Who is FRED?

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Last Sunday my barn hosted an awesome non-riding clinic named FRED. Fun Rider Education Day. There was a mental skills portion and “From the Judges View” feature, which just happened to coincide with a (quarterly?) visit from an awesome dressage coach. I’d missed the chance to have a lesson from her the past few times she’d visited, so I added a dressage lesson to my educational itinerary for the day!

Dressage Lesson

The lesson began with introduction where the trainer asked about what we’re currently working, what level we compete at, etc.
I told her we usually do 2’6 hunters at local schooling shows and are currently working on, besides everything, is preventing Leo from anticipating. Leo is smart, and clearly knows his job, so he knows that after we’ve walked and trotted and then walked again, we canter. He then anticipates the transition, and as soon as I pick up the reins he’s balky and jumpy, with a hollow back and head up and it’s just ugly.
The dressage instructor had us working on the same ol’ inside leg to outside rein concepts, but micro-managing our every move in the best way! She even went as far as to walk along side us holding my hands exactly where they should be in each part of a circle, give and take on the inside rein and holding the outside. When she could see that Leo was getting less and less responsive in the trot she had us canter a lap each way to wake him up, which worked well but also brought out the anticipatory monster in him after we went back to working at the trot. She immediately identified my problem: I’m telling him what NOT to do instead of what I want him to do. He goes to canter as soon as I pick up the reins, so I tell him whoa and clamp the reins and take my leg off - it was that visible. This unengages his hind end and creates even more frustration. She told me I need to give him something to work on and stop saying “no, no, no”.
It worked instantly. He gets balky? Leg on. She identified another one of my problems: abandoning him. Just because he knows his job doesn’t mean he’s going to magically collect himself and get the perfect pace and distance - he’s just not that horse. I’ve added that to my growing list of Things to Improve, as well.
Needless to say, my anticipated discipline transfer to dressage would not be very successful, despite my love for matching saddle pads and polos.

Mental Skills

The Mental Skills clinic was taught by the amazing, Tonya Johnston. I won’t give away all of her secrets, because she has many resources available to riders struggling with their mental fitness or nervousness associated with riding. I would say that the overall theme of her talk was on being cognizant or aware of, well, everything involving your riding. It’s important to notice what is working for your riding [not just what doesn’t]. To put it simply, one must be mindful, set goals and reflect on your time in the saddle. Journaling your lessons to create a personal riding “textbook” (like an outline you’d make before a final exam) was personally my favorite exercise discussed. I would highly recommend attending one of her mental skills clinics, purchasing her book or even visiting her website to set up a phone conversation to speak with her for personal coaching.

Equitation, Hunter and
Derby Judging

The USEF R Judge who presented was also super informative! She began her discussion on equitation, while the front page of the Equitation section of the USEF rulebook was passed out. The first sentence reads, “Rider should have a workmanlike appearance, seat and hands light and supple, conveying the impression of complete control should any emergency arise.” She emphasized that many equitation riders can be faulted for looking like they are placed into position nicely on a horse, while stiff and unable to follow the motion of the horse. You’re not to sit and look pretty. Function is emphasized.

  • When you enter the ring for an equitation round, unless your sitting trot is 110%, posting is fine - unless the sitting trot is explicitly called for (in a work-off or flat phase/class). Same goes for exiting an eq class. I also got the okay to walk in and go straight to the canter, so goodbye ugly, choppy anticipatory trot in!

  • Walk through the in-gate! Always!

  • Also don’t take a tour around the entire arena with your “entrance circle” - use it to make a good first impression.

  • Be timely at the gate - the judge and the announcer has been sitting around all day, don’t make them wait any longer, especially not noticeably rehearsing your course (by waving your whip around in a figure 8). The courses are posted in the morning. Learn them.

  • For Hunters: unless you have a young horse that needs extra balancing (or a horse with a tough lead), you walk in the ring, pick up your trot and then go straight to your canter. Not: walk > trot > walk > canter. Equitation it’s okaaay, but only if necessary because you can’t pick up the wrong lead otherwise. Huge points off for the wrong lead in an eq class.

