Tag Archives: goals

More Macy Chronicles

About 2 days into my unofficial lease of Macy I fell jumping her. We had some terrible rides after that, mainly as a result of me being nervous and tense. I told Sarah I wasn’t up for riding her on my own- it wasn’t helping anything, and wanted to try and only ride in lessons.

So, for the past 3 weeks or so, that’s what we have been doing. Having eyes on the ground that know this horse so well has been incredibly helpful, but also, at times, incredibly stressful. Sarah and I had a rather unpleasant lesson where Macy was a spook factory, churning them out at an incredible rate. Sarah eventually yelled at me that I was overreacting to the spook and making things worse. This turned into a back and forth of “well I’ve never ridden a spooky horse!” “well her spooks are an overreaction to nothing so what do you expect me to do?” “Really? put my leg on and get her to bend? That’s the answer??? I doubt it.”

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I appreciate when she goes like this

Weirdly it was the answer. And I don’t know if my handling the spook better has made our rides quite pleasant lately or Macy has just been in a good mood.

We’ve had some major aha dressage and jumping moments. Macy was a saint in our last jump lesson (of which I have zero media) and she proved once again that she will jump from anywhere, over anything, despite what I am doing on her back to make it more difficult for her.

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And this

She is such a different horse from any I have ridden. Yes, she’s a sensitive TB. But she’s also really opinionated. And you’re not going to change her. Lots of head tossing, which is distracting, but I worked really hard to keep my elbows supple.

When it started to thunder, then lightening, then rain, I figured we’d head in. But Sarah kept us jumping. And I was so nervous about the weather I wasn’t helping Macy at all. But, we kept at it, I worked on sitting up, shoulders back, sternum out, and we had a couple of lovely jumps before calling it a night.

Macy is definitely getting me to be a better rider. She can be aggravating as all hell, but when she’s good, she has a lot of wisdom to share and I really enjoy those moments.

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So, for now, it’s two lessons a week on her with me getting her out by lunging or round penning. It seems to be working for now, and we’ll continue to see what the future holds for this partnership.

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Saying No To Your Dream Horse

I’ve hemmed and hawed about even writing this post. You see, I’ve been keeping a little secret from you all, and now that it’s all said and done I wasn’t sure I even needed to write about it. But, I will. Mostly because it will be cathartic to put it out into bloggerland and close this chapter.

When I let people know Georgie was injured and no longer competing with me, I got a lot of very sweet emails and lots of people reached out letting me know about possible horses for me.

What I didn’t expect, was for the folks in Ireland who I had ridden with, to contact me and see if it would be possible for me to purchase Buttons, the horse I had absolutely fallen in love with over there. (you can read about him here) At first I was like “yeah, right.” But the more we talked, the more I realized this could actually, amazingly, possibly, happen. They were being incredibly kind and generous and wanted Buttons in a good home, so were willing to work with me to see how we could make it happen. I started to freak out a little and imagined Buttons being here with me. OMG it would be a dream come true!!!

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Buttons. Look how happy I look!

What it all came down to was the cost of shipping him to the States. They agreed to look into it and they mentioned that without an agent, shipping costs could be drastically reduced.

I know nothing about the cost of shipping horses overseas, except that it wasn’t cheap. I decided to set a budget for myself so that I wouldn’t get carried away with getting Buttons if I really couldn’t afford it. At the top end of my budget, I could have the horse, and pay his board, but I wouldn’t have any money to compete or really take regular lessons for about a year. But, at that moment in time I didn’t care, because THIS WAS MY DREAM HORSE.

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More Buttons and I looking very happy together

So, we began working on looking into shipping costs. Unfortunately, the Shannon to Chicago route, which EN teased us with this past fall, never really took off. That would have been the far cheaper option, as Shannon was about 40 minutes from the barn Buttons was located at.  So, we’d have to haul the horse to Dublin and fly him to Chicago. Then, 3 days of quarantine. Then, I could drive 23 hours to go pick him up, and drive 23 hours home. This all sounded like it was NOT going to fit into my budget.

