Twoh Reviews: Millbrook Leathers and MDC Stirrups

Twoh Reviews: Millbrook Leathers and MDC Stirrups

I chose to purchase a pair of after attempting to save some money and getting a pair of SmartPak lined leathers. They were ridiculously thick and didn't seem like oiling them would do anything. Buy quality and only cry once is pretty much my favorite idiom (my husband always adds that we're still crying). Anyway, I'm not a fan of lined leathers and wanted something of quality that would last a while.

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Husbands at the Barn

Husbands at the Barn

I've been reserving Fridays that I have off for riding lessons and it's really been paying off - especially since my husband agreed to come with me! It's only every other Friday and he already has the day off (law school lyfe) so he's not too put out. Fortunately for me and unfortunately for him, he's been steadily improving on the picture and video taking front as shown below and has agreed to continue coming to document my progress. Plus, he actually seems to enjoy his time there, as opposed to his first time videoing but that probably had something to do with seeing the lesson check!

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AWWS, Lessons

Last Friday marked my first week of my alternative work week schedule. Basically, I work an extra hour every day, Monday through Thursday, while every Friday is either a regular 8 hour work day or have the entire day off. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but after my first non-holiday weekend I have to say it was so worth which was even more appreciated as this weekend was especially busy!

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Friday Morning

Coffee

in the cutest new mug from Hunt Club, and an upgraded yeti lid fits perfectly

Lesson 10.0

I had my tenth lesson Friday morning on the same horse in my previous post/video. My trainer, after discovering just how much of a beginner I am, decided that I needed to work on counting strides in a line and adjusting strides. If I couldn’t get down the line in the number she asked, then I had to do a stirrup-less trot circle. We started out doing a normal 5 stride in 7, then 6 and then 5. I think I only had to do two trot circles? Going the other way was a different story. I don’t know if my right leg is weak or if this particular horse just looooves to drift right (probably both) but it was just not possible for us. Even if I got to the first jump alright, he would drift all the way out of the line screwing up whatever success I thought I had set us up for. I couldn’t for the life of me get him to do anything other than a 6.

Thankfully, my trainer didn’t make me do any stirrup-less trot circles for those failures, but I was disappointed and I have a feeling she was too. But the plus side of morning lessons is not being rushed to get home before dark. I got to hang out, give the pon’ a good hosing off and actually clean tack and just hang out with the horses.

Non-equestrian Shenanigans

Friday we grocery shopped. I’m back on keto, and it’s been ridiculously successful so far, so we had to stock up on bacon, eggs and cheese. Life is hard.

Saturday we went out to breakfast with hubby’s family. Well, it was pretty much lunch by the time we got there but they have the best low carb meals and we got to catch up with his mom, papa and brother. From there, I had to drive up to my mom’s and help her file some paperwork but we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on that front and every step counts. I brought her my brunch leftovers and James since he’s the best version of a borking therapy dog. I’m so glad I did because it really seemed to help distract my mom from being stressed about her situation, plus they’re both in love with each other. Speaking of James, he got his picture taken so I can order his watercolor portrait to match Milo’s.

After I got back from helping my mom, we were spontaneously invited to sushi with our couple friends. Normally, I’m adamantly opposed to last minute plans, but why nottttt? We went to a new sushi place that they’d heard great things about. The service was so. bad. It took the four of us over an hour to receive like three rolls of sushi, during which three other tables of two people came and went. The sashimi and roasted Brussel sprouts were amazing and my two glasses of wine were comped because of the long wait on the food. Everyone else was mad enough about it that I didn’t need to be mad?

And then Sunday we did more chores and a puzzle room.

Lesson 11.0

My lesson Sunday morning went so much better than Friday’s! I rode a different horse that I’d only ridden once before, Leo. He’s an ex-equitation horse (I think) and is retired from showing because he just up and decided it wasn’t for him. But as he’s still a super nice horse and very well behaved at home so he’s a lesson horse for more advanced riders and working students.

He’s just an awesome horse though! He is super sweet and loving on the ground, not pushy at all—thank God because he’s huge. His trot is super animated and powerful and I can legit feel my muscles get stronger with every post. Plus, it’s easier to two point his trot than anything else which is great incentive. I did have some trouble getting him to canter, like before. But before I was coming back to riding after being sick for two weeks and this time? My trainer gave me her spurs and hopped on him to show him what’s up. A little embarrassing for me, but I’m a beginner /what can you do? Jumping him once I got him cantering was so, so nice though.

I felt like I meshed much better with him than with the last lesson horse I rode and my trainer agreed that Leo was a much better fit. His gaits and jump are just much more expressive and put my body into the correct position without even having the chance to think about it, and I don’t have to worry about getting him too deep to the jump, he just goes! So hopefully I’ll be riding him in my lessons for the majority of the time. The way my trainer was talking, he would be the horse that helps me to move up from jumping 2’ – 2’6” which is what I think I’ve been jumping to 3’ and above. My goal is to be able to course 3’3 by next summer so we’ll see if that’s a possibility!

Is he not the cutest thing ever!?

