Monday, July 10, 2017

polo by night, dressage by day

Phew, hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Today officially kicks off the start of my vacation, yesss! Tho in actuality we got the horsey ball rolling this weekend with some pretty fun outings!

polo ponies and tiki torches. sounds good to me!
Courtney and I have been trying to meet up again ever since hanging out at the Gold Cup back in May. She mentioned Saturday night polo, which obviously sounds like a blast, and when Austen brought up the same idea (just a different polo club) recently, we knew we had to make it a date.

esp when there's picnic-ing and tail gating with friends!
Plus Liz was coming up to Austen's barn for a major weekend of firsts for her and Grif (which she'll undoubtedly be blogging about too - but suffice it to say it was a BIG weekend!!). So there was lots to look forward to! So I pushed up my jump lesson with Charlie to an earlier time (post coming soon) then booked it out to Austen's neck of the woods asap.

Courtney undoubtedly captured some pretty cool photos of the day - can't wait to see them!
The polo game was definitely fun to watch too. Like, kinda in a passive, background kind of way, since the field is massive and they often would be clustered around one end or the other. But it was super fun to watch them go - esp at such high speeds, knowing from personal experience exactly how tricky it can be to land any kind of shot off a horse, let alone an effective shot!

Liz also got an impromptu polo lesson on the resident "pony"
Mostly tho it was fun to hang out and chat about ponies and enjoy all the traditional tail gating activities such as snacking and sipping on various tasty treats. Especially catching up on everything going on with Courtney's new foals, and hearing about Liz's and Austen's xc schooling extravaganza (which hopefully they'll blog about soon!).

it was an educational pony, apparently!
Both Courtney and Liz had their nice cameras with them so probably got better pictures to share with y'all, compared to my zoomed in cell phone pics. But these candids hopefully tell a good story about what kind of atmosphere you can expect at a Saturday night polo game.

tho naturally Austen had to make sure the pony's polo wraps were reapplied more correctly!
There was a pretty good sized crowd lining the field, all with chairs and picnic blankets and coolers and everything. And after the game wrapped, there was some live music and the torches were lit and more partying began. Much fun! Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in some summer fun with a solidly equestrian atmosphere!

oooh but that's not a polo pony, that's a majestic dressage beast!!
We called it a reasonably early night tho, bc bright and early on Sunday morning was phase two of the weekend: a dressage show at Austen's barn!

pictured: majestic dressage beast doing majestic dressage things. and a gazebo, natch.
And I finally got to watch her and Pig ride through a 4th level test. I've seen them do 3rd a couple times now but kept missing all their 4th tests for various inconvenient reasons. This was the day tho, and it was just plain old awesome to see.

ooooh and they also gallop majestically!!
Not only bc 4th level dressage is fun to watch, but also bc it's cool to watch the partnership. To watch a well trained horse be rideable and correct in his execution of difficult movements. And then to watch the same pair take advantage of having Liz on hand as photographer and go blasting around the field at an all-out gallop. Bc #pictures, yo.

To me, watching a pair like this epitomizes the value of having a horse not only suited to your purposes, but one that is also both rideable AND trainable. Bc damn they make it look like fun!

and Grif got in on the majestic dressage beast action too!!!!!!
We spent the afternoon lazing around watching a seemingly endless parade of fancy dressage horses come do their thing too. Including one absolutely lovely recent import who has previously ridden at Intermediare but on this day had to basically be piloted around 1st level in the horsey equivalent of a thunder shirt. Even with a pro in the irons bc .... well. Not every horse is bred, or chosen, for that matter, for brains or emotional stability. It was a flashy, nice horse... but when even the pro is saying "I should be getting paid way more for this"... well. You know haha.

looking right at home next to the dressage court, complete with protective overreach boots (that's how you're supposed to do it, right?)
Anyway. Soon enough it was Liz's turn and I was SO FREAKING EXCITED to watch her ride her tests!!! That whole story is hers to tell (and I highly encourage you to tune in for it!) but I just gotta say it's been so amazingly inspirational to watch Liz bring Grif along.

exhausted husky is exhuasted
It takes serious guts, dedication, and perseverance to dive head first into jumping and dressage and all things eventing without access to actual coaching or instruction, or even plain old reliable eyes on the ground. And yet, Liz has done it - with the horse she raised herself, Grif.

exhausted riders were pretty tired too. thank god for meat-n-cheese snacks in the shade. also check out Liz's new truck!!
And I'm so excited to continue following their journey - hopefully in as active a way as possible, as we have every hope and expectation of hitting up some of the same shows this coming fall!

bloggers helpin bloggers, yo. Liz wanted to make sure i didn't wreck myself while checking out her new trailer. and austen showed me how those over reach boots are actually supposed to be worn. this is how they work, right?
Generally speaking tho, it was a great day of horse show spectating bc it really drove home some thoughts that have been bumping around in my head since bringing Charlie home last fall. Like, we all know that horses are hard work. No matter what kind of horse it is, or what we choose to pursue as our sport. It's hard. So much of it tho is just showing up. Putting in the work. Plugging ever forward with that incremental, almost imperceptible progress. Doing the thing.

and naturally, i tried to get new and interesting takes on my 'barn vista' picture obsession. this time with a vignette of Liz's new rig visible behind her through the window
Shows like this really bring home the reality tho that it's never actually about the flashiest horse, or the most expensive tack, or the loudest, most hands-on trainers. Ultimately, at the end of the day, when the horse and rider enter at A, it's up to the rider to get the horse through each consecutive movement in the appropriate order and style.

and pretty trees visible at the end of the aisle!
The horses don't do it for themselves. Even the nicest horses rode basically to the level of the rider, for better or worse. But the riders who were most successful in their endeavors were mounted on horses suited to their skills, abilities, and tastes - and that, emotionally speaking, the riders were prepared to push through any silliness and still actually do the thing in the show ring.

then, of course, there's barn door vista inception: the view through a barn door through the view through a barn door. #meta
And it's so cool to watch those kinds of partnerships in action too. Because maybe the next best thing to showing as a rider is being able to play spectator / cheer leader / videographer for my friends while they are showing! What can I say but that I love horse shows?? lol...

