Monday, March 31, 2014

The Preamble

The best at putting his head down
I knew I wanted to take Courage to a super fun out of town cross country schooling during spring break, so I thought it was in my best interests to haul him over to my eventing trainer's facility. Once a week she hosts a "grid night" that's just an inexpensive way to get horses out and jumping. Every time I planned on going, something came up.

Until last week. We were scheduled to leave for the weekend on Thursday, grid night is Wednesday... so we chucked him in the trailer and went. My thinking was that he was pretty perfect last year, so why would this year be any different?

In case you are wondering, here are some reasons why:
1) He hasn't been anywhere in three months, which makes his world very small
2) I haven't put a lot of pressure on him in that time, so his tolerance for difficult things was reduced
3) He's feeling really great physically, which makes him expressive
4) He's just plain out of practice.
5) There was a big storm system blowing in


Looking good
He came out pretty quiet. I handwalked him around the arena, and he looked at things but wasn't super reactive.

He was a little vocal, but otherwise fine. I hopped on.

At first, all was well. We walked and trotted around and worked on settling in. It wasn't his best work ever, but I seemed to be getting his brain.

And then the wheels started coming off. He went all classic-insecure-gelding on me and started screaming for his girlfriend.

She screamed back.


Going in
I tried to keep him focused by beginning the exercise. Just our luck, it was a ridiculous amount of poles. Sadly, we are just not the best at poles quite yet.

We walked through a couple times, then went to trot. I was hoping that the walking would help him do things calmly.

Going out
Yeah, not so much. We'd trot the first pole, then canter, then leap and flail on the way out.

I tried not to get in his face, but he was blowing through half halts and ignoring me and then pissing off if I touched his face. I tried bringing him back to walk or trot mid-poles, and that was a no go too.

I tried staying in balance over him and looping the rein and we just charged faster and nearly flailed our way into another green horse.

See, when Courage flails, his whole topline goes hollow and he tenses the bottom of his body. His ears are practically up my nose and his legs are moving like pistons that don't go anywhere.

It's not hard to stay on, but it's very hard to channel that into anything useful.

Oh, and we started screaming and panicking even more. I don't think his girlfriend was even calling back to him at this point. We were approaching full-on melt down mode.

Oh goody. I don't really think it's productive to push a high-strung horse into a meltdown, because they're already reacting to pressure. Besides, I'm trying to string together calm, positive experiences to build on for the year. I don't need to teach him that traveling is scary. He seems to have a handle on that.

I broke it down for him and gave up on the exercise. We walked through the grid once in a relatively calm fashion, then moved on to something I thought he could be successful at.

Hellooooo trot figure eights.

I just serpentined him around the jumps and through the poles and made him focus a bit. It wasn't that great of work. He was having trouble going forward and continued to be very tense and scream for his girlfriend.

He managed for a while, but then we started just skidding sideways and giraffing.

I made him do a few more figure eights and then took him to stand in the group and just chill. We chatted with friends and stood on a loose rein until the group finished. Then I hopped off and stuck him in a stall until his girlfriend finished up the next group.

And he spent the next hour and a half kicking the walls and screaming like an idiot.

Still. Despite the fact that it was all in all a pretty un-fun experience, I finally felt ready to face the year. We could do so much better and I wanted to kick both our butts into shape.

It was time to get out there and DO STUFF.

It's good I felt like that, because we were scheduled to leave the very next day...

(to be continued)

PS Many thanks to Alyssa at Four Mares, No Money for all the lovely pictures.

PPS brace yourselves for the photo-extravaganza of awesome. SO. STOKED.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bridles Part 5: Care

Mmmm nice clean tack
Now that we've covered some of the bridle basics, let's talk about how we take care of bridles. I can't claim to be the ultimate guru on this, because I change my methods frequently, but here are some things I've tried.

First off, let's look at cleaners. It's the first step in the process--removing all things "horse" from the leather so it doesn't get disgusting and either cause rubs or crack. It's also a good time to get up close and personal with any and all buckles, hook studs, stitching, and joints, just to make sure all is well. I prefer to leave my bridle assembled and do a quick wipedown, then fully take it apart before shows to make sure I've gotten every last speck and checked every stitch.


