Riding my horse? HAHAHAHA. You say that like it’s been warm enough to be outside here. Not for this displaced Southerner. (Or as they call me at work… ‘The Tourist’) The average temperature here for January so far has been 16 degrees. Too cold for me!
So instead I got a different way to get around. AKA my new car came!
And promptly showed up (from Texas) in the middle of 5″ of snow. Nothing like having the interior of your driver door covered in snow the day you get it. Also, OMG I totally get why people have all weather floor mats now. And all wheel drive. And snow brushes! Boot trays!
So instead of driving to the barn, I’ve been focusing on playing with all. the. buttons. and just getting to work in one piece. One thawed piece. Just in time for work to be totally over the top and in need of multiple 11 hour days. Ugh.
I did manage to have a lesson (sob) two weekends ago that went really well. Mainly working on bending and moving off my leg, but also just getting my head back in the game. Which, you know, I’ll have to do all over again when I finally get to ride again.
Last Friday night, I got a group text from my trainer asking the Saturday lesson group if we would be riding the next day, despite the horrible-bitter-worst-ever cold (my words, not hers). After some grumbling (about cold, not ponies), it was decided we would breakfast at 10, then head to the barn. Any day that starts with a waffle is good in my book. The conversation then continued with the idea of riding in the snow. Immediately my mind is filled with thoughts of Instagram images like this…
Glamorous gallops through soft snow while I elegantly guide my majestic Saddlebred among snow covered evergreens…
I should have figured this out when the thermostat in the car read 7 degrees. Or maybe when it took me 10 minutes to pick my horse’s ice packed feet. But onward we went, because I was there for the Instagram, damnit.
We did have a perfectly nice jaunt around the outdoor waiting for the rest of the group, then the decision was made to head out onto the track and from there, one of the fields. In the process of heading out, Doc and I ended up at the back of the group.
And that’s where we take a sharp turn from my storybook-filled head.
Immediately my horse is informing me that he does not want to be at the back, THANKSLADY LET ME GO I AM SADDLEBRED HEAR ME ROAR. I acquiesce and we catch up to the group, ending up in the middle. Then the brave members decide to go faster. And I’m like, guys, what is so wrong with a nice very small sitting trot here really? but trot we do. Until Doc decides I’m stupid and he wants to GOFASTER. I turn to my trainer and very calmly and matter of factly state that I am now nervous and what would she like me to do. Okay, good, ride continues, we just happen to be trotting next to everyone else’s walk. Not running away though, so there’s that. Just snot running out of my nose and watering eyes and BY THE WAY it hurts to breathe WHY DID I LEAVE SOUTH CAROLINA.
I’m starting to feel braver (or more likely, my common sense is just numb from the cold at this point) so off to the field we go. Where Doc decides he’s had enough of my former-western-pleasure-rider brain and he wants none of this. This culminates in a fun sort of dolphin-leap toddler tantrum.
The good news is my new saddle is very secure.
And when it was over? I looked at trainer C and said, “I’m done.”
Back to the barn we went. Well, arena.
Where we posed for photos to prove this did, in fact, happen. Where I realized my face was now so numb I could have had dental work done. Where J had so many layers on, she literally fell off her horse trying to get off.
It was a majikal experience.
That I really, really, really don’t need to repeat again.
I broke these into two pieces. Research shows goal setting is more effective when you use SMART goals, so I try to utilize those in my quarterly goals. But my annual goals? I like to think of those as themes for the year. They’re not specific, they’re not really even measurable, but they’re ideas I’d like to guide my year, allowing for the flexibility that I need (because my life has this way of changing in like, two weeks, ahem see: move to Indiana in 13 days).
Prioritize experiences over things
Money spent on lessons, clinics, learning and the occasional non-horse related things as opposed to money spent on another pair of breeches, a cute pair of shoes, etc.
Fewer, better things
Yeah, I stole Cuyana‘s tagline, whatevs. Obviously I can’t live with one pair of socks, but do I really need (another) candle? How many jackets does the dog really need? This goes hand in hand with the next goal…
More than likely, move 9 in 9 years is coming in the spring (locally, thank God). Despite this ridiculous number of moves, I still have a little bit of moving PTSD and too much stuff. I want to declutter all the stuff before I move it all… again. Notice all three of these are related.
Prioritize finances where they matter
Um, also relates to number 1. A lot. But more than that, I want to add more to my 401k this year, I want to pay more on my car, more on my student loans and add to my savings accounts. When it comes down to it, I need very few things at this point – food, gas, the regular living expenses. And yeah, it’s less fun to put money in a 401k than it is to see the UPS man deliver a package, but it’s also more responsible and now is the time to do it.
