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Me modeling my new Samshield Helmet

Samshield for the Win

Saturday dawned cold and raining. Ugh. But luckily I had another barn hop scheduled with Jess from Riding Rainbow, so I dragged myself out of bed and hit the road. I arrived in time to help tack up Lexi (which means I fed her endless carrots while Jess did actual work. I’m an excellent aunt, haha!) There was some… commotion going on in the ring, but for the most part Lex handled herself well. And once they got going, she really relaxed and stretched down. I have to say, even in the short time they’ve been in Ohio, Lexi is looking really, really good. She’s coming right along in her training, and even I see a difference when I watch her go!
Jess and Lex

After Lexi finished off her bag of carrots, we visited Mr. Miles. Jess brought along her brand new (and ridiculously gorgeous) Ogilvy jumper pad for me to try. And let me tell you, in my brief experience, these pads live up to the hype! I love the close contact feel of my new Prestige, and this pad didn’t take that away; it just felt like a thin pillow under the seat of my saddle. Miles really liked it too, he had some great transitions, and really gave an awesome effort at the trot, giving to the bit and tracking up underneath himself.

I untacked, put Miles back in house and we headed to the tack store to browse consignment and try on helmets. Unfortunately we didn’t see much in consignment, although Jess and I did try on some tall boots, but alas our monster calves didn’t fit in them. So we picked out some cookies for Lexi and got my head measured. Apparently I have a huge head (but really, I’m funny-shaped everywhere else, so why would my head be a normal size or shape?!)

I tried on a Charles Owen GR8 first, and it just didn’t work. The first size was too big, and the size down was too small. Jess can attest to the fact that I looked like a clown. So next I tried on a Samshield Shadow Matte, which was conservative enough for my traditional (read: old) trainer, but cheaper than a GPA. As soon as I put it on, I was in love. It fit great, felt like a cushion on my head and looked like it was made for me. So I bought it! Yay for new helmets!!

First ride in my new Samshield Shadowmatt Helmet
Miles is REALLY EXCITED about the new helmet…. not.
Miles is REALLY EXCITED about the new helmet…. not.

Killin’ Those Crossrails

Despite my work and general life drama from this past week, I went ahead with my regularly scheduled Thursday evening lesson. It ended up being a private, and Jess from Riding Rainbow came to watch. It was a nice treat to have a fresh take on my riding, and she got along famously with my trainer (they chatted all about Florida and selling horses and pancake saddles).

I told my trainer I wanted to have a bit of an easier lesson. With everything going on, it was just nice to ride and feel somewhat accomplished. We started out on the flat, and Miles felt a little stiff. We focused on exercises at the trot to help him loosen up, and after about 15 minutes he was going great. We practiced picking up the right lead canter, which I seem to have totally forgotten how to do. Which is annoying and frustrating for everyone involved. But we made some progress, and I have some things to work on in my flat rides.

After Miles called it quits on stupid canter transitions, we moved on to jumping. And he was stoked about it. As soon as we jumped the first crossrail, his ears perked up and he was ON IT. We just did small 2′ jumps, which is fine with me. I focused on keeping my eye up and looking ahead… way ahead. As soon as I did that, Miles was awesome. We got every single lead change, including two in our difficult direction (right to left)!! Jess even took some video for us:

Cute Puppy Pictures

So I promised pictures of my puppy, Rocky, being adorable in exchange for winning the SMTT Equestrian Blogger March Madness Semi-Final Round I. And we did! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me, and to say thank you, you’re not only going to get cute pictures, but the full Story of Rocky.

My fiancĂ©e, Sam, grew up with dogs; I grew up with cats. When we decided to move in together, Sam really, really wanted a dog… and who was I to argue? Unfortunately, Sam is allergic to short-haired dogs, so that limited our doggie options pretty quickly. I preferred to go to the pound and adopt, but our requirements (non-shedding, small, easy to train) made me worried that we wouldn’t find what we were looking for.

At the time, we had moved in with Sam’s mom for a few months while we were in between apartments, and she has five dogs, so I figured we would just wait until we got our apartment. At the time, I was working for the Ohio Quarter Horse Association, and each July they host an AQHA Regional show. So of course, I was working and into the office one day walks a lady with two adorable Havanese puppies. She put them on the counter and one was running around, sniffing everyone and the other laid down and went to sleep.

The day we picked up Rocky!

I instantly fell in love with the sleepy puppy, named Grommitt (of Wallace and Grommitt fame because the dad’s name was Wallace). But the breeder was asking a lot of money for the puppies, and I just couldn’t justify it. There are so many dogs in shelters that need good homes, I felt like I didn’t need to spend a bunch of money to buy one. But I left the breeder my name and number anyways, and told her to call if she had any trouble selling them.



Two weeks later I got the call. The breeder still had a few puppies left and really needed to sell them. She told me to make an offer. I totally low-balled her, figuring we would meet in the middle, but she accepted! A few days later Sam and I drove up to her house and picked up Grommitt, who we promptly renamed Rocky (his show name is Rocky Roo Raccoon, because every respectable animal has to have a barn name, a show name and as many nicknames as possible).


And we’ve had Rocky ever since — just about four years now. He’s an awesome dog; super easy-going, loves to cuddle and smart. We potty-trained him in two weeks, he chewed exactly one slipper and one lamp cord and that’s it. We go on long walks, he sleeps in until noon on weekends and he responds to “Where’s the Baby?” but not to “Where’s the Dog?”

Rocky loves the wind!
Rocky and his girlfriend, Polly


Who me?
Oh hai
Snowtime Roo!
It’s too deep! HELP!
Chillin with Dad
Who disturbs my slumber?
Demonstrating one of his favorite tricks
Bareback horseback ride

March Madness – Vote for a Bareback Ride!

I’m up again in She Moved To Texas’ Equestrian Blogger March Madness. Never fear, you’re cute puppy pictures are slated for tomorrow, but I need your help once again! This time, I’m upping the ante. Instead of just cute pictures, if I win, I’ll do something I’ve never done before:

Ride Miles Bareback

That’s right folks, I’ve never sat on my horse without a saddle. In fact, I can’t even tell you the last time I rode any horse without a saddle. Probably not since high school. So if you vote for me, and I win this match-up I’ll videotape and photograph my first time ever riding Miles bareback! It’s sure to be some funny video of 1) me attempting to mount without a saddle and 2) attempting not to fall off while I trot and canter.

So what are you waiting for, go vote for us! Blogger March Madness