I’m sure many of you remember Jenn from Stories from the Saddle- she’s taken a hiatus from blogging but we’ve stayed close! I FINALLY managed to get her down to VA for a visit, and then convinced her to guest post about it 🙂 Enjoy!
Hello again blogland!
Apologies for the delay on writing this guest post, work has been (unexpectedly) INSANE for the past two days, and I’m trying to steal away some time this morning to tell you about my weekend with Olivia! Olivia came to NJ to visit me last summer, and we always talked about me going down to Virginia to visit her, and last weekend worked out for both of us, so I made the drive down. I actually ended up driving down Thursday afternoon-ish, which was both a blessing and a curse, because I hit Baltimore/Arlington/DC traffic right around 5pm, so it took me almost 4 hours to get there. But, no matter! Here’s the rundown of how our weekend went!
I met Olivia at her barn around 6pm on Thursday evening, right as the sun was beginning to set (Daylight Savings Time, I love you), and let me just say that Olivia’s barn is GORGEOUS! It kinda sits on top of a hill, and the views from the paddocks and outdoor ring are really beautiful. First order of business (after getting a proper tour) was MEETING THE DRAGON MARE! Addy was slightly taller/bulkier than I expected, but she’s absolutely, 100% a Beast Mare. Olivia pulled her out of her stall, gave her lots of kisses, and we headed to the outdoor ring. Olivia rode her around first, and then I hopped on!
From the word go, you can definitely tell that Addy has some serious power in her gaits, and it took me a few minutes to figure out how to half-halt hard enough, I’m used to Roger’s more sensitive mouth. But, once I figured that out, Addy was really a super fun ride! She’s got all kinds of fun buttons to push, and I really enjoyed riding her.
Then, Olivia asked me if I wanted to jump her, and I was slightly hesitant because it’s SO MUCH POWER. Olivia got back on her and popped her over some barrels, but I was pretty intimidated so I opted not to jump Addy around. We only had the one jump set up in the outdoor, but I watched Olivia jump Addy over it, and decided that I was good to go.
After that, we were able to catch the end of the adult ammy lesson in the indoor, and I’ll freely admit that I’m a lesson nerd: I’m a visual learner, and I really enjoy watching lessons, so it was cool to watch. I was also able to catch D’Arcy on her mare Gracie (of The Clueless But Curious Rider blog), as well as 4 other adult ammys on horses with various levels of training. But the way her trainer worked everyone together was fun to see!
After that, we unloaded Olivia’s new Stanley trunk from her car and into the tack room, and headed out for food, since we were both starving by that time. She took me to this great Mexican restaurant not far from her house (or the barn), and we got drinks and food and chatted about plenty of horse things, as horse people will do. After that, we got back to her apartment, I met her (totally awesome) roommate and her dog, and we got to bed around midnight.
On Friday morning, Olivia had to work for a few hours, so I was perfectly content to chill at Starbucks until she picked me up, and we headed to her barn to grab her trainer and her saddle, and then made the short drive to a nearby trainer’s barn to try two horses. And, I got to meet Olivia’s other trainer/mentor/life coach, who actually reminds me of my own trainer in a lot of ways. Her trainer is definitely no muss, no fuss, but you can absolutely tell that she knows her stuff and always tries to get the best out of her riders. She’s also super knowledgeable, and it was cool to listen to her conversation with Olivia both ways in the car and get a feel for why Olivia and her students love her so much.
After trying the horses, we were – again – starving, so we drove over to this cool American restaurant and sat outside on their patio, since the weather was SO nice. We actually got really lucky with the weather all weekend, it was sunny, slightly breezy and around 70 degrees, which was perfect! Again, we had drinks and yummy food and talked all things horses, and cracked open a bottle of wine when we got home and sat around her apartment to hang out…as adults do.
Before I got down there, Olivia asked me what kinds of things I wanted to do during the visit, and brunch and going to a winery were definitely on my list, so that’s what we did on Saturday! Olivia, myself, and her roommate did brunch at this really nice place a few minutes from her apartment, and we chatted for over an hour about all kinds of things. The conversation was great, and the food was awesome! After brunch, we drove over to Stone Tower Winery, at Olivia’s roommate’s recommendation, and tasted a few wines before buying a few bottles and snagging seats at a table overlooking the rolling hills and a small pond.
The winery was pretty crowded but it didn’t matter, because everyone was enjoying themselves outside and sipping the delicious wine.
It was SUCH a great day, we stayed at the winery for a few hours, and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend. We grabbed pizza on the way home and brought it back to Olivia’s apartment, before relaxing for the rest of the night.
On Sunday morning, we both slept in slightly, and then we got dressed and ready to go. Olivia was headed to some Easter festivities, and I was planning to get on the road back to NJ. I actually made it home in under 3 hours, which was great, and didn’t hit any traffic on the way back.
Overall, it was such a PERFECT weekend full of horsey things and wine, which is always the best combination. Though I’ve only met her once before, Olivia and I didn’t skip a beat, and we had such a great time the whole weekend! Hopefully we can see each other again soon!
Editor’s note: this weekend was SO MUCH FUN!!! We’re already planning our next meetup 🙂