Horse Shows and Vettings and Lessons, Oh My!

Hold onto your butts, because this post is going to be a bit of a fast-lane-let’s-talk-about-lots-of-things-all-at-once type of things.

Let’s get started.

The chromey chestnut I teased you with pictures of: we had the vet out to give him a thorough head-to-toe, and ended up deciding not to make an offer. He’s a FANTASTIC horse and will make someone very happy, and I had a blast riding him! But in the end, I’m looking for a jumper to take me up to 1.10m, and that’s going to be a tough job. We are happily continuing the hunt (my trainer is checking out 4 today) and I will keep you all updated! I have to say, I’m really really enjoying this whole process. I’m getting to try out some phenomenal horses and I learn something new from every horse I sit on, my vet has been incredible about explaining everything he’s looking at so I’m learning tons about conformation and soundness, and it’s a great excuse to say “sorry I can’t go out tonight, I’ll be at the barn.” Good stuff all around.

It’s been really interesting to talk through what we MUST have versus what’s NICE to have. With a fairly limited budget there’s going to be plenty we have to compromise on and we’re being realistic about that. What we MUST have: a good brain/attitude and athletic ability/potential. Basically, a horse that can jump and likes to jump. Any sort of polish or mileage we can work on- I’m not in any rush to make it to the big leagues, and I’m fine with taking some time to develop a diamond in the rough (under the guidance of my trainers who are infinitely better at this type of thing, of course). My trainer knows exactly what kind of ride I like and what my goals are, so I can’t wait to try out any ponies she thinks could be the magical unicorn!


We went to a show! I took the DragonMare to a small local jumper show to play around in the 2’9″-3′ division and we had a blast. We had a nice relaxed warmup where she softened nicely to the jumps and loped around all sweet….and then she heard the buzzer and transformed back into the Beast. Which is fine by me! I did have to waterski a little to get her attention on occasion, but we were flying around the courses and having a blast. I even got to meet Shelby from blogland and her horse Justin! How cool is it to meet someone in person and instantly have that bond?? She and Justin are also TOTAL freakin’ rockstars and you definitely need to keep up with their adventures.


I also loved this show because a younger rider (she’s 12 or 13) joined us for her first show with our barn. D’Arcy (thecluelessbutcuriousrider) and I took her under our wing and showed her the ins and outs- how to load up the trailer, tricks for memorizing courses, helping each other tack up, things like that. She was so sweet and enthusiastic about joining in, it made me so happy! For those of you who don’t know, I worked as a camp counselor for a couple summers and there are few things that make me happier than hanging out with tweens and ponies and sharing ideas. Especially when the kiddos have good attitudes and want to work hard and learn! It makes my heart sing.


This was likely my last show with Addy since I’ll be saving my pennies to buy my unicorn, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out. It was a year to the day after our very first show together and it was pretty insane to compare the two shows. From clomping around the 2’6″ hunters to galloping around the 3′ jumpers, this mare has taught me so much. She has certainly challenged me in different ways, pushed me to be the best rider I can be for her, pushed me to learn different ways to communicate, and above all else, she has reminded me that this sport is SO MUCH FUN.


I could go on and on and on about everything this horse has given me: the joy of flight, the confidence that I can handle any garbage thrown our way, the muscles and physical strength to feel good in my body, the companionship on hard days, the sweet kisses and scratches, the belief in my own leadership skills that has translated to every area of my life, and so much more. I’m tearing up just writing this down! But you can all rest assured that no matter what happens, I will be loving on the DragonBeast and thanking her every single day.


I’ve also had a couple great rides with the DragonBeast lately. I think a lot of the bobbles we’ve run into in the past are slowly resolving, and we’ve been having a ton of fun with it. I’ve been feeling more confident which translates into softer, more relaxed riding, which translates into a softer, more relaxed horse. I’m feeling much stronger after Ocala bootcamp and that has let me pick Addy up and carry her over the jumps when necessary. I also think that starting the horse hunt has taken some of the pressure off- I’m not trying to move up on Addy anymore. We can focus on fixing our mistakes and having fun together without worrying about whether or not she would be happy doing the 1m jumpers.




In non-horse news, my job has been awesome lately! I got to speak briefly at a conference in front of 350 people this week which was SO FUN. I’m not particularly good at public speaking, but I really enjoy it and hopefully they’ll let me keep practicing.

And I get to wear fancy clothes!

My work wife/twin and I have gotten to work together roughly 38 hours out of the 40 we’re in the office each week which makes everything waaaay more fun.

Yeah, we have matching mugs. You can be jealous.


I want to thank this whole community. In good times and in not-so-good times, people from blogland have reached out to share in the joys and troubles. I sound like a broken record lately- I have the absolute best support system a girl could ask for! As I was just telling one of these awesome ladies the other day, it makes me smile so big that there’s this network of badass women all over the country/world rooting for each other and offering a helping hand! I’m sending virtual hugs to all of you. Unless you’re not a hug person. Just kidding, you’re getting the virtual hug no matter what. I’m a hugger.

30 thoughts on “Horse Shows and Vettings and Lessons, Oh My!

  1. emma 03/18/2016 / 12:15 pm

    so many good things happening! congrats on the show – pictures look great! also super exciting on the job front! bummer the chromey chestnut wasn’t the right match tho – but i’m sure your unicorn is out there!


