Friday, 31 August 2018

Baby Steps

So much of my barn time lately is consumed with teaching the baby pony how to act civilized. Just getting her out in the big wide world and teaching her manners appropriate for likable pony. You know, the kind of stuff we expect in a nice horse.

Currently, there are days when this is a face only I seem to love :)

AKA the kind of stuff I've admittedly taken for granted the past few years. Bridget isn't perfect, but she's never been overly motivated to be bad, either. She kind of just cruises along through life on one consistent level, day in and day out. Sophie? Well, lets just say it's been awhile since I had a horse needing quite so much of my time!

I feel like blogging about my horse tying, ponying, standing quietly, eating food other than hay, etc is pretty unexciting. But you know what? I think I need to start celebrating all those baby steps because as anyone who's owned a baby knows, there's often a whole lot of time gone into making those things happen.

So, here we go, a baby pony check in:

Standard behaviour:

-Ties? Meh. Still gets bored and pulls back/tests how secure the tie is occasionally.


-Can groom everywhere? Yes! She likes to be groomed, and will now stand for her belly and udder being cleaned. Can handle back legs reliably now. Spray bottles are fine now too.

- Good for farrier? No comment. She's coming soon and I don't want to jinx it.

- Trailers? Yes, she's a good girl.

- Leads? Yes, her manners are excellent now.

- Wears blankets and boots without drama? Yes.

-Ponies? Yes. She needs the odd reminder about where she should be, and that it's not play time, but generally she's quite good.

- Good on roads and trails? Yes. Still slightly suspicious of loose dogs, motorbikes, and larger trucks, though. Getting way better!

- Goes through water, ditches, up and down banks and steep hills.

Things to work on:

- Tying patiently. She's all about fidgeting.

- Related: tends towards being impatient/pushy. I have to stay pretty vigilant about that, patience and respect for my personal space are not always things she finds easy.

- Being left alone. The screaming can be incessant. Hate it. The temper tantrum part is more interesting...she seems more angry than insecure. Luckily it's improving.

Ponied her to the ring, then exiled her to the penalty box this morning while I rode B. She finds this VERY hard, even though she can still see us the majority of the time.

- Eating food other than hay or grass. She's not wild about grain or grain like treats, most of it is left in her bucket. Will not eat carrots. Will nibble on apples, maybe is developing a taste for them.

Prefers this orchardgrass hay only, if we're being specific. I'm glad I have no actual toddlers, because this pony is enough.
Bridget says it's cool, she'll pick up the slack and finish Sophie's apple for her.

- Wearing a saddle. First time was last week and I'd like to start ponying her with tack.

- In general, keeping calm and thinking things through is a work in progress. She defaults to all the drama all the time, but she's maturing and now comes up with better answers more frequently. I'd like that to continue!

And I can't end this post without a big acknowledgement of Bridget. Turns out she is the best with babies, and a lot of the stuff I note as getting better with Sophie has been in part due to Bridget keeping the discipline and peace 24/7. Sophie was screaming at us over the gate the other day as I led B back to the field. B was so disgusted she reached over the fence and bit her, like "go away and shut up, already!". Lol, thanks Bridget!

B sometimes even shares her hay with Sophie, which is totally out of character for B.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Chillin'

I've been having a weird couple of weeks and feeling not quite myself. Random strange unlucky occurences seem to be the name of the game lately, so when my lesson this had to be cancelled due to some (legit) unforeseen circumstances I was almost a little relieved as I've been a little overwhelmed with coping with the rest of life.  That makes it three weeks without a lesson, though, so hopefully we'll get back in the swing of things soon. No one's fault, it's just how life goes sometimes!

Sophie side eye. I will need those riding skills for this one, I think.

