Thursday, December 17, 2015

who wore it better?

Asking because I got to play dress up with and ride both horses!!!!!

i swear this is her happy face
See, my office had big budget cuts this year and, as such, announced that instead of a holiday party we would have a 4 hr long 'Town Hall Meeting.' Um, seriously ppl?!? But it was all a ploy - 30min into the meeting they said "SURPRISE - everyone gets the afternoon off. Go do something special that *isn't* just running errands."

So.... I rode the horses. On a weekday in daylight :)

'we go fast yes? we do the thing?!?' - isabel
And it will surprise exactly nobody to know that Isabel was a super star. She felt so so SO good! We only used half the ring  since they're in the process of putting in new footing (super exciting and likely the topic of a later post) but that was totally fine. It's not like I was trying to do coursework haha.

i'm on a horse! (also you can kinda see the area where the footing has been dug out)
Mostly we just talked about connection and bend and pushing from the hind end into the bridle. Plus she wanted to stretch a bit. Fine fine. Her left side is still more stiff, but my legs also weren't really... legging haha, so I didn't fuss about it.

I felt a bit loose, but not as much as expected. And it was actually due in part to too-long stirrups on my dressage saddle (personally I always feel more secure in a shorter jump-length stirrup anyway).

best mare is the best
And then before I knew it we were cantering a lap or two too, and it was fine!! Ahhhh what a good mare - she felt phenomenal and happy and stepped right into canter despite my tipping upper body (or maybe bc of it - we're moderately codependent when it comes to cues haha), and then actually gave me some nice-for-her canter-trot transitions.

EVIDENCE!!!!

Hard to explain how good that felt, guys. We were maybe only at it for 20 minutes, mostly walking on a loose rein. Nothing super hard or challenging, no fighting. Just enjoying each other's company and testing out which of *my* buttons still work bc all of hers appear perfectly intact.

Then it was on to phase 2 of the day: Balimurphy! And a continuation of my 'fake it til ya make it' plan: dressing him for success. A couple days ago I hit up the consignment store and snagged 4 new-to-me saddle pads for $25. Including my first ever actual proper dressage pad - in this lovely burgundy with silver braided piping and an interesting quilt pattern.

so who wore it better?!?
The pad's a little small but I am not particularly worried about that. What's interesting is that I thought Bali would be the obvious winner with this particular color - ya know, with the whole 'burgundy on a redhead' thing. But actually it doesn't pop quite as much on his coat as I expected, and I kinda like the color on Izzy too. What do you think?

that's one excited ottb lol
Regardless, I think Bali actually enjoyed playing dress up. Every time I go get him from his new field he's standing off completely alone like a little lost puppy. Probably good for taking his ego down a notch so he's less of an asshole to handle, but it's a tad pitiful.

Then again tho I think it makes him happy to come in and be fussed with. He was already MUCH better behaved for grooming than during our spa session over the weekend. (Tho we still had a conversation about whether shaking a hind leg in my general direction is acceptable. Short answer? No. Sill not acceptable.)

the only non-blurry pics i can get are his Eeyore faces

But he was more or less a gentleman for getting saddled up. This is a big deal since his behavior on the ground contributes just as much to scaring students as anything he does under saddle. He is a quick study tho, and I expect speedy improvement with his ground manners. Amazing how a consistent routine alone can fix so many problems.

he says that all this 'being a good boy'  nonsense is harder than it looks!
As far as his behavior under saddle? Brace yourself for a shocker: Bali was the most willingly forward he has *ever* been for me - even more so than our off property adventure at OF. His walk was immediately loose and big stepping - rather than needing 10 min to coax him forward.

In fact, homeboy was straight up feeling fresh. But good. Very good. Probably too much horse for a beginner, but a happy and willing horse. He didn't nap, kick out or suck back once - and I gave him ample opportunity by standing in the center or walking on loose reins chatting with Brita and Kaitlyn, then getting back to work. Typically he's hard to get going after a break, so that needs improvement. But for this ride? He was spot-on.

'wish i was eating my dinner right now' - bali
Canter was a tad too strong, but I'm taking partial responsibility given my weak core and legs. The brakes were (mostly) there tho. All in all I was very impressed with how tuned in and ready he felt. So he got lots of love and life savers and then got to dig into his dinner right after the ride. And I was left feeling much more optimistic about his chances in the program. Fingers crossed!

cats will always find something cozy to lay on. polos, jackets, whatever. they will find it
Riding with my friends again was also surprisingly gratifying. I've been coming out to watch them ride, and going to lessons with them, sure. But to actually *ride* with them... it was pretty great. I got winded quickly and will undoubtedly be sore haha, but whatever. It was totally worth it and left me feeling happier and more mentally refreshed than I've felt since October 24 :)

48 comments:

  1. Yayy for riding! I think Isabel wore it better, I agree I also expected it to pop more on Bali than it did

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    1. esp when she was in outdoor lighting i really liked it on her!

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  2. What a fun surprise! I need my work to do that. Oh wait, I work for the state that will never happen lol.

    Who wore it better is a tough one! I must say I love chestnuts in maroon (not red!), so I am going to have to go with Isabel!

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    1. ha yea it definitely was unusual for us to get the afternoon off like that... and glad i'm not the only one who likes chestnuts in typically-off-limits colors lol

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  3. My vote is for Bali. And I'm so glad you got to ride both in the daylight on a weekday! Also super jealous of that. But YAY Riding!!!!

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    1. yay riding!!! i like him in that color too... kinda wish either he was darker or the pad was brighter tho

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  4. So much yay!! Awesome post! I always feel more secure in jumping length too. They both look good. Maybe try a royal blue next I think both could rock that.

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    1. i *love* royal blue, but struggle paying full price for saddle pads lol so i just picked my favorites of what was available. others colors were green, navy and champagne, but they will all go with my jump saddle so i need to try that next ;)

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  5. Awesome congrats on the unplanned riding day!

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    1. unplanned good riding days are best riding days :D

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  6. Woo yay for riding! And yay for kitties haha. They're super cute.

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    1. ha i love our barn cats - they're super friendly and cuddly, not surly at all

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  7. What a great surprise day off. I bet Bali was missing you = good behavior! :)

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    1. maybe! i think once he learns that it's not hard to do what i ask he might turn into a real people-pleaser

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  8. Hell yeah! What fun. Sounds like you're back in full force! =)

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    1. definitely fun! definitely not full force unfortunately, but i can be satisfied with that for a little while longer

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  9. Your company is awesome!! What a great way to spend an afternoon. I'm glad your leg held up!

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    1. meeee too! the meeting fake out totally caught me by surprise - i had been bitching and moaning all week about having to go to a 4hr long mtg haha. they fooled me...

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  10. Awesome to have a surprise day off! Sounds like you had two great rides too. :)

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    1. they were exactly the rides i needed ;)

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  11. Yay riding! And not wasting any time riding both horses again! :-p

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    1. haha no, no wasting time! it's super hard to get both ridden on normal days after work since the barn clears out pretty quickly and it's so dark... so we gotta capitalize when we can :)

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  12. Bali is adorbs but Isabel wore it better :P

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    1. lol she's got a certain je ne sais quoi that he lacks

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  13. YAY RIDING!!!!!! And so nice of your company to let you guys all have the rest of the day off! :D

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    1. it was definitely super nice of them!

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  14. Bali! But then again I'm very partial to burgundy on a bay seeing as our racing colors are burgundy and all we ever seem to have are bays! lol

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    1. ha yea it's definitely a more common (and typically more pleasing) color combo ;)

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  15. Half days off are awesome! It would be great if that was a once a month thing. Yay for riding!! I vote Bali.

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    1. oh man i wish it was a monthly thing too! actually last spring from about jan to march i took weekly half days (using personal time) just to haul the horses out to indoors to ride since our ring at home was unusable... i wonder if we'll start that up again this year too?

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  16. Oh what an awesome surprise! I miss having riding buddies :(

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    1. riding buddies are the best - we went so long without them that now i can't get enough!

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  17. Hooray for time off work AND riding!! And I think it's a tie between them both!

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    1. haha i kinda think so too - i like that it's a very different look on each of them

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  18. haha the prospect of having a town hall meeting would have given me a heart attack. What a great surprise though! I think the color totally works on both of them!

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    1. yea my colleagues and i were NOT impressed by the prospect of that meeting haha. AT ALL. so it all worked out for the best ;)

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  19. Ah, you look so good up there! Even if all I see is a floating head or a hand :)

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    1. ha i'm just happy to be on a horse again - disembodied limbs or floating head or otherwise ;)

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  20. Back in the saddle for some good rides - congrats! An afternoon off work might be the best work christmas present I've ever heard of.

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    1. it definitely felt that way to me - and i was so happy that both horses were so good!

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  21. I like the pad on both of them. Congrats on the half day off and the riding in the daylight. So many workplaces discount the value of just giving people time off. It's free and people like it more than office parties!

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    1. i agree - i don't want social hour or cookies (well, actually i kinda *do* want cookies haha), i just wanna go do my thing, ya know?

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  22. Hooray for riding! I think the saddle pad looked lovely on both of them. And I am with you about the jumping length stirrups- nothing makes me feel more like a weeble wobble than dressage stirrups.

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    1. ugh isn't that the truth? and i have this weird idea that they *need* to be super long, even tho i end up reaching for them. silly dressage tack...

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  23. Isabel wore it better, but Bali looked nice too :)

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  24. Love it when great things happen to good people. Surprise time off is always a plus especially when it means riding in daylight. Woohoo

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