Equine, Fitness, RRP ‘19

Weekend Wrap Up

Living in the North during the winter can be a real PITA when you’re trying to keep a horse in any kind of serious program. I’ve always had a hard and fast rule that anything under 15* is nothing more than light hack weather.

Wednesday and Thursday ended up being pretty frigid, so everybody got handwalked… minus a few that got lightly lunged.

Friday brought some better weather but I was so busy trying to catch up with client horses, farm horses, and lessons that I didn’t get through my normal stuff until after 6. Luckily one of the girls was there late, and agreed to lunge Eli and hack Jake so I could trade my trainer hat for my mom hat.

I’m so grateful for my village!

Finally, on Saturday, I got some quality barn time. After teaching a few lessons, I set my sights on Eli. We worked on more of the same… forward the first time I ask and moving away from the pressure of my leg.

It was so hard (according to Eli), but we had moments of good boi things where he started to relax.

We also had several moments of sass, since it doesn’t seem fair to share JUST the good moments… please enjoy my favorite from Saturday’s ride.

Baby say…. NO.

Sunday was spent catching up on adulting, but luckily I think that the forecast for this week looks fairly promising… so here’s hoping that we can get a bunch of good rides in before the holiday!

Retired Racehorse Program applications opened yesterday, and I’m super excited to submit ours this week! I feel like having the entry in and (hopefully) accepted will be our first concrete goal to have… and keep me motivated!

As for my workouts this week? They went something like this:

Monday: Arms/Abs

Tuesday: Abs/Cardio/Yoga

Wednesday: Chest/Triceps

Thursday: Yoga

Friday: Legs/Abs

Saturday: Rock Climbing ( <- Fav non-gym workout!)

Sunday: Yoga

Even if I don’t make it to the gym, I’ve been trying to do SOMETHING every day… even if it’s just a 20 minute yoga flow for me and a 20 minute hand walk for Eli. We gotta keep movin’.

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Equine, RRP ‘19

Pessoa Day

Monday’s always end up being fairly quiet at the barn and we usually end up using the majority of the day for paperwork, phone calls, scheduling, etc.

It also ended up being upper body day for us at the gym, followed by a few lessons and the complete body workout that is riding a Section B Welsh pony who is just coming back into work… so by the time the end of the day rolled around I was standing in front of Eli’s stall trying to muster what little motivation I had left.

Winter is proving to be pretty rough for me. I usually ride my personal horses at the end of the work day, and it’s been so cold and dark that I just… Blah.

A million excuses to be had, let me tell you. My other challenge is Liam. We have childcare at the farm now, but typically only until about 5-530. Which makes a 6pm ride in 20* weather a bit of a pickle. We make it work, though, usually through the help of a generous teenager.

Thank god for Barn Rats.

I managed to pull myself (loudly) up by the boot straps though, and dragged Eli out. I started tacking him up only to discover he has some weird crud on various bits. Most importantly exactly where the saddle sits. Rude. He seemed pretty bothered by me picking at it… but he’s still trying his hand at attempted murder to get out of work so there’s that.

Beauty. Grace.

Given my current situation (alone in the barn with a toddler) I almost decided to give it up for the night before my eye caught the barn’s Pessoa system hanging on the wall. I’d been wanting to work this into his work rotation anyways so now seemed like as good of a time as any. The surcingle missed the bothersome cruddy bits perfectly so we went along to work.

At first I figured he would lose his marbles with the butt piece touching his legs, but he didn’t seem the care much. We started out to the left, which was easier for him, so he could settle into the idea and he didn’t even bat at eye.

When we reversed, he threw several moderately impressive tantrums, but soon learned its much harder to get your point across via tantrum when you actually have to work to do it. He settled after 5 minutes or so, and gave me some nice trot work.

We did 15 min on each side and while he wasn’t winded in the least, he was sweaty in all the right places which made me quite happy that he was working correctly in the system.

The tongue. I can’t even.

Today we hacked around bareback, and mostly worked on him moving away from my leg at the walk. It wasn’t our most inspiring work, but despite the fact that it was dinner time, there was a horse jumping, and his co dependent older brother was screaming his head off; he stayed pretty chill and focused on me (sort of…).

He even let me mess with his ears from above…. whaaaaat?!

Equine, RRP ‘19

Go Time!

It’s officially past Dec 1st, which means it’s on like Donkey Kong for Eli so we can be in contention for the ’19 RRP. Trainer applications open Dec 15th.