I did ride anyway this week during my normal ride time, but as I warmed up I was noticing I was really losing Audrey to the right. Since the right side of my back and right hip has been giving me all sorts of grief lately, connecting the dots it made sense she was only trying to go where she thought I wanted her. (This is sounding so moan-y, I promise things here are good!) So, rather than hop on the struggle bus over a non issue completely caused by my tight, sore body, I took my barnmates up on the invitation for a trail ride and Audrey and I just chilled at a walk on a loose rein for the next hour. Maybe not productive in the "learning-to-ride-better" sense, but completely helpful in loosening those muscles and keeping us both in a happy headspace!
Older pic of Audrey

Closer to home, I haven't been doing anything too meaningful with Bridget. She's pretty uninterested in ringwork no matter how I approach it of late, so we've been continuing on with hacking a little, jumping a little, and playing babysitter to Sophie a lot. I feel a little like a quitter still as far as she's concerned, but she really is happier being the backyard pony doing a little bit of everything and she's a very good girl who deserves that. I do take home the odd thing I've learned on Audrey and apply it to Bridget, but mostly she just gets to toodle around and be a mobile couch running on treat power :)
I organized my pictures and now have an entire folder titled "Bridget sitting" LOL

I've been having a lot of fun taking Sophie for hikes and generally attempting to teach her the ways and responsibilities of grown up horses, but mostly things have been pretty chill, and I think will remain so until Sophie grows up a little. Depending on the day, I waffle between appreciating saving my money and not having any big show plans or goals, and being all "Life is short!YOLO!" And wishing I had another horse to ride to bridge the gap to help me really continue to progress as a rider and make dents in the bucket list. That's just silly though, because I'm lucky to have Audrey to ride once a week, Bridget always has more to teach me, and Sophie will be grown up probably before I know it! Best to just enjoy all the good things the present holds!

Bridget actually loves playing babysitter to the little Banana pest.


Saturday, 25 August 2018

Dressing Up With Sophie


We tried out some of my shopping extravaganza legwear on Friday. Sophie was uncharacteristically patient, perhaps because I took her with me on a 2 hour hike immediately before. Tired, bored pony  = good pony!


Well, sort of good pony. The back boots were slightly offensive at first. 
She thinks I'm ridiculous. Hiking in a giant circle through the forest is fairly pointless in her opinion. Only slightly more tolerable than standing tied and trying on boots.! Poor pony. These are the Woof brushing boots. New small set on front, and Bridget's fronts fit her back legs.
The Lemieux Prosport ones were on super sale, but unfortunately the smalls are too big. I'll have to try to track down some xs ones next time there's a sale. They're soft and basically I think make a lighter, more breathable (and easier to apply) option than polos. No strike plates or hard shells, but I can see myself using these on her.
Also on the list to try were some Lemieux Combi Bandages. Very pretty, love the idea, were on a great sale, but what was I thinking? As much as I'd love to play the matchy matchy game, in real life I'm unlikely to be that motivated. In fact, I wrapped one leg and was like "OK, they seem nice, but I'm just going to put them back in the package and put some boots on, I've got other things to do today" :)


Saturday, I tortured her yet again, by trying on last years blankets (too small, sigh, need to order a size or two bigger for fall). I tried on some other boot options too, but nothing fit as well as the Woof ones for now.

Then I got super ambitious, and this happened:

First time wearing a saddle!
She really wasn't worried about any of it, which was honestly, a little surprising. She's obviously been well handled and I'm constantly leaning on her and throwing ropes and blankets all over her...but still. Drama is kind of her thing, so...
"Silly human, I am a pony. Food always trumps drama"
Never mind:
Her buddy in a nearby field decided to run around and play, and so she thought about joining in. Then i think she suddenly realized the saddle wasn't going anywhere.

Five seconds later:
"Oh, never mind that, this was the spot with the good grass!"

I took the saddle off and on a couple of times, and had her w/t/c around a little (not too much though, I worry about wear and tear on joints round penning and lunging youngsters), but beyond that 5 seconds of "whoa it's attached to me!" she was super and totally chill. After Ginger, it's pretty nice to have a sensitive horse who's pretty darn sensible and trusting when it comes down to it.