  • Stirrup irons - make sure they are at least ‘metal’ color. The judge presenting likes just the standard stainless stirrups, but would not penalize a different type of iron except for a black color. Competitors cannot be eliminated for stirrup type. I’m going to be keeping my Lorenzinis until my trainers tell me otherwise…

  • Judges are not hoping for you to make a mistake! They want all the riders to do well.

  • The Hunter Derby: regular hunters on steroids. There are 2 rounds, a separate panel of judges, more natural jumps [haybales, walls, etc.]. The courses are built for more pace and animation. Successful derby horses do not have to be the typical, daisy-cutter hunter movers. Good jumpers are rewarded more than good movers. The order reverses for the handy round.

For the scorecard [looks like this], where judges document each round, each fence is judged and documented and the overall impression in noted in the comments. From there, the total score is determined and written in the scores section, where the judge can look at previous round to determine the round’s placement. So it’s not like dressage where your trot in is scored at x / 10, and your canter in the corner from 5 to 6 is scored at y / 10… actually I’m not even sure how dressage is scored. But Equitation and Hunter judging is about each fence’s score and then overall impression.

After our discussion, we all went outside to observe two trainers from my barn attempt a hunter, equitation and work off round. Hearing live feedback from a judge was sooo interesting! Mostly because the trainers she judged are, I would say objectively, amazing riders. They would trot in for their pretend class and the judge was like, “They’re okay, leg seems okay and position is alright” which is probably the understatement of the year. And she would go on critiquing their rounds, sometimes very bluntly, but they’d finish and she’d give a awesome [well-deserved] score like an 83. The whole thing just made me excited to have my riding picked apart so honestly, so time to get excited for my next show!

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10/10 would do FRED again!

Everyday Products at the Barn

For the Horse:

Baby Wipes

I use baby wipes for ear crud, general face clean-up and they are also great for hand cleaning without damaging my skin like a Lysol wipe would! I make sure to get the unscented ones so I have a non-irritating disposable clean up cloth. They are also amazing for cleaning matte helmets (also, windex is great for removing grease marks!). They’re also good for cleaning up a post-walkie poopy dog butt, which is the original reason I was in possession of many packages of baby wipes.

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cloths

I worked at Starbucks for something like 4 years and ever since I’ve been obsessed with using microfibers rags for kitchen clean-up. I’m somewhat of a clean freak and going through two rolls of paper towels a week is just not viable. After getting back into horses, I realized how useful having a catch-all cloth around can be. Horse snot? Got it. Extra mud on legs? Wipe it up. Horse sensitive on the face? Groom with the cloth. As a person who meticulously washes their hands ten times a day, being at the barn can drive me crazy if I don’t have a place to wipe my hands too, so I make sure to always have a cloth on hand. The Amazon basics brand are well priced, super soft, wash nicely and last a long time. (pictured below in blue)

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Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is not just a common human skincare option, but is also touted for horse use. It’s been recommended as a homemade liniment or to cut a pre-made liniment without compromising effectiveness. It’s said to relive itchiness and help remove stains. Opinions vary, but it’s not recommended for internal use so I would avoid use on wounds though it does have a disinfecting nature, which still makes good for preventing fungus issues.

Soup Containers

These soup containers found on Amazon are the perfect size for prepping supplements, either for your home feeding schedule or taking on the road. I know a lot of people like the convenience of SmartPaks but not the price or the waste, and having your own reuseable containers can improve efficiency and reduce your guilt! And hopefully make your barn owner’s job easier in the process.


For Your Stuff:

Vinyl Monogram Labels

If you’re really into monograms like me, or really into keeping your stuff yours, some vinyl labels might be for you. These can be applied to any non-porous surface, some ideas: feed buckets, brushes, hoof pick, wash buckets, your plastic/blanket trunk, helmet, horse boots, crops, phone, water bottle, coffee cup, trailer, car, golf cart, your dog, your horse, anything, everything. They’re not reusable, but they are long-lasting and should be non-damaging. Be sure to clean with Windex prior to application.

