Blog Hop: 2010s Photo Challenge

Emily at May As Well Event posted a really fun blog hop. As we enter a new decade, I thought it would be fun to propose a challenge to you all! Let’s see ONE horsey picture for each of the last ten years.

2010
I have always relied on the generosity and kindness of others. As an adult, I’ve never had a lot of money to ride. Lady was a horse I borrowed from my friend Amy, who coincidentally owns Manny who I ride now. It’s crazy how things come full circle: riding a horse owned by Amy at the beginning of the decade and also the end.

img_7413

2011
At the end of 2010, I got my first horse as an adult. A chestnut Thoroughbred gelding named Joker. He had some bad habits that took quite a lot of time to work through, but he ended up being a really cool horse who would do anything. One of my best friends, Caren, was an eventer. So I started tagging along with her. This picture was taken after my first combined test at beginner novice. Both of these horses have crossed the rainbow bridge now, so it’s extra special.

img_7414

2012
The first and only event I’ve ever done. Joker and I competed in Beginner Novice. Dressage was a bit rough, but it was my goal to score below a 40 (our score at the CT was above 40) and we did that. We had one refusal on Cross Country and some time faults. Stadium was an utter mess, but we were able to finish. We finished in 8th place. I sold Joker later that year.

 

img_7415

2013
2013 was a year of more borrowed horses. Shortly before I sold Joker, I began taking lessons at a local barn. Once I sold Joker, I kept riding there. First on a mare named ChaCha, then eventually on a gelding named Mars. I was able to borrow him for one show, which started off a little rough, but ended really well.

img_7416

2014

In 2014, my personal life really started to go down the tubes. I had a miscarriage in February and was subsequently diagnosed with a uterine birth defect. After my pre-op appointment in June, we went to look at a then unbroke Appendix gelding named Spencer. We bought him via a phone call on the drive home. He stayed with his owner/breeder for some training, went to another trainer for some additional miles and came home over labor day. We renamed him Dexter. He was the bright spot my life so desperately needed at the time. This was our first picture together.

img_7417

2015
On Christmas Eve, I had a bad fall off of Dexter, shortly after he came to live at my father in law’s. This was the point where I became afraid to ride him. I would occasionally suck it up and ride him, but I never fully regained my confidence while on his back. Since he was a green almost 7 year old, I didn’t sell him because I didn’t want him to end up in bad hands. We made slow progress and had some fun outings.

img_7418

2016
For living the first 6 years of his life on the same farm and never venturing anywhere else, Dexter was an excellent traveler. We had lots of fun adventures to local farms, a trail ride, a few local shows. Even with my terrible anxiety, he was always the best boy he could be. This was our first trail ride and solo too. My husband was kind enough to lead the pony while I rode.
img_7448

2017
2017 was the year of multiple falls and bucking incidents due to what we later found out was poor saddle fit. He would buck going up into the canter, or canter for a while, plant his feet and pitch me off. This caused even more fear issues. I eventually got a new saddle which made a huge difference, but my confidence was once again rattled.

c3240d76-0223-48c7-9368-f13c78472945

2018
2018 was a year of few rides. We had some decent rides, I stopped riding because of how hot it was outside and then I found out I was pregnant. I wouldn’t have had an issue riding in the first trimester, but I was so tired, then later completely miserable with morning sickness. So Dexter had the majority of my pregnancy off.

img_4200

2019
My baby, Hunter, was born at the end of March. I knew I needed to find someone to ride Dexter before I started riding again. In stepped a cowboy friend of a friend. The rides started off a bit rough after Dex had so much time off and I didn’t know if I’d get back on him again. I decided to list him for sale since I knew I wouldn’t be able to ride as much as he needed and asked a friend if she could take him for some more tune up rides after he came back from the cowboy. He was doing well and I did something I never thought I’d do: sit on my horse again. The rides were going well and I finally got an inquiry to Dexter’s for sale ad. A family came down to see him, loved him and made a full price offer on him the same day. He had a vet check the following week and then left for his new home. By all accounts, I should have sold him long ago, but my heart wasn’t ready. It was so hard to sell him, especially after learning to enjoy him again, but he couldn’t have ended up in a better situation.

This year needs 3 pictures: me riding Dexter, Hunter and I with Dexter and Hunter and I with our pony, Sassy.

 

 

Cheers to 2020 and a new decade!

The one where I have a stupid grin on my face

I mentioned Manny briefly in a previous post, but let me tell you a little bit more about him.

First off, Manny belongs to one of my friends. I remember hearing about him way back when I still took lessons there (2010), but I never met him until this year. I had originally stopped riding there when I ended up with another borrowed horse to ride at another facility.

Hye Mister Man aka Manny is a 2010 Thoroughbred gelding (Scrimshaw x Sparta) that was bought and trained for racing. However, he bowed a tendon at some point and never actually raced.

Fast forward to this fall when I was feeling sorry for myself and I posted on Facebook detailing that (I know, how old am I? Am I right?) and my friend said she had one for me to ride. I messaged back and forth with her, agreed on the finance part of it and then headed off for my first ride.