Thursday, 23 August 2018

Growing Pony

April 2018:



Today:


I feel like Sophie is looking quite a bit more mature 5 months into owning her (thank goodness - I would have been too big for her is she stayed that little!) It's still a bit hit or miss week by week whether she's looking presentable or in yet another awkward growth stage, though! There are days when I seriously wonder what I bought, lol. Then a couple of weeks later, I'm like "Hey, she's not that bad!" I'm going to beg G to help me take some actual confo photos one of these days. There's a lot I like, but also a lot I wish was better. It will be interesting to see how age and building muscle through ridden work affect my impressions.

She's grown just about 2 inches since she arrived and is actually wide enough now that I can imagine riding her one day. She's exactly 2.5 years old right now. Maybe this time next year she'll be puttering around the trails and starting to learn about being a riding pony? We'll see!

As far as her weight, as you can see that's levelled out recently and she's almost getting a bit plump! So, she's off pasture and back to getting a good quality local hay supplemented with a bit of alfalfa and a ration balancer for growing horses. She's still the friendliest horse you could ever hope to meet and is always looking for something to do! I think I've mentioned with Bridget it took well over a year to feel like we had a connection, but with Sophie it was pretty much instantaneous. Love them both!

In other news, here's a bit of a boot purchasing update:

I went a little crazy shopping the summer sales. We'll try everything this weekend!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Good Things

The weather is so stinky. On the radio this morning, they mentioned on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the worst , our air quality is rated '10 plus'. Makes sense because my lungs are like 'Is this even air anymore?' So, due to not being able to breathe, I cancelled my Audrey lesson tonite. Sad face. It's now been 8 days since I rode last and 2 weeks since a lesson. Even sadder face.

Cute sad face courtesy of Ginger. Random (and usually unrelated to the blog content ) media, brought to you by me, as always.

To turn this post positive, I thought this might be an excellent time to delve into why I am am so sad to miss my lessons. Not to dwell on the negative of missing them, but to focus on why I love my weekly lessons so much. You know I love Audrey and I know you're probably sick of hearing how wonderful she is, so we won't go there. Rest assured she's still Best Pony Ever.

Sophie = Future Best Pony Ever. Sophie also = Pony who is so golden and shiny my cell phone camera can't cope. She's the fuzzy glowing thing in my photos that makes Bridget disappear :)

It's been quite a while though since I mentioned the other part of the equation - the coaching itself. So, let's do a good old top ten list of the things I most appreciate about my coach (and good coaches in general!)

1. Has my back. She's running her own business, and no, that business does not revolve around my riding goals or needs/wants. But she's excellent at listening to my (often rambling/incoherent) thoughts and suggesting real world goals and milestones I might want to work towards. No matter how unrealistic my goals or how poorly I ride, she's always able to find a positive way to move forward. I put in the work, she's going to 110% match my effort and help me get where I want to be.

2. Professional. Does not tolerate negative barn gossip, riders who bully or mistreat their horses (or other riders). Ditto for other trainers - no negativity is welcome! I appreciate that the rare time something needs to be addressed, it's done so in a quiet and effective way. Is normally punctual for lessons, and even things like bills are timely and easily understandable.

3. Honest. Doesn't sugar coat anything, but doesn't beat you (or your horse) up over it either. If feedback is negative, always follows up by suggesting a positive action you can take to make steps towards improving.

4. Rides and Competes. This is not a deal breaker for me, but I do appreciate someone who can get on my horse and problem solve if need be. I also like that she's competing and riding with her own coach and bringing back fresh ideas and experiences to share. Bonus points for being active in more than one discipline.

 5. Assertive/Confident. OK, I need to fess up here that I REALLY don't like being told what to do, and this quality can rub me the wrong way with some people. In a riding coach though, it works super well for me because I have someone pushing my boundaries and challenging me to meet their expectations of me. I find people who are confident in themselves also generally don't feel the need to play some of the power games other coaches might.

My two enjoying their vacation last week.