Not kidding. The barn I grew up at would dilute bleach in warm water and then scrub tack with it. I suppose it worked well enough, but I don't like bleach on my skin, so I really didn't care for putting it on leather. Plus, if you're using a cheap container to hold it, the bleach just melts through. There's also a good chance it would take the dye off cheap leather and god only knows what it would do to nice stuff. It smells offensive and I haven't gone back to it. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're desperate.

sexy leather shot
Glycerin Soap Bar
This is one I hear about all the time, especially from more old school folks. Glycerin is cheap and readily available at any tack store, even if they only carry western stuff. It doesn't smell bad and it lasts a really, really long time. It really isn't that great at removing dirt and it serves to seal the leather... this is great if you are putting a polish on clean leather that you want to take out in the rain or something, but it really isn't your best bet for cleaning power.

Horseman's One Step
Just say no. Is that still a thing? This product purports to clean and condition, but all it ever does is gunk up the leather on top of the dirt. I'm not sure why it's considered useful, but they obviously still make this stuff, so someone must like it.

Belvoir Tack Cleaner Spray, Leather Therapy Wash, Fieblings Saddle Soap, Effax Soap
These products are readily available in my part of the world. They join the long list of commercial "soaps" that really don't do anything as far as I can tell. Quite frankly, soaps like this are why for a couple of years, I'd just do a once over of my tack with water and then use conditioner. I don't use soap just to use soap--I use soap to oh, you know, remove grime or something. Kind of like when I shower, right?

So good I almost want to eat it
Higher Standards Soap
LOVE. That is all.
No, that isn't all. This soap is/was taking the online horsey community by storm and I got some through the awesome blogger secret Santa program. LOVE. It smells amazing (the soap, not the program) and it's the first saddle soap I've used that I am really impressed with. It takes up dirt with a minimum of rubbing on my part, it smells incredible, and it doesn't leave a gunky residue. What's not to love?
Just buy it now.


Once the leather is clean, the next step is to put some conditioner on it. This process varies on where you live. I'm in a high mountain desert, so I never worry about moisture/mold, but hot dry air is murder on leather too. I prefer to clean/condition 3-4x a week (if I have time), but no less than once a week. I would say I'm on the high end for neurotic leather care, but I enjoy the process and well maintained leather makes my soul happy. Here are some common conditioners available on the market:

Neatsfoot Oil
Again, all the oldies talk about it and it's available pretty much everywhere. It's not expensive and it's inoffensive smelling. It gets a bad rap for rotting stitching, but given that modern tack is made (in general) with nylon thread, the rotting is no longer a problem.

That said, the stretching is. At least, the other side of it's reputation is that it makes leather stretch. I used neatsfoot for a while when I got back into horses because it's cheap and I was trying new things, and yeah, stretching. It's real. Used in moderation, neatsfoot is perfectly fine and it is GREAT for rehydrating sad old leather or starting to break something new in, but I would NOT put it in the regular rotation for tack care.

Olive Oil
Olive oil gets less of a bad rap than neatsfoot and it's supposed to be good for darkening leather. My two cents on that: just buy the color you want in the first place. ;-) At any rate, olive oil can help darken or condition tack and can be used in much the same way as neatsfoot with all the same benefits and drawbacks. I guess if you're in to that kind of thing, go for it. I prefer to cook with it.

Also good
Higher Standards Balm
Given my rave review of the soap, you'd expect me to be all over this. I only sort of am. The balm is lovely, mostly unscented, and easy to use. It doesn't leave much residue and is my go-to daily conditioner.

However. It's really not a deep conditioner. Between my dry environment and my personal preference for leather with a little bit of creamy protection, I prefer to keep something else around. Some people like their leather a little drier--if that's you, this is your dream conditioner.

Effax Ledersbalsm, Passier Ledersbalsm
I rank these two about the same. I've had both. I like both. They last a long time and they do an excellent job whether you're just using a little bit to soften up leather or you're really rubbing it in to leather you're about to store for a while.

They both give my husband severe headaches. I don't know what it is about them, but if you're sensitive to smell, you may want to steer clear.

mmm nice clean leather

Akene Leather Conditioner
This was my trainer's favorite stuff at the show barn and I could definitely see why. It does a lovely job on conditioning without feeling like you're rubbing Vaseline into your hands. It's also kind of pricey and doesn't have a wide distribution. Honestly, I've never bothered to purchase it because I didn't feel like it was so mind-blowingly amazing that it was worth it. Also I like to try new things.

Oakwood Leather Conditioner
This product is the recommended conditioner for Nunn Finer products. It's what I have currently and I really like it for deep conditioning. It also doesn't give hubs a headache, which is a big plus. It's not the be all and end all, but it certainly does the job.