Quarter 1 Goals:
Ride even when it’s cold, don’t be a weenie amateur
I am a cold weather wimp. And while there are certainly times where it’s too cold to leave the house (ahem, -3), I also need to man up and utilize all the layers I own and the indoor arena. Even if it’s 20 minutes at the walk and trot without stirrups, or a bareback ride, it’s all going to help come spring.
Do not buy any apparel, riding or otherwise, in the month of January.
Keep working without stirrups at least one ride a week
Eat real meals
Look, I’m not sure why I’m not allowed to subsist on quesadillas and popcorn, but apparently I’m not.
Even if it’s just going up and down the stairs at work 7 times, I know this helps with the winter blues
Read 20 books
13 weeks, 20 books. Should be do-able if I prioritize books over bad television.
We’re obviously into a new year now, but I wanted to revisit these before moving onto 2018’s goals, which I’m thinking about while I’m on self-imposed house arrest because it’s too freaking cold to do anything.
Do not go off course/fall off at final show of year – Yup. Frozen, but stayed on.
Confidently get around BN course, however that may be – Never XC schooled, but did get around the BN SJ course well!
Find something to stop grazing muzzle rubs on smooshy nose – Fuzzy halter covers!
Work on not periscoping head around, and instead taking the comments from our last dressage test: “lower neck to connect through back” – Um. It got.. better? Ish? We’ll call it 50%
Work without stirrups every ride, increasing time – Not every ride, but between bareback and dropping stirrups, probably 80% of the time?
Ride bareback at least 3 times – Yup!
Workout at least four times while home for Thanksgiving – hahahahahahahah. No.
Put money away for saddle fund – Yes! Not as much as I’d like (uh, thanks car), but something is better than nothing.
Read a book instead of binge watching television – I read some books. I also binge watched some TV. We’ll call it a draw.
Snuggle with Lucy horse at my parents’ house – Yesssss. Cookies and snuggs.
I’m calling that success. Granted… a lot of those were softball goals. But I’ll take the wins where I can get ’em. I’m working through 2018’s goals, breaking them down and figuring out where I want to be in 12 months, but there are some things still up in the air that throw in some uncertainty. Needless to say, they might not won’t happen before the 1st, but they’ll happen.
With all the talk of cold weather around the country right now and so many bloggers experiencing freezing temperatures, I thought I would repost this from a local veterinarian. A great scientific (!) look into the question, “how cold is too cold to ride?” Enjoy, stay warm and have a happy new year! We’ll see you in 2018!
Well, it’s been a year, that’s for sure, for better and for worse.
The beginning of the year saw Fin come home, the greatest belated Christmas gift there was. I wrapped up 2016 with a count of the number of shoes I purchased: 16. 2017’s count? 15. Oops. It snowed in South Carolina. I got used to life with a dog, was still working in human healthcare and not riding. It was 80 degrees. Dad came to town and took me to dinner, we discovered alternative facts must have been what horses have been spooking at all this time, and I spent a weekend refinishing a free dresser. Discovered that when being read in on a confidential project saying, “it’s okay my only friend is my dog,” does not instill as much confidence as you think it might. Learned Fin likes to be vacuumed. Reorganized my closet, cleaned my baseboards and generally prepared for spring.
Went to NYC for a weekend with my best friends. Purchased expensive candles, saw the Carole King Broadway show, laughed way too hard, ate a lot of really good food. Cheered on the Heels to a National Championship!
Jump judged The Fork 3* and realized I was officially bitten by the eventing bug and it wasn’t going anywhere.
Went to Asheville, NC and spent the day hiking with a friend and the dogs. Fell into a waterfall.
Flew up to Washington DC for a week and visited multiple friends, bought a scrunchie, attended a wedding and… ate. Duh. Spent a day with our Life Flight crew on the helicopter and had one of the coolest experiences of my life to date.
Went home for Christmas, bought a new car, bought a saddle, bought three jackets to deal with real winter. Took the donkey on a walk.
Returned to single digit temperatures in Indianapolis, cried to myself. Took a blanket to work. Received the almost-last of the Black Friday purchases and wrote a blog post summarizing the entire year.
While perhaps not the horsiest of years I’ve had, once I ended up in Indy it became decidedly more so. 2017 was a big year of change – my first big job out of fellowship, my first move above the Mason-Dixon line, a transition from human medicine to veterinary medicine. I grew up a lot in 2017 and started to feel like I might actually sortof understand this adult thing at 25.
I realized the horses keep me sane when everything else in my life goes a little haywire. While this post may be more personal than equestrian, they’re all so interrelated in my life that I don’t think it’s possible to talk about one without the other.
Some changes were scarier than others, but I learned I can trust my gut, that I know myself better than I think I do and that I’m stronger than I think I am.
I gained confidence personally and professionally and realized I have the power to change circumstances that made me unhappy. While I’m nervously excited to creep towards the upper end of my 20s, I’m also at peace with a lot. I loved South Carolina, but spent a lot of my time there anxious and unsettled and while the move wasn’t one I ever imagined for myself, it has certainly provided some relief to those emotions.
Thanks to this great community, I’ve made friends all over the country, ended up in a new sport, developed an addiction to obnoxiously expensive Italian breeches and had a damn good time. Grateful that at the end of the day I am happy, healthy and incredibly blessed. Ready for 2018 – onwards and upwards!
I’ll be back in action soon (as I write this from my parents’ couch where I’ve taken not one, but two naps today), but since I left you last with the world’s biggest pity party, I thought a more positive update before Christmas was in order. Fitting, because Christmas came early this year…
First, the day I found out my car was totaled, I came home to my Secret Santa gift from Sarah at DraftMare which automatically made my day 100x better. I didn’t take any photos before I unwrapped it, but the dog had a great time playing with the wrapping paper (important things in life). She totally hit it out of the park with this adorable C4 belt (how did she know I’ve always wanted one?!) and matching socks (seriously, I love socks so much it’s not funny). And in navy, duh, because #navyornothing. Plus about 9832498 peppermints. AND I got a new blog to read.
As always, thanks to Tracy for coordinating all of us and realizing gifts are my love language. Well, gifts and sugary treats.
Then, the demo saddle I’d been waiting for from County came in… and it’s amazing. Beautiful. Perfect. And was less than I had expected.
It’s a 2013 17.5 County Conquest, but it must have been a demo because this thing looks like it’s had maybe 15 rides in it. My County rep was amazing to work with – she put up with the princess and the pea horse (he measures a medium, but wants to go in a wide…) and my short legs’ needs. It’s amazing how it feels to ride a saddle that actually actively helps you versus fighting one.
Finally (these keep getting progressively more expensive), thanks to the poor crunchy car episode, Santa (aka my bank account…) decided to bring me some new wheels. Doc probably appreciates this, since I jokingly said that with the new saddle, I’d just start riding him to work everyday. Conditioning work, right?
Luckily, we spared him this horror and I’m proudly the new owner of an Acura RDX. You know, just my dream car. Santa definitely spoiled me, that’s for sure.
Otherwise, we’re just over here enjoying vacation, two and four legged members alike…
I recovered from my nice strep session this weekend more or less and had grand plans involving a large (fun) purchase, riding my horse, finishing my Christmas shopping and other general life things this week, capping it off with our big Christmas party next Sunday.
Then I totaled my car Monday night. (If you don’t care to read my pity party, feel free to just know I’m okay and skip this. Doesn’t offend me.)
Rewind. I handle new employee orientation at my job and Monday night we had an evening session meaning I didn’t leave until about 8:15pm. I’ll spare the details (aka I’ve spent all day on the phone with insurance and don’t really feel like typing it out… again), but it was… not good. Bye-bye front end of cute Cadillac. I’m sore af, bruised the heck out of my ribs and managed to bruise one very specific spot on the outside of my right foot (???), but no major injuries. I hit my steering wheel hard enough for it to bruise and knock the wind out of me and nobody can figure out why my airbag didn’t go off, but I guess we’re just lucky it wasn’t worse. (And that I didn’t have TunaDog with me, since he comes to work with me relatively often.)
Within 45 minutes of looking at my car this morning, insurance was like, uh, yeah, that’s totaled. Cool guys. So, Merry Christmas, I get to buy a new car which was decidedly not in the budget this winter. What was in the budget? Clinics, lessons, saving up for event camp next summer…
I’m just pissed. So so happy not to be hurt of course and I know it could have been way worse, but pissed that all my fun horse money just flew out the window. Riding is my therapy, it keeps me sane, it has been the only thing I’ve really thrown myself into since I moved to Indiana. I left all my friends and family behind and I happily spend all of my time at the barn, at work, snuggling with TunaDog or sleeping basically. It’s not like car = never riding, but it definitely throws a wrench in my plans.
Plans like working all winter to successfully go BN in 2018. Like clinics with the trainers they bring in and consistent lessons with C. And that didn’t become impossible, but it sure as hell just became a lot harder.
I have some longer term plans (like 6 month range) that will help with the budget, but the next few months are are going to get pretty tight (plus it’s cold and I hate cold). Yay.
I’m currently finishing out the remainder of my 24 hour strep throat quarantine from my living room couch, where the extent of my human contact has been listening to my neighbor’s Christmas party downstairs. One, which I am invited to, but you know, strep throat isn’t really a great hostess gift. Or so they tell me.
Instead, I decided, what better time to throw a hodgepodge of reviews and things I currently like at you? Strep throat is not on the list, FYI. 0/10, do not recommend.
The consequence of a Cyber Monday Amazon Prime ‘One Click Buy’, this weird little rock has become my favorite new obsession. Horse people = dog people, more or less and I am no exception. The downside to adorable Bluefin Tuna Dog (his formal name), is that he sheds like nothing I have ever seen before. Like the entire barn in April. Like my blonde hair when it sees a black cashmere sweater. Like a drunk fraternity boy losing his clothes en route to a pool at 1am.
His hair (the dog, not the fraternity boy), embeds itself in my furniture and makes itself at home. Forever. Or so I thought. Until I discovered the Fur-Zoff. You basically just… brush? with this thing and the hair all pulls out and balls up and you basically have a brand new looking couch. For $10.
Paper Pony Co. Pretty Pony Notepad
I love notepads and stationery, so when I saw this one from Paper Pony Co. it was a no brainer to add this to my office supplies. I wasn’t disappointed either. Not only did it come packaged adorably with this nice note, she even included a cute postcard and stickers.
The notepad itself is high quality and on nice, thick paper. It’s only 50 sheets, but it’s 4″x6″ and has 10 lines with extra room around the margins.
Now reeealllly not related to horses. But if you’re like me, you have to go to work to pay for the horses. And between the months of December – March, that means tights come into play. Let the record show: I hate tights. HATE. I find them itchy, annoying, they roll or fall down, they snag… the WORST. But I discovered Heist Tights recently and um, all of my feelings changed. These are the best tights ever. They’re soft. They don’t roll (I swear!), they don’t fall down. They’re downright comfortable.
They come packaged adorably from the UK and their customer service is super happy to help make sure you have the right size. I’m not posting photos of myself wearing tights ’cause uh, no, but take my word here. I’m a 30 in breeches (44 Italian), about a 10 US in regular pants and their 12-14 fits me perfectly. I have the 50 and 80 denier in a low rise (think midrise breeches) and love both pairs. These are for sure a work winter staple.
I’m still waiting on a few Black Friday purchases and will happily review when they’re here.
We got our first snow this morning and I’m happily enjoying watching it out the window, baking bread and not going anywhere. It’s super pretty so I’m trying to bottle up this feeling when it’s still snowing in like, April or something and I want to cry/move/die.
I’ve already halfway thrown in the towel on effort, as reflected by my Wednesday ride this past week where I decided I was too cold (it was like 35 and omg am I becoming a midwesterner because I literally was like, oh that’s not even that cold, HELP WHO AM I) to put on a saddle. So bareback it was. Everyone else at the barn had the same idea, leading me to make the joke we were like the No Saddle Club.
I think I’m a lot funnier than I am, by the way.
All that to say, we got our best trot we’ve probably ever had for the longest amount of time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not getting my saddle back anytime soon at this rate.
So I miiiighttt have done some Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday damage this year.
My UPS man realllllyyy hates me right now.
What did we make out with? A lot of things are still being made/in transit, but the first go-round delivered.
I like these a lot – they’re super pretty. But they have the same downfall all my breeches have: the size that fits me everywhere else is a littllleee tight on the waist. Not enough to send them back, but uh, these won’t be fat day breeches.
These were an insane price from RW, so I figured I’d try them out. (Apparently I am turning into Stacie.) And they’re lovely for the price. But, I ordered a 7.5 Regular, my normal size, and they’re huge. Because of course. So I’m trying to debate exchanging for the 7 Slim vs just returning because do I really need a 4th pair of boots?
I needed a new crop, but I really didn’t want a boring black one. I also don’t have the budget for a fancy custom one. This ended up being a great compromise from RW. It has navy! So maybe it won’t grow legs and leave me…
I also ended up with a new pair of Roeckl gloves since mine no longer have any grip on them.
That’s just the RW box though… there might be 8 more packages coming… Bonnets, browbands, saddle pads, oh my!