6. Qualified. This matters to me - I always look for someone who has not just the riding and training credentials, but someone who has put in the time to get an education in coaching or is certified through our national organization. Riding instruction doesn't come cheap, so I might as well pay for someone with a professional qualification in coaching AND riding.

7. Positive. This ties into a lot of my points, but I think it deserves it's own. Riding is HARD, so I really, really appreciate someone who approaches it from a positive, hard working mindset. Someone that can encourage me a little and find ways to keep me positive and motivated.

8. Good Communication. Happy to stop mid lesson to explain a concept, and able to break it down into tiny steps if need be. Equally good at explaining the how and the why of what she's asking and presenting alternate explanations or options if need be. On the same general topic - I appreciate coaches who take the time to send out emails or texts about goings on at the barn - everything from schedule updates to links to useful online articles to reminders for show entries, etc.

9. Flexible. Look at me -  middle aged rider on a not dressage pony living a ferry ride away from anything, who has dreams of upper level dressage. And yet, she's provided me with plenty of ideas and options to help me get there.

10. Open Minded. I like having a coach who encourages me to learn outside of her teaching - whether it's reading books or taking clinics with other people. Discussion of the whys and hows of riding and training is always welcome and I always feel like I am free to ask questions or use her as a sounding board for ideas or decisions.

And, my particular coach gets a bonus thing I really appreciate, because I'd never expect this of anyone:

11. Gives Me Lessons On Her (Very Nice) Horse.  You knew I couldn't make a list without including Audrey! In all seriousness though, I don't know too many people who are so generous with ride time on their upper level horse, especially one who is still learning and moving up the levels.

Bridget, the other Best Pony, has a new field to mow while we wait out the weather. She's happy (and shiny!)

What's your favorite thing about your coach or trainer?

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Smokey

Current weather: Smoke :(

I've chosen not to ride this week because the air quality has been so bad due to all the wildfires. I'm definitely not complaining, because we're pretty lucky to only have to limit our outdoor time and not worry about evacuations or losing property.

Daytime, not filtered cell phone pic from the last time this happened. This weekend's conditions are nearly identical - it's very yellow outside and visibility is low.

This weekend was the Campbell Valley three day event I've loved riding in the past two years. I was very sad to miss it this year, but looking at the weather, there's no way I would have risked Bridget out there, given her history of off and on COPD. Fingers crossed hard, it's been under control with a change of hay supplier and a new living situation this past year. I haven't needed meds for her in two years now, which is great! But, I'm still very cautious with her -  she's my once in a lifetime pony who I want to live a very long and happy life!

The leaves are falling off the trees, it's been so dry, Bridget views that as an opportunity tho. She vacuums them right up!

Cross your fingers for some rain for everyone who needs it. This is the second summer in a row with exceptionally hot and dry weather and very little measurable rain. The town I work in is actually in danger of running out of water in their lakes/reservoir, which is crazy given this is normally the "Wet Coast".

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Talk Horse Boots To Me

As mentioned previously, my little wild child of a two year old is...athletic. And yet, kind of not. She's a lovely mover, but she's also not shy about flinging those legs in all sorts of directions they probably shouldn't go in.

Baby giraffe

I've mentioned her energy levels and love of play time a lot here. What I haven't mentioned is that it's not unusual for her to come back with nicks and dings on her legs. It doesn't seem to be confined to one leg, it seems like basically anything from the knee or hock down is fair game from her other hooves. We're on tiny cut number 3 in the last month, which shouldn't be a big deal, but it's summer, and there is dust and flies and they take a bit to heal. I am tired of hosing and using multiple containers of fly repellents and magic healing potions. I don't want any teensy scars on my perfect pony that I spent too much on :).


So help me, because I'm new to this. My other horses have been nice enough, and athletic enough, but nowhere near motivated or bendy enough to injure themselves so creatively.

