I’m working on something uber exciting for everyone and when it’s finished, you all will be positively thrilled! I just know the blogosphere is going to explode in fireball of a champagne and glitter… okay, that’s a it over the top. But I am really excited for my little surprise!
But in the meantime, while life continues to get in the way of my riding (or I just ride like a monkey, which is not fun to read about day in and day out) I decided to initiate a Five Day Challenge. I’m way too spastic to attempt the 30 Day Challenge, so I came up with 25 (fairly) original questions to answer, and I’m going to do them five at a time, because I can.
1. Most influential person on your riding
When I first started riding I took lessons at this barn way out in Amish country. The barn owner had a string of school horses and taught the lessons herself — her name was Holly and she has been, by far, the most influential person in my riding career.
I did my very first horse show at her barn, in which I won Champion and began my slippery descent into craving horse shows, which I haven’t sufficiently sated to this day. She introduced me to 4-H, where most of my larger successes have taken place. She taught me to brush a horse, lead a trail ride and how to muck out stalls. I definitely wouldn’t be the horsewoman I am today had I never met her. She was a hardworking woman, and I really learned that from her. If I had taken lessons somewhere else, I’m not sure I would have learned all the basics and enjoyed taking care of my own horses.
2. Piece of tack you’d love to splurge on
This one is easy for me: custom CWD saddle. My currently saddle doesn’t fit Miles because it was purchased for a stupid wide horse and Miles is narrow, OF COURSE. I’m really not looking forward to the saddle hunt, but that pain would certainly be eased if I could afford a brand-spanking new custom saddle. You know, one of those CWD’s with buffalo or calf leather, a half deep seat and short flaps. And I’m drooling on keyboard. So if anyone has a spare $6k laying around that they want to send my way, I sure wouldn’t complain!
3. Top 5 riding playlist
“Started from the Bottom” – Drake
“Anywhere with You” – Jake Owen
“Summer Love” – Justin Timberlake
“The Only Way I Know” – Jason Aldean
“Applause” – Lady Gaga
4. Most important aspect of your barn?
There are a lot of things I can’t live without in a boarding barn: quality AND reliable care, ample turnout, safe facilities, indoor arena with lights, jumps and a tack room all come to mind. But there are a ton of extras that I love about my current barn: heated tack rooms, bathrooms, excellent barn manager, tons of staff, owners on premises, two indoor arenas with lights, two outdoor arenas (one with lights) and yeah, I could go on and on. I fucking love my barn.
But the best part? The atmosphere. The staff is so nice and helpful — I’ve yet to hear them say “no” to a request. And all the boarders are genuinely nice to each other. There are two hunter/jumper trainers at the barn, and we all get along. Even boarders who don’t take lessons are sweet and always ask how you’re doing. It’s nice to feel like you’re part of a bigger barn family, and I’ve definitely found that at this facility.
|Gorgeous, isn’t it?
5. Three winter riding goals
- Improve my leg strength
- Jump higher fences
- Increase Miles’ flexibility
My plan is to institute one ride a week where I solely focus on myself. I’m so lucky to have a tolerant and easy going horse who will put up with a flailing monkey on his back, so I need to take advantage of that. This means one ride where I don’t give a shit about how Miles goes around, I’m just going to worry about me: sitting up straight, shoulders back, core tight and strong legs. I need to add in some two-point work, as well as no stirrup time.
The higher fences will come into play mostly during lessons, I think. I’m going to try to make sure to ask for a higher fence or two towards the end of my lessons, so that I can begin to get the feel of how to ride a bigger jump. I also think that some more jumping outside of lessons would be good for my confidence. I want to try to do this once or twice a month this winter, since I won’t jump without someone else in the ring. I’ll start with just singles, and maybe work up to a full course — we’ll just see how it goes.
Finally, for Miles, we just need more work on figures: 20m circles, 10m circles and leg yields are all things we need to work on. I think a private lesson once a month where we can focus more on some of the flatwork would benefit us tremendously, so hopefully I can swing that financially.