Wednesday, July 6, 2016

grand prix pony ride + NorCal blogger meet up!!

So I already mentioned that work sent me to San Francisco last week and it was pretty awesome. Even more awesome than that, tho, was tacking an extra day onto the trip thanks to L. Williams' hospitality (seriously - thank you!!) to socialize with some of the Northern California equestrian blogger contingent.

so pretty! and yet so very different from Maryland haha
I like to wax poetic about this here blog being essentially a photo album and journal of my riding progress with Isabel, etc. But it's so much more than that. And the opportunities it has provided for meeting other awesome and like-minded individuals just blow me away.

i'm usually the one snapping unexpected and somewhat stilted candid shots of the group - but L nabbed that role during dinner! still happy tho bc it's the lone photo(s) of the evening
I had met L before when she visited DC, and was obviously super stoked to go get some tacos with her. Even better - Megan and Kate joined in on the party too.

not a bad backyard view
It was so cool to get to actually talk in person about not only their horses (and Megan and Kate both have entire menageries in their day to day lives haha) but just getting to know them as people and friends. They are both straight up lovely individuals!

Plus it was super fun to listen in as they discussed the inside scoop of all the various horses etc at Kate's farm, as I believe Megan has gone over and taught a couple lessons there now.

characters, every last one of them
So fun. Plus obviously tacos and beers make everything better, even our favorite, tried-n-true regular old horse talk haha. Kinda wish I had more than just the one night in town!!

Riot and Isabel would probably be friends - they both agree that basically anything could be food at any time haha
As it was, tho, the trip was perfectly rounded out with a visit to Megan's family's ranch the following day to meet none other than the Notorious R.I.C.O. Plus, ya know, Stretch (above above, next to Rico) and Riot (above, below and basically all over the damn place haha).

how stinkin cute tho, right?
These horses are freakin hilarious, and I love how their barn is set up. It's so entirely alien to me tho, born and raised as I was in lush green Maryland. The arid and scrub brush covered hills aren't at all what I think of as "horse country" - and yet, here were all these horses (including tons at the neighborhing farms) thriving.

wellllll hellllo there, kitty!
Oh, and obviously Megan's cat appears to be thriving too haha. Talk about the sweetest fluffiest little bundle lol. Is it weird that I get almost as excited by meeting other bloggers' animals as I do them? Haha but seriously tho - look at those fuzzy ears and white whiskers and brown cheeks and tell me you're not totally smitten ;)

a surprisingly recognizable dapple bay badonk + killer tail
Ahem. Anywayssss.... Moving right along - as Megan already pointed out in her post, the timing for our little visit couldn't have been more convenient as it coincided with her brother's 4th of July soiree at the ranch. Complete with microbrew beer, an incredible and vast array of food, and a drone just for shits and giggles.

twu wuv!!
I was admittedly slightly disappointed that the drone hadn't come out earlier bc how cool would it have been to have video footage of my ride on Rico via DRONE?!? Talk about a media junkie's dream come true!

L's ready to document the action haha
Alas, that was not to be haha. And probably for the best. L managed to snag some good footage all the same tho, for which I'm very grateful. Mostly just sharing the stills tho, bc I don't trust my eye to pick out the moments where we 'got it' (if said moments exist lol) vs when we were maybe floundering a little bit.

but first, a little beer for everyone. icebreakers and such. 
Which may or may not have been the case after plying both myself and the horse with a cold delicious beer to help smooth out any kinks. That's totally normal pre-ride behavior right? I mean, it's DRY out there, ya know? I'm used to muggy humid mid-Atlantic weather, all that dry heat kinda takes me by surprise. Best to stay hydrated!

"i'm on a horse!" - emma
Or not. Whatever, your mileage may vary lol. Onto the ride itself, best summarized by the following blurb:

Welcome, folks, to the world where dreams come true! Can't get the horse on the bit? Can't get him engaged, or in front of your leg? Have no fear! The upper level movements are still within your grasp with RICO, the wonder Grand Prix dressage horse!! (With critical assist from his ever patient trainer, MEGAN!!!)

Rico just pumpin out some tempi changes despite wayward rider. thanks buddy!
And in case that brief summary wasn't quite clear enough: Rico is a GEM. What a good boy. I seem to have a nasty habit of riling nice horses up in canter - at least to start off. Like when I WAYYYYY over-aided Pig into canter that one time last summer... and then this go round with poor Rico trying to say "get your damn spurs outta my side I'm cantering already for the love of christ!"

and then he did some one tempis, bc fuck convention and ridiculous riding, he was gonna show me what was up lol
It was a good learning moment for me tho. Megan pointed out that I was saying 'medium canter' with my seat while trying to get collected canter with everything else. This is more or less in line with what... um... every single dressage trainer ever has said to me. And it also paints a slightly nicer picture of Isabel, who has unfairly taken perhaps too much blame for our canter woes. Maybe one day I will learn?

i love this one bc we literally came out of the corner, he saw that bamboo cane, and just started picking those legs up. i promise i am doing literally nothing in the saddle - he just passages lol
As it was, tho, it hardly seemed to matter much to Rico. Who, I really can't stress enough, was SO GOOD. He dutifully rocked and rolled through some tempis (Megan is not even slightly exaggerating when she says he's basically always waiting to do a change), and even showed me what passage and piaffe feel like. Which is to say, wow they barely feel like anything. In a good way, for sure, but it was somewhat crazy.