I'm actually embarrassed to admit this, but I've never bought any kind of boots or wraps for my horses before. Bridget is the first one I've used them on and she's actually won two full sets of jumping boots for herself as prizes from shows, so I don't over think it and just use those when my coach says to :) (Bridget's boots are obviously too big for Sophie)

Cute pic of Bridget, just because

What sort of boots do you prefer? As far as I'm concerned, she's going to have to be naked in turnout, but I wouldn't mind something to stick on her when we're out and about or for the first hour or so when I swap her field around (which is usually when she feels the need to show off her extra....special...moves anyway!)


Bonus points if it's something we can continue to use once she's under saddle, because I'm poor. Extra special bonus points if it doesn't involve wrapping or special care. What do the cool dressage kids use? Is there a version of that for ponies?

Google is presenting me with way too many options and I'm over thinking it. Basically I need something that comes in 14hh sporty pony size, and will protect her legs from the effects of potentially interfering with the other 3 legs. I'm not so much worried about support or anything like that, just something to effectively bubble wrap her and keep those legs pretty :)

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Sophie Monster

There can be much drama where I board. Some of it is not relevant to me at all, and I do my best to just ignore it. Some of it does directly affect me, and I do my best to handle it like a grown up, even though I want to basically throw stuff around, load up the horses, and hit the road..

However, being annoyed by the barn drama feels a little hypocritical, because much drama at the barn also originates from a blonde pony. More specifically, an adorable blonde pony I happen to own.

Doesn't stand still for photos very often. on the plus side, she gets Bridget moving too every once in a while/

She's generally very sweet and respectful of people, but oh my, does she play hard and have an excess of energy. She's hard enough on things that I've been budgeting an hour once a week to repair/replace things she breaks. First victim: fence boards (and yes, there is electric wire up too, but her kicks as she's running and bucking are deadly accurate). Also, at this point she's smashed numerous water buckets. I've ordered some tub trugs from the UK so hopefully that solves that problem.

 More recently, she bent two tie rings in the grooming area.  Barn owner is not impressed. I'm not impressed. Pony ties, until she decides she's done. She's never escaped on my watch, but I suspect she must have at some point in her life, because it's not panicky jumping around/scared of pressure, it's pretty deliberate "OK I am bored now, pay attention to me" sitting on her bum and setting back against the halter/tie. A smack on the bottom gets her to step back up, but yep, I foresee a lot of standing tied all by herself and being patient in her future. Also, I foresee some new tie rings in my budget. I feel like I need to put out to the universe that I'm grateful that the barn owner continues to tolerate my little monster of a 2 year old pony!

Zoom

Yesterday, G volunteered to walk the sassy pony to the ring while I rode Bridget. He's super with Sophie, so I never say no if he wants to take her for a walk. Yesterday, although she was trying to keep a lid on her excess energy, there was the perfect storm in that the metal recycler guy was using his forklift and dropped a big pallet of used propane bottles on the road, one of which started hissing. (Have I mentioned this guy before? He's super nice, but clueless about horses. He randomly has this little area right on the side of the road, on farmland, where people take scrap metal to him. He loads it in a truck parked on the road and I think drives it to the city to recycle. This operation involves a big rattley truck, an ancient forklift, and metal shipping containers that he's usually inside rummaging around as we ride by. Often he's using the forklift to dump stuff in the shipping containers as we ride by. It's loud! He's the best at bombproofing my horses. He also owns a field elsewhere he lets me ride in, so I never complain!)

On the plus side, you'll notice she pretty much ALWAYS has at least an ear or an eye tipped towards me, and is super people oriented in general, so I have a lot of hope this energy will be funneled towards good things in the future.

Anyway, back to to dropped load of hissing propane bottles lying in the road. At that point I turned around and Sophie was past the recycling place but rearing and jumping up and down beside G. Not in his space or anything, but still not cool, so I traded G for Bridget and Sophie and I had a little chat about manners being a thing no matter how much energy you're itching to burn off, or how "scary" the world is (she's actually very brave and curious, and been by the recycling guys place a million times,  so the 'scary' was just an excuse to be silly). She was a little angel for him after that, go figure.