Heat and Horse Show Kinda Weekend

Hubby and I had big plans for the weekend, but they were mostly quashed by the heat. We did end up making it out to my barn for a little local hunter jumper show and I’m so glad we went. This was more to show him “the life” [we’ll soon be leading]. It was dreadfully hot and I have a feeling that’s why the show was so small and quiet, but we enjoyed it. We mostly sat ringside and watched the jumper and equitation rings.

Most notably, we got to witness the naughtiest pony trying to run out of the warm up ring with the little girl’s father literally catching it by the reins as it tried to run past him out of the ring to freedom. My husband, who knows this is his future, assured me that our kiddos will have the safest pony. Sounds good to me (but dat character building)!

I showed him around the rest of the grounds, but there wasn’t much to see. My favorite pon’ was gone and we were ready to go after an hour there. He agreed though that a small show or two next summer is definitely in the cards so I’d say braving the heat was a success.

Lesson Update 7.0 and News

My weekly lesson was last night and it’s another one of those head scratchers. The mare I’ve been raving about is out on trial (I think and I hope for just a lease) so I rode another horse. A small hunter gelding and it was a straight up work out. Like, my lungs hurt today because it was more cardio than anything.

We started with just popping over a small vertical and it escalated into us doing the whole hunter course set for the show there this weekend. It felt alright, a ton of effort compared to riding the mare. I actually had to like, leg to the jump and God forbid, keep him straight. #learningtoactuallyrideishard amiright? All good things, though, and I appreciate the different ride as I am there to learn.

My jumping position left something to be desired and I definitely felt like I was regressing into my always-jump-ahead habits, but the video doesn’t look too bad? Unfortunately, the video was from my trainer who sent it to me over text is too poor quality to post and I'm too embarrassed to ask her to email it to me. Hubby said he’ll *definitely* come next week to video on my camera so maybe I’ll post a course. I also got some Mini DV videos of my last show circa Summer 2007 dropped off at Costco to convert them to whatever relevant computer video file. Eventually I’ll post a little comparison video!

As far as news goes, I’ve decided to start riding two to three times a week. It will be a greater strain on our budget, but at this point I need/want to ride more in order to meet my desired progress. Plus, it’s an awesome workout and I need to build the muscle. I’m planning on purchasing a young warmblood around 2019 or 2020 and I need to improve significantly before I can do that safely and reasonably (as I'm currently barely keeping myself from falling off a push button lazy hunter).

V. emotional about treats. Mostly: GIVE IT TO ME.

V. emotional about treats. Mostly: GIVE IT TO ME.

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One Reason

One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.
— Rick Godwin.

So this weekend I said my goodbyes to Mikey. I really didn't think I'd get so attached, but my experiences with him totally cemented my desire to have my own horse. I've never really had a horse bond to me much at all, as lesson horses are used to seeing different people all the time and don't often form hard bonds. But there really is nothing like walking through the barn and having a horse nicker hello to you. Making progress with horse's trust is so validating, just as having a dog or cat bond to you brings pride. Having an animal choose to be with you and be happy about it just brings a lot of joy.

But unfortunately, it got to the point with Mikey that I was afraid to ride him not only because I could fall off and no one would be around to witness it, but he's not 100%. That's all I'll say. I couldn't ride him and feel good about it when he has so many skin, hoof and soundness problems.

I tend really resist change and I rely on my routines so it'll be sad not going out and just hanging out with him. Again, though, I decided it's best to focus on my goals, and work slowly but surely in that direction. Love you Mikey. Hope you find health and happiness, bud.

Little Update

Wow, life has actually gotten busy. Or I've gotten lazier about social media, blogging, etc. but I thought I would stay committed to the twoh and give a little update. Yesterday, I celebrated a whole month at my big wig auditing job, woo! I haven't really done a whole lot else, other than realize that weekends are too damn short. I'm adjusting to the once a week lesson thing. It's not nearly as much time in the saddle as I'd like but I feel like I've already come so far since beginning lessons. I'm going to try to get my husband to come out and take pictures and video of a lesson soon, but I'm also kind of hoping to improve a little bit more before I'm documenting my terrible eq for all to see.

Most common conversations with my trainer:
"That looked awesome! You look so confident!" Yeah, faking it.
"Great lead change!" Yay! But I didn't ask for it...

 

I've also been busy taking care of my half lease, Mikey, who I can't ride because he's got so many damn ouchies. I really don't know a whole lot about equine first aid, but I don't think it's kind to ride if the horse is in pain. I'm pretty sure he's got some proud flesh developing around his bed sores.
And of course, Mikey's owner went out of town this weekend [and only thought to tell me the day before] so I'm stuck driving out to the barn every day to feed him and treat his ouchies.
And yesterday, I also got a nice little reminder that horses are strong and very large animals, and need to be treated as such. Mikey is super gentle, but as I was removing his vet wrap yesterday he gave the slightest flinch and knocked his knee on my face which I would guess is about equivalent to a human haphazardly punching me. Luckily he got my cheekbone and not my eye socket, but still... just a little reminder that horses can fuck you up at their slightest effort.
See the wounds in question below.