lolz i no know what 'on the spot' means. Megan salvages the movement by physically demonstrating to Rico what she wants. And he's like, Oh, Yea, Piaffe. Got it. 
This horse probably has the softest back of anything I have ever sat on ever. Not to say he wasn't bouncy - but it was a different kind of bounce, and not altogether unpleasant. What a cool feeling :D

A not so cool feeling? Learning that despite 20+ years of riding? Despite thinking I had at least one ace up my sleeve while riding this horse, one movement I was sure to execute correctly? I got to learn that, when Megan says "ok come across the diagonal" and I think, "Ooooh yea, I can totally do that!" NOPE. I can't actually steer the Grand Prix horse. Whoops!

47 comments:

  1. That sounds like so much fun! I'm completely jealous.

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    1. Oh man so fun!! So grateful that Megan is so generous with her horse and L so generous with her home!!

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    2. I totally second that... what an opportunity!

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  2. Replies
    1. He was basically the nicest horse I've ridden lol

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  3. This is so cool!!!! I <3 Rico! I'm also very jealous that you got tacos.

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    1. the tacos were prettttttty good :)

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  4. OMG - that's so cool! And you're not the only one with canter woes these days :/

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    1. ugh the canter woes are just no fun...

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  5. So fancy. So incredibly fancy.

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  6. Replies
    1. definitely! wish i could have spent more time with all these fun people!! guess i'll just have to go back lol

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  7. Replies
    1. crazy how just spewing words onto the internet can lead to some pretty special happenings

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  8. Yeah! Rico riding! I'm so glad and happy to have you over I wish all the cool bloggers could live extra close to each other :D

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    1. thanks so much for having me!! i wish we all lived closer too haha, but something tells me you won't have much arm twisting to do to get ppl to visit you esp after the move!!

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  9. What a fun trip. How cool to ride such a well trained dressage horse!

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    1. seriously - he is undoubtedly the nicest trained horse i've ever had the pleasure of sitting on

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  10. omg sooo cool to do some upper level fun

    well trained horses are the tits

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    1. lol right? now i kinda want one of my own to play with haha

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  11. Haha. "Salvages the movement by demonstrating." What a good Rico boy! And it looks like you rode him well considering he's very different from your normal ride.

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    1. omg he is SO different from isabel - literally every single thing about him haha (esp the steering lol)

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  12. Replies
    1. it was a fun time - definitely want to do it again!

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  13. You rode him so well! I've had the same steering issues lol it might be his driving training or whatever, but the horse has always been a bit like a yacht to turn. It was so amazing to meet you!!! Definitely need to meet up again sometime soon on either coast!

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    1. thank you so so so SO MUCH for letting me ride him!! he's a very cool horse :D so great meeting you too and i am super hopeful we can figure out a way to get you over here (pretty sure Austen is hard at work at plotting some sort of kidnapping or abduction or whatever when she's out west this fall... fyi lol). also interesting point about Rico's driving training as it relates to steering... didn't think about that. possibly tho i just needed a leeeetle bit more leg haha

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  14. What an awesome meet up and how cool! Rico is like a legend on blogs and so cool that you got to meet and ride him. You'll have to let me know if you are ever up in the boring New York area 😉

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    1. absolutely!! i used to go to ny all the time (used to actually live in rochester...) but it's been a while. will for sure be in touch tho should my travels lead me that way!

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    2. My hubby is from Rochester - in laws are still there :).

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  15. That sounds like such a good time! I met L previously on a trip to SF and she's so fun. I'm still hoping someone comes to visit me, but it seems no one enters SE Michigan!

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    1. hey, ya never know! i could go pretty much anywhere with work - and will absolutely be in touch should that include your area!! :D

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  16. Replies
    1. omg so cool - unlike anything i've ridden before!

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  17. <3 <3 <3 I just love this so much. :)

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  18. Another epic meet up on the books, what a fab way to parlay a working weekend into some fab pony time *applause*

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  19. I love EVERYTHING about this post! Everything!!

    Riot, Cat, Blogger meetups, Test riding the grand prix horse, Tacos, Beer, So many horses, Cool scenery. So much wow.

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  20. Oh my god- how cool! Sounds like you had an absolute blast, and I am SO jealous trying out the upper level movements!

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  21. And next time.... we'll get you on Kat! Who is NOWHERE NEAR AS FUN AS RICO but whatever we'll have a good time anyways. :)

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  22. I am SO SAD I didn't get a chance to come and hang with you guys, but after moving houses all day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I got to my boyfriend's house, slithered out of the truck, lay down in the grass with the dogs, and wept. And then I slept for like a billion hours.

    So PLEASE come back so we can play with you more!!

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  23. SO fun!! Wish I could have joined the taco outing!!!

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  24. Such an awesome experience and with some of the best bloggers out there!

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  25. So cool! Tacos, sunshine, horses, and good friends....doesn't get much better than that!

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  26. So awesome! And Rico - dat a$$!!!! Loved the beer shot. You get extra points for sharing. :)

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