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How A Typical Lesson Goes For Me

I generally arrive at least an hour early, if not more, to prepare for my lessons. I am in a good mood at this point. I’m feeling confident and ready to take the world by storm.

Gonna Have a Good Time

I usually get on about thirty minutes before time to start, so I can stretch and walk around the arena. I like to size up what the jumps look like (trainer likes to change things up on us), and I like to get an idea of what we might be doing. We’re obviously going to have a great lesson.

i got this

I’m feeling good, my trainer either has us warm up or starts flatting us. I love flatting my lease, because I have finally figured out his buttons. We can usually get in a groove during our flatting, and I have figured out what to do to make him softer and supple.

we look good

Then she asks us to warm up over a small cross-rail or box. We are so going to do good in this lesson. This is easy stuff! We can do this all day.

crushed it

At this point, I’m feeling good. I’m feeling fierce. We’re pretty much ready for the Olympics. Japan 2020, anyone? Then my trainer starts to add some harder elements. I’m still feeling pretty good after our cross-rails, but she suddenly raises the fences.

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It is our turn to go. We head to the first fence, and I am feeling confident… My trainer gives me this look with her eyes.

good hcoice

Until I am not. You see, I can’t make a decision to save my life. My poor trainer tells me this all the time, but I still can’t seem to make the said decision. Bob really is a saintly horse.

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Usually, I take a couple decent jumps and royally screw up the rest. My trainer usually sounds like this.

wtf

Or she looks like this

NPH-dissapoint

And I am generally like

flaill

And a lot of this

fall apart

And some of this

i did it

Then my trainer asks me to review the course or exercised and explain what we liked and didn’t like. What did I like?

survived

What did I not like?

everything

What happened?

cause i was just like all over

The process generally repeats itself for a few rounds until we mostly sort ourselves out. When I say we, I mean until I sort myself out. My horse is a saint. I am an indecisive potato that makes him do bad things. After my lessons, sweet Bob gets a lot of this:

pony kiss

And I am like this

drink

 

Overall, I am very blessed to have such a wonderful, patient, and kind trainer like Rachel. I’m also so blessed to lease an amazing horse like Bob, that is always teaching me, helping to rebuild my confidence, and constantly puts up with my crap. We don’t win every lesson, but we get better (most of the time), and I call that a success.

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Professionals Choice Jumping Boots

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a product review. However, I am excited to review my new favorite boots on the market. Professionals Choice has been around since 1986, manufacturing some of the best equine therapeutic products on the market. For many years, I thought them to be a western only shop. My barrel racer friends had colorful SMB’s and bell boots. They had cool, air flow saddle pad. However, I was never really able to enjoy the products that my western friends spoke so highly about. That was until 2011, when the CEO’s daughter decided that PC needed to expand it’s horizons into the english world. In 2015, Professionals Choice introduced the Pro Performance line of leg care, and I am excited to review that very line in this blog.

properformancepropreformfetlock

I’m going to start with the Pro Performance Open Front Memory Foam Jumping Boots & Fetlock Boots. I use this particular pair of boots as my weekly lesson and schooling boots. They have a secure Velcro closure and are lined with a compressional open cell foam. The foam is soft yet dense enough to offer support. However, these boots are absolutely not heavy. They are very well ventilated and my horses legs are always surprisingly dry. The front boots wick away moisture and are easily and comfortably secured to keep dirt from getting in. However, I have found the back boots a little harder to secure. I’m a butter fingers, so I don’t know how much say I have here, but the side closure on these is not my absolute favorite.I find that you can get them secure and well fit, however dirt still manages to get in, unlike their front counterparts. Overall, I think the boot is beautiful made, fits to size, supportive, and secure. I did notice on the Professional Choice website that you can get the fetlock boots in the open front Velcro style, as well. These boots are also available in black.

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I do love the boots pictured above as my daily schooling boots, however I love my Pro Performance Open Fronts w/ TPU Fastner & Fetlock Boots the most. They are quick to put on, very secure, breathable, and offer the perfect support for the horse legs.

I was running late to a lesson one morning, and I didn’t want to fool with my butterfingers on the fastening on my regular schooling boots. So, I grabbed this pair of boots that I was saving for a show, and I threw them on my horse quickly. I was so impressed with their ease to get on and how secure they felt. I was afraid the TPU fasteners wouldn’t get tight enough, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took them off after the lesson to see barely sweaty legs and no dirt. These quickly became my favorite boot! These boots, like the Velcro counterparts, are very lightweight. They offer the shock absorbent core (the gray part you see in the back). The foam is not too thick but offers plenty of support. The lining is breathable and doesn’t hold moisture. I’m always amazed when I take them off to how little sweat has accumulated, unlike other boots I have had. Don’t get me wrong. The sweat is still there, but it’s not dripped and soaked like I have seen previously. I have nothing bad to say about these boots, and I find the price very reasonable for the research and quality Professionals Choice puts into their product. These boots are also available in black.

