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Last night, as I got changed at work for my lesson, I realized I was missing one of the most important part of my riding wardrobe… a sport bra. Damn… At first, I was debating what to do. Do I try to run home and get one, putting me half an hour behind schedule at LEAST? Do I ride without one?ย  Do I wrap my chest in a polo wrap?!

In the end, I realized that it was probably a great opportunity to give May another pro ride. While warm last night, there was a good breeze that kept it from being ungodly hot, and Mandy has set up a new course in the arena. On top of that, it has been more than two months since she has sat on my horse, and as we are looking at some bigger heights (for us), I wanted to get her opinion on where May’s confidence/ability really was.


Lucky for me, Mandy was happy to hop on and put May through her paces. Of course… May first decided to try to run away as she was getting on… which was met with a reminder that, “unicorns don’t run away with their riders.” That got a quick correction, dismount, remount. And then… May proceeded to be pretty spicy warming up.

Sassy Tail Swish

As a result, they started with an exercise that I have actually done quite a bit with May, but not in a while. They looped back and forth over a vertical with a placing pole 9.5′ behind the jump. The idea was two fold, get May to rock back over fences, and get her to take the cue on what lead to land on. The first few times, she tried to blow through the half half and required a solid halt and back, but then they got into a rhythm.


They moved onto a full course, and honestly, May just popped around like she had jumped that course a thousand times. Was it perfect? No. Mandy puts a lot more pressure on May to be straight and adjustable (vs. me just trying to get out of the damn way). When May softened and listened, the jumps were smooth and easy. When she locked up like a donkey, the distances weren’t as nice.

The left turn to this oxer apparently meant that outside aids and half halts meant nothing.ย 

Eventually, we pushed the yellow and black oxer up to closer to training height, as she was consistently nailing the bending five to that jump. Mandy wanted to give her a bit of confidence over a slightly bigger height without pushing her too much over a fence that they weren’t 100% agreeing on.

You mean a left turn PAST the gate??

At the same time, Mandy also mentioned that she was going to jump the chevron. My response? “She’s never jumped the chevrons so… just steer.” Like… yes… my pro rider is definitely going to steer to the narrow chevron jump… Luckily, Mandy humors me and allows me to pretend like I am helpful.

Mandy “You need to take off at the base.” May “Hold my beer”

The full video is below. Of course, the very first jump didn’t come up quite the way Mandy wanted it to. However, May still easily moved forward down the five line to the larger oxer and popped over it. The rest of the course went super well, so they just repeated the last line one more time, and they nailed it. You can see both courses at the bottom of this post, but I just had to share the last line they did.

Overall, I got some really good feedback from Mandy. She’s definitely not as finished as she needs to be to do a full course at Novice height. Mandy pointed out that she probably could get around, but it might rock her confidence, which is just so important. She said that, for right now, our goal should be to fix the straightness/balance issues at the height where May can “figure it out” when it goes wrong, and then move May up when she is a bit more reliable. However, it’s not that she has any difficulty with the Novice height, but we don’t want her to start feeling like her job is hard or not fun. I couldn’t agree more and am so thankful to have a pro that enjoys my “spicy dijon” pony.

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  1. It’s the WORST when I forget a sports bra. I did that once, rode in my regular bra and…really regretted my life choices. May looks AMAZING! Get it girl! That’s so wonderful to have a trainer that will push her (and you) but in the right ways to build your confidence and capabilities as a team.

    1. Emily

      I SERIOUSLY debated just getting on. If it wasn’t my weekly lesson time, I would’ve gotten on bareback and just hacked around. But there was no way I was getting around a jump lesson without one.

      Thanks! May thinks she’s pretty spicy mustard these days ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. the_everything_pony

    So glad you have a pro like Mandy to help you out! May looks fabulous! And I love the term “spicy dijon” for her. Totally suits her!

    1. Emily

      I was in STITCHES when my trainer came out and told her that she “needs to be honey mustard today, not spicy dijon”. Totally the right term.

  3. Carly

    She looks so good!

    1. Emily

      Thank you! I oddly enjoy the whole “doting owner” thing every once in a while.

  4. Nadia

    Ha ha I can TOTALLY relate on the sports bra front. Almost worse than forgetting my breeches.
    Glad May got a good ride and you got some aha moments!

