Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Picture Time!

Before I so rudely jetted out of town for the week, I got Ellie to take a ton of pictures of the grudgingly-consenting Cuna and never shared most of them with you. If we're facebook friends and you've already seen them, bear with me. Now you get the inside story, which is of course more exciting and interesting.
Cuna has approved this blog

I think it actually took less pleading and manipulating than last time to get some decent candid shots. Maybe Cuna did want a less-emotional less-photo-obsessed boy, but as long as his girl feeds him lots of cookies, he'll cope.

Ellie caught us at an incredibly opportune time--since coming back from Utah, we'd launched into a two week jumping intensive. That kind daily consistency really helps Cuna maintain some flexibility through his whole body.

The ever stylish "pony nose" pose

We start out on a reasonably long rein. After 5-10 minutes walking (need to let the old man limber up), we move into the trot. This is when the warm up starts to differentiate based on the workout I have planned. If we're jumping or doing some dressage figures, I keep a light contact and work on engaging his hind end through small circles and changes of bend.

If we're doing a recovery day after a hard workout (hills or jumping lesson), we stay on big, sweeping turns and focus on a steady rhythm and lots of stretching.

At first, I don't pick up much contact--I want the emphasis on going forward in balance. We roll into the canter and let him clear his lungs while I stay off his back.

We do a couple of simple changes to make sure all his legs are stretched out and then we go forward and back a few times to make sure all the buttons are working.

Ok, First jump. We'll get there.

Then it's time to start jumping. I like to pick a single vertical with a short approach and a long backside. That forces me to spend more time worrying about the line after the jump than before. My current rule for myself is to never actually look -at- a jump. I look at the line behind it.

I am working towards being competent and supportive all the time, but let's face it: I'm new at this (jumping well). We generally puke over the first one or two and then I get myself sorted out. Hands in mane? Check. Leg on? Check. Eyes up? Check. Ride the line. Let Cuna do his job.

Not the highest jump, but I love our expressions
Once I've figured out how to ride forward to my fences and concentrate on the line after, we're golden. Then I can canter him down lines, hold for a deep spot, and jump in fine form.

In addition to my new found focus on the backside of the jump, I am now jumping primarily at 2' and above. While I'm perfectly happy to piddle over crossrails, Cuna tends to trip on them. He really jumps best around 2'6" and up. Maybe I'll even conquer my weird oxer phobia. At the rate we're going, crazy things can happen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Can I just say that I love this picture?


I do.

A week ago Saturday, Cuna and I were jumping in fine form. We were scheduled to go to a cross country clinic the coming weekend and I was hoping things would work out more satisfactorily than last time.

Instead I went on a trip to a show in a different state as a groom. I'm not really sure what that says about me.


It was a long, fun week. I'm now back in town, gettting reacquainted with Cuna, and planning to head to a different schooling event in early July (Rafter K clinic/derby for all y'all locals).

My thought is that we will do two XC lessons on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, if I'm not mentally ready to go beginner novice, it may be time to consider a discipline change.

Let's face it. I have the horse. I have the ability. If I can't get myself together, I need to find something else to do.

Jumper shows may be calling my name.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hello World

Gratuitous Cuna photo spam
I dropped off the radar due to a last minute opportunity to groom at an out of state horse show. We got back last night and I fed Cuna a whole bag of baby carrots. I'll be out to see him sometime today (hooray free time!) and probably back in action by tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Because We're Adorable

So shiny!!
 As I mentioned, the world's best Ellie came out to do a re-shoot of Cuna and I on Saturday. The first time she shot us, we were quite a new partnership and it was cold and awful outside.

Sunny May days and a jumping intensive make for excellent conditions.

Here's Cuna's updated conformation shot. He's filled out a lot, put on a ton of muscle, and his coat is looking completely amazing. <3
 A more dramatic pose from the old guy. I think he's really starting to get the hang of this whole "pictures" thing. It's still not his favorite, but as long as I ride ok, he's putting up with cameras.

