Countdown to Loudoun Benefit

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG it’s almost here. Our very first outing as a team. Our first time off property as a team. Maybe his first time staying on-site for a week-long show (not sure about this one). My first time taking my OWN horse to a big show since I was 14.

Can you tell I’m excited?

ocala_stall setup

I figured now is as good a time as any to fill you in on our preparation and what the game plan is for the show itself. Here goes:


Homeboy is getting his fuzzies clipped- muzzle, ears, and fetlocks- and his mane pulled. I try to maintain his mane at a non-ragamuffin state, but our working student will be adding some actual polish there. He has literally tufts coming out of his ears, the fetlocks of a clydesdale, and generally looks a bit homeless. A very shiny homeless pony. I’m excited to see what he looks like all prettied up.

Feet are done. Dear sweet dinosaur pulled a shoe earlier this week, but the farrier was able to come out the very next day to tack it back on and he’s A-OK.

Saddle is re-paneled! The rep came and got it yesterday and it should be waiting at the barn for me today when I go after work. The rep assured me that if it doesn’t fit Frankie perfectly then they’ll go re-adjust it for no additional fee, but I’m really hoping that the first time’s the charm here. My half-pad is great and all, but I want Frankie’s back to be as happy as possible.

Bathtime next Monday. He will be arriving on the showgrounds either Tuesday or Wednesday, so he will be getting his first full bath from me earlier in the week. Yes, you read that right. I’ve had my horse for three months now and I’ve never given him a bath. I’m a big fan of currying the crap out of him ’til he shines and using some Herbal Horse coat conditioner to keep his skin and coat healthy. I haven’t saved up for the bathing supplies that I want yet, and the stuff I have access to seems like it strips out the natural oils. In fact now that I’m thinking about it I may stick to just washing his legs. We like those natural oils. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not my horse gets a bath (RIVETING STUFF OLIVIA, THANKS FOR THE UPDATES).

Tack will get a deep cleaning and conditioning and trunk will be packed with the essentials. The showgrounds are close enough to home that I can pretty easily swing by the barn and grab anything I’ve forgotten, but I’d rather not forget things (Seriously Olivia do you think anyone WANTS to forget things?). I’ll pack my Pelham just in case, but I’m planning to ride Frankie in the same bit he’s always worn with me- a plain full cheek snaffle.

Note on tack: we’re pretty minimalist with the Tank. He’ll go in his regular snaffle bridle and my saddle, an AP pad, half-pad if needed depending on saddle fit, and open front boots/polos as Assistant Trainer decides. No breastplate, martingale, or gadgets. We stay very consistent with his tack from day to day and I don’t want to introduce any new variables right as we’re adjusting to show life.

Game Plan

If Frankie arrives on site Tuesday, he will get a training ride from Trainer or Assistant Trainer that day. Since I’ll be taking time off later in the week, I won’t be able to get to the showgrounds in time after work to ride him, so he’ll get some professional attention.


On Wednesday I’ll be leaving work early and heading over to the show for a lesson on Frankie the Tankie. There aren’t really any classes I need to be in that day and we want to ease both myself and Francis into the show atmosphere, so we’ll plan to just school around under the guidance of my trainer. Trainer said that she’s prepared to take him in a class if we think he needs the extra schooling, but we don’t think he will. Homeboy is pretty chill and I’m comfortable prepping him myself unless something truly dramatic happens.
Outfit: who cares we’re just schooling. Probs break out my brown boots and watch the traditionalists gasp for air.


Thursday we will go in the 0.90m jumpers (Table II). This height is super familiar for me and barely a blip on Frankie’s radar, so it should be a good way for us to get our feet wet. We’ll play it by ear to see if I want to give the 1.00m a try also. I think this will depend a lot on how the 0.90m rides, the weather, how long we’d have to wait, that type of thing. Both are halfway through the order on the prize list so it won’t be an ungodly early morning.
Outfit: Green/tan TS breeches, navy Clairvaux polo, navy/white belt.