Sheepskin (the gun cleaning variety)

I know guns and leather sound like an odd cross of hobbies, but when I first got my saddle and did “extensive” research… on COTH forums, I found that some of the top leather cleaning experts recommended sheepskin over tack cleaning sponges. The specific type of sheepskin needed is rarely found except sold as gun cleaning cloth, so no, you won’t be using your sheepskin rugs. I find that the sheepskin picks up dirt or dust on the saddle but does not hold the dirt at the ends of the hairs, so either when applying conditioner or just dusting your saddle, you’re not scraping the dirt over the leather like you might if you had a sponge or cloth. The sheepskin can also be cut down into much smaller pieces to separate for general cleaning, conditioning and deep cleaning. I usually cut one piece into about 9 pieces.

Wreath Storage Bags

If you have a saddle pad (or overall horse-accessory) problem like I do, you likely need some storage for your items besides your trunk and your car and your garage and your dining table. My favorite simple purchase is my wreath storage bag, perfectly sized for laying saddle pads flat. They’re perfect for under bed storage, and the handles offer easy access so I’m not digging around under there. I found some other, more structured options like this one or this one if your collection exceeds mine.

Tack or Blanket Trunk

Whether you need a lightweight trunk for travelling, or some blanket storage if your horse’s stall front is not protected from the weather, the Container Store has some awesome options. Many people opt for Husky or Stanley trunks, but I always thought the non-flat lid would bug me. This one looks like it would be nice to sit on and sturdy enough to stand on. I don’t know why you’d be standing on it but I digress.

Car Saddle Stand

I’d be a little unsure about leaving saddle at showgrounds after the theft fiascos at Thermal and WEF, so toting your saddle around in your car has become somewhat necessary. Anticipating my future off-property shows, I recently attempted to order a Stubbs Saddle Mate and got so much flack from my husband (because I can just lay it down like I’ve been doing for the past two years, right?) that I cancelled the order. Around the same time, I saw a post for a similar product on the Sporthorse Apothecary Facebook feed. It just happened to be a garbage can. I found mine at a Target for $10, and it works perfectly! I back in into a corner of my car’s trunk so it doesn’t move around when holding my saddle, but when not in use, I keep extra horse treats, towels for when I get my car washed and my extra reusable grocery bags! For the price and utility, I would HIGHLY recommend.

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OxiClean

I use OxiClean in most of my loads of laundry, but on top of that, it is incredible to use on gross, stinky gloves. I dissolve a tiny scoop (of the powdered form) in a large bowl of hot water and just let them sit. See the left picture for the amount of dirt and nastiness that comes out after a few minutes of soaking. Rinse well and the gloves are good as new. Nothing else I’ve tried, especially not putting them in my regular laundry, works. OxiClean is also super effective at getting dirt stains out of my saddle pads and prized white polos.

Sterilite Latch Boxes

THESE BOXES ARE INCREDIBLE. Storage for everything. The tiny ones hold my extra spurs. I have a box for extra reins, my martingale and bits. There’s a larger box that I keep my clippers and accessories in. The largest box I keep open at the bottom of my trunk for boots so the dirty ones don’t get everything else sandy. One box holds a set of my favorite polos organized. I also have a ton of these boxes around my apartment, some for skincare products, important papers, my leather cleaning stuff. KonMari-ing my life did not save money on the storage box front.

For You:

I make sure to keep a few common sense items in my trunk just for extra preparedness: sunscreen, deodorant, extra scarf or vest, spare belt and boot socks, checkbook (which I recently learned is v. important), sharpie, phone holster, etc.

 
 

If I came off prepper-level crazy about always having what I need at hand, it’s because I am.
Thank you for reading and hoped you got some good ideas on how to save money on non-equestrian branded items!

Reflections on Last Weekend's Schooling Show

Top 4 U/S were all ladies from my barn. We got 4th and Leo could not look more proud to pose for a picture. Other horses? Not so much.

Top 4 U/S were all ladies from my barn. We got 4th and Leo could not look more proud to pose for a picture. Other horses? Not so much.