And it didn’t. Despite the folks at Dartfield working their pants off to get me a reasonable price, it was still far above my budget. The top end of my budget. Shipping horses can cost anywhere between $10-$20k I learned.

Yup. Let me break some of the steps down for you:

  1. Health cert, passport, blood work
  2. Transport to the airport
  3. Groom
  4. A shipping pallet is about 15k, and fits 3 horses. So, just to sit on the plane costs 5k per horse.
  5. Quarantine
  6. Transportation from airport home

Even with the most economical option we could find, and with people being incredibly generous, it would cost me $10k to get Buttons home.

I was now $7k over my stretched budget.

There was no way I could make this work, even with both the shipper and the seller offering to take payments.  I’d be paying this horse off for over a year, and literally doing nothing but paying off the horse. Like, I would be sweating every single payment and trying to make it work. Yeah. No. Can’t justify that.

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So, I called Sarah just to make sure I was making the right decision and she agreed. Goodbye Buttons.

The folks at Dartfield  were so amazingly nice and tried so hard to make this work out. I felt horrible having to tell them no, after how much work they put into it.

So, the last two weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. From EXCITED to sad to EXCITED to sad. I almost felt a sense of relief when I sent the final “I’m sorry I can’t make it work” email. As sad as I was, I knew I could move on and not set my hopes on this horse any longer.

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Maybe one day I’ll get my dream Irish horse. Maybe not. I can’t live in the “maybe” and it’s so not my personality to dwell.

With Buttons behind me, I’m ready to move on to the next option. I’m really, really, excited about a baby I am going to check out next week. She’s not Irish, but she has a great pedigree and I think she could be a great fit for me. As I said to Sarah when I was weighing the options of Buttons or this baby horse , neither is a bad option. I’d be lucky to have either, despite how different they are. So, even though I am down to the one option, instead of two, I think this one can make me equally as happy and make it much easier for me financially. And if baby horse is the option I go with, I’m also looking into options to keep riding and even competing this season, as that has been the hardest part for me- not having something to consistently hop on.

So many options! I’ll keep you posted as they go from options to decisions.

 

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Happy New Year Shenanigans

At my more mature age, New Years Eve means very little to me. However, I have this weird superstition about New Year’s Day. I believe that the way I spend the day determines how the rest of the year will go. Now, deep down, I know this is ridiculous. But in the moment, I really believe it. So, the most important thing for me on New Year’s Day, is to spend the day creating happiness.

I think I did a good job this year and I think that if today really has any impact on the rest of the year, it’s going to be a great year.

The highlight was probably when I “forced” Sarah to ride this morning. Last week she had reluctantly agreed to ride in a fun “exercise” I had planned.Today Sarah was KINDA a good sport about it. To be fair, it was zero degrees outside, she had been feeding horses in the cold, and the idea of coming in and having to do what I say, was not all that appealing. After a brief hissy fit that only friends who are more like sisters can have, she decided to indulge me and give it a go.

I had created a game of sorts. It started with trivia questions centered around Georgie and eventing. If she got the trivia question right, great. We moved to the next question. But get the question wrong, and she had to execute a skill of sorts. Skills got more challenging as the game went on. (The first skill was helping me decide if the dressage saddle I was trying was a good fit on Georgie.)

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Straightforward jump to begin with

By the end, I had Sarah and her horse, Rapid, jumping some scary stuff!

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Even Georgie thought this was the strangest thing I’ve asked her to jump

The final jump was the above oxer with a cow the ropers practice on in the middle of it. Rapid had a good look at the oxer and wasn’t sure about it, but decided she would give it a try.

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Rapid thought this jump was ridiculous and needed a bigger challenge

At this point in the morning I was thinking of how well all of this was going. Rapid and Sarah were having fun and I was laughing a lot at some of Sarah’s answers to my Georgie-centric trivia questions. (i.e “What is Georgie’s nickname?” “Pigpen” Yup, that’s right. It’s also Georgina though, but it speaks volumes that Pigpen was first in Sarah’s mind…)

So, all was going well as Sarah trotted Rapid up to the oxer. Rapid stopped as if to say “no thanks” and then decided that if she jumped high enough the cow wouldn’t be able to get her.

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Scope.