Do you ever like to hang out at horse shows? While watching friends ride, or just in general? Do you like watching everyone else's ride too? Ever gotten any insights from watching others go about how you envision the ideal horse/rider partnerships?

43 comments:

  1. You are so fortunate to live where you can go and watch polo and a dressage show in one weekend. :D It sounds like so much fun. And yes, I couldn't agree more about it being the work done every day.

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    1. Definitely so fortunate - like even just compared to where Liz lives, she's gotta make this big trip up for even schooling shows. We are definitely grateful!

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  2. Ah this weekend was SO FUN! Now, where are those extra hours of sleep? ;)

    Definitely agree about putting in the work and showing up. I don't know a single dressage rider that isn't the biggest factor in being successful in the ring. And part of that successful influence is built by showing up every day and working towards that success at a sometimes imperceptible pace. But that's the fun of it, right?!

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    1. That's definitely the fun of it! Each small day that adds up to something bigger ;)

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  3. Well this looks like the MOST FUN EVER! And YES AMEN HALLELUIA to showing up and doing the work. You can't succeed if you don't ride!

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    1. So fun :) wish you had been there!!!!

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  4. omg polo looks great. i loooove polo!!! and i love the pic of pig galloping... he's so cute!!

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    1. Oh man Pig thought that was the greatest thing ever haha

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  5. Our polo club seriously needs to think about the spectator possibilities. NO ONE goes to watch polo here--they just do their games and go home. That looked like such a great weekend!

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    1. Oh you definitely need to start that trend - it's super relaxing to just hang out and watch the game!

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    1. It's always fun with fun people!! You'll have to come down next time!

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  7. Soo much fun. Thank you so much for your support all weekend. <3 I'm going to try to muddle through the media in a timely fashion so I can share! So much media.

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    1. Ha so good to see you too! I loved watching your rides too, Grif looks like he's really getting the hang of this game! Can't wait to read your posts!!

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  8. Sounds like a super enjoyable weekend with good friends, great memories, and amazing media! Love all your shots, and am anxious to read Liz's recap when she's done wading through media 😋

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    1. I'm anxious too - those earliest shows with a horse are definitely some of the most defining moments IMO, I love reading about them!

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  9. you guys all clean up so well. And I think i need to come to DC/Baltimore sometime for a social/horsey thing with you guys! Looks like fun and i could meet the amazing Husky! :)

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    1. You definitely need to come down this way some time, there's always stuff going on! And who know maybe that husky will make an appearance at an event soon ;)

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  10. I definitely like to hang around at local horse shows, even when nobody I know is competing. It's super inspiring to watch other people compete, plus I like take pics/videos of all the horses. I've never seen polo, but I'll have to see if they have it in my area!

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    1. Definitely agreed that it's inspiring to watch others ride and compete - there's so much to learn!

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  11. There is a full season of polo here and I really want to tailgate at it. So far my schedule hasn't lined up but hopefully soon!

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    1. Oooh I hope so! It's a great way to pass a summer afternoon or evening!

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  12. That has to be one of the best ways to start your vacation week. I hope the rest is just as awesome. I don't typically enjoy watching shows unless I know people in them. But I love volunteering and plan to do it as much as possible.

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    1. Lol I hope so too! My biggest plan (the Wofford clinic) already got canceled tho so we may be improvising a bit. Should still be fun tho! And agreed that volunteering is a great way to experience shows!

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  13. Sounds like a fun weekend with some great takeaways. :-)

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  14. Polo looks so fun to go watch! I love all of your media, especially the super adorable husky! Kelly @ Hunky Hanoverian

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    1. Lyra is definitely a very adorable husky!

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  15. Looks like a very fun weekend!

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  16. Sounds like a great start to the vacation week!

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    1. If only ever day could be like that, right? Haha

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  17. Yay for vacation! Especially horsey vacation. It's the best. Lots of relaxing!

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    1. Definitely, tho we haven't had too much time to sit back and relax yet but soon I'm sure!!

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  18. That all looks like it was a BLAST. Also, love the rooting on of your fellow blogging friends. They're definitely doing the damn thing out there. We went on the trail this weekend with a mix of horses - eventers, old backyard ponies, jumpers. I love how the trail is the great equalizer and watching how all of the different minds work through each problem presented

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    1. Totally agreed on trail riding in that sense - I LOVE taking all kinds of horses out, big groups small groups old young green or broke. So fun! Glad Mae got to get out too!

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  19. So jealous you all live close enough to hang out!! Looks like a fantastic time.

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  20. Polo, followed by a dressage show? Sounds so very civilized! (and FUN!)

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  21. I love this post so much!! I really wish we had more opportunities to watch Polo around here because it looks like SO MUCH FUN!

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  22. OMG the amunt of fun is incredible!!!

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  23. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!! Looking forward to the next time I see you! Sounds like dressage was great too!

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  24. So jealous of all your horsey people and all the events you have access to

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