) mad when I try to gun him at a jump. Sorry bro, old habits die hard. He does also prefer an active ride still- making the wrong decision is still much better in his book than making no decision. Of course, we all prefer the right decision. Working on it.

What’s the same? The rest. The sweetness, the kindness in his eye, his quiet confidence. That’s what drew me to him within the first 5 minutes of seeing him, and that’s what draws me to him now.

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PC- Tracy

He’s still the horse that thrives on attention, loves to come in for smooches, struts when he knows he did good, and that I can trust around children. That went XC schooling on a loopy rein, giving a lead to all the newbies. That happily stands for an hour of groomies when his mom is too tired to ride. That can have a week off, and then walk out of his stall foot-perfect.

When I bought him, my tentative plan was to use him as a step-up horse- spend a couple years moving up until we reached as far as he could go, then sell him and use those funds to bring in a new mount.

Um, yeah. No.

I’m open to leasing him out down the road, but homeboy is not for sale.

So that’s another big difference: the horse I bought was not intended to be a forever horse.

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When I’m so nervous I could puke, and he just quietly comes in for snugs as I’m tacking up…yeah buddy. You can stay as long as you like.

He’s enjoying his vacation season (he’s pretty sure that Mom getting married is the BEST THING EVAR OMG LIFE IS SO EASY), but I’m beyond excited to get back in the saddle and explore new adventures with him. He may be different from the horse I bought, but in all the right ways. I would buy him again a thousand times over.

Hello Please Hold

EVERYBODY STOP THE PRESSES WE ARE DOING A LESSON RECAP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A MILLION YEARS.

I had my first group lesson in a while with some of my barnmates- my friend on her fancy hunter, one of the juniors on her fancy eq horse, and a fellow ammy on her brand new 4yo hunter (who is SWOON gorgeous). Basically a sea of beautiful horses and riders and then me and my chunky overgrown pony.

Francis was…fine. It’s not that he was bad or disobedient, it just felt kinda like when you call a customer care center and they put you on hold. They eventually pick up. When they dang sure feel like it and not one second sooner. He did not feel as eager to play the game as he usually does. Granted- it was a trillion degrees out and humid, and he’s pretty out of shape (still weeping softly that he lost fitness SO FRICKIN’ FAST) so I’m not surprised that he wasn’t the most fiery and adjustable. We took lots of walk breaks to stretch and rest.

I’m going to ignore the other jumps we did so I can show you this gymnastic. I think Trainer said she got it from McLain or something, so you know it’s gotta be good.

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It’s a canter in to a crossrail, bounce to a small oxer, then two strides to another small oxer with a ground pole placed as marked. We only did it a few times due to the heat, but I think this was a really useful exercise for Frankenbean.

The bounce to the wide oxer meant that we had to come in with plenty of power to press across, but then he had to rate himself back for the two stride. My job was to keep my leg on, follow with my hand, and let him figure himself out. Educating him to adjust himself like that is something we’ve been constantly working on since it doesn’t come naturally to him.

It’s funny- he’s a super duper easy horse to ride in the sense that if you tell him to do something, you can absolutely trust that he will do that thing. But I’ve had some people hop on and tell me that can make him a tougher ride for beginners for exactly that reason- he needs a lot of input to know what he’s supposed to do and they’re not equipped to manage that. He’s just not a super independent thinker. Food for thought.

After getting a nice trip through the gymnastic where we got some softness and good pace, I asked to be done on that note. I felt like I had been low-key arguing with Frankie all evening to get him on board with the plan, and wanted to reward him for listening and agreeing to play the game.

I also signed him up for a massage next week as a preemptive measure. We’re trying to get him back into *moderately good* shape which likely means some tired muscles, and I don’t want him getting sore and cranky about being back in a program. Yes, I signed my horse up for a massage because he felt a little less unicorn-y than usual in one lesson. It’s a new level of spoiling the Big Beast. BUT HE’S REAL CUTE AND DESERVES IT.

We have an official schedule for who is riding him on different days of the week, which is just in time for my trip north this weekend for wedding stuffs. 93 days left to go and I can’t even wait.

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We’re gonna take family pics like this together until we’re all old and decrepit

Random quick PSA- if you’re ever in the mood for a pick-me-up, look at the Highlights marked “Snugs” on my Instagram. It’s exclusively pics and videos of Francis being a sweet bean. I figure if it makes me so happy to see it, maybe it’ll make other people happy too 🙂

Millionaire Me

What would you do if a long-lost distant relative died and left you a zillion dollars?

If you’re tempted to say something responsible like “continue working and invest for the future,” please go have 3-6 margaritas and then try again.

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We’re here to have a good time

I’ll start.

