April 21, 2019

Sunday House Post: Transom Update

It's been a while since I've done a Sunday house post - partially because, no shame here, it's been a while since I worked on the house!

But I'm getting back in the groove again.  Last time I made a house post, I had just uncovered five transom windows that had been covered since the 1950s.

Since that post, I've caulked the three that don't open anymore and primed them. 

Last weekend I set out to put a first coat of door and trim paint on them when I realized the doors below the transoms were only primed.  So a four hour project turned into a 7 hour project as I painted five transoms, five doors, and 8 sets of door trim, because if you have the paint out and you're in the vicinity...why not?

You can see the difference it makes between the two legs that I've painted and the rest of the door, which is still just primed here.  Also yes, someone at some point painted over all the hinges and hardware on most of the upstairs doors.  Rectifying that is on my list, but in the meantime, it means I don't care if I get paint on them myself (although I try not to).

To those of you wondering why I don't take the doors outside and spray them - we have 12 doors upstairs and we've sprayed 5 of them, but I don't think I'd do it again.  These aren't your normal modern lightweight hollow core doors, they're solid wood and ridiculously heavy.  Even as fit as we are, we can barely get them up and down the stairs, let alone get them re-hung without sacrificing our marriage to the home improvement gods.

Before!  Whew.  Sometimes I forget how bad it was.
Plus, I'm pretty zen about painting.  Put a podcast or Red Zone or a baseball game on and turn me loose.  No tape, it's all freehand cutting in over here.  And I have a system down that doesn't leave brush marks behind.

These painting pants have seen some sh*t
Everything I did last weekend needs a second coat of paint before it'll be done.  It feels good to get a little bit closer to being done with door and trim paint upstairs - I've done so much over the years and there's still a lot left to go, but I'm at least more than halfway done at this point.

April 19, 2019

CrossFit Update

It's been a hard, HARD uphill battle with as much travel as I've had lately, but I'm finally consistent with CrossFit, and I feel so much better in the saddle as a result.

We're in a testing phase right now, doing one 1 rep max (1RM) per week.  1RMs are important because in future workouts when the coach says "today's strength workout is 10 sets of 3 back squats at 60% of your 1 rep max" you need to know what your 100% number is to know how to scale to that 60% number.

My 1RMs aren't back at my all-time highs yet, but I'm proud of them anyway.  I hit an 80lb bench and a 100lb clean and jerk recently.  I hit the clean but failed the split jerk at 105lbs (for context, I currently weigh 112lbs), and I was thrilled, because one of the things I've been MAKING myself do lately is not be a weenie about failing. There's no shame in bailing safely out of a lift, but I'm not gaining anything mentally or physically by not pushing myself to my max capabilities because I have a fear of failure.

I REALLY wanted to test my clean further because I hadn't even needed to drop into a squat clean yet at 105lbs, but I didn't get the chance. 

Power clean - something you can do when the weight is lighter.

Squat clean or just 'clean' - something you have to do when the weight starts getting heavy, because it means the bar doesn't have to travel as far upward, you drop your body quickly under it instead of partially standing up with it like in the power clean

Clean and Jerk - where you combine the clean with "jerking" the barbell overhead

Clean is my favorite lift - there's nothing like ripping a barbell that weighs more than you do off the ground in one explosive moment and getting it to your shoulders.  You can feel like a total badass with it even if you're not super strong yet.

What has all this CrossFitting been doing for me in the saddle?  I've been paying a LOT of attention to engaging my abs from top to the very bottom in my workouts, and it's paying off in core strength in the saddle.  You can do CrossFit without engaging your abs, and but you'll get a lot more out of it if you do, and honestly that's as much about learning how to fire those synapses as it is about developing the muscles.

This workout was 8-6-4-2 of clusters (clean + thruster), box jumps and ring pushups.  Even at 55lbs, you wouldn't think you could get that much out of a 4 minute workout!

Anyone else been on the workout train lately?

April 16, 2019

Year 3 With Greenguard Grazing Muzzle

This is now Connor's third year in the Greenguard grazing muzzle.

After I brought him to the new barn two years ago (!) and he got SUPER FAT.
The first year, I had zero problems with it. The second year, I had all kinds of problems with it that all started when a pasturemate shredded the leather halter I had used with it the year before: fit, rubbing, escaping, you name it.  It was so frustrating.

Spoiler alert: this setup did not work at all.

But we got through it, and Greenguard is still the best muzzle out there IMO.  This year, his original GG muzzle was starting to look pretty beat up and wasn't really the right shape anymore, so I went to replace it and saw that they now have COLORS!  So of course I took the chance to go all Lisa Frank on him:

Two Horse Tack biothane turnout halter has done a great job, I have to admit.

I'm not typically a color person, but I am 100% sure Connor's tiny friend is going to rip his muzzle off at some point this year (although surprisingly that hasn't happened yet, I think the Arab gelding they're temporarily turned out with has been distracting him) so I wanted maximum lying-in-the-grass-visibility.

