Equestrian Journey Blog Hop: What will you NOT do?

Equestrian Journey asks:

   “We all like to share on our blogs what we do with our horses and what we would like to do, but I want to know what you will NOT do.  For example I will not carry a bag of feed into the middle of a herd of horses, especially if I don’t know some of them.  I will not teach my horse to rear on purpose.  I will not ride my horse into a field full of loose horses that could kick me in the leg and break it.  Things like that.  I look forward to hearing what you have to share!”

This is a great Blog Hop, as usually we are always posting about the opposite!  While I am sure there are a lot of small things I will never do, such as enter a stall with a horse I don’t know and cross-tie a horse to their bridle, the biggest one for me is I will never do anything on a horse that I do not feel comfortable doing.

When I was younger and while riding on the Intercollegiate team in college I wasn’t as assertive as I am now and would ride horses that I was downright scared to be on, and do things that I felt very scared and uncomfortable doing on said horses.  This actually resulted in some (minor) injuries to me over the years.  I specifically recall actually being in tears on a horse I was afraid of, mostly because it was not safe or appropriate to be used for lessons, and the college coach yelling at me to jump the jump or canter or do whatever I didn’t want to do.  (this actually led to a huge confidence loss for me in my riding, but that is a whole other story entirely!)

At this point in my life, I am not out to prove anything, and if I feel unsafe on a horse I GET OFF IMMEDIATELY.  There have been days, when Mabou was first off the track, where he was acting up and leaping and I felt the situation escalating and I just got off and called it a day.  There is always tomorrow.

I also now have no trouble whatsoever saying “no” to my trainer if I really don’t feel comfortable doing something, where when I was younger I probably would have just done it anyway.


November’s 10 Questions

November’s 10 Questions- from Viva Carlos

1. Have you ever owned a horse? Yes, my mare, Crystal that I owned from age 11- 25, and my current horse, Mabou.
2. What is your favorite aspect of your discipline? I love the grace and elegance that is present when a horse and rider are really working in tune with each other.  They make it look so easy, yet we all know that it is far from easy!

3. What pet peeves do you have concerning your discipline? There are going to be issues in any discipline and any sport.  I hate to see any horses mistreated across the board, no matter which discipline they are part of.

4. Do you do barn chores? Basic ones, like sweeping up after myself and cleaning the wash stall after I use it.

5. What is your least favorite barn chore? Filling hay bales for the trailer!!  Hay gets EVERYWHERE.

6. What do you consider the worst vice in a horse? I can’t stand horses that bite.

7. What saddle brand is your favorite? I had a Tad Coffin for Crystal that I LOVED, but Mabou hated it so now my current favorite is my County, which feels like it was made for me (well I guess that’s good, since it was lol).

8. Do you ride with a quarter sheet in the winter? When it is very cold, yes, I think it keeps my horse more comfortable, and I like being able to put it over my legs during cool down.  Unfortunately for Mabou, I have a very nice quarter sheet that is embroidered in pink with “Ice Princess” (Crystal’s show name), and since it is so nice, he now gets to wear it!

9. Does your horse wear boots? What kind? Does he ever!  I have two pairs of front and hind Eskadrons, one is the standard flexisoft ones, the other is the memory foam, Leather Mondega front and hind boots, Thinline front and hind boots, Equifit front boots, Eskadron cross country front and hind boots, two pairs of the Beval pull-on bell boots and one pair of the Eskadron Velcro bell boots.

10. Full seat or knee patch breeches? Knee patch, I  used to wear full seat when I did more dressage but have no need for the extra grip now.

Love & Horses Blog Hop

Blog Hop Logo

Today I had an idea for a fun blog hop, to share our other pets!- Other than your horse, what pets do you have?

Let’s go- let me see your pets!

My answer is two pets.

1. Meet Tucker


Photos of Tucker are always all over this blog.  He is a 5 year old shih tzu and only 9 pounds and the cutest little spoiled thing ever.

2. Meet Nibbler

Nibbler is a one year old dwarf hamster (named after Nibbler in the show Futurama).  He is a sunflower seed addict and is incredibly picky.  In fact, he won’t eat every single hamster treat that I have bought and tried to give him including carrots.