So sorry, please don't hate me.

I've been taking her to the arena once a week or so while I ride Bridget, and sticking her in the round pen to wait for us and learn patience (G calls it the penalty box, which is oddly appropriate, lol). Its really hard for her, because she is all about being the center of our attention. There's consistently about 5-10 minutes of rodeo, screaming, and pony losing her mind and having a temper tantrum, because no one is paying any attention to her. That's immediately followed by standing at the gate and making super sad submissive baby pony faces when she sees you. So, so sorry she is, please let's be friends again. It's a sad, sad, life. Fingers crossed the tantrums disappear as time goes on. I have a feeling they will. I just ignore her, and Bridget isn't one to call back or react to her in any way, so basically she's not getting any reward.

Banana colored at the moment, her coat is already coming in lighter for the winter. I was at a dressage clinic years ago and there was a nice little palomino pony who had the typical beige-y off white winter palomino coat. I don't know exactly why, but when the kid told Steffen Peters her pony was named Mayo, I got the giggles and just couldn't even. I want my own off  white pony called Mayo. No one else thinks it's as hilarious as me, so Sophie she remains. 


It's all just silly baby stuff, and honestly she is a super baby to deal with, and not actually a monster at all. She's just lacking the mental maturity of a grown up pony, and makes bad choices sometimes, lol. The joy of owning youngsters!  I don't think she's ever going to be quiet or easy in the traditional sense, but she's very kind and wants to please, so we'll be fine. I'm really looking forward to riding her and having her in a proper program...I think she's going to thrive once she's physically mature enough to have a proper job to funnel that energy towards.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Jump To It

This is such first world problems, but I haven't been riding as much as I'd like because:

-It's been really hot (for here)
-Bridget hates the heat and goes into angry tar pit dinosaur mode.
-Two horses really do create twice the barn chores, don't let anyone tell you otherwise! (Or maybe it's just my extra hyperactive baby pony making a ton of work for me? No clue. She legit eats and poops twice as much as Bridget and loves to smash stuff and play hard like a colt would. She's lucky she's cute!) 


Anyway, let's get to the point. After 6 weeks, it finally rained and Bridget was happy again. So, we jumped for the first time since winter, because why not?

Someone built a little course in the club arena. Bridget perked right up when she saw it, so I couldnt say no. I'm grateful to whoever took the time to set it up.
My eye for distance was mostly lost in the past, but the jumps were teeny and Bridget was happy to pack me around and suggest striding in the lines. I forgot how good she can be, she really does have the jumping thing down pat.
Whee!



Thursday, 9 August 2018

Lesson Recap

You're probably all sick of me saying I had another fantastic lesson, but there it is. I did. Again.


Don't worry, it's not all perfect - my life/luck is ridiculous sometimes! Someone, somewhere, stole some personal info of mine and this week made a bunch of very large charges to my credit card, all in a 24 hour span. Very annoying thing to happen in normal circumstances, but you will recall we are currently shopping around for the best mortgage rate for the dream farm, and so having my account frozen for a fraud investigation for the next two weeks isn't exactly making me feel warm and fuzzy. So, let's just say these fun weekly lessons are extra appreciated right now.


I haven't watched this movie, but when I got a call confirming the super expensive vacation tour I had apparently booked for someone, my coworkers suggested we try to intercept and meet the person a la this movie. I might actually find this funny...sometime later.


Moving onwards... to a happy lesson recap :)

Audrey had a bit more pep than normal since it's summer camp week and EC's been busy. Her new saddle is also helping - I would have said she was fantastic before, but now there is a whole extra level of softness and roundness on offer right off the bat.

We did all the normal things we do: Walk/trot/canter, collect and extend in each gait. Shoulder in, haunches in on the quarterline and on a 15m circle. 

The big breakthrough for me was that I'm really starting to be able to sit and collect the canter by degrees where before, the forward and back was a bit too dramatic and often I'd lose the quality of the canter (or even lose the canter altogether). Still a work in progress, but I'm starting to get a feel.

