Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Show Time!

Well, not quite just yet...but after a shopping spree yesterday, my wardrobe is secured.

I purchased a new jacket, shirt and breeches.  I got some seriously good deals but the total still made me cringe a little!  I believe it's almost never a good idea to go with low-end products. They either don't last or are uncomfortable or don't work like they should. I felt pretty strongly about this with respect to a jacket especially. I figure I will have enough to worry about on show day without having a poorly fitting jacket to fuss with. So I ended up going for a beautiful R.J. Classics jacket that I had been drooling over last year. Only last year it was full price at $525 (aka ridiculous) and this year it was $199. In my size!! It's still a good bit of money but I think it will be well worth it.

I love the Grand Prix breeches I got so much I'm tempted to go back and get another pair for "everyday" riding. But I think I'll let the bank account recover a bit. The only pair I liked better were Pikeur and I just can't justify that. Maybe after a few show seasons, but not now.

I am SUPER excited. But also terrified because now I am committed to show :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Single-Handed Self-Destruction.

That's right. My hand destroyed itself. My right hand, to be precise. No interference from my left hand necessary, just my right hand. Well, my hand and an inanimate object.

There I was, sipping my herbal tea after a ride. When it's cold I usually pour the boiling water into my travel mug before I leave the house and by the time I'm done riding it has usually cooled enough to drink. So there I was, some barn gear slung over my shoulder, some clutched in my left hand, holding my mug of tea and looking out into the night. It was a clear night and the stars were bright. I was taking a moment to just be.

I absentmindedly fiddled with the leather wrap-around on the mug. It was off kilter, you see. Supporting the mug between my thumb, index, and middle fingers, I pushed down on the leather band with my ring finger to try to push it down. I could feel tension in my hand but no pain.


I looked down at my hand in disbelief. I wouldn't have believed a snap that loud could come from a hand if it wasn't for the intense pain and heat radiating through it and into the tips of my fingers. My ring finger kinda rested apart from the others in this strange limp rigidity.

Of course the tendon I blew would be a rein finger.

I think it was the juncturae tendinum between the 
ring and pinky fingers as well as a flexor tendon 
on the inside of my ring finger.

This was the Friday before last. I still have to "buddy wrap" my fingers together if I'm doing anything because when I don't, I re-injure myself. Like yesterday when I foolishly picked up a blanket. Yeah, that's right, a blanket set me back about 3 days.

So I'm pretty grumpy. I have only ridden twice since then. I got out an old pair of gloves and I tape my fingers together from the outside. It works ok but I lost sensitivity on that side, hopefully it's temporary. I tried to ride with the rein exiting out the very bottom but I just can't do it.

On a happier note, here is a video of the puppy stealing one of my riding socks from the bathroom floor. Oh, and I couldn't stand the grey anymore, so I put in a new temporary design.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Riding Rusty.

I received an incredibly nice offer from Laura over at Little Keebler when I posted about my difficulty in getting Brumby to hack out alone in this post. She told me I could ride her horse Rusty, if I ever wanted a nice trail ride without the theatrics I had battled with Brumby. Isn't that incredibly nice? I think so!

I like the work and progress part of riding, but now and then just really want to putter around on horseback, take my time exploring with a horse, relax, etc. I love to trail ride! So it's tough that I can't do it consistently with Brumby, I never know what he will be like. I have some ideas for helping this, but that's another story.

This time of year is touch and go with weather and footing but I thought it would be a good idea to get to know Rusty and the barn before an opportunity comes up to actually ride him. It happened that Laura and I were both off work for the day, so we arranged to meet at her barn in the afternoon.

It was a nice day but somewhat windy. I had a good ride on Brumby and made it across the road, only a little late. Well within "barn-time" expectations, I'd say!

You know, Laura and I haven't met up many time before...maybe once or twice (?) and otherwise our communications have been via email or blog. I have to say, it's really nice to meet someone who is so easy to be around, even when you don't know each other all that well. I do regret not having the chance to talk about some other topics we have in common. Oh well, there's always next time!

So I got the tour of her barn and we groomed and tacked up Rusty. I felt a bit like I had two left arms when it came to cinching a western girth. I've ridden in western tack before, but it's been awhile and cinching is just one of those things I'm not fully comfortable with. Laura showed me how and I think I'm feeling more confident about getting it right. Rusty was, of course, a perfect gentleman.

I climbed on the mounting block and had to smile at how high above Rusty's back I was. That's fine by me! Off we went, and Rusty felt like he was pretty forward and happy to move out.

I have no idea why I look so unimpressed! 
I must have been just pre-or-post smile, I certainly wasn't as sour as I look!
Look at Rusty's adorable ears, doesn't he look ready to head out?

We went along a little way, Laura and I chatting about this, that, and the other thing. I was relaxed and enjoying myself. Suddenly, Rusty did a little spook/spin/buck/bolt like thing. None of these were very severe or anything, it's mostly that I didn't really realize what was happening until we were in the middle of it.

We had a couple other instances of "Are you sure you want to go that way?? I really think you'll find the barn much nicer"so we just went a short way up the trail and called it good. I didn't want to force the issue if he wasn't comfortable and I guess I don't know him well enough yet to push him past it. If the footing was better I might have been more firm, and he did go forward when I insisted. I was happy to call it a day on my terms and have a nice intro ride.

We really are lucky to have nice areas to hack.
It's beautiful even with the winter starkness.
I got tired just watching Gypsy the border collie 
run around. She is tireless!

In our area, winter riding outside is sporadic at best, so he might just have been reluctant to head down the trail. It was also pretty windy and the footing ranged from quite good, to deep snow, to crunchy snow, to icy. I joked that maybe it was me making the horses bonkers on the trail. Laura laughed that she offered her nice quiet boy for me to trail ride and I got a little drama off the top, lol.
Personally, I think Rusty heard all this talk about him being so reliable, calm, and enjoyable, that he thought he'd better show us he has some spunk!
Happily heading home.

All-in-all a great day off filled with dogs and horses, finished off with friends and wine. A good day indeed!