A Warm Welcome Back to VA


I may have mentioned it in passing once or twice or ninety kajillion times but seriously. She’s the bomb dot com (do people still say that? I vote yes.).

So I hadn’t ridden since my lesson last Wednesday because I jetted off to my home state of little Rhody. Three big things: bridal shower (elegant and gorgeous and classy and fantastic), bachelorette party (insanopants ridiculous fun and we’ll leave it at that), and MEETING MY NIECE!!!! She was such a perfect little bean, just wanted to snuggle and stare. Seriously, her eyes are gigantic and she’s a big one for prolonged eye contact. So curious about everything and happy and always hungry and loves her mom and dad so much. Basically she’s my mini-me. Leaving was incredibly hard, but at least I’ll be up in only 3 weeks for my brother’s wedding and I’ll see her then!

Anywho, I got back Tuesday night after my flight had been delayed a couple times. Wednesday was super cool at work (got a promotion that I totally wasn’t expecting!!), and then confirmed with Owner Lady that both of us had been out of town and Addy had gotten a nice little vacation.

I geared up for a rodeo.

I knew I’d be fine since Pretty Girl never pulls any shenanigans that are unsafe, but I was ready for a wrestling match to get us on the same page.

Nope. Whether she was feeling mellow from the mental break or the heat or whatever reason, she was perfect. A little fast at times, but sat right down and waited for me as soon as I asked. It helped that I was trying out a different bit- jointed pelham with double reins. I relied mostly on the snaffle rein, but that little leverage when I needed it was super helpful! She didn’t fuss about it at all, I was just able to reinforce my requests a little more strongly. It meant that I had to keep my leg on especially strongly to back it up, but I try to do that anyways. It will take a little getting used to since I haven’t had to manage double reins in almost 10 years, but throw me in the deep end! We’re using this at the show this weekend. Learn by doing, right?

Anywho. After a great WTC warmup we started popping over a crossrail with a focus on waiting to the base and straightness after. This was very civilized. We then moved on to trotting in the crossrail in the other direction, and cantering out a broken line in either 3 or 4. I think you can guess what we got. I’m sure if I had wrestled we could’ve gotten the 4, but she was being nice and soft and not rushing through at all, so I didn’t feel the need to mess with her. It wasn’t a long or discombobulated 3 at all, so we were happy with it.

From there, we built up our course!


As a special treat, I even managed to take a picture of the course in the ring so you can see what it actually looked like:


So. We had warmed up A-B, and we built from there: A-B-C-D-E-F. Broken to outside vertical, back over the stone wall, bending to the brush jump, then up the outside oxer. Lots of bending lines and long approaches.

The first 3 rode well again, and the long approach to the outside vertical went well on my second try- just had to remember to package up and hold my reins instead of letting her pick the pace. She came around to the stone wall nicely, and the bending to the brush went well. I was overriding pretty defensively since I expected her to get wiggly/try to duck out of some of these new jumps, but she was perfect! I was able to back off and get some more natural distances. The approach up the wall to the oxer went better on our second try when I held her straighter with my legs instead of letting her worm her way to it.

Then we built up the course a little more! A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H. Same thing as before, just adding the brick wall and turn to the rolltop at the end. I shall take you on my virtual course walk:

Trotting into the basic crossrail
Out the pink gate in 3
Up the single outside vertical
Roll back over the stone wall
Bend out in 5 over the brush (which was low in height but SUPER wide. I’m pretty sure that’s a whole tree under there)
Up the single outside oxer
Down the brick wall
Rollback up the rolltop/barrels.

And let me tell you why I love this horse so much: she jumped all of these jumps like she had seen them a million times. Granted, she’s seen most of them a LOT, but the brush and barrels were both new to her. She stayed super straight to the brick and stone walls, even though there were no standards, and she came around the turns waiting for my cue. Once I figured out my reins I was able to have her sit and wait for me instead of running to a long spot, and it meant I was able to move her up when I needed to. Packaged pony = adjustable pony.

We had to do the bending stone wall-brush over again to get that more comfortable- I rode it like I was asking for 6 strides, which made the 5 nice and flowing instead of coming up too much on the brush. That’s right. I have to ask for an extra stride when I don’t want her to leave one out. Goofy, but such is life.