Even though Manny is a Thoroughbred, he’s not very motivated to move quickly. Ever. So being out of shape and trying to get him to move was a bit of a challenge. Manny had an unfortunate lease situation that was ended by his owner in an abrupt fashion due to poor horsemanship by the lessee. He wasn’t going to work as a lesson horse, so he was just sitting. He needed a bit of a slow acclimation back to work and an understanding by his rider that some days he’d need reassurance that everything was going to be okay.

A little background on me: bringing horses back into work who have had a bad experience in some fashion or another is kind of my favorite. I got to ride two horses as a junior that needed to be brought back slowly: A WB cross who crashed through an oxer and liked to stop, then a freight train on a TB gelding who had some less than stellar rides by a former lessee. Then my own TB gelding I bought as an adult who had a lot of training holes and liked to hop up and down off his back end.

While I love Thoroughbreds, I can’t ride the extremely hot, sensitive ones because I have a lot of anxiety and they always pick up on it. Things without a doubt go south quickly.

All that said, Manny isn’t hot, but he’s sensitive. He is 100% my type of ride and I love him to pieces.

Now for the part where I have a stupid grin on my face:

img_7409

 

I finally got a picture with him last night and I couldn’t be happier with my new ride. I can’t wait for our first lesson next week and to plan our goals for 2020.

7th Annual Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

Tracy over at the Printable Pony is kind enough to organize this gift exchange every year and I am so glad that she does. I just mailed my gift out yesterday, so my recipient should hopefully receive it by Saturday. I was a bit nervous to shop for someone who seems to have everything, but hopefully she likes the things I picked out. Fingers crossed.

This year my gift came from Michele over at Fat Buckskin in a Little Suit. I had read her blog some, but not a lot. Mostly I knew of her from other blogs I had read, but hadn’t interacted with her myself just yet.

To say Michele did a great job is an understatement. As soon as I opened the card that had a little chihuahua on it who looked almost identical to my dog Tank, I knew the box wouldn’t disappoint. I was right.

The box just got better from there. First up it was a very soft knit hat with a removable pompom on top. I now feel like an honorary #pomclub member since I’m not an eventer.

 

Next up was a stuffed black pony for Hunter that looks almost identical to Dexter.

img_7390

Then it was two pairs of fuzzy Horseware socks that are very soft and warm. I put one pair on after I opened the box and once I realized the picture was blurry, I was already wearing them. So only one pair is pictured.

img_7391

Then we had a candy cane full of Stud Muffins, which I am certain Manny will devour this evening.

img_7394

Last but certainly not least, a horse shaped cup with a straw. Hunter played with this last night, but hasn’t learned how to drink out of a straw yet, but I can’t wait until he does.

img_7392

Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts, Michele and Thank you Tracy once again for organizing. Christmas is one of my favorite Holidays and this gift exchange is just the icing on the cake.

The wrong horse

I’ve never had to admit I had or was riding the wrong horse. The more time that goes by since I sold Dexter, it’s becoming more and more apparent how wrong he was for me. Does that make him a bad horse? Absolutely not. He has a lot of fabulous qualities and I believe the timing was right to sell him when I did.

img_4192

 

I never wanted to admit he was the wrong horse for me because I felt like that would have been the same thing as saying that I had failed. That I wasn’t a good enough rider to ride him. That I wasn’t good enough to bring along a green horse. I kept trying to convince myself I could do it. That I could and wanted to ride him.

received_10208079751850423

Truth be told? I didn’t want to ride him. Did I have the skill? Yes. Can I ride a green horse? Also yes. Despite our 5+ years of being mismatched, many days I loved that horse more than life itself. He was my best friend. The best thing I could have asked for happened before I sold him: I was enjoying riding him again. Which made the decision to sell him even more difficult. However, as I continue riding new horses and overcoming my many riding-related fears, I’m reminded that I am a good rider. That I can ride. Most importantly: I’m enjoying myself. Being in an environment I am familiar with and on horses I am much better matched to has made all the difference.

img_3176

Do I regret my time with Dexter? Absolutely not. Many good things came from it. What I do regret though is letting myself be in a situation where I had so many fears. Where I let my fears determine my worth as a rider and let myself believe I couldn’t ride. None of those things were or are true and I can’t believe it took me this long to realize it.

img_3194

Moral of the story is: you are not a failure for realizing you and your horse are not a good match. There is a horse out there for everyone, but not every horse is a good match for every rider. Learn what horses are your “type”. I most definitely have one and chances are most other riders do too. Just because you can ride a horse, doesn’t mean you should. At the end of the day, trust your brain and your gut feeling. Always listen to your heart, but don’t allow it to be the final decision maker. Finally, enjoy the ride.

img_6591

Where to begin

It’s really hard to find a starting point when you can’t remember where you left off. A lot has changed in my life since I last blogged. I have a nearly 8 month old baby boy and I own zero equines. Say what? Let me fill you in a little bit on what has happened since however long ago it was that I blogged last.