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PROS: I will reiterate what I have said above. These boots are lightweight, secure, offer everything you could want in a boot, come in two colors and styles, and they are affordable. The TPU fasteners are quick and easy to put the boots on and off. They don’t hold moisture, and they usually don’t hold dirt.

CONS: The only con I can think of, is the Velcro fetlock boot. The Velcro closure on them is a little difficult to get tight when you have butterfingers (like me), and they tend to catch dirt.

OVERALL: I would buy 10000 more pairs of both boots in a heartbeat. I would more than likely change out the Velcro fetlock boot for the Velcro open front fetlock boot, but I still love them all the same. If you ask anyone that knows me, I am the first to recommend Professionals Choice anything. I find that the company really researches their products and stands behind them. Everything comes with a warranty and 30 day MBG. I have always found Professionals Choice products to be reliable and their customer service to be fantastic. I would recommend their products, especially these boots, to anyone. You can find a complete list of products and information regard the company and their research on their website: www.profchoice.com.

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Conquering The Mental Game

Here’s the thing. I find myself t0 be a competent rider. I’m no Beezie, Kent, Will, or any of those other fabulous riders that are always cool under pressure, because I want to get one thing out of the way right now. I’m 100000% not cool under pressure. Even if that pressure is making a decision of whether I want to wear side zips or front zips. So throw in a few fences, even a cross rail, and I have immediately lost all my ability to human.

decisions.gif

There was a time in my life where nothing fazed me. My best friend and I would gallop across undeveloped land, jump horses that shouldn’t jump over things we shouldn’t have jumped. I was a kid, and I was young and reckless. So reckless, that we often broke bones, fell off, and got into trouble. However, we got back on (cast and all) and we were off again. I didn’t care at what distance I got into a jump. I didn’t care if the horse had a bucking problem. I didn’t care how high the jump was. I got over it, and I was riding.

However, something clicked. I got older. I kept riding the harder rides, the young horses, and the difficult horses. I loved it, but I didn’t realize I was stepping right into a sinkhole of riding disaster. I began losing confidence, and it pretty much happened overnight. I lost my ability to think clearly, and I became one of the panicked.

sinkhole

You see, I am not a natural rider. I don’t have natural grace or poise. I really had to work hard and hone in on the skills I have. I’m also an analytical rider. I think about every little thing I am told, even if I don’t do it. I want everything to be perfect, and I want to look absolutely perfect, even if that isn’t effective. It’s very hard for me to get out of my head, and it’s very hard for me to stop over thinking everything I do while riding.

I think as riders, getting out of our own head is one of the absolute hardest things to do. I know what to do. I know how to do it, but I can’t do it because I’m too busy thinking about how I am doing it wrong. Therefore, I chip, I add, or I take a hell of a flyer to a jump that I shouldn’t be thinking that hard about. It’s one of the most frustrating things, ever. I get so caught up in how good I could be or should be, rather than taking time to really mentally strategize and hype myself up a little bit.

Recently, I’ve been researching a lot about sports psychology and rider psychology. I’ve been reading about the mental game of riding, and I have also been reading stories about other riders struggle with the same thing. By suggestion of a friend, I found Tonya Johnston’s website. Tonya Johnston is a great equestrian mental skills coach, and she is highly regarded and used by many professionals. Even better, Tonya is a rider herself, so she really understands our struggles in the ring. She also has a great book out (that is currently shipping to my house) called Inside Your Ride.

I know that my mental game is going to be a constant struggle, but I hope that my willingness to help myself and, of course, with the help of Tonya’s book, I can overcome some of my mental obstacles. I’m on a journey to overcoming my mental obstacles, and I hope that I can help someone that might be going through the same thing. Maybe one day I will go from hot mess to “well thought out”. Until then, my journey continues.

mess

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The Half Pad Directory

halfpads

After months of trying and searching for the perfect half pad, I have decided that there needs to be a directory. I’m not talking about a “review page” or a comparison page. I will leave that for the Product Review section. I’m just talking about a one stop shop that gives you all the info on half pads that you need.

I look forward to this project, and I hope you find it useful.