For the non-horsey types reading (hi, mom!) the RRP is the Retired Racehorse Project. It’s held in KY in the beginning of October and is a great way to showcase what these awesome horses can do. Part of the rules is that the horse cannot have more than 15 rides before Dec 1st. Since the last recorded work/race cannot be before (for example, for this year) July ’18, this levels the playing field for all the competitors.

They have several different disciplines from trail to dressage, but Eli and I will (hopefully) be accepted into the Eventing portion of this adventure.

I wanted to make sure we stayed well under our maximum amount of rides, so while I did hop on straight off the track to evaluate the dude’s mind and soundness… he’s been enjoying the last three weeks or so doing mostly nothing but eating.

Sorry, bro.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to pop him on the lunge line before swinging a leg over, since it was ALSO only about 20* for the first time in a week and a half. Wild baby was wild. Until he wasn’t.

Turns out being fat means the wind comes out of your sails a lot faster than normal.

There was a lesson going on in the indoor, so to avoid any unnecessary collisions, I hopped on and then we watched.

Take notes, you heathen.

Eli happily stood patiently during the entire lesson, which was somewhat shocking to me, and I was super grateful to the trainer and rider in the ring who let us hangout.

After the lesson was finished we headed to the rail to see how spunky he was going to be… I’m fairly convinced I’m going to have to rechristen him as the Elephant because it was a bit like trying to squeeze frozen toothpaste out of a tube.

He was more interested in the other horse schooling, and the flowers, and jumps, and poles, and -insert thing here- than actually trotting in a straight line. He never actually spooked at anything. He just had to touch it all. It was like trying to get my toddler through the grocery store when he insists on walking “by me, no mama!” (Alone).

At this rate we’re going to have to petition for a western pleasure class, since slow and stretchy seemed to be our jam. Judges be damned if none of it was actually in a straight line.

I’ve also started kicking my own butt into gear at the gym and in the kitchen. *sob* Good bye deli pizza… hello smoothies.

I’ll share my workouts as I go, so I can hold myself accountable and share some of the things I’ve been doing to develop my own damn self into the athlete I expect my horses to be.

Equine, Family

Settled

Hey there!

Long time, no blog. I’ve honestly missed it! I love to write, regardless of who’s reading.

The good news, is that it’s been for a good reason… we’ve moved! We loved our life on the farm, but I can say that we’ve settled really well into our new townhouse. I never quite realized the weight of all the memories I had on the farm until I spent my first night at the new place. Despite the chaos of boxes and baskets, there was a certain calm that allowed me to sleep sounder than I have in a long time. The prospect of starting fresh and making my own memories here with my crew has me excited for the future.

We still have an amazing yard for Bug and the dogs, but now we have sidewalks for running on, parks for playing at, and neighbors to socialize with. We’re so much closer to all the things that make life easier, but still off the main road enough to keep things quiet and safe.

Combine our new home, with taking another big step in my equestrian career, and you’ll see what else has been keeping me busy as well!

Last month, as we were in the middle of house hunting, I was planning a trip to NY with my boss. She’d found a lovely OTTB prospect at Finger Lakes and asked if I’d make the drive up with her. I was absolutely game… then while scrolling through the listings to find her new guy I *happened* to stop on a handsome bay gelding with a huge shoulder.

On a whim, I reached out to his trainer to see what the deal with him was and the pieces clicked into place quicker than I expected, and I sent Ashley a text the morning of VHJA Finals asking her if we had one more spot on the trailer because I had *accidentally* ended up with another horse.

We were going to be there anyways…

I added Eli to my string based off of less than a 5 minute conversation with his trainer, and a handful of pictures. He was one of the best choices I’ve made in the industry in a while, and is quickly proving himself a superstar! I don’t want the blog to be overwhelmed by all his updates, so feel free to give his FB page a “like” if you want to keep updated on his progress!

LB has been continuing to rock his life as a barn baby, and while we have moments where I wish I wasn’t waiting on a daycare spot to open up, I’m genuinely happy I get to bring him with me on a daily basis. I can’t think of a better life for him even though the days can get pretty long.

I’d love to do a whole post on how we make it work (snacks…the key is snacks), because this life really is pretty amazing.

I’ve been so proud of Bug’s ability to just go with the flow through all of this upheaval. He’s such an independent, flexible kid who is always game for an adventure; no matter where it might take us. I can’t really ask for anymore than that.

So, with that I’m going to sign off for now with the hopes that now that we have internet, I can get to writing on the regular!

Peace,

Cathleen