Wrap Up

There are a lot of products available on the market and I'm sure everyone has their own opinion on them. At the end of the day, as long as you're making an effort with your tack, you can't go too far wrong. First and foremost, make sure the stitching and and hardware are safe, then make sure the worst of the grime is off, then put something on it to keep the leather from dry rotting or molding, depending on your climate.

I realize not everyone has a near-spiritual experience while wiping down leather, but no one wants to have tack break while they're riding. ;-)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brains: Not Just for Zombies Anymore

Zombies. So hot right now.
You can live without a lot of things, but you can't live without your brain.  HELLO. Unless you are just trying to presquish some nice, yummy zombie soup, just put the brain bucket on.

My trainer was/is on the USEA safety committee and she's big on helmets. I'm a fan of that. Some of the basic guidelines that are drilled into us are as follows:

1) The foam in helmets works by collapsing to spread impact around and prevent a brutal blow to the head. This means that a helmet is good for two years or one fall, whichever comes first. Dropping a helmet more than three feet onto a hard surface or leaving it in a hot car will also ruin the foam and leave you unprotected.

So many things to hit my head on
2) The helmet is designed to protect your head. It cannot do this if it, you know, FALLS OFF. Make sure your helmet is well fitted according to manufacturer specifications. In general, this means that you should be able to unfasten the chin strap and lean over and your helmet stays put. If it's slipping around on your head, it's too loose. (Noted: this is uncomfortable when breaking in a new helmet. The foam really does relax and get more comfortable.) Also--whether you wear your hair up under the helmet or down, make sure the helmet fits. If you have long, thick hair, you're probably better off leaving it down so your hair doesn't screw with your helmet.

Those are good guidelines to start with. My helmet has reached the two year mark and I've started looking around at my options. I was tempted by the sparkly and obscenely expensive options that are showing up, but my brain is more important to me than any fashion sense. Instead, I read this article and this follow up. Both are addressing the climbing rates of traumatic brain injuries and the helmet technology that is developing to address it.

Kind of hate how it looks, but love my brain more

So far, the only equestrian helmet I've found that incorporates the available technology is the Devonaire Matrix Helmet, available here for $99.95. I'm definitely going to be looking into this and trying one on in the very near future. I know I'm not the only (or the best) science nut in the blogosphere. Who else has information to share?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I'm working on some fun topics (and some less fun ones), but for now, hooray pictures from Ellie!! My facebook friends have probably already seen them, but he is the cutest little blaze faced bay around, so it never hurts to see him again.
Handsome headshot #1
Hunky headshot #2

Yeah, we're adorable
He considers this whole riding thing

He is wild! plus also cute

His crazy face!

You already saw this, but I love it

And getting down to business

As always, many thanks to Ellie for the wonderful shots. She somehow took a thoroughly awful day of cold, dust, and gusting wind and made it look peaceful and pleasant. I bet she has some epic flailing pictures socked away though. ;-)

Suffice to say, one flail was so over the top at C-rage bit his own tongue and we had to cut our ride short to address his grievous injury. It made contact impossible, but did not slow down cookie consumption. Hmph.

I love these photos now. I can't even wait to see what my little man is going to look like at the end of summer!

Stay tuned (you know, for XC schooling this weekend). <-- I totally didn't say that out loud, so NOT A JINX, UNIVERSE.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Study in Contrasts

I keep wanting to write a big post to introduce all the amazing pictures that Ellie took last week, but first I just HAD to do that conformation study and then I was staring at another shot and realized that there's one more post I needed to write. 

Who remembers Izzy? She was my stunning black bay Oldenburg mare. She was talented and opinionated and so, so bad for me. This was really the trademark picture of us together. She balanced and beautiful, but but always a little behind the vertical and my leg. Gorgeous, but ready to take advantage of any chink in my armor.

And then I was looking through all the pictures Ellie took and I ran across this one. Not only is it an absolutely lovely shot, but it's just so reminiscent of the Izzy picture. The trees in this shot are kind of twisted and scary, but in Izzy's shot, the only scary thing was her.

I guess this is the shot that was always meant to be. Here I am, once again seated on a short coupled, fancy moving, eye catching animal, but this time it's fun and safe and everything it's supposed to be. I didn't care that Courage was having an uncharacteristic wild day--I was having a good time. We're forward and happy and that's what matters the most.
And it's all because of this old man. <3 I know every day that if it wasn't for my time with him, my life would be in a totally different place. I would never have been able to take on Courage without my time with Cuna.

Oh, and we can all just acknowledge that Ellie takes a mean trotting picture. Am I right?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fancy Friday

Ellie came out to play with Courage yesterday and caught an updated conformation/condition shot. For review:
July 2013 at the tack

October 2013 going in to his winter off

March 2014 coming back into work

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tack Ho Confessions: Bits

Picture no longer current. I have more.
As a confirmed tack 'ho, I have a rubbermaid box of bits and a google doc to catalog said bits. I've been known to buy bits for lots of reasons, like "It was $10", "I didn't have one of these yet", and "it looks cool". I occasionally buy a bit because I actually need it, but in my experience for arena flatwork, most any snaffle will do and it matters more that you ride well than it does that pookie-kins has her most favorite bit on.

That said. While I don't even blink at the new cost of an Antares bridle, I think the most I ever spent on a bit was Cuna's happy mouth mullen pelham for XC that cost like $60. I just don't really care to drop money on things that go mostly inside the horse. Obviously, I buy good bits without sharp edges or anything, but the appeal of high end bits is lost on me. 

And then I went to the big spring tack store sale last weekend. Redheadlins (seriously, girl does it ALL) was working there and I asked her what I needed to buy. It was fully my intention to maaaaybe use my $10 off coupon on a french link dee, which meant I would walk out of the store $22 poorer, but with a different cheap bit. 

So that happened
And she stuck a Herm Sprenger KK Ultra in my hot little hands. I was all, "No no no. You know I don't spend money on bits. Plus I hate eggbutts. Plus it's gold-ish brass colored and I just don't like it."

She smiled at me and kept talking about other things. I was just standing there holding this bit and pretty soon I wasn't really listening to what she was saying. Yeah, the color of the bit didn't speak to me at all, but the weight of it? It was heavy and smooth and sat so nicely in my hands...

And the new price was like $200... and the price on it was $50... and...


And I walked to the front counter and bought it, even though as a consignment item, it was not eligible for my in-store discount coupon.

Now Courage is rocking a magic bit on the magic bridle and I'm telling myself the madness hasn't started. I haven't gotten to use it enough to give it a thorough review, but I'm sure you'll see one of those eventually. I've always avoided pricey bits because I was pretty sure the knock offs were similar enough that it didn't really matter. I guess now I'm going to find out. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ho Boy Video Time!

Here's a thing about me: I hate watching videos on the internet. Seriously. I just do. I mean if it's ten seconds long of a horse jumping, count me in. Other than that, no, I do not want to watch a blurry possibly-horse-shaped blog trot around in the distance.

But my whole world gets turned on it's head when it's a video of the cutest little blaze faced bay horse I know. First off, here's him jumping through the grid with Redheadlins the other day. You can say it. He's the cutest thing. (She will tell you something about galloping all morning not being good for rider form. I tell her that everyone's looking at my little man anyways. She could be a monkey and no one would notice.)

(That said, a monkey probably wouldn't steer well so scratch the previous parenthetical.)

Yup. The best at baby grids.

Then the next day was my turn!

It's obviously not polished and fancy yet, but I sure love watching my little man go around. It's so funny, because what I feel underneath me is not at all what I see in the video. (Redheadlins kindly omitted our bad steering/runout thing in the gymnastic, which is why I'm a bit handsy there.) I am excited to get back in the saddle and give it another go round. :-D

New goals: canter forward, quieter hands, give a little release, jump actual fences.

Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Looking formal for his lesson
The weather has finally been consistently good enough that I felt the need to schedule a lesson. We're still working with my friend/trainer the biomechanics guru, which I am super excited about. We mostly worked on my aids and effectiveness, which was excellent training but not great for pictures. More importantly, we talked about pressure.

At this point, I'm not interested in hauling him over to the expensive event trainer for a lesson because he just mentally can't handle pressure for a solid hour and I refuse to pay for an hour when I only need twenty minutes. To deal with this, I've been very careful about putting pressure on him (trot fancy with your head down) and then taking it off (free walk on a long rein for a circle).

It seems to be working slowly--last week he could only do about ten fancy trot strides before he just sort of lost it and leaped or flailed a bit. I mean, the horse can trot around all day. I can now get him to trot in balance on the bit while engaged behind, but only for short periods of time.