Friday we’ll do the Low Adult Jumper 1.00m (Table II2B). The Ariat medal is running that morning first thing and I’m really tempted….but I’m not sure if we’re polished enough yet. Also braiding and show coats and formality…. The Low Adults run almost last in the order so we’ll have all day to chill and see how things go.
Outfit: Navy/tan TS breeches, white polo/show shirt, navy/white belt. Unless we do the eq, in which case we’ll dress up like real people.

ocala_navy outfit
As such (I’m on the left)
ocala_eq outfit_2
Or like dis if it’s eq day



Saturday will be the same- Low Adult Jumper 1.00m (Table II.2.1). This should go about mid-day. Then maybe the Small Pony Hunter. I’m kidding. But I wish I wasn’t. Ponies!!!!
Outfit: Tan TS breeches, navy Clairvaux polo, burgundy belt

Dis. But with short sleeves.


Sunday will be our big classic day, the $1,500 Low Children/Adult Jumper Classic (Table II2B). We’re the first class in the ring that day so we’ll be there bright and early and have the rest of the day to get things squared away and relax.
Outfit: White TS breeches, white show shirt, green coat, burgundy belt

ocala_classic outfit
Outfit like dis

So there you have it! All of this is subject to change (except the outfits, I’m pretty firm on those), but that’s what our plan is for now. We’re not planning to longe or do any special prep (though we’re prepared to if necessary) and we’ll take the week as slowly as we need to so that Frankie and I have a positive, confidence building first time out.

Because moving up in height at an A rated show which just so happens to be your first show with your new horse who hasn’t really done the H/J thing is a totally normal reasonable thing to do.

Extra bonus: my Momma and my Nouna (godmother) are flying down Thursday night so they can cheer me on and be my horse show moms for the weekend!!!! It’ll be my mom’s first time meeting her grandpony and her first time seeing me show in about 10 years and I couldn’t be more excited.

Anyone gonna be in the northern VA area next week? Always looking for a blogger meetup!!

34 thoughts on “Countdown to Loudoun Benefit

  1. Allison Stitzinger 06/08/2016 / 11:13 am

    So exciting!! Good luck and have SO MUCH FUN!! FWIW, I rarely bathe either. Maybe a true soapy bath once a year, if that. I hose off sweat every day with plain water, do a vinegar rinse, and curry til my arms fall off. You can get a horse spotless with a curry and a damp rag!


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 12:21 pm

      Absolutely! Addy required soapy baths to look clean (one of the reasons I never want a gray haha), but Mr. Dark Bay gets gleaming with some elbow grease.


  2. Britt 06/08/2016 / 11:21 am

    Oh my gosh those brown boots.. I got to see them in person this weekend and they may have had to shine them back up after I drooled all over them…

    Also- how far is this show from Culpepper? I was debating going up there next week…


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 12:27 pm

      I think you probably need those brown boots πŸ˜‰ And the show is just a little under an hour away from Culpeper, it would be so so so cool if you could come up!


    • shelbyrallen 06/08/2016 / 12:40 pm

      omg duhhh I can’t read. Loundoun Benefit! I’m so close to Upperville… maybe if I don’t go to Morningside I will swing by for a taste of jumper land!


      • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 2:03 pm

        Yassss you definitely should! We’ll be there all week and weekend πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. APitts 06/08/2016 / 12:41 pm

    Oh have fun! Can’t wait to read about it. There’s nothing more exciting than the first show with a new horse πŸ™‚ If you want to bathe him but don’t want to spend tons in money, there is always baby shampoo which is super gentle and shouldn’t strip oils or anything. I honestly usually use Suave (the cheap kind!) and then a vinegar rinse and it works well. No dry skin or anything.