On March 26, 2019 at 8:40 am, we welcomed our son Hunter Virlin into the world. He was born at 39 weeks and one day, so he was most definitely full term. Other than wicked morning sickness that lasted from weeks 8 to 18, it was a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy. Hunter was born very healthy with a ton of hair and has grown like crazy since then. I had some complications after delivery, so I had to rely on lots of help from my husband, as well as the nurses.

Being a mom is fabulous, but it’s also really hard. I love Hunter more than I ever thought was possible, but each day has its own challenges. My time is no longer my own.

I was able to take 9 weeks off from work which was very nice. Dexter (my horse), did not get ridden except for twice by a friend once I found out that I was pregnant. I was exhausted, then too sick and by the time I felt well, I didn’t feel like it was a good idea to ride a horse who hadn’t been ridden. Someone I got really lucky and a friend of a friend (a cowboy) took Dex for 3 weeks. Prior to Dex going to him, I was really excited to ride him when he came back home. However, the cowboy cautioned that he didn’t think Dex would be a good horse for me if I wasn’t able to ride consistently. So then I started having my doubts. My first ride back was on a school horse and Dex returned not too long after. My second week back to work I had planned to start riding Dex again, but I got bit by a dog the first night I had planned on trying, then slammed my pinky in my car door a few days later and gave up. Another week or so went by and I finally texted my friend to see if she could take Dex for a tune up.

Fortunately she had space to take Dex and got him going again. He was going well, so I began riding him. Then shortly after listed him for sale. We didn’t have any serious interest for quite a while, but the first person that came to look at him ended up buying him. I only say on Dexter 13 times this year, but I was so proud of both of us for overcoming some of our issues and having several very good rides in a row before he went to his new home. He is now the first horse for a 16 year old girl and he is doing dressage. He looks wonderful. I’ve been able to visit them once and she even let me ride him. It was wonderful to see him again, but after sitting on him again I knew I made the right choice to find him a new person. He really was just more horse than I am able to handle at this point in my life. He always handled my fears and anxieties well, but now that he doesn’t have to deal with them any longer, he is a lot more sensitive to them.

My wonderful friend who helped me sell Dexter as well as re-home my pony was very generous and let me borrow her mares once Dexter was sold. Once the days got shorter and I couldn’t get there early enough to ride in daylight, I had to find another evening option for the nights I can get away for a bit. An old friend and trainer offered me her Thoroughbred gelding who I get to ride indoors and is very tolerant of my anxieties. I also got to ride a medium pony on Wednesday which was fun, but eye opening. I thought I was in okay shape, but after riding him I am reconsidering that.

Being a mom as well as an Equestrian is tough. I miss Dexter terribly, as he owned half of my heart, but I will 100% not miss winter horse care. At this point in my life, it is so nice to show up to the barn and ride and not have to worry about anything else.

 

Blog Hop: GIF Name Game

Hillary over at Equestrian at Hart posted about looking up GIFs to help choose a name for her new horse. I decided to try it for my horse and the results were pretty entertaining.

Dexter did not come with that barn name. His name was formerly Spencer, but I really didn’t like that name, so it quickly got changed. The options were narrowed down to Dexter (my pick) and Diesel (my husband’s pick). At the time, I was binge watching the TV show Dexter, so that name was fresh on my mind. If you haven’t seen the show, Dexter Morgan is a serial killer. Which as a general rule I’m not a serial killer fan, but he’s a really fascinating character. Spoiler Alert: Diesel just never was a name I liked for this horse and Dexter won.

Without further ado, my favorite Dexter GIF. Dexter is intelligent, but a complete dork. I like this one because my Dexter frequently takes terrible pictures:

https://goo.gl/images/giVoGM

Dexter is registered Appendix Quarter Horse. His registered name is Please No Autographs. Which for as terrible as some Quarter Horse/Appendix names are, I like this one pretty well. Google doesn’t like when I type in Please No Autographs. It keeps getting corrected to No Autographs Please. I have always been a Spongebob fan and this GIF is no exception.

https://goo.gl/images/qHHjca

2018 Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange

This was the 6th Annual Equestrian Blogger Gift Exchange and my 4th time participating. This is one of my favorite times of year, one because it’s the holidays and two I have a lot of fun with the gift exchange. Tracy over at the The Printable Pony organizes. It’s such a great way to bring the blogging world together. Thank you, Tracy!

This year my gift went to Ashlyn over at Pembrokes and Ponies. She hasn’t done her recap yet, so I’ll let her give details on the gift I bought. I had a ton of fun shopping though. I hadn’t read her blog before, but I had fun reading about Diesel, Diablo and Gracie.

My gift came from Michelle over at Cruisen in Stilettos. This was also a new-to-me blog, but I had fun reading a few of her past posts and getting to know her and her horses a bit.

I also must mention how on the ball she was. I got my gift about a week after the matches were sent out. All of the gift I had purchased hadn’t even arrived yet. Michelle got me a really pretty little wooden box from a local gallery that I love. I love keepsake items and this one is no exception.

The packaging was also really pretty and it had a very nice handwritten note inside.

Thank you again, Michelle!