Firstly, Frankie’s life really wouldn’t change hugely. We’d up the frequency of massages/chiro/acupuncture/etc and he’d get some more pro rides. But other than that, homeboy is already getting fantastic care from fantastic people. Maybe I’d get him some customized brushes, and we would build a custom saddle for both of us, and we’d also get dressage tack for the heck of it, and we’d go to a horse show every month. I don’t think he would really notice the difference (except the massages, he always wants more massages).

But Rich Me would get him some friends. A couple of them.

First off, Francis needs a mini. Either a mini donkey or a mini horse (or a mini mule?!). With a big fluffy mane and a sassy lil tail. This tiny little mini would come with us to shows, wander the farm, and provide entertainment to us all.

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MAYBE A SPOTTY ONE??

Francis would also get a little brother. A well-bred baby that shows potential for the upper levels. This fancy baby would go straight into the capable hands of AT to break and train and get show mileage with. I’d be the absentee mother that shows up periodically to torture the baby with hugs and kisses and ponying off of Francis, and when Frankie starts stepping down Fancy Baby would become my main mount. By that point AT will have trained Fancy Baby to be amateur-friendly as well as talented.

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Basically what I’m trying to say is that Rich Me really really wants Presto’s half brother Manny.

Francis would also get a short-term friend in the form of a lease. This lease will have recently been doing the High AOs/regional GPs, and is looking to step down to the 1.30m or lower. This Yearlong Pal will cart me around the open 1.20m and up and teach me about the bigger tracks.

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A schoolmaster like this would be fine by me, I wouldn’t complain.

Since Rich Me has two horses, Rich Me can get that much more saddle time (especially since Rich Me doesn’t have to work) and can compete in more rounds every shows. Then if the stars align and I can take Francis in the 1.20m, I’ll already have some experience and can help him out a bit more instead of both of us being green to the level.

And Rich Me has a whole lotta shows she wants to go to. In no particular order:

  • Team Finals, wherever they’re held (maybe Tryon again?)
  • Lake Placid because that stuff is GORG
  • Vermont Summer Festival because ALSO GORG
  • WIHS
  • Penn National
  • LGCT Miami (fun fact they have classes down to 1.15m, so you can compete there at a variety of levels if you qualify)
  • WEF. Not the full circuit, but maybe the Great Charity Challenge and a few other classes.
  • Upperville. Yeah, I know we’ve been a bunch. It’s still my favorite and Rich Me still wants to go.
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Rich Me doesn’t like this ring any less

BRB, gonna go buy a bunch of lottery tickets.

What does Rich You want to do?

Shifting the Balance

Ever since I’ve gotten back in the saddle as an adult, I’ve been super focused. Always looking for ways to go improve my skills, train harder, compete more successfully, raise the jumps. I’ve spent every spare moment at the barn trying to fit in more saddle time and I’ve spent every spare dollar (and more) fitting more shows into my schedule.

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It took me approx. 3 months back in the saddle to get back in the show ring, and I’ve never looked back.

So taking a step back as we get close to the wedding is Weird for me with a capital W. I’ve cut back to riding 2-3x a week, and have a mix of pro rides and junior riders hopping on for the other 3-4x. I gave up my private lesson spot for one in a group lesson. The jumps haven’t gone over 3′ in a little while, and our rollbacks are decidedly hunterific these days. For the first time, I didn’t respond to our quarterly show schedule update email with an enthusiastic “sign me up for those 4!” For the first time, riding is my hobby and not my entire focus.

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Also a big part of that hobby is endless nose smooshes. PC- Liz

I don’t like it. No I do not. I miss my schedule and I miss my horse and I miss the sweat and the aches and the struggles and I’m itching to get back to it like you wouldn’t believe.

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I like doing this. I already miss doing this. 

But at the same time, something had to give as we round the final stretch to the big day. I’m traveling north to Rhode Island for planning sessions increasingly often and even when I am in town, I have fittings and events and phone calls and all that fun stuff eating up my time and energy. Setting up a program for Frankie that requires less time from me was painful, but is also a relief to know that he’s getting loved on and groomed and worked just as often as his attention-hog heart desires. It takes away a lot of the guilt I was feeling about not being there as often as I’d like.

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Francis don’t care WHO is paying attention to him, as long as SOMEONE is paying attention to him. 

Frankie is feeling just fine about all of this. He’s been carting me around my lessons with his ears up and happy snorts (even if he does try to break wayyyy more often because #chunkaroo). He makes silly faces when I curry the itchy spot on his neck, he puts his face down for towel time behind his ears after every bath, and he’s always happy to see me when I’m there. He’s sound and healthy and with the help of my amazing barn family, he’ll be fit and ready for me to take the reins back after the wedding. I already have some ideas for fun new adventures next show season.

