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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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

LASTLY

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.

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