Blog Hop: Hand Gallop

Hand Gallop Asks: What do you do to stay fit to ride?

I used to be big into running, I did a lot of races, 10ks, half marathons, you name it, UNTIL I started working full time and realized that life after law school didn’t really have enough time to take long training runs.  I then did the whole kickboxing and spinning classes at the gym thing but they were a.) expensive and b.) not always at the best times for me.  Plus I would have to arrange my schedule to attend the class at it’s set time, which doesn’t allow much for flexibility, something I realized that I need.

What now works for me is 3 days a week of strength and endurance training and 2 days a week of Pilates (Note: this is what I AIM for, but sadly it doesn’t always happen).  I try to do the Pilates on the days that I ride, since after I get home from riding I am usually tired from a long day and not too eager to break a huge sweat.  My workouts are thirty minutes or less, and I have found that this is short enough that it is “do-able”, as thirty minutes is not intimidating at all and is over fairly quickly.

I have been doing the workouts from CrossTrain, a gym program run by a husband and wife team where you pay $19 a month and there is a new workout video uploaded every single day.  It keeps it interesting and fun.  I actually look forward to checking what the daily workout is each day.  And surprisingly, now that I spend the least amount of time working out that I ever have, I am easily in the best shape of my life and the smallest clothing size I have been since the end of high school.  Win-Win!

Blop Hop: From the Horse’s Mouth

From the Horse’s Mouth asks:

What are a few horse-related things that you are super grateful for?

This is a great question, as it is always important to take a step back sometimes from the hustle and bustle and just be grateful!

  • First and foremost, my hubby, who is so supportive and doesn’t get mad when I spend all my money on my horse and horse-related things.  He also works hard which allows me to spend all my money on said horse and horse-related things.
  • Second, my horse Mabou.  After my mare Crystal (that I had since I was 11 until she passed when I was 25), I never thought that I would feel that relationship and trust with another horse again.  Although Mabou has his moments, and he can never replace my girl, I genuinely trust him and feel safe on his back.  He pushes me to be a better rider and pushes me out of my comfort zone sometimes, which is good for someone who can be a little bit of a chicken like myself.  He has such a great work ethic, and is always happy to try his best to do what I ask him to do.
  • Third- my new custom County saddle!  I LOVE IT!  It feels so “right”, I am so happy I took the plunge and bought exactly the one I want, the upgraded soft bull leather is so grippy and I would not change a single thing about it.
  • Fourth- my wonderful barn and trainer.  My trainer is so generous and genuinely cares about her students.  She always gives us great opportunities to go to fun events like hunter paces and horse shows, and never overcharges us for any of it.  After the death of my mare, in order to try to keep me riding, she even let me free lease Mabou for almost 6 months (knowing that he was a great match for me and I would end up falling in love with him).  All the people at my barn are absolutely wonderful, I can honestly say we do not have much drama.  We are a smaller barn of 30 boarders or so, and trainer is picky about who she lets board there, which makes for a really great environment.
  • Fifth- my parents, who supported and fostered this crazy horse hobby of mine my entire life until I could afford to do it myself, and who still come to almost all my horse shows and local horse events.

SFTS Blog Hop: Why Do You Do What You Do?

I can definitely say I have done a little bit of everything!  When I was younger I did the whole short stirrup and children’s equitation, children’s hunters, hunter/jumper thing.  I also played polo, did combined training as part of pony club, and enjoyed trail riding.  With my mare, we competed in dressage, and qualified each year and attended Lendon Gray’s Youth Dressage Festival.  During college, I returned to equitation and competed on my school’s IHSA team.  At my current barn, there are a lot of fox hunters, so I began hunting and hunter pacing as well.  With my current horse, I hunted him last season, we dabbled in jumpers over the past summer, we are now hunting again this season, and next summer we plan on returning to the show ring in equitation.  The jumpers are not for me, I much prefer the hunters or the equitation, where I feel like I have more time to think about what I am doing.