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2016 Resolutions

Yes, this is a blog about me making my New Years Resolutions 13 days into the New Year. Honestly, I think it’s silly to make them right away. Generally, I’m still half drunk and have yet to recover from the Holidays. It takes me at least a week to let the boozy brain clear. So, I have always waited on making my “resolutions” until I really had time to think them through. I want my resolutions to be obtainable, and I don’t like generic resolutions either. So here they are, a reminder to me that I do have resolutions, and that I have a year to make them all happen.

bringiton

  1. In 2016, I am going to ride more and worry less. I’m going to worry less about the extra time it takes to get to the barn. I’m going to worry less about hurting peoples feelings when I choose the barn over them. I’m going to enjoy the horse I have, and I am going to make things happen. I want to try and get to the barn two to three times per week.
  2. In 2016, I am going to ride more horses. You are only as good of a rider as you let yourself be, and if you only ride what your comfortable on.. What does that make you? I want to ride different horses. I want to sit on as many as I can, and I want to make myself a better rider. Notice, this resolution is different than my previous resolution, because I do not planĀ  on riding just CW.
  3. In 2016, I am going to try different disciplines. I believe you can become a more rounded rider by trying different disciplines. I think every discipline has something to give, whether you are a Dressage rider, Jumper, Reiner, etc. I want to try cutting, reining, and Dressage this year. I also want to start roping the dummy, again. Practice makes perfect, right?
  4. In 2016, I will get myself in better riding shape. I’m tired of getting tired after two circles around the arena at a canter. No stirrup work? HA. You are funny. We don’t even try that most of the time. I need to improve my core, and I need to improve my stamina. Unfortunately for me, that means I have to do cardio and attempt to work out some. It’s only fair to CW that if he has to work more then so do I.

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5. In 2016, I am going to cowgirl up. I’m not going to whine when Rachel makes me jump a jump I’m not comfortable with. I’m going to put on my big girl panties and just do it. I have a great horse that isn’t going to stop, so I need to put that out of my mind. 2016 is a new year, and that means I get to restart and push the bad behind. We’ve all wrecked. It’s scary, and I don’t think anyone wants to fall off, but I seriously have to get over it.
6. In 2016, I am going to stop riding backwards. It feels like my horse is going 900mph, but I know he is not. Heck, the videos make him seem like a pleasure! I need to embrace our forward march, and I think it will make both of us happier.
7. In 2016, I am going to make it around a course of 10 jumps. You hear that Rachel? That means we aren’t going to run away, circle, or stop in-between lines or fences. We have our work cut out for ourselves.
8. In 2016, I am going to push myself past my comfort zone. I am going to make myself reach these goals, and I am going to be a happier person and better rider for it.
9. Lastly, In 2016, I am going to update my blog much more often. I promise more interviews, #ROOTD, and fun bargain finds. I vow to be a better blogger.

With that said, bring on 2016!

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Here’s to 2016.

In 17 hours the book will close on 2015, and a new chapter will begin to write itself. So many people begin to write big goals and resolutions for the next year, but I want to reflect on the small successes we had in 2015.

1. CW and I may not have shown at WEF and won our division, but we did manage to put a course of jumps together at home a few times.

  

2. We only went lame twice this year, the longest time off being one month. We also got x-rays that were pretty clean and promising. 

  

3. We moved barns and began training with a great trainer. We even started riding a bit better.

  
4. I sort of got over my rediculous fear of jumping anything bigger than a cross-rail.

  
5. We also don’t runaway quite as often as we used to, and we are starting to kind of use ourself and sort of round.

 

6. I bought a new saddle, and I made new barn friends.

 
7. Lastly, I managed to not fall off.

  

So, here’s to 2016. Here is to more small goals and successes, and here’s to another year that we don’t show at WEF or possibly at all! I’m just glad that we have friends and wonderful people to help us on our crazy journey.

  
  

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Fall #ROOTD Fun

Fall Schooling
I love fall. I wish Texas had a 24-7 fall. I like changing leaves, temps not above 70, and the crispness in the air. Everything starts to feel warm, cozy, and inviting. I just want to ride ponies, bake goodies, and drink chai tea all day. In the spirit of fall, I decided to make a #ROOTD this week surrounding my newest purchase. I found a pair of gray TS breeches through a Facebook group for $50 shipped! This is one of my more “expensive” #ROOTD’s, because a girl can dream, right? However, this whole outfit can be found and made cheaper buy sensible spending. I found a great, similar green plaid shirt from Ross this weekend for $12. A vest from anywhere could easily be paired with this shirt, and it would look just as great with a pair of tan schooling breeches that you already have in your closet. I chose to top this fall theme off with a pair of Ariat brown field boots, because I dream about these boots! I also dream about a pair of Ariat Volants (hint hint family @ Christmas). I think the brown field boot is so classy, and I think it adds a certain edge to any schooling outfit. I added the brown Michael Kors braided belt in for a casual feel with a high end touch to bring everything together.

You can buy any of these items below: