Where Are We At?

First thing-thank you to everyone who left such kind words on my last post.  This community is one of a kind!

Anyway, I realized today that while I finally have rides to report on, I suddenly have no time to actually write them.  Kind of ironic eh?  Better planning is on my to do list.

So where are we at?  I’m still basking in the fact I have nice horse to hop on and enjoy.  Demelia has been nothing if not sweet, and good natured as I figure her out.  We had our first lesson, a mostly flat ride with lots of critique on my riding.  As I mentioned before, she’s very broke and the biggest issue is keeping her going.  Which means my bad habits have no place to hide.  Yikes.

Spent most of the ride trying to straighten my inside shoulder (and look less like a hunchback at the canter) and allow my wrists to give without opening my fingers.  The struggle is real.  Also, who knew cantering over 4 poles on the ground could be so hard?

As for my other rides, it’s just been a matter of getting into a groove again.  Figuring out what actually needs to stay at my locker at the barn, or what treat might lure DeeDee into coming to me in the field.  The little sausage comes when her Momma calls her–not so much luck for me as of yet.

The best things so far regarding this half lease, is the fact that one night I had to go out late due to things like a baby, and work, and laundry, and life.  I hopped on Dee and we took a perfect stroll around the property.  Just enjoying the fabulous weather and being able to ride.  We are so lucky to have these types of moments!

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And basically the rest of my life was consumed with binge watching the Olympics.  I’m still dealing with the withdrawals.

The Tailored Sportsman Challenge

This post won’t be filled with riding details and pretty ponies posing for the camera (I guess it hasn’t for awhile?) so feel free to get out while you can, if lamenting over body image issues isn’t your thing.  Really this post has been an ongoing journal and personal journey for myself in the months following my daughter being born.  It is entirely too many selfies in my opinion, sharing these images makes me very nervous, but I want to remember.

When I got pregnant one of the first things I thought about was “oh no-my poor body!”.  Because like it or not, growing a baby is hard on you.  And apparently I’m vain.  While I was pregnant I experienced lava-like heartburn, swollen hands (and feet), and the usual body aches.  Still, I was active as I could be, riding in my 6th month, and eating well.  After everything was said and done, and for transparency’s sake, I gained over 40lbs.  Like maybe 50.  Or so.

That’s a significant amount of weight in my book.  Big baby (over 9lbs+) or no big baby, I had a long ways to go post-partem.  Pre-baby I was an easy size 30L in almost everything, including my favorite pair of tan Tailored Sportsmans.  What I know about myself is that I have to be held accountable, so my goal has always been to be able to fit back into the riding clothes I already had.  Hence, my TS Challenge was born.  I was always told it takes 9 months to grow the baby, it takes 9 months for your body to go back to normal.

Exhibit A: 9+ months pregnant (100% cooked-100% done with the whole thing)

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Please ignore toothbrush and bathroom clutter.

I went into labor a day or so after this picture?  The joke was that it was my last work appropriate outfit that fit around the bump.  Hence, I was determined to have baby before the next work week.

Exhibit B:One week post-partem. (always brushing my teeth)

I spent the first few weeks looking at my baby, and then looking at myself…and trying to figure out how I still looked so pregnant!  At this point I was excited to choke down some food between cuddle sessions with baby girl.  Activity  was switching from one pair of sweat pants to another.

Exhibit C: 2 Months post-partem.

Actually feeling like a human again, and seeing bits of my body filtering back into place!  I was surprised that I actually even gained weight in my legs somehow?  While still a bit body sore, I was finally figuring out how to sleep and function on a baby’s schedule.  Better food and more activity are finally coming back into the life order.

Exhibit D: 3 Months Post-Partemimg_1890

I was more comfortable in loose clothing usually, as my body was still shrinking and was making me feel soft!  This picture was super scary for me to post at the time, but now I look back and realize that it’s the time frame I feel I started to feel like myself physically. Thank god for the awesome Noble Outfitters tights for giving me some support/confidence.  My face was finally less swollen too.