I freaked out, but shouldn’t have. Rapid got herself over the oxer in true Lipizzaner form.

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Nicely done, Rapid

And major props to Sarah for staying on. The next time around, it looked like this:

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After a fun morning of quizzing and challenging Sarah, it was time for me to get Georgie over the jumps. We had a fun, albeit short ride, where she gamely jumped any thing I asked of her. Even cows in the middle of oxers.

The next adventure of the day was getting myself and my two dogs out for a run. It was a bluebird day, and had warmed up a bit, and we all enjoyed getting out in the fresh air. I once again appreciated living in such a beautiful place. And having two moderately well-behaved dogs that I love so much.

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They’re kinda naughty but so cute. Photo from this summer when the river was enjoyable to be in.

And the last part of the day involved cleaning house, calling those I miss and care about, and just realizing how great a life I have.

I’m so excited for 2017 and all the adventures that await!

Happy New Year!

 

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2017 Goals

Hoping everyone had a very happy holiday season! If nothing else, the holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends and it marks the end of one year and sets in the hope and excitement of what’s to come.

So, here we go. Looking forward to a new year, new season and new habit of setting goals. Lets see how well I am able to stick to them and get them accomplished!

I’ve separated my goals into three categories. Personal, Riding and Competing. Day to day riding is very different to me than competing is, and I don’t want to lose focus of that by just setting goals that are competition based.

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I want to enjoy these views more

Personal Goals:

  1. I decided on this one while on my run this morning… Do a 10k. At first I was like “sign up and finish a 10k race” but to be honest, I’m not sure I want to enter a race and spend the money. So, my goal has been revised to just getting a 10k done. By July.
  2. Remain fit and continue to make fitness and health a priority. I’m 10 pounds into a 20 pound weight loss, but I want to make sure I don’t lose sight of staying fit. Being active makes me happy.
  3. Balance your personal life with your equestrian life. I want to hike more. I want to say yes to more things that aren’t horse related. While still being a dedicated equestrian. Let me know if this is unrealistic… 😉

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Riding Goals:

  1. Be able to do trot sets for 15 minutes in jumping position by the end of the winter. I think I can do this one. It’s just a matter of getting out there and getting it done. I can be pretty lazy about trot sets.
  2. When I ride, remember to ask more of Georgie in each ride. I need to stop being complacent as to where we are at in our training. She’s at the point where I can ask and expect more of her. And I should.
  3. Sometimes, just enjoy the ride. Go for a hack. Explore a new trail. Don’t make it all about training all the time.
  4. Get the most out of each ride. If I’m going to work on jumping, how about I work on multiple things, rather than just one thing. If I am going to ride for 30 minutes, how about I spend those entire 30 minutes working….
  5. Enjoy stadium jumping. Figuring out a way to keep my brain from spinning out of control would be awesome.

 

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Competition Goals:

  1. Go Prelim at a recognized event. I have to make this a goal since it’s on the table now.
  2. Let Georgie jump the tables. I need to just let her jump out of stride at a gallop. Even if at first it feels uncomfortable and makes me wince a little.
  3. In each element of the competition, give Georgie a thoughtful ride. In dressage, think about your next movement, on xc, think about the next fence and how to approach it, and in stadium jumping, just think. I think that if I can do this, we are going to be a really successful pair.
  4. Have fun at the competitions. This hasn’t ever been a problem, but if it becomes one, I think it is time for me to hang up my hat.
  5. Do not care about where you placed. Look back at the competition and think about how your rides made you feel as a rider. You are only competing with yourself. Sometimes a high or low score can dictate how I feel about a ride. And it really shouldn’t. I have no idea where those other riders are in their training, or what their expectations are for themselves. I can and should only concentrate on my ride with my horse.

So there we go. While I’ll admit my goals aren’t as specific as they might be for some people, I think they give me something to work on and something to achieve.

So, HAPPY NEW YEAR and let’s go have fun with our ponies!

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Year in Review

I have a habit of not setting solid goals for myself as a rider for the coming year. I feel like horses and riding are so unpredictable. Georgie could be lame tomorrow and there go all our goals for the spring. Or, I could break my elbow. Again. Or, everything could go exactly as planned. And wouldn’t that be nice. And unusual.