Last weekend I had my first “schooling” show of the year with Leo. My barn hosts local association shows a few times a year and I’m always happy to have a low pressure and low cost opportunity to show. It was both Saturday and Sunday, and I wish I could bottle the feeling of pure bliss getting off work that Friday with the sun still shining, heading to the barn for a final lesson and school a bit in the hedge ring. Leo absolutely knew exactly what this meant.

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We had an awesome and unusually energetic warm-up. Things that happened during our school: jumped things way bigger than the level we showed at, an exuberant Leo bucking and playing after said big but fun jumps, doing five strides in a long six, my crop broke because it went into my boot upon one wonky landing, a refusal to another big oxer because a bug flew in my eye and Leo knew something was up (good call bud, my eyes were closed). We basically raced around the course like we were planning on winning a jumper class. I would say it was a train-wreck but I was laughing the entire time and Leo felt so good, so how could I not enjoy it? I felt like we got a great school in, but heading home I started to have doubts. What if I can’t hold him together in the ring and he goes around happily bucking and playing? What if I pull him to another refusal like last show?? I put it out of my mind. A glass of wine helped.

My goal for the weekend was to get around the courses without worrying about winning and to have FUN. Needless to say, GOALS MET. Looking back on the weekend, I may have embarrassed myself a bit. Don’t mind the girl at the [schooling] show overdressed with a braided horse happily chipping and laughing about it, with unasked for upward transitions and definitely not using my corners. That’s fine though, Leo was a v. good boy and looked genuinely happy in all the videos and got absolutely showered with treats for being so wonderful. I can’t get over his swivel ears, jump hunting and constantly checking in with, “Okay, where we headed next?” I even heard someone sitting near my husband on one of our videos say, “He just look so happy to do his job!” as we entered the ring. Gonna need a parent signature slip for that feel trip.

Some thoughts about my rounds:

Saturday

U/S. I sincerely hope the judge Saturday shared my sense of humor. We had two accidental upward transitions and each time I was definitely making eye contact with her. When our trot was finally getting to floaty-status: Surprise Canter. How we didn’t come in last, I’m not sure. And damn, was Leo annoyed that we couldn’t just gallop around. I was laughing around the entire ring.

1. Heading into the ring with our nice trot, the surprise canter transition strikes again. I think this threw me off enough to think that we were really forward, a common fault of mine. Well, we weren’t. I pulled to a trot for our first fence. We did not place. Added in the first line. I still had it in my head that we were GALLOPING. We were not. Pulled to a bad trot/chip stride for the long approach oxer. Chipped into the last line.

2. Enter attempting to keep the trot to the end of the rail, so our trot looks sad and ugly and I still didn’t keep the gait. Still crawling at the canter, chip our first jump. Did NOT get the change, even trying to trot it and picking up the wrong lead again! Obviously did not do well in this class either. We are able to gallop down the lines regardless of what madness I try to pull. Nail the long approach! He’s perfect.

3. The Mini Medal! Super late change after fence 1, and then an awwwful chip, but then our rollback is beautiful. He really gets so powerful and lovely and turn-y with the outside rein and leg combo buttons. Our halts could use some work. Should I have patted him at the halt? Probably not. We also argued about doing a canter step before the trot jump so he takes off from like 10 feet away (Can I stop thrusting my hips forward with the trot jumps? Yuck.).

 

Sunday

4. Here’s another huge upward transition mistake! We were supposed to make a trot loop around the arena, like a backwards ‘c’, and then pick up our right lead. We head in across the diagonal and Leo’s like WEEEEE LEFT LEAD. I’m thinking: that gives me two very ugly options, lead change or simple trot change. I went with a very poorly executed lead change. In retrospect, I could have just brought him back to the trot… but at least we had a good pace after our ugly change. Going into the diagonal line you can clearly see that my reins have become a problem (a common fault of mine). He jumps the white and red line suuuper cute, but I need to focus on not letting him get so close to the out jumps of the lines! For some reason I become a coward to the long-approach oxer, which is actually not usually my problem. See a spooky thing outside the arena coming to the last line and then we’re on a roll and take a distance I did not expect… this happens to me occasionally (see: all the time) and my trainer always tells me to “just go with him” and I’m like I would but my brain doesn’t compute. Anyway, it looked like we were out fox hunting or something, so give me a grab strap and some extra points for that lively jump! It is called hunters, right?