Between months 4-7 I really didn’t feel like there was a lot of change.  My body felt better but didn’t look much different.

Exhibit E: 7 months post-partem (in Romhf size 30)

While I could squeeze into these Romhf size 30’s, it required some dance moves to get them buttoned and it really felt tight across the tummy still.  But yes-they went on.  Small successes!

And finally, exhibit F:  8 months post-partem.

No, I don’t feel the same. I have a hate/hate relationship with my “new” bust line, but I do feel like I have made a huge transformation in 9 months.  I really tried hard to not stress; letting the weight letting come off naturally with good food, and being active.  I think more saddle time lately has really helped.  Overall though, I feel strong, fit and it translates well into my riding.  Plus there is a certain pride in making that change in yourself!

Goal to fit into my old size 30L tailored sportsmans?

Exhibit G: 9 months post-partem

Success. And that feels so good!

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Half a Horse

There are things that I’ve kept off blog because:

1. It’s personal

2. It’s not set in stone, and things change fast

I’ve been playing with my budget and really toying with what I want long term.  A new horse is a huge commitment, and to a certain degree my life is too crazy to think of bringing in my next dream horse home right this second.

But.

You know I couldn’t just sit around right?

So thanks to some amazing friends, my great trainer and the husband of the year, I now have a half lease in place.

Half of this horse to be precise.

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Shhhh….A wild Deedee in her natural habitat.

Demelia and I have gotten to know each other a bit over the past few months, and like I mentioned before, I had a big ole crush on the little sausage warmblood.  When the situation worked out that she needed another consistent rider, and I was dying to find something to ride…well it’s a match!  The lease just kicked off, and both of us are going to be cardio-ing up for the first few weeks to get as fit as possible.  The mare is by far the most broke, and trained I’ve ridden consistently since high school, so I’m really excited to see what this partnership will bring.  And really?  Just look at that sweet face!

 

Blog Hop: F*%K Yeah!

I love seeing this fantastic blog hop going around, and wanted to share even if I’m a bit late to the gate!  From Beckz of I Will Jump Sweet Jumps…”there have definitely been times when you were like omg I am such a gangster at this. And I wanna see those pictures. The ones were you looked at them and went f%*k yea I am a bad ass horse rider.”

Showing up the day after the worst show ever, and riding my ass off. F*%k yeah!

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Riding on the ranch with the hubs with my favorite spotty boy.

Learning to turn and burn with the best bay boy in high school.

 

Because we were so cute together and survived her first show away from home.

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About 6 months pregnant, still riding this lovely warmblood.

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Back in the saddle 2-3months post-baby. Didn’t die=f*%k yeah!

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Oh and another from the olden days…holding on for dear life.Erv training

Cheers to many more moments like these!

Floofness; lesson 2

His royal cuteness, the drafty Floof, gave me another great lesson last week, and while we did almost melt, it was totally worth it.

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Hi.  I iz the floof.

We warmed up trotting into a vertical, and focused on really sitting quiet, pressing into the mane and letting the horses jump up (versus just shooting across the jump).  Floof-pony caught on, and I was really excited to feel how much more educated he’s getting.  He is starting to figure out how to use his body correctly.

We moved onto a small winding course, with lead changes, and a tight 3 stride line.  Emphasis on half halts, balancing, and leg.  Oh and these jumps were legit, like had fill and everything.  I felt like a real rider again!  (whoop whoop)

This horse has a giant stride, so I had to be sure to jump into the line, and really sitIMG_3847[1] back to balance him.  A few weeks ago a half halt to him was quite a lot of pressure and holding with your legs.  This time, we hopped into the 3 stride, I sat back and half halted firmly….and the horse practically stalled mid-air. He’s got the half halt figured out.

And God love him, even after practically halting a stride in, I booted him forward and the dude just cantered up and popped over the 2nd jump anyway.  He gives no rats.

Next time I came into the line, and got to just hold for just a second after the jump, and he cantered out in a lovely 3 strides.  Such a good boy.