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 2:03 pm

      See, this is why I love horse people. So many good ideas! So excited to report back on how Mr. Brontosaurus does πŸ™‚


  4. Jenn 06/08/2016 / 12:44 pm

    This post is so fantastic in so many ways, but I especially love that each outfit is meticulously planned out. I expected nothing less πŸ˜‰


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 2:04 pm

      Haha you know me too well. Gotta plan out the fashion!


  5. sarahczspots 06/08/2016 / 1:08 pm

    I’d be tempted, but it is hay season, so hopefully we’ll be hard at work stashing away noms for the ponies for winter. πŸ™‚ Good luck! I know you’ll be fabulous!


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 2:04 pm

      Thanks so much! We’ll have to get you and Courtney up to a show maybe in the fall ❀


    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 2:11 pm

      Thanks! Haha half the fun of showing for me is getting to play dress up in my show duds


  6. Heather 06/08/2016 / 3:30 pm

    Just out of curiosity, does this show offer the low/medium/highs, or just lows and highs? HITS Ocala was the first time I’d been to a show where the Child/Adult division was split in 3 rather than 2, but it was kind of cool.


    • Heather 06/08/2016 / 3:32 pm

      Also Upperville is super cool! Have fun!

      Liked by 1 person

    • hellomylivia 06/08/2016 / 3:39 pm

      Just the lows and highs- I was surprised to see the 3-way split down in Ocala too, I had never seen that before. Kinda wish they had that here as a stepping stone to move up, but I guess that’s one more incentive to save up to get back down to Florida!


  7. carey 06/08/2016 / 3:35 pm

    Sounds like so much fun, I’m so excited for you!! And thanks for including your outfits, you made good choices πŸ™‚


  8. Stacie Seidman 06/08/2016 / 3:54 pm

    Ahhhhh!!!! My ponies are boycotting shows it seems, so I’m totally living vicariously through you and Frankie. Sounds like you have a great plan. I can’t wait for the recap!


    • hellomylivia 06/09/2016 / 7:52 am

      We can take requests! Frankie and I are happy to be vicariously lived through πŸ˜‰


  9. heartofhope10 06/09/2016 / 9:59 am

    This post = show planning goals. I have never thought out my outfits before. So smart. Cannot wait to hear all about it!


    • hellomylivia 06/09/2016 / 10:14 am

      haha I’ll be staying in a hotel part of the week with my mom, so I just want to be sure that everything is clean and packed!


  10. Abby F 06/12/2016 / 9:51 pm

    Exciting! I love how organized you are! I just throw my show clothes in a bag and pick out some breeches and a shirt in the morning! Have fun at Loudon!! I just got home from Upperville and will be heading back up for Loudon on Wednesday. I’ll be doing the low AOs and hopefully the Mini Prix. I’d love to watch you guys go!


    • Abby f 06/13/2016 / 7:07 am

      Just realized I spelled Loudoun wrong… Oops


      • hellomylivia 06/13/2016 / 7:43 am

        Haha I’ve lived/worked in Loudoun county for years now and I still spell it wrong more often than not.Looks like you guys had a FANTASTIC outing at Upperville, we’ll have to connect at some point this week!


  11. Abby F 06/13/2016 / 12:53 pm

    That would be great! My stalls are right by the jumper ring. I’m stabled in J2 with my trainer’s farm, Gavin Moylan Stables. Come by and say hi!! I’ll be the tall blonde girl feeding my horses carrots!


    • hellomylivia 06/13/2016 / 2:25 pm

      Yay! I’m not sure where we’re stabled- Frankie heads over tomorrow- but I’ll def stop by! I’ll be the tall blonde girl feeding your horses carrots πŸ˜‰


  12. Micaylah 06/14/2016 / 3:12 pm

    Love it! Definitely living vicariously through you, and those outfits are spot on!


    • hellomylivia 06/15/2016 / 9:55 am

      Haha we’re happy to be vicariously lived through πŸ˜‰


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