5. Me: attempts to keep his trot under control. Leo: no canter? Well, you’re definitely not going to get a nice trot out of me.
First fence was okay! Butchered the long approach again. No spookies at the outside line! Very cute diagonal. I attempt to use my corner, reins get long again. I thought that round went pretty well!

6. Same ugly entrance, good first fence! The bending line was a solid 6.5 strides, and I planned for a slight bulge out for a 7. We still could have stepped up a bit but it rode well. After the bending I completely forgot my course! I was just like, uhhhh well it makes sense for us to end up over here so maybe do this line? And then remembered the trot jump at the last second. It made for a seamless transition, though! I was so impressed that I remembered the trot jump that I wasn’t focusing on the line and turned a bit too soon and without being organized. Chip = rail = points off. Good halt and made easy work of the last line. Almost trotted out of the ring, but even with all the mistakes, still ended up with a second!

All in all, especially after watching the videos and knowing that the mistakes I made are not only common for me, but ones that I have made and also corrected in the past, I feel confident that we can go into our next show and make definite improvements. I’m hoping we’ll be able to focus more on the medals and equitation classes, too!

 
 

How I Got My Groove Back: Lesson Update - March 2019

Last November I had two somewhat iffy falls (which I obviously did not dwell on) which seemed planted amid a series of unfortunate events. Fires in Northern California and a few storms kept me from diving right back into jumping the way I thought would be ideal for getting rid of my new-found fears. I think my step back helped me regain my confidence more efficiently in the end. My trainers were also amazing at structuring a series of confidence building lessons. I was able to return to “jumping” with exercises like a simple 5-stride line of cavalettis and as well as small grids to incorporate larger jumps.

In early January there was a storm so extreme that the middle section of our indoor was blown off, essentially splitting our indoor into 2 one-third sections on each end. This meant that our entire barn had a new [mandatory] focus on flat work and smaller jumps. Again, back to basics for the winter was not the worst news to me and it was a great exercise in taking it slow and confidence building. When I say ‘confidence building’ I don’t necessarily mean that I was scared to jump anymore after my initial reintroduction, but there are always holes in your education where just doing one thing repetitively at a very low level can give you the chance to make mistakes, identify, and then correct them without the worry about jump height or ‘can the horse make it from this ridiculous distance I just set up?’.

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Once the footing was dry enough to lesson outside, we were able to apply a lot of what we’d been working on inside which could basically be boiled down to: is the horse listening? We jumped the wall! Insert sassy girl emoji. I’d been warned previously about Leo’s “tendencies”, can’t do this, won’t jump that. Well, you expect more, you get more. I was riding with a newer trainer at my barn for this lesson who did not share the previous knowledge of him not doing x or y because z. She told me to go get it, and at my first turn towards the jump Leo was super offended. But she had me come around again, trot right up to it, slow to a walk, let him investigate and canter away, circling so that we didn’t pass the jump. We came to it confidently and supportive and he just did it. NBD. We also ended up doing the black plank jump in a course that day, which I don’t think we’ve done since last November - the planks were the original culprit in my falling-off legacy. Did I mention to my trainer that either of those things could cause issues? Nah. The more you focus on it, the more it’s likely to happen. Stop. Dwelling. Also, I can’t say enough about working with more than one trainer. Each one has different insights, different ways to explain things and can pick up different difficulties you and your horse are having.


Side Note: I watched the first episode of The Saddle Club recently after discussing the show with a friend since she absolutely needs to start watching it with her daughter. No joke, in the first episode one of the kids (Carol, duh) is afraid of jumping the wall and I was just like, wow is my life really a children’s horse show right now? Should I really be this proud about jumping a “scary” jump? Oh, and here’s the link because I know you want to watch.


