Ow. My Legs.

Before I get into talking about how my legs hurt so much, I have to tell you about my meetup with Liz and Austen!! We got to meet up (huskies in tow) out in Middleburg for lunch, and it was so fantastic to be able to just talk ponies and cocktails. It’s the funniest feeling meeting blog friends in real life- even though it was our first time seeing each other in the real world, it felt like we already knew each other so well. I was hoping they would have time to come meet Frankie, and even more fantastically they had their cameras with them!

It was so lovely to get to introduce them to Frankie. I know I may be biased because I’m his mother, but there is something so special about that horse and I love getting to share that spark with friends. He was enthralled with the huskies and was on the lookout for scritches the whole time. We even popped Liz and Austen up for a brief ride- Frankie was a bit confused that he still had to work, but was happy enough to go be a good goober for both of them. It makes my heart so happy to see him go be such a good soul. Bonus: I have so many absolutely gorgeous pictures to share with you guys!!

This one is absolutely getting framed. Liz, somehow you managed to capture Frankie so beautifully and with such kindness, and it brings tears to my eyes.

Now on to my muscle soreness: we have officially entered the era of private lessons once more. It’s been two weeks with my new flex schedule and while it’s been a bit of an adjustment to get out the door earlier in the mornings, it’s ABSOFREAKIN’ FANTASTIC. I may never be able to go back to a normal schedule again, you guys. So far we’ve had two (incredible) private lessons on Friday afternoons, and here are some jumbled thoughts that I have so far:

  • In our first lesson, we did not jump a single fence. We worked on correct transitions, channeling our energy straight and powerfully, and convincing Frankie that I know what I’m doing up top (which is only sometimes true, but he doesn’t need to know that). I was sweaty and dying by the end.
  • Frankie absolutely can and should carry himself, and he is smart enough to know that historically I have not insisted on this. He does not test Trainer or AT. He does test me- which is fair. We had a few mini-tantrums when I continued to insist, but once we pushed past that he gave me INCREDIBLE work. He’s pretty sure this whole “work super hard to build muscle and self-carriage” thing is bogus, but he seems to be resigning himself to it.
  • THIS IS SO FREAKIN’ HARD. My muscles are so sore. Like, muscles that I don’t usually use for riding are sore. Which is actually also super encouraging, because it means that I’m moving in different ways and the whole point of this is to be doing things differently and better. But ow. Seriously, ow.
  • Francis is, as always, my tattletale. My leg comes off? Head immediately pops up and he totally inverts. I stop engaging my core? Prancing jigging steps. He is happy to work, but only as hard as I am. And he will not give me what I’m asking unless I ask properly, which makes him such an excellent teacher! Luckily he’s patient as I work through all the ways to *not* ask properly before landing on the right way.
  • He needs to respect this new bit- he cannot park on the end of it like he did with the snaffle. If he learns to park on this bit, we have just lost all our adjustability that we gained with the additional leverage. This is why I must insist on that self-carriage, and it’s why my trainer didn’t entrust me with this type of bit until quite recently.
  • Rewards must be quick and frequent. As soon as I feel him soften, I must soften in return- but not until I get that softening. Reward the good, and respond to resistance with consistent but firm correction. Set him up to answer correctly so that we can reward often.
We take breaks when we are a good pony. PC- Liz
  • When we have the right canter, we don’t need to see a spot. In our last lesson, I felt like I nailed every single distance to every single fence. Some were a little longer or shorter than others, but every single one felt powerful and out of stride. He was so adjustable and powerful that getting to that right spot was downright easy, and he rewarded me by cracking his back over the fences- I got popped out of the tack a few times because of the strength of his effort!
  • Riding him more strongly and insisting on more is downright addicting. Of course he’s always a blast to ride, but feeling that balance and power underneath me is the most incredible feeling. I was grinning through my entire last ride. I was also panting and sweating trying to get all my muscles to move in concert, but I was on the verge of giggling as I felt Frankie round up into the bridle and push. I didn’t ever want to hop off.
“Do not want work, pls stop.” (as I gasp for air) PC- Liz

In a nutshell, I’m trying to learn how to ride Frankie like my trainer rides Frankie. And it’s really really hard and a lot of work and everything hurts and it is so incredibly fun as we both learn the rules of the game.


Muscles are sore, heart is full, and I’m so beyond thrilled with the Big Best Beast.

17 thoughts on “Ow. My Legs.

  1. roamingridersite 05/07/2018 / 12:03 pm

    Gorgeous pictures! The private lessons sound tough, but exactly what you were looking for. I hope the soreness goes away soon but the fun and learning never does 🙂


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 12:27 pm

      Me too! But the soreness is definitely a worthwhile price to pay 😉


  2. emma 05/07/2018 / 12:35 pm

    oh man i love those pictures tho. some of the moments that liz and austen have caught for me over the years have become my absolute favorites too ❤


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 1:32 pm

      I can’t stop staring!! Of course I always think Frankie is the handsomest beast ever, but to see him captured like this just makes my heart so happy ❤


  3. Britt 05/07/2018 / 12:36 pm

    Aw love the pics! And I love getting my butt kicked in lessons- you just learn so much and I feel like I got the bang for my buck if I feel it the next day XD

    Also random but will you be going to the Great Meadows International in July? A friend of mine is planning a girls trip and so it’s on my radar!


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 1:32 pm

      I can totally make a point of going! It’s not a far drive for me at all, that would be awesome to meet up!!


  4. Liz 05/07/2018 / 12:52 pm

    Flexible schedules are THE BEST. So glad you’re enjoying your new routine. And is it weird that I’m kind of envious of that level of soreness from riding? I always welcome it ’cause it means I’m getting better and stronger.

    I’m so glad you like the photos! I feel like a broken record saying it, but seriously, Frankie is such a total sweetheart and your bond with him is really awesome to witness (and capture)!


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 1:34 pm

      It’s def the best kind of sore- I’ve been whining a bunch to Nick, but secretly I’m kinda reveling in it 😉
      Hoping we can do it again soon, I loved loved loved sharing Francis with both of you ❤


  5. carey 05/07/2018 / 1:40 pm

    Such wonderful pictures! Sounds like all the hard work is good, too 🙂
    Cosmo is also such tattletale. He’ll do anything I ask, but only if I ask correctly.


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 1:56 pm

      Cheers to tattletale horses- teaching us the right way, one step at a time


  6. Stacie Seidman 05/07/2018 / 1:43 pm

    Sounds like you two are working hard! Love all the new pictures!


    • hellomylivia 05/07/2018 / 1:56 pm

      Lots of hard work, but lots of fun! I keep staring at all the amazing pictures, I’m totally obsessed ❤


  7. Tracy 05/07/2018 / 4:53 pm

    There’s always so much to learn — I honestly think that’s what I love about riding!


    • hellomylivia 05/08/2018 / 7:06 am

      20 years in the saddle and there’s constantly something new to learn!!


  8. draftmare 05/09/2018 / 12:59 pm

    Wow, that first picture looks like a painting!!

    I too wish I could get the same reaction out of Sydney that my instructors get out of Sydney. I swear they must have magic butts or something.


    • hellomylivia 05/09/2018 / 1:32 pm

      Total wizard trainers! I feel like I’m finally starting to get some pieces in place, but it’s a major journey


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