What made this shoot especially memorable for me (aside from some of the best horse shots ever taken) is that I dropped off his signed contract and down payment the day before. :-) The old guy is mine now.

After what Cuna seemed to think was an eternity of headshots and candids, we finally went and put tack on him.
Warming up at the trot. It takes a certain amount of talent and horse knowledge to understand how to get good shots on the flat. I absolutely love all the picture Ellie took. As I told her, "They're all my favorite. I can't pick just one." 

You can see that Cuna has actually started to flex at the poll (!!). He's nicely forward and well balanced. Believe it or not, that's what it looks like when my heels are down. 

 And canter! Despite his capacity for speed, Cuna loves a nice, slow warmup. We canter around while I stay off his back and do circles, changes of direction, and simple changes to get him moving and thinking.

I've known Ellie pretty much forever and she keeps commenting on how I'm just a completely different person around Cuna than I ever was around Izzy. We just suit each other, and it's kind of perfect.
Giant jump!
There are a plethora of super amazing jumping pictures of us which we can break down in detail throughout the next couple weeks, but I just thought I'd put this one up. I didn't measure, but it's a 2'9"ish ascending oxer coming off a 5 stride line. We cantered in, jumped the first oxer effortlessly, put in 5 nice strides, and jumped out.

You know, like magic.

The way everyone else does it.

Our first attempt was not great and I wasn't happy with it, so I decided to try it again and get things a little straighter and more balanced. Yep. Circled around and jumped more big jumps because I felt like it. I wasn't even scared.

It's a whole new us.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Picture(s)

We are so flipping cute
 The incredible Ellie came out and did a photoshoot for us this past Saturday. I will do a proper write up tomorrow, but for now, enjoy the first fruits.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jump Lesson Video

I'll preface this by saying that I really can't watch someone ride and video them. It's all I can do to keep the horse in the frame. The fact that Steph can teach a lesson and video is actually pretty impressive.

Without further ado, here's video our jump lesson on Wednesday. The jump you can't see because Steph is standing next to it is actually the super scary gate that we had a stop at.

After that go round, we tried again. This time, I can actually make the bending line. :-)

Throughout this whole lesson, I felt comfortable, confident, and just the right amount of challenged.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Moving Forward

Thank you all for your kind, wise, and/or understanding words. I've spent way too much time over-analyzing, self-doubting, and making resolutions I can't afford to keep. I've talked to Steph and some of her clients who have been in the same place.

It comes to this: I sold Izzy and am buying Cuna because I want to have fun. I don't want to be afraid anymore. I think that's reasonable.

My comfort zone has expanded in leaps and bounds in the past few months. Me, the arena queen who was afraid of crossrails, now boldly hacks out in groups and alone and jumps verticals without too many second thoughts. That's progress. I got there by 1) finding a suitable horse completely by mistake and 2) getting out and doing it.

Both Steph and her clients brought up that I just plain don't have to do cross country if I don't enjoy it. There are lots of other fun things to do on horseback. They're right, but I'm not quite done. Dammit, I want to enjoy this.

To that end, I've thrown all of this summer's goals out the window. We're going to just get out and see if I can find a comfort zone over solid jumps. We're riding in the clinic at the upcoming derby. We're dropping down to the intro division, where Cuna can literally walk over everything they put in front of us.

We jumped yesterday-a single vertical with a short approach and a lot of options on the back side. I trotted and cantered over it until I could focus on the landing and felt comfortable staying in the middle no matter what spot Cuna picked. We jumped today in a lesson. I felt challenged and interested and capable of answering the questions if I tried really hard, which is right where I need to be.

This was fun.
I don't know what's ahead. I'd like to say we're going to conquer this and move boldly forward, but it's all up in the air right now. Maybe spending time out on course will let me calm down and enjoy myself. Maybe I'll realize it's not for me, at least not right now.