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So anyway, the lesson!

What can I even say about it? It was so good! It’s been rainy the past few weeks/months/all of winter, and so we’ve been stuck inside relegated to either side of the covered arena. I won’t say it’s been awful though, it’s clearly made a huge difference in my riding, the need to ride in a collected manner helped me learn to sit the canter and control my body a bit more over the jumps if I’m not allowing him to immediately extend after even a small jump - there’s no room to let him go anywhere. Proper turns that use every available inch of a corner (opening outside rein!) also really aided me both indoors and in this lesson. And finally, all this rain and riding inside has made me appreciate being outside and having a proper jump lesson.

I can remember last summer and fall not looking forward to my jumping lessons because I found them daunting, stressful and probably too frequent. Jumping, though I feel it probably shouldn’t, takes considerably more mental effort than flatwork. If you have a goal in mind for your flatwork, e.g. practicing a halt by a certain place in the arena, and it doesn’t work out you can simply try again, noting what went wrong the first time. If you’re jumping and misjudge a distance or don’t get your proper, energetic canter, things can turn south quickly.

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I don’t know what it was about this day, but every single distance came up perfectly, Leo was totally excited and willing. Well, I probably know why we did so well. The day before we worked on a set of poles and eventually cavalettis on the ground set at 3 strides and worked on collecting enough to get 4 in, and switching back and forth for my pace perception and his adjustability. The concept just carried over to this day.

Our only ‘miss’ was when he spooked at the liverpool that we’d already passed ten times, but that’s horses, and it wasn’t awwwful. My only critique would be that my right heel is now able to flex much further down [and is overall stronger] than my left, so that’s next on my To Work On list. It’s also ridiculously hard to rein in Leo’s stride down the 4 to 4, but but hopefully can work on that with my seat and position. We did just switch to a D-ring Happy Mouth, so we’re still learning how to effectively use it. He’s excited, he’s happy and he’s got a monster stride. It was great practice for next weekend though, since he loves to gallop down the lines (and so do I tbh).

Should out to my barnmate’s friend for taking video for me! I owe you Shelby!

Equestrian Pet Peeves

 
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I’ve often seen the “What’s your biggest equestrian pet peeve?” posted as a daily question on IG and with too many responses to list and plenty of my own opinions, and also seeing how nasty things can get, I thought the topic deserved it’s own blog post!

Dictionary.com describes a pet peeve as
noun, a particular and often continual annoyance; personal bugbear

Which also begs the question, what’s a bugbear? I went ahead and listed a few of my greatest equestrian pet peeves below along with a few of my friend’s biggest pet peeves:

My Own

  • When I see other people getting to make the same mistakes I used to, but my trainer drilled them out of me. Not fair. Why do I have to sit up and support to the jump?

  • Rain. Enough said. Oh and WIND.

  • When people don’t get to buy the horse they want. It actually stresses me out to hear about friends not being able to have all the horses. I just want everyone to have their horse and for them and their perfect horse live happily ever after.

  • When people fall off and somehow have an absolute death grip on the reins. I don’t even know if this is a pet peeve or I’m just impressed? When something goes wrong when I ride the FIRST thing to go is my reins. Horse trips? Fingers magically open. Long spot? Reins gone. Bad chip? Reins have been deemed unnecessary without my consent. Maybe I’m just jealous… but the horses never looked pleased to have their previous rider now attached to their head and mouth.

  • Nastiness on social media. There have been times when I see something that I gasp don’t approve of! And guess what? I say nothing. Not because I’m some amazing person, but think about what is really going to happen if you say something, even with good intentions. They don’t know you, why would they listen to your suggestions or criticism? Their only response is to become defensive. Just unfollow!

  • Witch Hunting on social media. Watch this video to see why it’s both unproductive and a scary change to our culture. Just unfollow!

  • Having a GoFundMe to pay for a horse/vet bills/shows/etc.

