Tuesday, November 24, 2020

brown but not forgotten

I don't know about you guys, but I'm really a very visual creature. Like, I love to read and write.... but there's something about the act of taking pictures or video and knitting them into their own little self-contained stories and narratives that really gets my creative juices flowing.

you know the pic sitch is dire when i'm reusing a weeks-old pic that was only kinda meh the first time around lol.... 
Which.... Makes things slightly creatively challenging in winter time, when the entire visual landscape feels monotonous, dull and brown

also an old pic, but at least this version is new-to-you?? it's charles in a stream!
We're super lucky to have multiple well-lit arenas, tho, and you better believe I'm making use of them most weeknight evenings. Naturally, with the help of our Illumiseen breast collar that was a secret santa gift from Susan at Saddle Seeks Horse way back in 2017!

I gotta say, this thing is friggin great, and I use it every evening ride -- esp as y'all already saw how long our driveway is between Charlie's barn and the riding arenas. Add in that it's pitch black and twisty, and... yea, can be super sketchy. And I say that as a driver -- trying to see horses around a 90* turn when they're outside of my headlights is damn near impossible. 

bc... yea, basically every new picture is some variation of this shot. sooooo much brown!
The lights make a big difference, tho. And actually, since Charlie started sporting them back in 2017, gradually just about every single other evening rider at the farm has picked up some of their own. In allllll different colors too! Purples, pinks, whites, blues, oranges, reds.... 

Each strand of LEDs has its own micro USB charging port, and the thing is crazy adjustable. I don't even snap it to the D-rings, honestly -- I just snap the two clips together to make it a neck strap with girth attachment. Tho I've also worn it draped over my own body. 

with added bonus disco party!!
i generally just leave them on solid vs blinking, but this gif is more fun ;)
My particular breast collar is from Illumiseen, as mentioned before, and they're sold through various retailers (including Chewy and Amazon), along with various other LED pet products like dog collars and leashes etc. 

A simple google tho showed that there are wayyyyyy more companies offering a similar product now, presumably bc it's so practical and popular. For anybody doing any real amount of night riding, it's a nice thing to have. Esp bc the way the lights are positioned -- they create a fairly ambient glow around you, without shining directly in your or the horse's eyes. So it's not like a wall of darkness beyond where the light reaches. 

stand still charlie, lol
Anyway tho. Lol that was a tangent haha.... But also maybe a nice xmas gift idea for the equestrian who already has it all? Anyway. Moving on haha....

Our rides lately are never particularly long bc for some reason Charlie's barn / gate sourness is massively amplified in the dark. 

Which.... Is kinda a real challenge. He puts in good work, puts his nose to the grindstone. Does everything I ask him to do, when I ask him to do it. And then like... Ya know, he expects that that's good enough and aren't we done yet??

aw ponies are always cute even if they're brown too!
So last week I figured we'd switch it up and go to the jump ring for our evening ride instead. I typically opt for the dressage ring mostly bc it's easiest. I drive past the lights on my way in and can set them on a timer if they're not already on and in use. Alternatively, I can also reach the light switches from horseback. 

The jump ring, tho, the light panel is outside the ring so I have to dismount and climb over a fence. Not really a big deal.... But just sorta one of those lazy things. 

Damn, tho, idk if it's just bc I don't ride Charlie up there as often but he really seems happier. It's also so much more spacious, plus, ya know, is fenced in haha. 

remember when it was green out??? also, picture chosen as it includes the little rollercoaster line top left corner
We're still just doing a very little bit of work anyway, as part of our combined "couch to 5k" plan (lol). So it also felt like a good opportunity to torture my own self instead of Charlie. A few laps of two point at trot here, some laps of posting the canter there.... Ya know, the usual. 

But then... towards the end of the ride, the one lone crossrail, made of white poles and positioned right in front of the lights, kept beckoning. You know how they do. It's been ages since Charlie's been aimed at anything, but eh, what the hell, right? So we popped over it off both leads and... 

