Show Recap: The Big Kahuna

I swear, there has been a reason to my absence. I was in boot camp mode getting my butt in shape. And I was prepping my gear. And I was packing. “For what??” you may ask.

For those of you who do not follow me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter: I had the chance to go down and show at HITS Ocala for a week!

My trainer goes every year and gave me a quote for joining (which my wallet spasmed at), but I basically said “screw the cost, this is a bucket list thing.” I’ve always wanted to go down and show in Florida, and by golly I was going to.

Spoiler alert: it was incredible. Life changing, fantastic, incredible.

For the first few days I leased this ROCKSTAR of a Dutch Warmblood named Poppy, show name Emblazon. Homeboy was only 6 years old, but I would’ve guessed he was 14 or 15. He was a total steady Eddie- nothing phased him for a second and he went around every ring like he had been there a thousand times. Fantastically uncomplicated and a wonderful teacher. We did the 0.90m/low adult jumpers and dabbled in the 3′ adult eq classes.

On Friday morning we found out that Poppy was going to be headed north a day early, so my trainer had me quickly hop on 3 other horses that evening to see if we could snag one for Sunday. This led to the running joke in the barn, which is that I fell in love with every single horse I sat on. Apparently taking me to try horses is like taking a child to a candy shop- I can’t decide which one I like best because OMG THEY’RE ALL SO PRETTY GRABBY HANDS ALL OF THEM PLZ. But I loooooved the feel of the mare that I tried (I think maybe I just have a weird mystic voodoo connection with mares), which is what brought me to Saturday: showing Poppy in the 0.80m, taking Poppy early in the order for 0.90m, then untacking him and taking a golf cart over to get the mare and taking her last in the order for the 0.90m.

Mareface was a 7 year old WBxTB named Victoriosa and I was IN LOVE. Smoothest canter you’ve ever felt, jumped clear every time, and crazy adjustable. Did I mention she went in a rubber snaffle and no martingale?

So Sunday I took her in the 0.90m Low Adult Jumpers. The course seemed fair, a couple turns and some combos, but nothing outlandish. And we landed off the last jump. And the bell didn’t ring. And you know what that means: JUMP OFF TIME!! We picked up the gear a bit and flew through the final sequence with room to spare. I was a hot mess and got her to some awful spots, but that saint of a mare just kept trucking and picked her beautiful feet up every time.

Homegirl got us second place. A beautifully clear round with the speed demon mare: I was ecstatic.

And then we geared up for our Low Adult Classic: 0.95m in the Grand Prix ring. This was another great course! I thought it was a very fair test with a lot of interesting elements- a couple spots where you could really shave your turn, some combos you had to power through, and a couple bending lines to pick up speed. And pick up speed we did. We had an unlucky rail on the VERY last jump that kept us out of the jumpoff, but apparently we hauled ass enough to be the fastest 4-faulters, putting us in 11th!

This was huge for me, and it’s for a very silly reason. It’s for the pants. Almost a full year ago, I bought a pair of white Tailored Sportsmans as a reminder to reach for my goals and work hard. And almost a full year later, I got to wear those whites in the Grand Prix ring in Ocala, even making it into the ribbons. I don’t think I’ve ever teared up about pants before.

This whole experience just shifted my perspective so much as a rider. Being in the saddle for several hours a day did absolute wonders for my balance and ability to change my seat. I’m much stronger and can be much more subtle with my aids.

It also made me recognize just how much I love competing. Not necessarily winning- though I’ll never complain about getting a ribbon- but getting out in the ring and doing my best to lay down a good trip. The atmosphere of focus and determination, the exhilaration of galloping up to that wide oxer, the knowledge that I can and I will do better this time than I did last time. I couldn’t wait to get in the ring for each and every round.

And I can’t wait to get in the ring again. I’ll be saving my pennies to take another week to show next year (either at Ocala, Vermont, Lake Placid, or one of the other big shows my barn goes to), but in the meantime I’ll be planning on getting out and showing at least once a month. Who cares if I have to go broke to afford it? The whole point of having money in the bank is to spend it on ponies…right?