 Also, in general I'm getting much quicker about getting back to where I was before I made a mistake, and far better about correcting myself before the mistake actually happens. Haunches in on the circle was cause for me to ask for yet more inadvertent flying changes (I think I may never learn to fully contain that outside shoulder on the left lead), but I'm getting better about just adding a walk or trot step and getting back on track immediately.

Audrey is totally happy toodling along with me on board right now, and came walking up to meet me in the field, looking for a job to do. No visible anger when I brushed her too, which is somewhat new - she is a princess and doesn't have time for such things.  I'm also not sure there is a brush in existence she doesn't find either too hard or too soft. A happy, content Audrey feels nice since A has many opinions about a lot things. Most of the time I think her opinions regarding me are probably not flattering!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Well Worth It

I don't kid myself, private lessons with a great coach on a talented horse are probably never going to come cheap. My lessons on Audrey come in fairly reasonably priced (I think) at $75 for about 30-45 min of riding.

That $75 a week for "extra" horse expenses is a stretch for me, so there's been a bit of budget shuffling to make it happen. G and I keep our own finances and don't share a bank account, but I do still struggle with a bit of guilt over choosing to spend $300 a month on something solely for myself with nothing visibly concrete to show for it.

Sorry honey, can't afford my own new car, so I'm borrowing your truck again....my budget is dedicated to horses of a different sort ;) G and I joke that our bank accounts are called "For Horses" and "Not For Horses", no prizes for guessing whose is whose, lol
I had another super lesson this week on the ever amazing Audrey. I was thinking about my life choices on my drive home tonight and yeah, $75 a week is so worth it, I have no regrets. Not only am I learning things I'll carry forward with me far into the future, but the amount of confidence I'm gaining in myself and my riding is invaluable too. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but the tough stuff is what's motivated me to get back to running, eating better, hitting the gym, and generally looking after myself. All very good things that will make me a happier, healthier, and better person.

We're using the term "running" loosely right now...better look out, my 30 min 3k game is strong ;)

I hate to admit this too, but it's been a very long time (actually, I'm not sure it's EVER happened) since I've really, wholeheartedly been excited to ride, especially in a lesson. I do enjoy riding, and I certainly enjoy learning. I like feeling like I'm making progress. I always get a lot out of lessons. But there's always been that feeling in the back of my mind that maybe I can't do this. What if this this is clinician who finally levels with me that I'm wasting my time? 

Can't even.

Bridget is fantastic in a million ways, but I feel like she can be super unforgiving. If you don't get it perfectly right, she won't waste any time trying. Actually, even if you get it perfectly right, she might not bother :) Not always ideal for someone whose default is to think they are not a good enough rider. Prior to life with Bridget, I had big struggles off and on with feeling overhorsed, so riding was at best anxiety inducing, at worst, dangerous. Still, I love it, go figure. 

I owe Bridget the world though, for getting my confidence back enough to gallop and jump again. I might feel like a completely inadequate rider and trainer with her sometimes, but we've certainly made a dent in my horsey bucket list!

This is the first time in my life all that baggage is pretty much left at the door. Riding Audrey is just straight up fun. I love her. I am 0% nervous on her, I have no agenda. I have no shows or goals  on the horizon to stress over, and coach I feel very comfortable with. I can make mistakes and neither Audrey nor EC really care. So long as I'm trying, Audrey will do her best to figure out what I want and while she certainly lets me know when I'm not up to standard, she forgets about it just moments later, no grudges held.

Sophie also holds zero grudges. And yes, that's B still sulking in the background because I put fly spray on them (gasp!). She hilarious, I just love her curmudgeonly self. Once I start brushing or otherwise giving Sophie attention, you'd better believe B is suddenly my best friend and Sophie is not allowed to share, lol

 So,  all that's left is to feel super excited, like small child excited, to just get in the saddle and see what Audrey and I can do today. Yes, I will make a million mistakes, no it won't be perfect. But you can be certain it will be fun!