But, I’ve decided to set goals for the coming year. They will be put into the universe in a later post, as this one will be to review how shit went down in 2016.

Things started ok. It was a lot of indoor work due to an Idaho winter, but we worked on thinking quickly while jumping. Something I struggle with.

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This instilled some serious fear in me

Off to Utah in March for some xc schooling and my spirits brightened. Georgie felt like the horse I never thought I’d have. Adjustable, uphill and forward. It was a blast. Plus, Training felt easy. That was a nice change.

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Jumping over the rock

June was the start of our official season with our show at Inavale. Once we were able to get there- after my truck died and a kind friend let us borrow theirs. Dressage in my mind was AMAZING but the judge had a different view and gave us our worst score to date. Just made me determined to show her this wasn’t a dressage show, stupid judge.

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Amazing. Duh

Georgie ate up the xc course at Inavale. So much so that I thought I had speed faults. I didn’t. We were perfectly within optimum time. It was a great course and gave me the confidence I needed to know we could tackle the 3Day in a month. Plus, we had an awesome show jump round. Only one rail down, which is below average for us. And it was the final rail because I rode to it stupidly. So good news was if I ride well we can do well. We finished in third place, and I had a lot of fun, so really it was a great weekend.

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Does not care about 3rd place. Cares that there is a stupid ribbon on her and her tack has yet to be removed.

The following month was the Training 3 Day at Rebecca. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have the chance to do a long format, do it. Dressage in the big arena sitting the trot and doing some movements we will be doing at Prelim. Again, judges and I disagreed. This time they thought my test was nicer than I did and gave us our best score to date. That’s cool.

Endurance day. Pretty sure I smiled the entire time. Steeplechase was SO MUCH FUN.

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Love her ears

The xc course was easy peasy and it was the first time I felt like I just let Georgie gallop and didn’t interfere three strides out. (My favorite thing to do.) Stadium was good. Two rails. But they weren’t for obvious reasons and I was pleased with our ride. Sadly we dropped from 2nd place to 6th because of the rails. Which was annoying, because there were cash prizes for riders up to 3rd place. But it is what it is.

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One of my fave pics ever.

Probably the best part was that when the 3Day was done and over with, trainer Sarah brought up the P word. As in, it was something we could start thinking about. I NEVER thought it was an option. But Georgie is such a different horse than she was 6-8 months ago, and I like to think I’m a different rider, but maybe not to such a dramatic degree. And because it would be the first time for both of us going Prelim, I decided to have Sarah take her to her first recognized event at the level.

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While schooling next door to Rebecca, in 2015 I had been too scared to do this ditch wall. This year we conquered it easily. Amazing the difference a year makes.

August was stupid. I tripped and fell (totally sober) and broke my elbow. So… Sarah took over riding Georgie after her post Rebecca break and got her ready for Prelim.

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The improvements with Sarah riding Georgie were pretty obvious early on…

September Sarah took Georgie to a schooling Jumper Show and they rocked. ZERO rails. Made everything I had said about her unable to not hit rails complete hogwash. This put me in a weird headspace. Mainly just not riding my horse, but also missing her and having someone else take over the ride for the first time in my life of horses was weird. But I knew it was for the best, and I am still enjoying all the improvements Sarah worked on. Hello responding to my leg!

And then her debut at Prelim with Sarah. Ok, let’s just skip too much writing about that. The fates just weren’t with us that day. But, you better believe this venue will also be the first Prelim I take her to in the spring. I don’t even care if I fall off (ok, I do) that course is not getting the better of that mare, or me. Stupid book jump.

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Being #13 DID NOT HELP

And then… Ireland. Trip of a lifetime. OMG. Foxhunting with the Irish. Riding Irish horses. I still have no idea why I came home.

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And then, in November, the final xc school of the season. Sarah took Georgie back down to Skyline and rocked the course with her. Had a blast. Georgie proved that she is a Prelim ready horse. Sure, the book jump was in hiding and not available to school, but that’s ok. We’ll get ‘er in the spring. Stupid book jump.