Their new and improved fit guide helped me get the fit perfect this year...but that still doesn't mean Mr. Houdini stays in it all the time:

PC: my trainer.  Sigh.

Greenguard recommends twine in the corners of the basket for this particular issue, which I did last night.  We'll see if it works!

Side note: Greenguard has their muzzles on sale for 15% off with code 15GGSPRING at checkout.  Riding Warehouse also has them 15% off, but only in black - GG's official website (non-affiliate link) is the only place you can get the muzzle in lime green and hot pink as well as black. #notsponsored

April 15, 2019

Show Recap: Heartland 2019

I waffled on whether to enter for Heartland or not, but in the end I decided to because:
  1. It's a schooling show
  2. I haven't ridden the 2019 tests yet
  3. It's a great knock-off-the-rust-and-oh-yeah-get-your-Coggins-done show

And knock the rust off your braiding skills while you're at it

We ended up with a 62.162% for 2-1, which I will both not complain about and admit was generous.  We had no major mistakes, but at the same time a lot about it was rough around the edges.  Really, it was the perfect first outing for the year, which is exactly what we were there for, so that's a win.

Gross.  "I can't ride my horse because I'm clamped onto his back like a vise grip" isn't the best way to start your Dressage test, in case you were wondering.
Our scores ranged from a 5.0 for that seriously sticky rein-back, to 8.0's for both centerlines and halts, which was a minor miracle because as I made the turn at A for my final salute, I realized C had been placed to the left of A by about 18".  

It's a schooling show run by pony club parents, and I'm therefore not upset about it, but whew it threw me for a loop.

My lizard brain reacted by going "Shit, ride to the letter" and my final centerline was seriously drunken, but...judge didn't notice the two steps of leg yield I threw in there?  I don't know.  This was an 8.0:

Gift horses and all that.

As I look back at the video of this test (thanks to my trainer for taking it for me!), it looks...hurried.  I can definitely see what both my trainer and KGP mean about him running through me.  I didn't have the best or longest warmup, partially because they sent me over early and I didn't double-check or ask to go at my actual time (see also: first show of the year and knocking the rust off).

#notalengthening but look at me remembering to half halt at F!

I need to be more present - which is partially a result of not knowing this test as thoroughly as I did the old tests.  I need to actually remember to half-halt - which is just...not a habit in high-pressure situations.  I need to relax - and I actually did have a moment I'm quite proud of, when I realized my pressure points were in the middle of my thighs most of the way through the second 10m canter circle and relaxed.

Immediately after I finally relaxed, he finally relaxed.  The next movement was the counter canter in our tough direction, and it was probably the best he's ever done this movement in this direction:

It's good place to start the show season off from even if it wasn't perfect.  The takeaways were: relaxing through my seat and half halting need to become default habits, and I need to find ways to reduce tension for both of us in the show ring.

We were fractions of a percentage point out of second place, but I could not have cared less.  Give me the scores!

April 12, 2019

Blogger Meetup: Katlyn Comes to Visit!

I have met a lot of bloggers at this point - 31, which I counted for L. Williams Six Degrees of Bloggers Project.  I've loved everyone I've met, but there have been a handful that I just knew we would end up being close.  The rest of you I'm close with, you know who you are, but Katlyn from Stubborn Together is one of those people, and she flew down from Minnesota to visit me last weekend!

Aside from the whole pony Dressage thing, we have a lot in common.  Consulting jobs that require travel.  Nerdy SOs employed in the tech industry that drive fast cars.  A LOVE OF HERBAL GINS!

(I write that in all caps because when I asked what kind of alcohol she liked, she basically sent back a list of all of my favorite drinks - herbal gin drinks, Manhattans, Old Fashioneds - and I was so excited to meet another girl that drank like me!)

Introduced her to my favorite gin
She already wrote about her weekend and you should definitely check out her blog if you're not a regular reader.  From my perspective, it was the perfect weekend.  April is hit and miss for weather in Indiana, and they had a huge hit with mostly 70's and sunny.  Katlyn got to see the best of everything - porchin', blooming trees, beautiful sunsets, blue skies, green grass.

She helped me bring the horses in one day, and her SO took out my trash without being asked - hello can you both just move in?
We rode, we gave Connor a bath, we hit up the pseudo-local tack store, we rode more, we drank, we ate our way around my city, we introduced them to our other nerdy friends, and our SOs hit it off like they were made for each other.

Connor let her practice braiding while I took a conference call from the barn, even though it was dinner time and he knew it.

From a riding perspective, it was fantastic for me to see someone new get on and make him look good.  Very few people have ridden this horse, and he is definitely my own brand of special at this point, so it was very cool to see Katlyn hop on and fairly quickly figure him out - especially since Katai requires a very different ride from the sounds of it.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and one I hope to repeat sometime in the future!