Every year, my husband and I get together for New Years' Eve with our college friends - the guys all went to Rose Hulman, and Austen and I went to SMWC, Rose's sister school, so it's a big happy group. This year, we held it in D.C. My husband flew out a day ahead of me, and Austen threw a party his first night there. I got these texts from my quite inebriated husband:
Husband: "I'm hanging out with a fan of your blog tonight."
Me: "Oh cool! Who?"
Me: I took a wild guess of someone out there who is friends with Austen. "Liz?"
H, a minute later: "She has an Arabian named Isabel."
Me: "EMMA! Tell her I said hi! I wish I was there to meet her!"
H: "You're riding with her tomorrow."
Me: "Oh awesome!!!"
That's how this happened:
I got to meet Emma and Isabel, and Brita and Wick! We went on a trail ride at Austen's barn with Austen and Guinness. I have to tell you, it is impossible not to like those two girls. Emma and Brita were so much fun and so easy to talk to! All of the bloggers I've met have been awesome, but sometimes there's this awkward "I feel like I know you, but I just realized I don't actually know you," feeling for the first few minutes. It's not good or bad, just the nature of having Internet friends. But that didn't happen with those two!
I mean, I feel like I can sum this barn up with one picture. There's a Nest thermostat in the indoor's viewing room:
Anyway, on to the trail ride itself! We wound over hills and along treelines on gorgeous Maryland hunt land. I was mounted on Teddy, a 23-year-old BN packer/former Pony Club horse who now serves as a Dressage mount for the former Pony Clubber's mom.
|Photo by Emma|
Teddy was a good boy, but I quickly figured out on our first canter that his XC bit in his past life was probably not the loose ring snaffle he now goes in as a Dressage horse. We were in his full Dressage tack, and he flipped me the bird and took off at a gallop when I tried to get him to canter at a reasonable pace. And of course, I'm a giant chicken on a horse I've never ridden before, owned by someone else, on terrain I'm not familiar with.
The third time we cantered, Austen came flying from behind the pack on Guinness, which upset Wick (totally understandably, I must add), and I needed to pull up from the "afterburner gallop" Teddy had gotten into, so when he ignored me, I gave him a good pulley rein...and he popped his opposite shoulder, propped twice, and I fell off for the first time in six years, since college!
It was a good ol' slow mo fall too: I had enough time to 1. Realize I was falling, 2. Say "Oh shit" out loud, and 3. Think "DON'T LET GO OF THE REINS!" and land standing on my feet facing Teddy, due to having visions of my borrowed, privately-owned horse galloping back alone to that super fancy barn. It was funny rather than scary, but I was still done with galloping-without-the-ability-to-pull-up at that point.
|Awesome, awesome trails at this barn. Photo by Emma.|
The rest of the ride was less eventful and lots of fun. Those girls are great, and both Izzy and Wick were superstars. Wick definitely earned the gold star award of the day, though, being a good boy in the field AND getting used to Austen's dogs running around after being initially unsure about them.
It was the most I've ridden a full-sized horse in forever, and in a wide-twist Dressage saddle, and man was I sore afterwards! He's not massive, but I was still longing for my appropriately-sized pony:
|Photo by Emma, I'm on the right in the borrowed Tipperary|
It was so much fun, I'm hoping to get back out to see those girls for a longer period of time sometime. I mean, with a $79 roundtrip nonstop Southwest Airlines ticket, why not?!
Also I bought a consignment EIS sun shirt for $20 in what must have been the world's fastest spontaneous tack store run ever! THE END!