    • hellomylivia 03/18/2016 / 10:49 pm

      Tons and tons of good things! Fingers crossed the magic unicorn shows up soon 🙂


  2. Stacie Seidman 03/18/2016 / 2:30 pm

    Aww! I love this post. I’m so glad you’re seeing all the positives to horse hunting, because it can be frustrating and disappointing. I know you’ll find your unicorn soon!
    Congrats on the work front too! I’m not one for public speaking. I’m totally impressed that you did that and ENJOYED it!


    • hellomylivia 03/18/2016 / 10:50 pm

      It definitely makes it much easier and more enjoyable to have such a great team of trainers and vets and pros to work with and learn from 🙂
      I actually used to hate public speaking, and then one day I decided to start saying that I loved it. After a few years, I managed to convince myself 😉


  3. shelbyrallen 03/18/2016 / 2:50 pm

    I had so much fun at the show on Sunday! I’m so glad we got to meet up – let’s do it again soon! and i ADORE those photos. they’re so cute! Keep having fun on the horse hunt. It means your riding will get better because you’ll get to try lots of different horses 🙂


    • hellomylivia 03/18/2016 / 10:51 pm

      We definitely need to meet up again soon! I’ll be casually stalking your blog so we can line up our show schedule again 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Holybull79 03/18/2016 / 9:40 pm

    Holy cow, you are busy! But a very good busy. So glad you are enjoying life and ponies, and hopefully your magic unicorn is right around the corner!


  5. Hillary H. 03/18/2016 / 9:41 pm

    You have had lots of stuff going on. If you want to send me an email with what exactly you’re looking for /$ range I can keep an eye open? I have been perusing lots of different places for a few friends 🙂

    Horse shopping is both exhilarating and frustrating but as you said you learn more about what you want and like with every additional horse tried.


    • hellomylivia 03/18/2016 / 10:52 pm

      I’ll definitely shoot you a note! I know I’m sitting on two soon, but if those don’t work out then I’d love to enlist more help 🙂


  6. Bette 03/19/2016 / 7:33 am

    Love your matching mugs!!! And I’m sure the most magical unicorn is out there and you will find him/her and then take on the world by storm! Good luck with the unicorn hunting!!!


    • hellomylivia 03/19/2016 / 9:56 am

      Thank you!! Magic unicorn doesn’t even know yet how spoiled they’ll be ❤


  7. redheadlins 03/19/2016 / 7:46 am

    Lots of fun stuff going on! Love those nude heels!


    • hellomylivia 03/19/2016 / 9:56 am

      Thanks! I wear heels roughly once a year so I try to milk it while I can haha


  8. draftmare 03/19/2016 / 7:07 pm

    Bummer on the flashy chestnut! Love all the pictures of DragonMare!


  9. CallyJumps 03/19/2016 / 7:35 pm

    I am bummed you’re not getting your own saucy chestnut! But maybe you will eventually 😉 It’s great that you’ve had a confidence builder, and now are thinking about something that might need a bit of bringing along–that is so, so rewarding if you’re up to it!


    • hellomylivia 03/20/2016 / 10:45 am

      There’s still hope for a chromey chestnut! I’m definitely excited to see what we end up with, no doubt I’ll learn a ton no matter what!


  10. Erin 03/21/2016 / 9:16 am

    So much good! Continued luck with the search for your unicorn.


    • hellomylivia 03/22/2016 / 2:36 pm

      Thanks! I’ll be sure to keep all y’all posted 🙂


  11. carey 03/21/2016 / 11:58 am

    So many good and exciting things happening over there. Can’t wait to see what you find!


    • hellomylivia 03/22/2016 / 2:37 pm

      I can’t wait to share what I find too! It’s been really fun sharing this experience with blogland 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wilbur, Ellie, and Emily 03/21/2016 / 3:38 pm

    Lots of fun news!!! And what a relaxing way to horse shop- try all the things! Congrats on a great show!


    • hellomylivia 03/22/2016 / 2:39 pm

      It’s been super fun! It seems that there’s a lot of potential for this to get hectic and stressful, but I’ve been working with great people so we’ve been having a good time testing out the potential unicorns!


  13. Abby f 03/22/2016 / 8:00 am

    Sounds like so many exciting things are going on! Good luck on your horse search! I am also in VA and know of a few GREAT child/adult and Jr/AO jumpers for sale. If you need any leads feel free to ask!


    • hellomylivia 03/22/2016 / 2:41 pm

      Oooh a fellow Virginian! I’m trying out two on friday, but if neither of those fit the bill then I’d love any suggestions you have! My email is on the contact page here on the blog 🙂


  14. Tracy - Fly On Over 03/23/2016 / 1:13 pm

    YAS! The post I’ve been waiting for. So sorry Chromey Chestnut Bachelor didn’t work out, but I know you’ll find a great one to call your own. Also, I love DragonMare. You and her have become such a great team ❤


    • hellomylivia 03/24/2016 / 9:04 am

      Handsome Chromey Chestnut is gonna make someone SUPER happy, and I have a really good feeling that my unicorn is gonna be showing up soon 🙂 I’ll give the Beast a treat from you!! She loves her adoring fans ❤


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