I don't know where we're going exactly, but we're going to find a way to enjoy the whole process.

PS I swear there is video. Sometime, I'll even get to see it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Back on Course

Suited up for the big drive
 We're back. Cuna was super--loaded and hauled like the pro he is, and was just plain awesome to be around. We rolled in to Ogden, UT around 4pm and by 6, we were out hacking on the cross country course. In order to get there, we had to ride down the race track. I was a little worried that a certain Mr Racehorse might have some memories to work through, but he just marched along. 

The other horses had a good look around and were a bit silly. Cuna was the solid citizen that made everyone feel safer. I felt privileged to be on him at that point. 

Waiting for the jumps
 The next morning, he and I were set to ride in the first group at 8am. He obviously knew what was going on--he'd stop eating and stare at the track/course for several minutes at a time. No anxiety or nervousness, just calm mental preparation.

I wish I had felt half as good. I barely slept the night before, which is really weird for me. I didn't eat anything when I got up and I limited my water intake. I wanted to manage the amount of things I could be sick on. (Here's a link to my last XC experience. If you're new to this blog, the gist of it is that I ended up with a broken arm and jaw and 6 weeks out of the tack.)

I did my best to stay away from Cuna while I did chores. I knew I was a nervous wreck and I didn't want that to unduly influence him. He was quiet and patient when I tacked him up, and stood nicely while I held him and another horse whose rider needed to step out for a minute.

I got on and he was quiet but attentive. He didn't understand why I was so ridiculously tense to go out for a ride, but he jigged appropriately to remind me that he was in tune with me. I tried to remember to keep breathing and loosen up, but my brain was not cooperating very well.

We warmed up on the grass, trotting and cantering around in big loops over the undulating terrain. I felt more comfortable out in the open and more secure in the saddle than last time I was out here. I felt relatively calm, but I knew I was tense. Mr Laid-Back himself was reminding me that I was very, very excited as he pranced a bit and tossed his head.

The first jump of the day was a tiny log, maybe 12" tall. As we trotted to it (slowly, so the horses wouldn't trip), I felt like throwing up. I wanted to get off, quit, do anything but go forward. Cuna stopped in front of the log and pranced in place. I knew that all I had to do was put my leg on and he could have stepped over it.

I sat there, legs hanging useless.


We circled around, came again, and he went while I put my leg on and kept my hands in his neck. I barely even felt the log--it was so small that it really wasn't any effort for him to go over. We kept circling back over it and I finally started to feel a little more at ease. Then Steph asked if I wanted to jump the BN log laying next to it.

It might as well have been the great wall of china. I froze up just looking at it. I couldn't just dig down and grit it out to go over that--it was everything I could do to convince myself I wasn't going to die over the tiny baby log.

Boss pony. Does it all.
The lesson progressed in kind. Cuna did exactly what I told him to, which thankfully, did not involve any more stopping. We made it over a ditch, up and down a bank (terrain questions don't bother me. Not sure why jumps make me want to die), through the water, down a different bank, and over another log. We put a little course together. I got to pick the jumps, so we did tiny log to tiny log, over the ditch, up the bank, down the bank.

My goal for the day was to not go to the ER, which I achieved. I also stayed on, which was sort of a secondary goal that I was willing to part with as long as I made the first one.

Beyond that? I am really not happy with how I rode. I hate that I went out there and froze. I hate that I was too scared to push myself. I hate that I wasn't willing to try something more. Yeah, it's my first time back, but Cuna and I have done way harder, cooler things in an arena every day of the week. This is different, but not that different. He was fine for the whole thing. I froze and could hardly keep myself together.

I'm telling myself that it was a "non negative" experience and next time might be better. I mean, at least it will never be my first ride back after a wreck on Izzy again. I'm frustrated with how much crap I still have to work through. I'm annoyed with myself for not just loosening up and having a good time.

