October 17, 2022

Maryland 5*: Riding Things

Last weekend, Fudge and I made the 16 hour roundtrip drive to visit Austen and attend the Maryland 5*. I originally had plane tickets, but when I got Fudge last month, I canceled them. It felt like the perfect opportunity to break my new dog in to long car rides and horse shows.

And riding in the back of Subarus with strangers

I was supposed to arrive Thursday, BUT got 2.5 hours down the road and realized I forgot my purse, and that my emergency truck CC was expired! Thankfully I had enough gas to get home, so Fudge and I turned around and had a staycation afternoon instead, with pizza and catching up on the Great British Baking Show.

5 hours of driving to visit one rest area and then go home. Fudge's first road trip was a weird one.

But we finally made it on Friday, and immediately got to riding ponies. First up was a trail ride. Austen put me on Charizard (or Chardonnay, but he's really more of a Pokemon), a saintly QH fella that was safe but fun.

Look, it's me, on a full-sized horse!

Austen took what I think is the first photo of my Celeris in broad daylight. How have I had them a year and not done that yet? Haha.

Side note, 19" saddle, 5'1 me. I fit 19"s really well if they have a big block in my way.

I've been out on hacks at her barn before, but never through the trails. I'd sell a piece of my soul for access to them.

Whatever Fudge is, there's some kind of water dog or retriever in there. He was in his element in the creek.

Another creek - he drinks like this ALL THE TIME and it's the weirdest thing. He submerges his face up to his eyeballs if the bowl is deep enough.

When we got to a big field in the middle of the ride, we went for a canter around it. Even when a literal tree fell in the woods next to us and the horses spooked, I never felt even a little anxious.

Me: "Wow, this canter is so smooth, I feel like I could do the Champagne Challenge on him" PC: Austen

After putting Charizard and Guinness away, we headed over to the indoor so I could ride Bast for the first time. While I was waiting, Austen's friend offered me a ride on her 24 year old former 2* eventer and did Dressage through 4th level Warmblood. Once again, I felt a truly surprising lack of anxiety whatsoever as I said yes and climbed on, even though I couldn't figure out how to ride that horse for the life of me, lol.

No media of that, but that's him on the right and Austen on the left

Then I got on Bast, and wow, what a cool experience! Unlike the WB, I immediately felt at home on Bast, and was able to ask for everything through Second Level and even touching Third, the first time I've ever ridden some of that stuff on a horse other than Connor. Austen has really done a remarkable job with him if a stranger can get on him and just boom, everything is right there without her even having to instruct me on how to ride him.

He's fitting right in to that horse show life.

After that, we went and got tacos for Fudge's first restaurant meal ever. After an 8 hour drive and having taken 41,000 steps that day (he normally averages 15,000), he could not have cared less and slept like a baby on the patio, lol.

All in all, it was a fantastic day, but the thing I most can't get over is my total lack of anxiety over getting on three unfamiliar full-sized horses. Old me, even a few years ago, would have been terrified, and probably said no to at least the ride on the WB. And the spook when the tree fell would have made me tighten up in fear rather than sit the spook and laugh.

I felt like a different person on those horses. Am I just a better rider? Or was my riding anxiety, like my work anxiety certainly was, also caused by the hormonal birth control I went off of two years ago this month? Who knows, but it makes me want to start catch riding more things.


  1. It must feel amazing to hop on these horses without feeling anxious! I think I always feel some kind of angst on an unfamiliar horse, and even sometimes on familiar ones depending on external factors.
    Fudge looks like he'll make a wonderful horse show dog! What a fun day he had!
    And lastly, the boots look fab!

  2. I totally missed you getting Fudge but he sounds like a great dog! Sounds like a great trip too. I miss catch riding.

  3. For the record, Fudge is amazing and I would die for him.