I should have some more exciting news for you in the near future (and I promise not to leave you hanging for quite so long this time). But for now, check out my Instagram (@hellomylivia) or friend me on Facebook to see pics from Ocala!!!



29 thoughts on “Show Recap: The Big Kahuna

  1. Tracy - Fly On Over 02/22/2016 / 10:58 pm

    YAS! I’ve been waiting for this post!! So glad you had a blast showing in Ocala ❤️


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 9:46 am

      Definitely going to be writing more about it! I didn’t even know where to start with all the awesomeness haha


  2. laurelashtonw 02/23/2016 / 6:59 am

    Exactly how I feel about money! What do normal people spend it on? Haha all mine goes to horses! Sounds like you had an awesome time, Florida is a whole new world when it comes to horse shows! Congrats on the ribbons!


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 9:47 am

      Thank you!! Whenever a non-horse person complains about being broke, I can never figure out WHY.

      Liked by 1 person

      • laurelashtonw 02/23/2016 / 9:49 am

        Haha right? Then I stay awkwardly quiet about my financial situation and how much my recent vet or show bill was…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Allison Stitzinger 02/23/2016 / 8:09 am

    OLIVIA’S BACK!!! I was sitting on pins and needles waiting for your recap! 😀


  4. Courtney 02/23/2016 / 9:02 am

    Yay you’re back!!
    It sounds like such an incredible week! You look so amazing there, and congrats on 2nd!!


  5. redheadlins 02/23/2016 / 9:42 am

    So very awesome, 2nd place in a HITS class it phenomenal! So glad you had fun!


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 9:48 am

      Thank you!! It was seriously such a blast, every second was so much fun.


  6. emma 02/23/2016 / 9:43 am

    wow so exciting – what an incredible trip!!! and opportunity!!! congrats on laying down so many awesome rounds too, esp on horses you didn’t know. my plan had been to save my pennies to go to aiken this winter, but the broken leg put the kibosh on that… maybe next year!


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 9:49 am

      Booooo for broken limbs. Now this means you can go to aiken for double the time next year, right?? 😉


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 5:53 pm

      Me too, definitely so glad I made the effort to get down there!


  7. Erin 02/23/2016 / 12:03 pm

    Yes! I was hoping you’d write a post about this. Congrats!!!


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 5:53 pm

      Thank you!! I think it might be all I’m able to talk about for the next 234987 years….#sorrynotsorry


  8. Stacie Seidman 02/23/2016 / 3:29 pm

    Yay!!!! I’ve been waiting for the recap! I’m so glad you had such a great AND successful time! Your photos are all awesome! So happy for you!


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 5:54 pm

      Thank you so much!!! You are a terrible influence egging me on to buy ALL the ponies, but I love it 🙂


      • Stacie Seidman 02/23/2016 / 9:20 pm

        Hahaha! I seem to be buying all the ponies lately, so I just want company 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Olivia @ DIY Horse Ownership 02/23/2016 / 3:42 pm

    Oh my gosh. This is such an amazing experience. Can’t wait to hear more. Also, I hope you go to Lake Placid in the future. That’s my absolute favorite show.


    • hellomylivia 02/23/2016 / 5:54 pm

      I can’t wait to talk about it more!! Every picture I see of Lake Placid is ridiculously gorgeous, thinking that may be a new bucket list item 😉


  10. heartofhope10 02/24/2016 / 1:38 pm

    I’ve been watching all your instagram photos and hoping you’d do a recap!! So glad you had a fabulous time, and can’t wait to hear more!


    • hellomylivia 02/29/2016 / 9:52 am

      Beyond fabulous! Drafting a post with more details right now 😉


  11. Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily 03/10/2016 / 4:40 pm

    I love Ocala! My trainer from years back would go for the winter (we were in Indiana) and when I moved to Cali I would take a few days in Feb each year and go down for a visit! It’s a fun show!


    • hellomylivia 03/10/2016 / 7:06 pm

      It was SO crazy fun! Already saving up my pennies for next winter 🙂


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