    1. Emily

      I have ridden in work pants before. It’s fine as long as I can get my boots on over them hahaha. No sport bra tho? HELL NO

  5. martidoll123

    hahaha spicy dijon. Poor May SO MISUNDERSTOOD….glad you got to watch Mandy on her. What fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Emily

      It was super fun. Apparently, there is some fun to be had when jacking fences up when you aren’t the one in the irons hahaha

      1. martidoll123

        my fave time to put fences up high is when I dont have to actually jump them. I am very brave for other people to do it HA!

        1. Emily

          DITTO! haha

  6. L. Williams

    I actually am part of the itty bitty titty committee so riding without a bra wouldn’t bother me. When I was younger I was super boob envious and now I realize what a gift having no boobs is lol

    1. Emily

      I would literally give my left tit to have smaller ones hahahaha No horse-related clothing fits right.

      1. martidoll123

        IF I were you i would leave my sports bra home every Tuesday ๐Ÿ™‚ Win win! Boobs arent mashed and Mandy has to ride Spicy Dijon Pony. HA OMG dying laughing here my dogs are looking at me strangely!

        1. Emily

          Hahahaha it was a super fun night. Of course, as you know, May is clearly not tired today and is feeling FAIRLY OVERCONFIDENT. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Megan

    I don’t know what I’d do without a sports bra when riding so good call on the trainer ride, plus it sounds like it was fun and gave you both some good information!

    1. Emily

      It was super fun, and it was also really helpful to see where my trainer insisted on things, when I probably would’ve just given in and let her take over.

  8. Stacie Seidman

    I’m with L and have zero requirements for a sports bra to ride, but I totally understand the need. I remember a girl in college who rode without one, and we often were concerned she might get a concussion from her boobs flying around…
    Trainer and May look great together! Sounds like a solid plan you talked about.

    1. Emily

      I don’t know what my coworkers would think if I showed up for work the next day with two black eyes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Better safe than sorry. And it ended up being a super fun evening.

  9. roamingridersite

    Yeah no sports bra needed here though I still wear one for lessons. In fact when I went xc I wore one and regretted it as the combo of sports bra plus vest squished the girls way too much and I feared Iโ€™d be flat when I took them off ?

    1. Emily

      ??? Iโ€™m in the camp of โ€œI wished thatโ€™s how it workedโ€

  10. eventerinprogress

    I cannot even contemplate riding without a sports bra, so I feel you made a very wise choice.

    On the plus side she is looking super! I’ve always been taught with the philosophy that you don’t move up in competition until you’re solidly training the level above, so that by the time you hit the high atmosphere, everything they are faced with is easy.

    1. Emily

      Yup! I am feeling SO MUCH more confident at the BN height (0.8M) than I was at the beginning of the year, so I am pretty excited to get out there and see how it feels in competition.

      I know she will never be a training level (1M) horse (the scope and step just isn’t there, even if the bravery is), but I know she can get pretty comfortable jumping around technical 3′ (0.95M) course before we step into the ring at Novice level (0.9M).

      1. eventerinprogress

        I am VERY appreciative of the measurement conversions!

        Thatโ€™s awesome!

        1. Emily

          I got you girl ๐Ÿ˜‰

          (I ended up looking them up the other day when a non-eventing friend of mine thought that 2’11” for Novice was dumb. “Why isn’t it just 3′?” Because… Novice is actually 0.9M)

          1. eventerinprogress

            I find it so strange because novice here WAS 1* before they changed all the levels. Do you guys have names for all your * levels??

          2. Emily

            All the USEA levels have names. But the FEI levels go by starts. Confused yet ?

  11. Liz

    LOL to the polo wrap comment and to May’s “hold my beer” moment at the base of that chevron. She’s such a good pony.

    1. Emily

      Is it bad that, if I had my standing wraps, I might give it a go? Less stretch = less bounce ๐Ÿ˜‰

      In case anyone was concerned, May apparently has no issue with narrow, sloping, solid things. And she made me feel like that crazy owner that is like “oh no, my special snowflake has never done one of THOSE before” (Cue eye roll)

  12. May looks so good! So nice to have a training ride sometimes. All this bra talk and I started to type training bra instead of training ride sometimes… Wow. Ooops.

    1. Emily

      bahahaha definitely can’t ride in a training bra ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Avery

    Spicy dijon hahaha love that. And. Polo sports bra for the win!

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