Somehow, my lack of showing in June – August has turned into a huge buying opportunity. I recently purchased really gorgeous Navy & Black gloves. These, but in Navy. I bought them from a local tack shop for less than I am seeing them online and in a prettier color, so I am calling that a win. I will do a formal review once I have owned them for a while, but I have gotten to ride in them once. So far so good!
May has also been really needing a proper pair of XC boots. Enter Majyk Equipe in White! I paid full price. I have no shame. They might be a touch too tall on May, but I am going to try them for a bit and then decide. The White looks super flashy.
I also had an interesting interaction with SmartPak that ended up with me trying their new breeches. The Piper Knit Breeches with Silicone Knee patches. I got them in tan because I need a “just in case” cheap pair of pants for shows. Since then, I have bought a second pair in Navy.
Again – a formal review is coming but the breakdown is… meh. They look nice, but are too long for me. I am typically very much in the “regular” length for inseams, but these are a solid 4″ too long and too bulky around the ankles. It’s fine in my schooling tall boots, which I bought one calf size larger than my show boots*, but it would be uncomfortable under my more “form fitting” show boots.
*My show boots are exclusively summer wear. When I wear them, I am exclusively wearing summer pants with thin socks. Meanwhile, during the winter I like to wear under armor beneath my fleece lined pants… with two socks. This creates bulk that my show boots just wouldn’t be able to handle. Unfortunately, this also means I have a slight panic attack right before I have to wear my show boots because I am always afraid they won’t fit anymore.
How do you deal with less than perfect pant bottoms? By buying perfect socks! I bought these. I have used them once. I am in love.
Of course, the list can’t stop there! I also bought a pair of thinline reins. I have no idea if I love them because I hated my old reins so much, or if I am actually in love with them. They were definitely bulkier than I expected, but I like the slight give they have when I increase tension. It was a bit off to ride in the first time or two, but May and I got used to it. I also got them in a slightly shorter length than my old pair because
May has a very short neck and I am secretly hoping it will make it look like we have more stretch in the free walk if I just mysteriously run out of reins to give.
Finally, this hairnet.I had one… now I have 3. It looks super goofy before you put your hair up, but it has revolutionized my relationship with hair nets. Try One. Buy Many. 🙂
Disclaimer: These items were bought over the last couple of months and the fiance is aware of all of them… and of my slowly building need for a navy OneK.
May and I have reached a bit of an odd point in the season, a break point. In years past, I have competed as a Hunter/Jumper rider, and there was never any consideration of taking the summer months (or the winter months) with any kind of break. In fact, most shows and trainers took advantage of the summer months to do such outlandish things as weekday shows!
This year, however, my trainer is due for her first child in mid-July, and I have a horse that would really prefer to live in Canada (rumor has it she is from there). So what are we doing until September rolls around…
1. Dressage. Always Dressage.
I wish someone had told me when I was a kid that eventers spend a lot more time doing Dressage than XC jumps. (or maybe it’s just me?). I also wish someone had told me that I would love it. At my first lesson after our last show, my trainer and I discussed the difficulties I have during Dressage tests and jumping rounds. May tends to get very heavy in my hand and down on her forehand.
In regular schooling, I correct this with a transition. The transitions have gotten much cleaner, and they continue to be part of our program. However, May is now broke enough to begin isolating body parts and learning things like shoulder-in. May, as usual, is appalled by this notion. I have spent over a year teaching her butt to follow her ribs, her ribs to follow her shoulders, and her shoulder to follow her head. (at the beginning, May used to love to turn her head and continue in a straight line)
We began with some baby shoulder-ins just to help her get the idea of traveling that way and then backed off. This is something I may play with once a week until it becomes something she is comfortable with. Drilling it each ride will just make her anxious through the whole thing and ruin the point of the exercise.
2. Show Jumping…
(and possibly my own equitation)
If you all remember correctly, I barely pulled myself together in the last lesson before our 5/22 horse trial and was able to jump a semi-respectful course. At the competition, I had a good round but still pulled one rail. Unfortunately, I am still struggling with getting our mojo back after our rough stadium round at Kent. I am also pretty disappointed with how my eq has suffered. In changing May’s form over fences, I have also changed mine, except not in a positive way. Which in turn is making May less balances, which in turn is making me compensate more. It’s a vicious cycle.
I have been jumping smaller jumps (2′ – 2’3″) about once a week in order to work on things like rhythm and balance. At that height, it is still just a big canter step for May, so I don’t feel bad for incorporating them now and then. I also use jumps as a reward.
We recently added a liverpool to our jump ring. May was terrified of it. I got her to walk past it the first time she saw it, after some coaxing. Eventually, we built up to trotting over a pole next to it. Then we trotted over a pole next to it inside the standard. Once she was able to trot past it and not give it an evil eye. We picked up a canter, jumped over a small vertical a few times and I put her away. The next day, she was able to come out, pick up where we had left off, and ended up jumping over the liverpool, no issues.
In addition to continuing lessons as much as we can, we also signed up for a clinic at our barn with Meg Kepferle. Give her a Google. She’s pretty cool, and we’re very excited. I am going to try to put my last clinic out of my head (where I ate dirt in front of Marilyn Payne.)
3. Buying all the Things!
If there is one thing I have learned with horses, it is that buying more expensive and newer tack/equipment/clothes will not make you a better rider. There are no quick fixes. However, much like most people would rather cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle, I would rather eat dirt in Italian breeches and watch my horse canter off wearing her French Saddle. Fortunately, neither I nor May fit in either of those things, so I will stick with my smaller, but still pretty, purchases.