Give this pony carrots.
 At the end of the day though, I'm still thrilled with Cuna. He was such a trooper. There were racehorses working on the track, a train going by, a green horse freaking out and wanting to be with him, and the old man just took good care of me. He made me ride every jump, but he didn't do anything dirty or naughty. He didn't scare me--I just didn't realize how hard it would be to come back.

Going forward, I have no idea what to do with myself. The whole point of selling Izzy was to try and have fun again. This weekend wasn't really what I'd call fun. Maybe it will get better.

I'm not going down without a (continued) fight. Cuna and I are jumping 4-5 days a week from here on out. Not to worry--it will be over tiny little insignificant things that won't stress him at all. I am going to learn to trust him, keep my leg on, ride forward, and give him the reins. I'm going to focus on the backside of the jump and what to do on the landing. Whatever happens, I am not going to pull back on him for the rest of the month. All motion is forward.

We're supposed to go to a local derby at the end of the month. I entered BN, but I think I'll drop down to the 2'3". Maybe I'll try to get in to one of the clinic days and just see how it goes after two weeks of trust boot camp. I don't know exactly what to do, but I know I don't want to stay where I'm at.

PS For those concerned, there is video evidence of me jumping a giant red gelding over teeny tiny logs. I will post it as soon as I get it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Utah bound!

We'll be loading the horses in a couple hours and in the meantime I'm running around like a crazy person. Whee! Hopefully I'll have at least some pictures when I get back.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Going for a Ride

I feel like I've been run over by a steam roller this week and have a terrible time getting my motivation in line with my to-do list. I'm back down to just working 5 days a week, which is lovely, but I'm quite far behind on the rest of my life and have out of town family visiting. 


I took a look at the list for today, and decided the best way to get through it was just to start out with a ride on Cuna. 

Love. This. 
Somehow, the view between his ears just makes everything better, every time. We started out by 
galloping up my favorite hill after a quick warmup. Then we hacked to the arena and popped over a cross rail a few times. I wanted to make sure I could ride him to the base of the fence, keep my hands in his mane, and ride smoothly over. It took a couple tries, but when we were in sync, I called it a day. 

It's amazing how something as simple as a 30 minute ride can completely clear my head. I feel so much more relaxed and focused. 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wherein We Shop

Case in point
Obviously, if one gets a new horse, none of the tack from one's previous horse will fit it at all. If it does "fit", it will be completely inappropriate for the beastie in question. I've mostly avoided doing too much shopping for Cuna. You might think that's because I was poor, having to pay bills on two horses, but actually it's because I didn't have a saddle for him (and I was/am poor).

The saddle is the starting point. It's the most expensive piece of tack (at least, it should be) and everything else has to fit in around it. I like my tack to match and look good together, but I don't want to expend too much effort on it until I know what centerpiece I'm dealing with.

I am re using old pics because Cuna hates photoshoots
In my quest to find things to try out, I did come across a lovely fly bonnet. I'm terrible at visualizing anything, so it helps me to see the colors in action, if you will.

There is exciting news, though.

I scraped together a dismally small amount of money and bought Cuna a saddle. It's not the CWD or Antares of my dreams, but both of those are hopelessly out of my price range for now and the one I ended up with (get this), I WAS ACTUALLY ABLE TO RIDE IN BEFORE BUYING.

That has never happened before, ever. I do not live in a place with good tack stores, and so the whole ride-before-you-buy thing is laughably absent from my world. I've always had to do lots of research and make logical deductions and then just make blind leaps. Reason #495769875 I love being with a trainer: sometimes, she has clients that want to sell things and I can play with them.

The saddle, day one
The saddle in question is a Jimmy Wofford XC saddle made by a company in England with the initials H&S. I forget their name. Anyways. It was brand new, never even been sat in. I wasn't too sure about it at first--it seemed awfully narrow and slick and the leather was kind of icky.

I hemmed and hawed, but the owner let me put stirrups on it and ride and see what I thought.

