November 30, 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 1

Tis the season for indoor games, like Tracy's Five Day Challenge.  I find that I'm a much better blogger when it's so cold I can barely manage catch-groom-ride-groom-turnout.  To the challenge!

1. Most Influential Person on Your Riding
Emotionally, it's my mom, because without her I wouldn't even be into horses.  She grew up riding H/J in Chicago, quit when she went to college, and got her first horse, Little Red (Secretariat reference), when I was about five.  I caught the horse bug bad, probably because I was old enough to feel her excitement as she got her first horse.

My parents' funny farm: three no-shear sheep that double as lawn mowers, Little Red, and Festus.  Plus some chickens, an African Grey parrot, dogs, cats and usually some cows.

If we're talking physically adjusting my riding, though, it's my current trainer.  I was completely inept on the back of a horse before I met her - I could stay on, but that was about it.  Can't believe that was only three years ago.

2. Piece of tack you'd love to splurge on
Everyone is going to say saddles, right?  I'd love to splurge on a short-flap Dressage saddle.  I really need one, but I'm making the regular flap work for now.  As an unusually short person, it's much easier to make an off-the-rack jump saddle work than it is an off-the-rack Dressage saddle.  If any of you ever see a 16.5 or 17" short flap wide or XW Dressage saddle, tell me!

Ugh, I had a serious love affair with this saddle that I traded for a wide tree regular flap version in September.  Makes me hurt just thinking about it.  It was perfect (for me).

3. Top 5 riding playlist
Never rode while listening to music.  I'm also an avid runner, and I don't like running while listening to music either.  I love listening to the rhythm of my body while running, and to be alone with my thoughts - same goes for riding.  Don't get me started on modern society's need for constant entertainment, I feel very passionately about this subject!

4. Most important aspect of your barn?
I guess it should be "It's my only option," since there is nothing else within an hour drive of me.  But even if there were options, this is where I would be.  It's a small, primarily adult barn with a few mature teenagers, everyone is so willing to pitch in and go above and beyond, no barn drama, excellent care, an "as much turnout as possible" horse management philosophy, great facilities, great footing, sponsored by my favorite feed company (Tribute), an eventing team, an incredible trainer that I really click with...I know, I've died and gone to heaven.  Everyone there is just so mature and focused -  mature enough that we don't have to have annoying nitpicky rules because everyone uses common sense.  I love it - especially after surviving four years of being in an equine program at an all girls college!

Plus, it's beautiful, and maybe this matters more to me after living in the architectural capital of the Midwest the past three years, but it really does a soul good to look at picturesque views of horses grazing behind white board fence and cheerful red-and-white painted barns.

5. Three winter riding goals
Goal #1: Show Training level Dressage again, score in the 60's
Goal #2: Attend a H/J show (so that Connor can get his flower-spooking out of the way in a situation where we can do a warm-up class.)
Goal #3: Develop more than one canter

July 2013. I miss riding in tanktops.  Come back, summer.


  1. Oh my gosh.
    The short flap is so worth it!
    I rode for years in saddles that did not fit me and I now know that I spent a lot of energy fighting the tack to maintain my position.

    I found a used Albion Original Comfort with a short flap. Actually, Trumbull Mountain tack shop found it for me. What a difference. You are so right.

    1. That makes me feel better. I hate feeling like I need a special accommodation, but it really does seem to make a difference.

  2. I completely agree with you about running and riding without music! I love both enough that I don't need extra entertainment. Plus I like thinking and listening to outdoor sounds.

    1. Me too. Plus I've always felt it's dangerous to be unaware of your surroundings around horses if you're distracted by music. In college I would clean my stall with one ear bud in and one out, just in case a horse got loose and came charging down the aisle or something.

  3. How tall are you (if you don't mind me asking)? I'm 5'4" and thinking I might enjoy the short flaps... but wondering how much effort I should put into finding one to try, haha

    1. I'm not quite 5'1. I've heard the rule of thumb is that the flap should be no father down your calf than midway. Does that help?

  4. Everyone said saddles because they cost more money than a house. Well, not really but it'd be a lot harder to finance a saddle.

    1. Yeah. They have to be that expensive, but I wish they weren't anyway.