Gosh this horse <3 <3 Even little jompies are fun jompies with Charlie!

same line! but like... wow a million years ago!
So fast forward to the weekend when obviously we have to do whatever we can to escape the brown confines of our weeknight prison.... And, obviously we'd get out into the cross country fields!!

I figured we'd do the same exact interval sets as in the arena (using a run of the mill interval app). But also expected that the terrain (and baalmy high 60s temps!) would be plenty added intensity. Which.... It was, haha, Charlie was sweating like a pig omg. 

jumpin it with izzy!! (helmet cam video here for those interested)
lol who woulda thunk this pixelated potato-y gif would be resurrected for re-publishing?? desperate times, y'all
But again.... Being out there, being on my favorite brown horse and cantering around all those fields... Even down all the hills, which I hate... Idk, he was just being so good and felt so good and happy, that I couldn't resist popping over a little log next to the water. 

We did that off both leads, and then I more or less forced myself to push onward up the little roller coaster line too. It's kinda stupid, to be honest with you, but I'm not sure I've ever jumped this line with Charlie. Mostly bc I'm kinda a crazy person when it comes to expectations re: striding. 

From what I've observed, and from my experiences back in the day with Izzy, this line tends to school in a 5, but go in a 4 during competition. So I never really knew what to expect with Charlie or felt like it was worth a potentially awkward jump. 

But eh, what the hell. This past weekend, we went for it anyway lol. And, bless him, Charlie did a perfectly sedate five <3 <3. Ooh, and since obvi those two efforts kinda messed up our symmetry in terms of equal numbers of efforts off both leads, we went ahead and popped over the faux and then real schooling ditches nearby off the other lead. 

that's ok tho, old pics are still cute <3 bc let's be real, there's a whole season of brown ahead of us...
Obvi not exactly a "real" cross country schooling to write home about.... But, ya know, who the hell cares at this point??? Running and jumping is the absolute best sometimes <3

And maybe I'm kidding myself, but I like to think Charlie has a little more pep in his step now in our evening darkness, after remember that, "Oh Yea! We get to do fun stuff too!"

Whatever it takes to make the winter monotony a little more bearable, amirite? At least now that he's getting fitter and staying sound, we can start introducing cavaletti again. Anyone set up any exciting exercises lately?


  1. I think that sounds like a lot of fun. Those lights are awesome too. I'm glad that both of you are feeling good.

  2. Fun is fun. Glad you got to run around in daylight and jump a few things with your perfect brown horse!!

    1. agreed 1000% -- any time we can get out and just enjoy it is what it's all about!

  3. The light on that breastplate kind looks festive right now ;)

    1. so festive haha -- it's very fun when you get everyone all in the same ring with all their different colors too!

  4. Winter monotony at Chez Moi this year is enlivened by Project Pony Snap, who has a tiny tot to go to in March but first needs skills, primarily "ponies alongside a big horse like a genius ponying prodigy" and "is completely unflappable about tiny passengers while being ponied". Parent of tiny tot is good at horses and does not expect pony to be ride-by-itself-able since tiny tot will be age 4 and not riding independently for a few years. Pony is 12.mumble hands, cute as a damn bug, and temperamentally suited to being a tiny tot's pony. Unflappable is her middle name. Snap Unflappable Pony. Since pony is so small, I don't really want to ride her so we'll ground-drive and pony her alongside Birb, first unbacked and then packing half-full feed sacks and noisemakers and finally an uninterested seven year old bribed with a crisp new five dollar bill for his efforts. (He's mercenary. This might wind up being a ten dollar bill.) Project pony is, I feel moved to point out, brown. Of course she is. Brown, no markings.

    1. awww project pony sounds freakin adorable! lucky little tot to get her... sometimes i feel very weirdly jealous of these kiddos who have such horsey childhoods lol

  5. Sounds like a perfectly fun day in the field! I think this year has taught us all something about taking the pressure off and just enjoying the moment.


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