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At least one of these ideas may or may not tie into him apparently being a really adorable eq horse.

While I’m already eager to get back to a full training program with World’s Best Horse (TM), I’m going to enjoy this hobby season as a mental break from the pressures that I’ve put on myself and my steed for a while now. I’m going to view it as a reset for us to go back and work on some basics without an urgent timeline, a chance to share Frankie with some talented riders looking for saddle time, and a chance for me to explore a different type of balance in my life.

96 days until I can get that dang balance shifted back to the barn.

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PC-Liz

What? Just because I’m trying to enjoy the break doesn’t mean I’m not psyched to get back into it 😉

A Chunkaroo and a New Helmet

Y’all. Frankie has upgraded from dad-bod status to straight up FAT. Homeboy has butt wrinkles. Literally he had one month of light work and his body was immediately like HAHA PACK ON THE POUNDS. This means he also immediately lost all self-carriage and impulsion. It took a solid 6-9 months of hardcore training and work to leg him up to full fitness, and 4 weeks to completely lose it all. COOL.

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Remember when he was so fit and muscley and beefy in the very very distant past? Me neither.

Anyways, I don’t want a fat horse. It ain’t good for him (though he seems to be enjoying himself) and it ain’t good for me. Once we get past the wedding, I’d really like to have a competition season (albeit with less traveling than I did this year), and that will be hard if I have to spend several months legging him up basically from scratch.

Enter, the world’s best barn family. With their help, Frankie will get his 6 rides a week from a variety of sources- 2-3 from me, 1 from AT, and 2-3 from some of our TJRs (Talented Junior Riders). I can’t even express what a relief this is- I’ve been feeling so much guilt about not being able to get out as often as Frankie needs, and knowing that he’s getting exercised and groomed and loved on when I can’t be there lifts an enormous weight. I’m so eager to get back into more of a program with him, but I can breathe a sigh of relief that he’ll be ready for me when I’m able to do that. Seriously: world’s BEST barn fam.

In other news, I got myself a new helmet! I’ve had my Charles Owen GR8 for just about 4 years now- it smells like a dead animal, has little to no ventilation, and I’ve now fallen in it twice. I didn’t hit my head either time, but all those factors combined to make it definitely time for a new noggin-protector. And the timing worked out perfectly with International Helmet Awareness Day(s)! I headed over to my local Dover with the plan to buy the Samshield I had tried earlier in the year and loved.

Yeah, I didn’t walk out of there with the Samshield. The girl helping me was FANTASTIC. She knew what to look for in terms of helmet fit, told me what she was looking for, and spent a reeeeeeally long time working with me to try on every single helmet that might’ve possibly worked.

We started with the Samshield- she pretty quickly gave that a nope because they didn’t have one small enough for me #childsizedhead. We tried a Kask and she didn’t even let me look in the mirror. Then we tried a rose-gold-accented One K that I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with, which she gave a tentative thumbs up. And then she destroyed my rose gold dreams by putting me (very reluctantly) in a CO AYR8 plus. Which she then pronounced to fit me the best of everything we tried.

I then proceeded to try on an IRH, a GPA, the new TraumaVoid, and a Tipperary because UGHHHH I DIDN’T WANT ANOTHER CHARLES OWEN. Can’t tell ya why. My CO has served me faithfully for years. I also kept putting the rose gold one back on, and she kept looking at me dubiously. None of them fit nearly as well, no matter how much I tried to negotiate.

Ultimately, we agreed that the safest helmet is the one that fits the best, and it was very obvious that the CO fit the shape and size of my head the best by far. She tried to soften the blow by offering customization which I eagerly latched onto, but then we realized that this model doesn’t offer customization.

SO MANY DREAMS CREATED AND SHATTERED.

So I walked out of there with my new AYR8 Plus, and I’m really warming up to it. It has a removable washable liner, tons more ventilation than my old helmet, and it really does fit like a glove. It’s a definite upgrade.

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It sure is a helmet

So I’m riding less but we’re keeping Francis fit, I have a new helmet for the first time in several years, and I’m ready to just GET MARRIED ALREADY so I can get back to the barn more. Priorities.

Three Ring Francis

The Big Guy had his field trip last week! He and one of our lovely junior riders went out and competed in all three rings: they did the 0.85m and 0.95m jumpers, the 3′ equitation classes, and the 3′ children’s hunter division. CHECK THE CUTENESS:

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A REAL LIFE TAIL BRAID
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Nah it’s cool I’m not crying or anything
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When did he learn to jump so cute?!