All in all, I was tickled pink with our work yesterday. It was one of those rides where it felt like we were really on the same page and working for the same things. I’m feeling much more confident about our show this weekend! It will be a hunter show (we’ll do the 3′ working hunters) which isn’t ideal, but my goal is to get her out at least once a month and this is our only chance in June. I think exposure to a show environment in any form is better than none, and she still needs show miles. I’m pretty sure she’s only been to 6 shows ever, including the 4 I’ve taken her to, so my broke pony is still kinda green in the show ring! Luckily nothing seems to bother her.

Including me putting a bit in her mouth upside down.

My trainer spotted this before I could hop on, laughed her head off, then snapped a picture and told me I needed to share this on my blog. So supportive.

What has your horse surprised you with lately? Do you have a showing “game plan?”

17 thoughts on “A Warm Welcome Back to VA

  1. aliciatorres5990 06/18/2015 / 8:55 am

    New to your blog, and also a native Rhode Islander. Although I’m still here lol.


    • hellomylivia 06/18/2015 / 8:59 am

      Glad you found your way here! Somehow RIers always seem to find each other 🙂


  2. Lauren 06/18/2015 / 10:03 am

    I think sometimes our horses enjoy the break as much as we do! Glad you had a great ride back.


    • hellomylivia 06/18/2015 / 10:07 am

      Thank you! I think Addy really did love getting to just play with her buddies and be a horse for a couple days without any pressure 🙂


  3. sarahczspots 06/18/2015 / 10:28 am

    I laughed so hard at your bit! 🙂 Addy is such a good girl! Its so nice to have a consistent horse! I have a random question: how big is the indoor is that you ride in?


    • hellomylivia 06/18/2015 / 10:31 am

      She much have the patience of a saint to put up with me!! I shamefully don’t know the measurements of the ring, but I do know that we’re able to comfortably do 4-5 stride lines along the outside. It’s actually bigger than our outdoor, so we do most of our jumping inside.


  4. emma 06/18/2015 / 12:29 pm

    upside down and backwards – oops! i did that with my new bit too… but eh, that’s what trainers are there for right? btw i LOVE all those jumps – the barrels/rolltop combo looks daunting but fun 😀


    • hellomylivia 06/18/2015 / 1:05 pm

      haha thank goodness for trainers!! I was so nervous to the rolltop I held my breath, but Addy flew over it without a second thought! Super cool to do a wide jump like that, so much air time 🙂


  5. Karen M 06/18/2015 / 2:23 pm

    Before I read the caption to the Pelham picture, I was like uuuhhhhhhh….. lol, too funny! Glad your trainer has such a great sense of humor.


    • hellomylivia 06/18/2015 / 2:33 pm

      All I could do was shrug in defeat and laugh along with her haha. VERY glad she’s so easy going!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. CallyJumps 06/18/2015 / 4:27 pm

    I actually LOLed at the but picture! Such a fun jump course, I love doing “scary” stuff at home, because things never get a second look at shows.


    • hellomylivia 06/19/2015 / 7:26 am

      That’s the goal! Weirdly enough it always seems to be the basic verticals that Addy always gives the hairy eyeball haha. At least we’ll have lots of fill at the show this weekend!


  7. Erin 06/19/2015 / 7:54 am

    Welcome back! Glad you had a good ride.
    Also that barrel jump is terrifyingly large looking.
    Good luck at the show!


    • hellomylivia 06/19/2015 / 8:05 am

      Thank you thank you!! The barrel jump wasn’t too high, just so wide! Very grateful that Addy makes a habit of jumping out of her skin so we could clear it no problem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Courtney 06/19/2015 / 9:26 am

    Sounds like a fun week, except flights getting delayed, that stinks.
    I’m glad Addy was good for you! Sounds like she wasn’t upset that the vacation was over!
    I have never ridden in double rein (that sounds really hard), but I would be playing dressage queen if I did, talking all snooty, and I’d probably have to get a tail coat too, even if I wasn’t showing. A barn coat with tails.
    Are you going to show with that bit?


    • hellomylivia 06/19/2015 / 10:10 am

      I felt very “pinkies up” at first, but constantly dropping reins and trying to pick them back up ruined my image somewhat. I think that one practice was likely enough and then I won’t have any of those difficulties tomorrow…right?? I am going to show with that bit! Of course, I’ll be showing with it right side up and not backwards, so it’ll be a little more acceptable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Courtney 06/19/2015 / 10:24 am

        At this point, you’re practically over qualified

        Liked by 1 person

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