I liked the balance--it was similar to my beloved ainsley (which is hiding in my garage in case Cuna gets really freaking wide all of a sudden), but it was actually designed to fit shark-fin-
Saddle now oiled and pretty
withered TBs. Oh Jimmy. You are wonderful.

After a pretty serious oiling, it came out as quite a nice color, and I realized that the problem was less crappy leather and more just plain new leather, which I have never had before. It's softening up beautifully. Conveniently, it also looks fabulous with my event bridle and breast collar that happen to fit Cuna quite nicely.

You know what this means: MORE MONEY FOR ACCESSORIES!!!!!!

I do have a shopping list for Cuna, though unfortunately not the budget to indulge myself just yet. Look for our results in the (hopefully) near future as I come up with cool things like:
-Saddle pads
-Biting arrangements
-Fly equipment
-Hair/coat care products
-Supplements (cuz you want your horse to shine like Cuna)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Inevitable

Or, "The Deranged Monkey Strikes Back".

Gratuitous cute Cuna photo spam
Today was a jumping lesson in preparation to go cross country schooling this weekend. I was excited at first, then a little worried. I'm doing so much better as far as confidence under saddle, but we hadn't had a lesson in a while and I felt a mite twitchy. I didn't make excuses for myself and showed up in the arena on time with my new lesson buddy and her sensible mare.

We started out trotting a complex pattern over ground poles. There was a one stride, an angled three stride line immediately after, and a three stride bending line. It doesn't sound all that difficult until you factor in that we had to do the whole thing with one hand on our heads. Yes, that means the other hand was on the reins and all directional impulses came from our legs. Nothing like a freaking tough exercise to make you realize that you suck at life.

Anyways. We were going on our merry way and Steph set everything up to crossrails. She apparently thought I wasn't being challenged enough--she has complained before that I do absolutely nothing with my hands. Thus, I got to cross my irons and do the exercise with one hand. Awesome. We made it through, albeit with a couple of strategically placed circles to regain some semblance of speed control. As we came over the last tiny X, something happened.

Picture this monkey, only with a crazed look on his face, riding a horse
Either Cuna took off or I inadvertently hooked him with my spurs. Either way, we made a circuit of the small, oddly shaped jump arena at a mad TB gallop. I took my reins in both hands, but there was no recovering my stirrups. I brought him down to a 20 m circle at a mad gallop. The turn was so tight that I felt myself sliding off the side. I grabbed mane, breastcollar, and anything I could get my hands on and managed to get back in the middle, but at this point, full on "Deranged Monkey Cling" had set in.

I could hear Steph yelling direction, but the primal instincts I was operating on didn't even attempt to follow them. I tried to wrap my leg around his barrel and was rewarded with a mighty buck (yes at a gallop) as Cuna reminded me that I still had spurs on. Damn.

As we rocketed around the circle again, I noticed that our lesson buddy was standing quietly, spectating, DIRECTLY IN MY PATH!!!! I didn't dare pull left--I knew the change in direction would fling me into the fence. I didn't dare go further right because at the rate of speed we had attained, I thought there was a good chance Cuna wouldn't be able to stay on his feet. I was absolutely certain that Cuna would see the other horse and be like "Hi buddy" and stop.

Perish the thought! We charged directly at the other horse. At the last moment, the mare was like, "Hey mom, don't think he sees us!" and took off as well. I slid off the side and watched hooves flash over my head as I landed in the sand next to the mare's rider. Cuna and the mare booked it for the barn with Steph and the mare's rider in hot pursuit.

As I knelt in the arena, catching my breath, I realized a few things.

1) I may not have completely conquered the "deranged monkey cling", but by golly I've improved it. This marks the first time in years that I have fallen off and landed on something other than my head. Remember? This fall and that fall. Yep. Landed squarely on my left hip, which means I have been working hard enough at redistributing weight into my feet (aka two point challenge FTW!!!) that falling is no longer akin to a missile launch.

2) It really wasn't that bad. I can fall and not get seriously hurt. If you've ever had a riding wreck, you know exactly what I mean--the idea of falling is terrifying because of the misery it ends in. Just popping off and hopping back on is not big deal. I probably (unfortunately) need to fall a few more times to really get that through my head.

3) Dammit, I love this horse. After his mad gallop through the barn, he was captured by the BO, led back to the arena by Steph, and then greeted me like nothing ever happened. I got back on and did some leg yielding and halting practice to get my legs working and my mind functional, and then he carried on just as quiet as could be.

4) Despite his many perfections, Cuna is a horse. I still have to ride. We got some new jumps yesterday, one of which is a nice little gate. Steph added it in to our pattern. I just assumed Cuna would jump it and didn't give him the best ride. He slammed on the brakes right in front of it. Whoops. We backed up a few steps and jumped it from there, and he was lovely.

5) Have I mentioned that I love Mr. Cuna? I am a person that just prefers a forward horse, which he is. It was so refreshing to get back on him and have him take me to the fences like he always does. None of this "being brave for both of us" thing anymore. He takes care of him and I have to figure out me.

Feeling the pony lovin' 
We finished up the lesson when I was able to canter the whole course without grabbing his face and making him add in lots of extra strides. Amazingly, he goes SO MUCH BETTER when I sit up and ride and ignore that monkey cling.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Treasure Hunt!

Fun comes in bags!
Steph was back in the barn today and she brought with her a very exciting thing: trash bags!

Specifically, trash bags full of all kinds of interesting things for me to sort through. I tell myself I'm not just nerding out like a ridiculousl lil' tack 'ho. It's educational to handle all different types and brands of items. It helps me learn without spending money.

Let's face it: it's also just plan fun.

The most exciting thing I found was this gem: an very expensive Antares helmet in brand new condition still in the bag, in my size.

For those of you who don't track current trends, this is one of those "it" items right now that tons of international competitors are wearing.

Omg! I'm Richard Spooner!
I was baffled as to why it fit me--I have a certifiably giant oval head and Steph has a small, round head.

Obviously I had to try it on a take a picture.

Let's just not talk about how many tries it takes me to do a self portrait with a touch screen phone. Kind of embarrassing.

I got all the things sorted into appropriate piles and will take a giant heap of things in for consignment tomorrow. Or Thursday. Or some day in the near future in which I am not so hopelessly overbooked that I don't know what to do with myself. Ha! Let me know if you hear of a day like that.

Poor Cuna got shafted--everything else I was doing took too long and I didn't have time to ride. I'm sure he was very resentful as I fed him about 3 pounds of carrots and petted him and told him what a handsome man he was.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Housekeeping - Contest and Challenge

First off--I am quite delinquent in selecting a winner in the 'most fun had on horseback' contest. Thank you all for entering. I absolutely loved hearing about the awesome stuff everyone is doing. I collected the names of everyone who entered with the intention of winning, assigned you a number in chronological order from the time you entered, put those numbers into a randomizer, and the winner is:

BELLA!!! Bella enjoyed eventing more than her last horse and is now having adventures on a stunning spotted mare.

Alright, now for the challenge round up. We have oodles of cool contestants and the start times are rolling in.

Here's the master list as of now:

Me and Cuna - 6.00

Rinsie and Reveille - 4.19

TBA and Jetta - 3.00

Lysette and Carlos - 4.00

Carly and Bobby - 10.00

Karley and Henry - 3.30

Katie and Owl - 10.00

Amy and Steady - 6.40

Sand and Moon

Stephanie P and Gina

Hillary H and horse - 2.45

Beka and Archie - 2.00

Jessica and Prince - 2.00

NSRider and Kota - 8.00

Ok contestants!! If I don't have a time for you yet, please post it in the COMMENTS ON THIS POST.   As much as I love re-reading every comment I've received in the last week, I am terrible at finding things in crowds and I might miss it if you post elsewhere. As you can see from the list above, I need times from Katie, Sand, NSRider, and Stephanie.

Cuna is ready for the challenge
There seem to be a couple of questions circulating as to what exactly you're supposed to be doing while in two point. Here is the answer: anything you can. Seriously. Keep it to flat work, since it's not really fair to try and jump when you're 3/4 of the way through and your legs are burning and you want to die, but other than that? Trot. Canter. Figure eight. Circle. Leg yield. Mix it up. I wouldn't recommend walking... that sounds wretched.

It has certainly been fun to check out everyone's blogs and see where they're at. I'm (virtually) meeting new faces and it's been fun. Anyone want to read mini interviews with the contestants? I think that would be fun, too. I love questionnaires!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Picture

Our problem free philosophy
It's official--the  paperwork is signed. The pony mare is going to a new home with a lady who completely adores her and loves every bit of her diva personality.

I hope to have a similar piece of paper in my possession this afternoon relating to a certain old red horse and myself. :-)

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Great Boot Dilemma

Cuna is deeply distressed by this wardrobe issue
Cuna is a chestnut. I happen to think he looks adorable in chocolate brown (though if anyone wants to give me a navy fly bonnet and polos, I wouldn't complain).

My boots are all black to go with Izzy.

Clearly, this is a problem. 

The most obvious solution is to just order some of the lovely, lovely Kentucky Solimbra boots. 
Tell me you don't want these. Sex-ay!
There are only a few drawbacks.
1) They are pretty new to the US, so there aren't many reviews available as to fit and durability. 
2) They are way too cool to ever be carried by my local feed store, so I'll never get to touch one. 
3) Minor detail: a full set would run in the neighborhood of $500. 

Yes, $500 boots to jump around BN at local, un-recognized shows. Even my ridiculous lil' tack whoring self really can't stomach that. Even if I could, $500 on boots is not happening in my wallet any time soon. 

So... Plan B. 

The truth is, even if I could afford and justify the beautimous boots, they are way too spendy to use every day. Let's face it folks: I ride at home all the time. I almost never show (see also: dirt poor). It makes more sense to buy cute boots to play with at home then it does to splurge on fancy show-only things. 

Cute but not "to-die-for"
That brings us to a more wallet-friendly option. The dover sport boots I could probably get home with shipping for around $50 for all four. I have seen them on a super classy chestnut before, and it was a good look. 

Problems: they aren't all cool and shock absorby and fleece+weeds and cheat grass seeds in the summer=fail. 

That said, they would be just fine for dressage and arena jumping year round. They would match Cuna's super cute fly bonnet and probably hold up reasonably well. If I decide I feel rich or hate Dover (or both!), there are other options in the same style by other manufacturers. 

At some point though, you're all going to point out that being wallet friendly is really over rated. After all, this is the girl that bought Equifit Tboots for a horse that was jumping cross rails specifically because "they looked cute". 

That excuse has justified way more things for me than it probably should. 

I'm a bit at odds, which is weird for me when I'm boot shopping. I LOVE LOVE LOVE boots and bridles and I usually know all the options. It's just that I've never put "brown" on my list of must-haves before. I was more concerned with things like "airflow" and "heat trapping" and "shock absorption". 

Definitely not brown
To that end, I'm curious about the Premier Equine Air Cooled Eventing boots. They are a cool design and I like their technical specs. They are also a much more affordable $180 for a full set (and I bet you money I can do better if I seriously shop for them). Steph has a brand new set that I'm trying to convince her need to be broken in at Golden Spike next weekend, maybe by a giant chestnut gelding... 

The best option for me might be to get the cheapie dover botos to play dressage and be at home with and then look at getting these for our upcoming (omg!) shows. 

I have almost reconciled myself to that idea. It's just that every time I think I have a plan, I picture the solimbras on Cuna and swoon a little bit. 

Anyone know of brown XC boots costing less than $500? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scattered Excitement

I always think the hardest thing about writing a decent blog is staying on topic. There are so many things to talk about! How can I pick just one?