I’m not comfortable sharing pics of a minor without their/their parent’s consent and I’m too lazy to edit more emoji faces into the pictures, but rest assured that I have lots and lots of pics of the Frankfurter being adorable.

Apparently he had a few rails in the hunter classes, because natural fill is a real snoozefest. But the videos I saw were really lovely- she rode him beautifully, very steady and consistent. And the two of them got 3rd in one of their 0.95m jumper classes- this maaaay have actually been her first foray into the jumper ring. So happy that Frankie could share his awesomeness ❤ Trainer said he was “wonderful” so I’m just bursting with pride at that.

Also never fear, I got plenty of nap pics of him. He certainly wasn’t worked up that I wasn’t there.

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Screenshot from a video of one of the girls snuggin’ on him. Tough life, dude.

I felt a bit like a parent who had a kid away at summer camp- it was odd to not go to the barn at all after work. I don’t plan to make a habit of that, but it was nice to have a break to catch up on things!

And getting to catch up on things while Frankie got to go play with a talented rider, in some new rings, under the trusted supervision of my trainers? It doesn’t get much better.

I can’t wait to go out and love on my 3-ring creature! A break was nice, but I miss my giant four-legged buddy.

Not Dead Yet!

Just a little exhausted.

See, all the movies make wedding planning look like an endless series of brunch meetings with your mom and maid of honor laughing prettily as you effortlessly agree on everything.

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Expectation

But like for realz we all work which means that we can really only do stuff on the weekend, and THERE’S NO TIME FOR BRUNCH WE HAVE 18 DECISIONS TO MAKE IMMEDIATELY and yes I understand that person wants a plus one but it ain’t happening so stop asking and why did four separate people straight up not provide their apartment number and no I don’t want a human gargoyle outside the doors and why was that even on the list for consideration??

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Reality

Don’t get me wrong, wedding planning is a lot of fun. Every vendor we’ve chosen has turned out to be a Total Bro about everything we throw at them, and our coordinator is the most delightfully enthusiastic man. We love him. My maid of honor and I have actually done some lovely brunches, and my mom could legitimately start a career as a wedding planner- she’s amazing at all of this. It’s going to be the most rad party in the history of rad parties.

BUT WHY WERE HUMAN GARGOYLES A THING I HAD TO EVEN THINK ABOUT???

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I literally had to explicitly say no to this. It was not assumed. WHAT EVEN.

Anyways, as we’re getting closer to the wedding, planning is really ramping up which means that my time and energy is ever-more devoted to that.

Ergo, my time and energy is not at the barn as much as I’d like.

Frankie is entirely on board with this. He is reverting to DadBod Francis, which apparently is his natural state if he’s not in a 6 day a week program. I swear, total fat kid at heart. He may be half TB, but he definitely takes after the WB side in the hard-to-keep-fit sense. I can definitely feel his hind end losing some power- nothing crazy, but he was SUPER powerful off his hind end earlier in the summer and he lost that explosiveness practically overnight. 100% chunkaroo.

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A very thirsty chunkaroo.

Luckily, I’m not asking him to do anything that requires him to be in peak shape. I’ve done a few lessons where we do simple courses with jumps that stay below 3’3″-3’6″ish, and we toodle. I have the barn juniors hop on fairly regularly, and I still have AT do one ride a week on him to make sure he still gets a steady reminder on How To Horse Properly. One of the (many many) reasons I am so grateful for this horse is that he has handled it all without blinking- he went from full show training to practically a pasture pet overnight, and he just kinda rolls with it.

He’s actually going on a fun adventure with one of the barn girls this week- he’ll be making his hunter debut! She’s doing a week-long lease to take him in the 3′ Children’s Hunters down at Lexington National. It’s going to be adorable! He’s super NOT a hunter, but he’s steady and safe and willing. She’s an absolutely lovely rider with impeccable horsemanship, so I think this will be a fun outing for both of them. Gotta love that Frankenbean- in the course of two months, he will have competed in the 1.20m jumpers, the WT pleasure, and the 3′ Children’s Hunters. Atta boy, go Do All The Things!

I originally had big plans for late summer/early fall- namely, a move-up to the 1.20m with the Beast. But realistically, I just don’t have the time, energy, or quite frankly the funds to support the training program needed to be strong enough at that height. It was disappointing to look at the schedule and realize that I’d have to shift my expectations, but that’s life!

Luckily I have a healthy and sound horse, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to give it a go next year, when I have a new name and no wedding to plan. I think I would take it harder if I had a different horse, but it’s hard to feel bad about pretty much anything when I ride Frankie. Whatever our adventures end up being, and whatever the timing is, we’re going to have fun.

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Literally always a perfect sweet boy ❤ PC- Liz