  • Anything else that could be relevant to boarding or the barn experience, I have no right to complain about because I’ve probably been guilty of it at some point and no one knows everything. If you see someone committing a cardinal barn sin (like leaving poop in the cross ties) kindly say something (hopefully a different response in person than online, right?). This is especially true for safety issues! When you’re kindly saying something in those cases, also mention the safety aspect because these barn sins are almost always committed out of ignorance and not malice.

Friend Responses

- Arena etiquette, especially in the warm-up arena. There is nothing more infuriating than playing a game of chicken with the person coming head on at you when they don’t respect the shoulder-left rule. It’s also maddening when people pass extremely close. There is a special place too for the people who clearly lack horsemanship skills and common sense and do things like cutting you off after a fence or smacking their horse as they pass you. Lastly, don’t tailgate other riders!
- Caroline L. (@clurie.eq) [I’m so guilty of that last one, Leo’s got a big stride and loves to chase!]

- Putting off a persona that you’re the perfect rider and horse owner, we all make mistakes, be transparent. Also, not patting your horse after your round. They just tried their heart out for you, give them a reward, even if it’s as small as one pat.
- Olivia M. (@remarkablemare)

- My biggest pet peeve are riders who don't listen to their horses or care for them with compassion. If your only goal is to get on your horse and make them do exactly what you want, then I don't think you are a great horse person. Also, there are few more annoying things than someone else besides your trainer giving you suggestions on how to ride your horse. Don't listen to the peanut gallery!
- Connie F. (@connieincolorado)

- When people blame their horse for their poor performance and when people don’t attend to the other riders in the ring. Even if the horse is acting up, it didn’t choose to be ridden so it’s not his fault.
- Claire C. T. (@mdadultammy)

We're Building a House!

Actually, WE’RE not, but my in-laws are and I’m absolutely ready to live vicariously and pretend I have any input on their design choices. It’s already basically my Dream Home, think Napa Farmhouse Style on a 5 acre farmette and I’m already planning my future baby shower there.

They purchased the land and in-progress house from a builder and since the house was not too far along into construction, they will be choosing all the finishes and have already made a few custom upgrades (wow hello 36 foot beams). This past weekend my husband and I finally got to go out - and by go out I mean waaaay out - and see the property.

Front elevation.

Front elevation.

View from what will be the front porch. Planning on some grape vines in the front and a fish pond in the lower left section of the front yard (what’s a word for something much bigger than a yard?).

View from what will be the front porch. Planning on some grape vines in the front and a fish pond in the lower left section of the front yard (what’s a word for something much bigger than a yard?).

Rear elevation. I LOVE that the back of the home faces the setting sun. A pool will be here eventually.

Rear elevation. I LOVE that the back of the home faces the setting sun. A pool will be here eventually.

From left to right: front door, dining area, hallway to one side of the house, kitchen area and breakfast nook. That #NaturalLight

From left to right: front door, dining area, hallway to one side of the house, kitchen area and breakfast nook. That #NaturalLight

I found this lovely kitchen inspo (photo at right from Pinterest) based on their description of big wood beams, white counter, white cabinets with a giant wood center island. All white everything. Marble look quartz (great choice), with a to-be-decided backsplash. There’s also have an adorable walk in pantry with a window!! Kitchen sink under the window looking out over the backyard, which the The Dream, right?

Dining room facing the front of the house.

Dining room facing the front of the house.

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Things that may or may not happen on this property: goats, mini donkeys, mini cows, a gorgeous lil’ barn, fancy tractors n things, citrus orchard, homemade jams and jellies from said orchard, surprise Christmas morning ponies for my future children hiding in the gorgeous barn. Etcetera. I’m also told this is one area of California which actually stays green through the spring to summer! I’m crossing my fingers, because the grass is gorgeous.

View of the property from the back door. But views from every side of the house are pretty perfect.

View of the property from the back door. But views from every side of the house are pretty perfect.

 

I wish there was another word for envious that means I want that thing, but I’m also happy that someone I know and love has that thing. Admiration maybe? I’m so happy for my in-laws, they deserve a win and a place to settle down after moving many multiples of times since I’ve known them.

Cheers to buying and now creating your dream home and legacy property! Can’t wait to follow along in the build process.