The best at taking instructions
Our instructor pointed out that while it's good to know that about him, it's also important to increase his tolerance by putting more pressure on him. Essentially, if I want to do clinics and lessons and shows, I can't keep him in a stress-free bubble forever. So pressure on/pressure off, but take one or two days a week to work really hard, then give him a couple easy days.

Sounds like a plan. We acted on it by really putting both of us to work--I had to be very consistent about my aids, thus creating a "box" for Courage. When he understood and trusted the consistency, he was quite willing to go into it.

I was pleasantly surprised--we did lots of serpentines and figure eights, which meant changing bend and direction, without taking any breaks, and Courage handled it well.

Then we moved on to cantering. I didn't realize I was riding him a bit tentatively at the canter. Even our instructor who's only seen him a few times was like "Just kick him! He's a good boy and he's not going to do anything."

Oops, haha. We got rolling in a lovely forward canter and did lots of circles and laps around the whole arena. Our instructor had me sit tall and close my eyes so I could focus on the feeling of him moving under me and keep my body more still. I was pretty proud of Courage for the effort. Canter circles were a major stress point for him last year, but he was handling them so well.

Then we went to the right, which is his harder lead. We did a couple of circles, then around the arena, then circling at the other end of the arena.

 I was focusing on riding him forward from my leg and we were cruising around and then all of a sudden we were sort of flailing and I was staring at the sand with an alarmingly small amount of horse underneath me.

And then we were just standing at the fence.

Our instructor was like, "Um, ok, let's just try that again."

Looking so fancy 
So we trotted a circle (to remind him that we can still turn right there), then picked up the canter and finished out the lesson like nothing.

It wasn't anything earth shattering, but I felt like it was a great lesson to launch our season. My main take away (aside from the much-needed position help), was just that he's ready for more. Keep it fun, obviously, but it's time to turn up the heat and see where we can go. He's learning fast and handling things that just last fall would have fried his brain.

Monday, March 17, 2014


He is the best at catching air
I'm working like a fiend lately to hit some financial goals, so I haven't had a ton of time to ride. I really, really want to get Courage going over some fun fences, but I also want to make sure his early experiences are positive and confidence building.

So... I threw redheadlins in the saddle and set up a grid. If we want to DO ALL THE THINGS this summer, Courage needs to learn to deal with multiple poles in a row and some related distances and, oh you know, maybe how to use his body in the air.

But anyways. 

I was SO THRILLED to watch my little man go around. Trot in, canter out, no problem. :D He obviously isn't phased by the height or the jumps or anything. Really and truly, the hardest thing with him is just to let him learn at his own pace. He is wicked smart, so he picks up on concepts really quickly. He just needs frequent breaks to think it over and then allow the concept to become established in his mind.

But that's never enough!

We've been having sunny days and perfect weather and I made Saturday become EPIC PONY DAY (srsly. race track, tack sale, ALL THE RIDING).

After a pretty serious horse-girl-consultation with redheadlins and my BO, Courage got decked out in all the blue and shiny.

Trotting with head down VROOOM
His spring coat is coming in, he's totally figuring out this whole sporthorse thing, and he's just flat adorable.

I was hoping to be even more badass than Redheadlins at the whole jumping thing, but it's been a long time since I was responsible for educating a green horse over fences.

Oh well. Courage was brave and honest and the two of us made some solid progress with good coaching from the ground and pictures! I ended the day very happy with where he was at and what we were able to do together.

 We even cantered our first couple fences of the year! I couldn't be more excited about how my little man is coming along.

And I haven't even started to tell you about our first legit lesson of the year. Stay tuned!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Show Organizations: Yea or Nay?

This needs to happen
As I looked at my long list of fun horse show ideas for the year, I realized that I need to make a decision about the show organizations. Obviously, I can only accumulate points for potential year end awards if I join. Also obviously, my horse is ridiculously green and we'll probably be starting with crossrails and working our way up, which means we probably won't have specific points in any one division.

This makes winning a year end award anywhere from "hard" to "impossible".

Hm... I know the local dressage and eventing association usually offers clinic discounts to members, so I will probably join because if I do both clinics I'm planning on, it will pay for itself. The H/J organization I'm less sure of. It's more expensive to join, but I will probably go to more of their shows, which theoretically means higher chances of some sort of fancy ribbon. It's hard to say.

I guess I don't believe in giving money to organizations just because. If it isn't going to pay for itself through actual financial dividends (like clinic discounts or reduced show fees), I'm hard pressed to sign that check and mail it away.

Who wants to logic me around to another point of view? What has your local show organization done for you lately?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Summer Dreaming

He is the best at planning horse shows
I'm tentatively penciling in a summer calendar. I have done ZERO (nada, zilch) financial calculations to see if any of this is practical and since I don't have my own rig, I will have to chase down rides to all of this.

That said, meet my imaginary schedule for summer 2014!

March 27-29 maaaaaaybe xc school at Tulip Springs (if I feel rich)

April 12 - BSJC schooling jumper show (if weather is good)

April 20 - WSH schooling jumper show (hopefully)

May 10 - Pony club schooling jumper show (should have a ride)

May 30-31 - Hawley Bennett Clinic (need to save up $$ for this)
June 1 - Event derby (local!)

June 7-8 - Mini horse trials (hoping it runs this year)

July 11-13 - Rafter K clinic and Derby (out of town, but I already have a free ride*)

August 9-10 - Hunter/Jumper show (DERBYYYYYY)

August 23-24 - Hunter/Jumper show (DERBYYYYYYY)

September 13 - either local schooling show or H/J show a couple hours away  (who are we kidding, I'm poor)

*I believe "free ride"="I am show secretary", but who's counting?

As I said, I haven't done any math yet. That said, most of the events are pretty local to me which keeps hauling/food/lodging costs way down. Sooo... maybe. Horse show gods permitting and all. My goal for the year is to get Courage and I happy and confident at shows over fences.

He wants to be my derby horse
It sounds like they're going to be running a hunter derby at the August jumper shows, so my reach goal is to be prepared for that. Cross your fingers. We'll see how it goes. It would entail there being a 2'6" or 2'9" derby option to accommodate the incredibly green horse and rider who is new to the whole scene.

I'm a little torn on the issue of event derbies--they have kickass prizes and it's a bucket list item for me to win a year end award. That said, the intro division is super competitive and I'm just not feeling it in regards to eventing right now. If I can afford the end of March schooling and if Courage is really, really good, we might pursue it more. Most of the derbies are out of town and it's just cheaper to stay close. At this point, I absolutely want to get him exposed to natural obstacles and think about going forward, but I'm not feeling committed.

You'll also notice that there are no dressage shows on there. That's because A) The calendar is already pretty full B) pretty much all the local shows are recognized and I hate paying that much to prance and C) I think lower level dressage is mind numbingly boring. Maybe when Courage is good for second level we'll try and qualify for regionals or something.

So we'll see how it goes. I'm pretty excited just looking at this list. Anyone else got their show schedule scoped out?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jumping Video

I have nothing new to share and the videos are finally uploaded, so I'm putting them out there...

Please just look at the adorable bay horse and not too closely at the (second) rider. Apparently after taking most the winter off and then only riding one greenie a few days a week, I'm something less than Lillie Keenan.

Here, we'll start off easy. Here's RedHeadLins and C-rage taking his first few jumps of the year.

And then I give it a go on another day:

Hopefully I will coordinate camera people and sun and maybe even a lesson. Then we would have really good shots!

I know they aren't the most mind blowing videos you've ever seen but eeeeeeeeek my little man is so cute.

Monday, March 10, 2014

All Systems Go

Love him
Courage and I have been working hard on the flat work in preparation to jump. Given my adult ammy (more or less) status and total lack of desire to get bucked off, I enlisted redheadlins to take the first couple jumps of 2014.

He was perfect. Trot in, canter out, super cute form.

So fancy

Oh, and I grabbed this shot of them trotting.


My first jump in months
So Sunday was the day. We did a quick warm up and went for it. Not gonna lie, I was a little bit nervous as I pointed him at our first itsy bitsy crossrail.I don't know if that will ever go away, but I kept my eyes up, leg on, and hands steady and OMG SQUEEEE my little man is the cutest jumper EVAR!!!!

It was seriously so much fun! We did both our little crossrails individually in both directions, then put them together for a little related distance and he was just awesome.

No worries, y'all. He is the best at jumping.

We also spent a few minutes working on really improving the quality of our contact at the trot, which was pretty great. I was hoping to have some sweet pictures, but it was dark and rainy and there are limits to what a cell phone can capture, regardless of how well wielded it is. 

Just know that we are making strides towards being even more awesome than before.

I'm working to schedule our first lessons of the year and I'm excited to see where the little man I and I can go together. He is just way too much fun.
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