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Why hello, huge table

December has been work work work. Jump and dressage lessons. Raising expectations of what this horse is capable of.

She’s still the best damn horse I’ve ever known. I’ll never stop loving her and I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings.

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Dressage TOC

I know winter has arrived when our barn’s TOC series begins. I am certainly thankful for it, as it keeps me motivated and working hard despite not having an event to prepare for. I entered two tests. Prelim A, and the 2’6 Prix Caprilli. I’ve never done the Prix Caprilli, and whenever anyone says “jumping is just dressage over fences”, I roll my eyes, but seeing how this really WAS dressage over fences, I decided to give it a try. Plus, Georgie loves jumping and I knew she’d be game.

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It’s so fun riding Georgie now. She’s adjustable and capable, and above all, strong. We’ve been working on having her poll in a higher frame. It’s hard, but we’re getting there. She didn’t put a foot out of place and did everything I asked. I was a bit disappointed in my riding. I could have asked Georgie for more and been more accurate. I feel a bit like I just enjoyed the horse I had, instead of taking things a bit more seriously. But, that’s ok. It’s the first dressage TOC of the season. Georgie and I still ended up having the best score for the test. The only comment the judge made was ” Too bad you can’t teach her to lengthen because otherwise you’ve got it!” Yeah. I am getting really frustrated by our lack of trot lengthen. But I’ll save that for another post… We got a 9 on our halt, a few 8s and it was a pleasing and fine test. I still think we can do way better, though. So that’s exciting!

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Even from behind I can tell I do not like where my hands are in this photo

The Prix Caprilli is really fun, but really challenging. I practiced the test in my lesson earlier in the week and told Sarah I loved how it challenged my brain to do lots of different things! Georgie seemed to really enjoy it too, even though the couple of fences we did from the trot she thought were just weird. We got to leg yield to jumps, do lots of adjustment, work on staying up in the corners and make sure we had a steady, rhythmic test. I highly recommend doing one if you get the opportunity!

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She can lengthen in the canter at least…Even with zero connection to the reins from me. Grr

I’m excited for where Georgie and I are at, but also know we have so much to work on. The work we have been doing has been tough for both of us. Sarah has been schooling some 3rd level movements with Georgie and she is so much stronger and capable than ever before. So, once again, I need to keep up with my horse and bring my 50%. I’m really excited to have this winter to work on it!

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4 Days to Prelim

The countdown has begun! 4 days until Georgie is in the sandbox for her prelim debut! I’m pretty excited and am getting over the fact that I won’t be riding her.

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Our conditioning ride where I found out Georgie is petrified of sheep.

Although, I will admit I had a couple minor meltdowns the other day.

When I filled out the entry for the event they ask you for the following info: Horse info, Rider Info, Owner info, Trainer Info

Um, I am none of those things. So, in my meltdown the other day I think I said something overly dramatic like “It’s as if I don’t even exist in this horse’s life!”

I warned you about the drama, right?

The next meltdown was one I struggled with in kindergarten as well. Purple is my favorite color. It is the color Georgie and I wear on cross-country. Therefore, in my mind, everyone should love wearing purple. Purple is not Sarah’s favorite color, (at all) and she and Georgie will not be wearing purple on cross country.

“It’s like I don’t exist!” I yelled out (in a text. Probably all caps. Apparently the “not existing” is a real problem for me.)

Sarah offered to let me put her purple bling browband on for xc. To which I snarkily replied: “She doesn’t wear bling on xc. She isn’t a sissy.”

I was really channeling my inner kindergartener and I may have even put my thumb in my mouth at this point.

I’m over it now. I’m way too excited to care about colors or entry forms. I know I’m responsible for getting Georgie to this point and I know Sarah riding her and wearing navy is going to be fine. She will probably wear her purple browband though. Just ’cause.

Video from our gallop last week:

I can’t wait to give you all updates, so be prepared and think good thoughts for Sarah and Georgie at their debut! I have zero expectations for them, only two hopes:

  1. At the end of the weekend they are both safe and sound.
  2. And if I am being greedy, that Sarah has a blast running xc and understands why I love this mare so much.

 

 

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