Cuna in a borrowed wonder bit
I was trying to get this month's schedule figured out and while talking to Steph, found out two Very Exciting Things.

1) WE ARE GOING XC SCHOOLING!!!!! OMG YAY AND HOORAY!!!!!! Now that I've said something about it publicly, it's sure to get cancelled, but I am super excited. The plan is to head to Golden Spike in Utah in like 8 days. I can't wait to get the old guy out and see what he can do. Let's face it: I have never, in my entire life, ridden a horse on XC that actually knew what it was doing. This is gonna rock!

2) I actually can go to the event derby at the end of the month!!!! I thought I was going to be out of town grooming, but Steph is sure she won't need me (ha! I will giggle when they are stressed and behind!!). I need to figure out how much I can afford as far as clinic fees and entry fees and where in the world the money is coming from, but it will happen. I mean, I already have a ride lined up with a pretty reliable person, so I'm not missing out on this.

However, both of the above make this month's TWO POINT CHALLENGE (!!) even more crucial. Here's a listing of current participants:

Me and Cuna (We are at the top of the list because I like Cuna best. The rest of you are sorted according to the order of you joining in.)

Rinsie and Reveille 

TBA and Jetta

L. Williams and Carlos

Carly and Bobby

The Fullers and Henry

Katie and Owl

Amy and Steady

Sand and Moon

Stephanie P and Gina

Hillary H and horse

A little clarification: I need a "start time" for all of you. That means you go jump on your horse, start your stopwatch/phone/timer/look at a clock and stay in two point as long as you possibly can. If your ass needs to brush the saddle in order to rebalance for less than a stride, ok. If you sit for more than than less-than-a-stride brush, you have to restart the time or acknowledge you've hit your limit.

This isn't a competition per se--if it was, I would lose because I am a terribly non-competitive person who hates losing (and TBA and Amy would kick my butt for sure because they are ridiculously competitive). There may be a prize for most improved over the month, but I haven't decided for sure yet.

We are on the honor system for timing. Just remember, if you say you can two point around for 30 minutes at the end of the month and then you post a jumping video with your heels up and your lower leg swinging in the wind, I will mock you. :-p It's like internet karma.

So there you go! We have a super fun month ahead and I am excited about it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Cuna and I are actually (knock on wood) going to compete at some events this year. In order to do our best, we need to be in peak physical condition. I'm making sure he does plenty of trot sets and gallops (oh, the agony), but I need to do my part too.

Independently, I am running with my dogs. I am going to actually start doing pilates again (tonight!) and maybe I'll even eek out some space in my schedule to get back to class.


Cuz I want to ride like this all the time
I need some serious saddle fitness. I need to be able to go out on XC and not feel like I'm going to die, either because of a weak position or a lack of strong muscles. With that in mind, I have painstakingly* crafted:


The point (haha, I'm funny) is to track your improvement in time in your ability to maintain a two point position on a moving horse at the trot and canter. In order to participate, you must have a baseline score. This is so that we can level the playing field.

My baseline time is 6 minutes. That is the amount of time I am comfortable in two point before I get so freaking bored that I just can't do it anymore. Someone just starting out in this particular drill might have a time of 2 minutes or something. The point isn't how long you can go at the start--it's how much you improve over the month.

Here goes. I will work on this for the rest of the month and see where I'm at. Two point at the trot and canter, doing ring figures and transitions.

Care to join? Not only will you have an objective measure of the improvement in your riding fitness, I will also link to you on my blog (and even put up a picture if you want it). I can't pretend that I'm famous enough for that to really matter, but it is kind of cool.


Me and Cuna

Rinsie and Reveille 

TBA and Jetta 

L. Williams and Carlos 

Your name here. ;-)

*When I say "painstakingly", I mean "Rinsie will get this figured out and post it publicly in the near future". Math is not my forte.
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