Even though Miles is only my second horse, I’ve been an equestrian for more than 10 years. I’ve seen and dealt with my fair share of lameness, wounds and general equine issues. However, it never ceases to amaze me that no matter how much you think you know, there’s always something new you can learn about horses. Currently, Miles is teaching me all about rain rot… and I have to admit, it really sucks. I’ve definitely gone through a variety of emotions [from worry, to terror, to anxiety and even depression] but I’m starting feeling a bit better since this nasty fungus is finally starting to clear up. Anyways, I thought I’d share with you all a bit about the lovely stuff I’ve been dealing with… cause I know rain rot is extremely intriguing [heh].
I haven’t jumped since July 5 — that’s almost an entire month! I told my trainer that if I didn’t go over a fence soon, I’d totally forgot “how to hunter” and maybe even shrivel up and die. Yeah, yeah, #firstworldproblems for sure. But luckily she enjoys indulging me, so she let me take a lesson on Vinnie. And man, did I have a blast! We just jumped around a small 2′ course, but it felt great to do more than trot a large circle. Vinnie and I are old pals, but we didn’t end our relationship on the best note. I was a bit apprehensive to jump him again, but all my worry was for naught: we got along absolutely famously. Trainer even commented that this was the best I’ve ever ridden Vinnie, and she doesn’t say things she doesn’t mean!
Riding Vinnie is just like riding a bike: it takes you a few seconds to adjust, but once you do it’s like you’ve been doing it once a week every week of your life. He’s so easy and forgiving to ride, but fairly sensitive with some really cool buttons for riders that are more advanced. Most of my time spent on Vinnie was when I was not advanced whatsoever; now, I know a little bit more and I got to experience some of the buttons on purpose. Vinnie, despite being a rather rotund 15.1hh APHA, can be very large and very fast when he wants to be. It used to scare me, because he’d do it when he decided he’d had enough of the large sack of potatoes flailing around on his back. In fact it got so bad sometimes that we joked Vinnie had an alter ego: Vincenzo the $150,000 German Riding Pony.
But during my lesson, I asked for a little bit of Vincenzo: we opened up and did the horse strides, and took a few longer spots [Vinnie is famous for adding in a 2′ stride right before the fence sometimes, if you’re not paying attention]. He felt amazing — and even his German Riding Pony back-cracking jump didn’t fling me out the tack one single time. A year ago, that was a regular occurrence, even at 2′. By the end of the lesson, I was beaming. I’ve come so far and progressed so much… it’s a wonderful feeling indeed.
You’ve seen my favorite bracelets, and my favorite belts; so let’s talk equestrian-style rings today. I wear three rings every day of my life: my wedding ring, a plain silver snaffle bit ring and a sparkly belt buckle ring that I got the first year I worked at Quarter Horse Congress. I’ve worn them all for so long that I can’t take them off because I feel naked without them… and because I have ridiculously horrible tan lines. Obviously I’m not going to be changing up my wedding ring with every outfit I wear, but I would like some more variety for my other fingers [isn’t that the theme of this entire series anyways?]. So I picked out my favorite equestrian-inspired jewelry for my digits:
#1 Infinite Luck Equestrian Ring
I’m hitting it hard right out of the gate with my splurge item this week. While it’s super pricey for a bit of metal on my finger, I have to admit that I absolutely adore the design of this ring! It comes in 925 sterling silver, but can be ordered in 10k or 14k Gold, Rose Gold or White Gold. While I usually am more of a silver metal girl, I actually really like this ring in gold — so classy an elegant I just had to have it on my list.
#2 Snaffle Bit Equestrian Ring
A twist on the classic snaffle bit ring, I loved the modern take on this staple piece of equestrian jewelry. I already have a more traditional snaffle bit ring, but for this price I wouldn’t mind having two! This ring also comes in either silver or gold, so of course that got a big thumbs up from this girl. Variety is the spice of life!
#3 Offset Horseshoe Equestrian Ring
I used to have a horseshoe ring that I wore religiously, but it was cheap and stained my fingers green [gross]. I’d love to replace it with something a bit more grown-up and classy. I think this particular piece fits the bill spectacularly! Designed by Kelly Herd, this ring is more interesting than just a horseshoe attached to ring, and really speaks to the designer in me. It’s a little bit expensive for just a ring, but if I’m going for a more high-class look, it’s probably going to come with a more high-class price tag too… and this time I’m okay with it.
#4 Rose Gold Fox Equestrian Ring
Okay, so this one isn’t really equestrian-inspired specifically, but it does have a “fox hunting” theme that I think is cool; like an ode to hunter/jumpers in the old days. Plus, you have to admit it is pretty cute and you can’t beat the price! So I apologize to all of you who ride anything other than hunter/jumper, because this ring probably doesn’t appeal to you whatsoever… but I just couldn’t help myself!
#5 Horseshoe Nail Heart Equestrian Ring
During my searches for equestrian-themed rings, I came across a lot of designs that were all very similar including horseshoe nails. At first, I was like “okay, these are kind of ugly.” I didn’t see a single one I liked, until I came across this one. In case your sensing a reoccurring motif of “modern twist on a classic idea” you’re really spot on, and so is this ring! A very feminine heart, with a few of a girl’s best friends [diamonds] all wrapped up in a horseshoe nail. Beautiful!
Do you wear rings everyday?
In epic news this week: I rode my horse! It’s been a full week [seven excruciating days] since I last rode Miles. But I finally swung my leg over my horse last night, and flatted him around for my trainer. We did a nice, long warm-up at the walk before I picked up a trot. At first he felt… not great. He was very sluggish, dead to my leg and every once in a while I would think to myself: “was that a short step? does he feel lame?” but it was never for more than one stride and he never bobbed his head, so we kept going.
The entire ride was very methodical: trot around the area to the right twice, come down to the walk and change direction across the diagonal. Trot around the ring twice to left, walk and change direction across the diagonal. Then we picked up the right lead canter, went around the entire ring once and did a big circle in the lower half of the arena. Then guess what we did? Walked and change direction across the diagonal. Wash, rinse and repeat to the left except this time we got to transition down to the trot! Yippee!!
I know it sounds boring [and it really was] but both Trainer and I wanted to see exactly how he felt every step of the ride. If he was lame at all we were going back to the vet for a full work-up: ultrasounds, x-rays, blocking; the whole shebang. Luckily, when Miles came back down to the trot after cantering, he felt really good. He went into a long and low frame, really stepping up underneath himself and pushing from his hind end. While it’s not the best he’s ever felt, it was pretty darn good for me just sitting there and not asking for a single thing: he obviously felt good enough to do it himself, which was exactly what I wanted to hear! We quit on that note because it was pretty hot and discussed the game plan moving forward.
For the rest of the month I’m just going to flat Miles, increasing the difficulty and frequency of my rides a little at a time to ensure that he really and truly is 110 percent. I’m going to keep treating his thrush, and doting on him like a good mother. Trainer offered to let me ride Vinnie, and maybe some other horses, in my weekly lessons so I can still jump around and work on myself [because let’s face it, Miles doesn’t need reps over fences but I need all the help I can get]. I have a vacation planned for the beginning of August, but when I get back if Miles is still feeling awesome then we’ll start jumping again. I don’t think it will take him very long to get back in the groove, and hopefully we’ll be ready to show Labor Day weekend.
All in all, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders; I am so incredibly glad that Miles is feeling better. He really is my baby, and for me there’s nothing worse than knowing he’s not feeling great, but that there’s nothing I can do to make it instantly better.