Since it was one degree from molten outside, we let him be done after another course or two.  He’s become such a nice, light ride in the past few weeks.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the jumper ring!

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Finally found one that I don’t look huge on.  #beefcake

July 10 Questions

1. Do you actually always pick the horse’s feet? Always? Really?

Yes, I actually do because I’m riding other people’s horses.  How would it look if something happened to their precious when I was just being lazy.  No more free rides for me.

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2. What is the biggest obstacle/reason preventing you from becoming a professional or competing full time with ease?

Willingness to abandon my comforts.  I like being able to go home after I show.  I like knowing someone (not me) is watching over my horse.  I like spending some days laying across my sofa like a sloth.

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We like days off.

3. Do you think it will ever not be about the money?

Yeah not really.  Horses are risk.  Risk is handled by money and therefore will never go away.
4. Was there ever a horse that you loved and really wanted to have a connection with, but it just never panned out?

This question is a bit confusing.  Perhaps because I’m someone who easily falls for a horse?  So I often feel a connection when perhaps there isn’t that much of one?
5. What is one weakness in your riding that even your trainer doesn’t pick up on, only you?

While I love to jump, I love hard new concepts, I love bigger fences; I can actually be a huge weenie.  However, I work very, very hard to not let people see that.  Fake it-until you make it.  I never want to miss out on something wonderful because of a moment of insecurity.

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Old picture for funsies.

6. What is the biggest doubt/insecurity you ask or tell yourself in your head?

Pre-baby= Did I fail my horse?

Post-baby=Am I jiggling? What in the Sam Hill is that?

Always=Are my wrists broken again?  (answer: YES, ALWAYS YES)

7. There is a barn fire. You are the first person to discover it and see that the roof is collapsing in slowly, and you can tell it’s going to come down any time. Do you call people first or head straight in to save the horses?

I have a lot of self-preservation, and would be the person to who calls first and then assess the situation.

8. What is one event in your riding career/horse/anything that you’re still not over, even tho you might tell others you are?

Too many things.  I’m choosing to not answer and go down this road.  Forward, always forward people!

9. If you could tell off one person you just don’t like, what would you say?
Oh lordy.  I’ll try to keep this short.
Do not take me less seriously because I currently don’t have a horse, or my horse didn’t cost the equivilent of a brand new SUV.  What you are riding, or how high you are jumping does not dictate someone’s past or future abilities.
10. Have you ever seen questionable riding or training practices, but let it go/ignored it? How do you feel about it in hindsight?
I was too young, and not in a good situation to call out what I was seeing.  So in hindsight I know I couldn’t have fixed things.  But I took it as a mental note, and changed both how I ride/handle horses, and the people I surround myself with.

The Wonderful Cluster That is eBay

To start this off, I will admit that I love eBay.  When I was a kid, my Dad and I would haunt it, looking for whatever gadget or random item that we thought was worth purchasing and watching the time tick down.  I doubt we won half the time, but that wasn’t the point.

When I hit college, and started having to pay for my own items, including some horse supplies, I discovered the wide variety of equestrian things eBay had to offer.  Bonus points for mostly being affordable, and I still loved bidding on my future purchases.

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This little rescue mare🙂

I’m pretty sure my little rescue case was outfitted in 90% eBay purchases.  No shame.  I didn’t have to eat ramen for a month straight, and my little horse had clothes.  Winning all around.

And I’ve never stopped shopping eBay.  While I can afford to splurge on some items nowadays, I love to shop around and compare.  Ebay checks all those boxes.

Most recently I have snagged a nice brand new schooling bridle for less than half it’s usual cost, a super fancy show shirt (brand new) for cheap, my first Kastel sun shirt, and am currently perusing some new breeches to celebrate fitting into normal people clothes again.

But.

Things can also go horribly wrong.  And I find myself saying, “ugh-only on eBay”.  Examples below. Ha!

I mean-who doesn’t need those chaps?

Who else out there is an eBayer?  Find anything great?