Spring Riding Update

Quite a few weeks ago I scheduled a lesson with R because I felt Aria sitting around week after week with just the occasional trail ride was pretty horrible. I was a little worried she was regressing in her training because I was having behavioral problems with her.

Aria is quite a bitch when she’s in season. She bites, kicks, charges, body slams, snakes, and in general has a bad attitude about everything regarding other horses. Add very little riding to the mix and it becomes difficult for me to get her to focus and be respectful of other horses. I think it doesn’t help that initially I laughed at her bad behavior. Sorry, I’m That Parent.

Seeing my enabling and error-filled ways I knew we both needed a lesson before everything escalated into a Come To Jesus moment. I loaded her up and hauled her north to her favorite place, Trainer R’s riding academy.

R worked with her on the ground of a line for most of the lesson. He could see several problems that weren’t from regressed training, just from Aria being spoiled and a bully. Alpha mares. Gotta love ’em. Basically I got a 101 on how to stop being a doormat.

Which is interesting because I didn’t even realize I was losing certain battles when I was riding. Due to R having back surgery during Aria’s last two months of training I never got to spend time working with R and Aria together. He did an excellent job of seeing my weaknesses and providing me with tools or solutions to fix the problems. I’m so glad he’s a patient but firm teacher because I had been riding without the eyes of a trainer for quite a few months and it took me my whole portion of the lesson to actually execute a proper circle. Round circles have always been an issue for me when I don’t have walls to encourage the shape.

We worked a lot on just the proper way to ask for a bend and a turn. I had setting my inside rein without giving on the outside. No wonder Aria was giving me shit. I’ve been riding like shit! Unfortunately I’m not really in a place where I can take regular lessons so I’ll just have to settle for them when I can logistically work them out.

R did send me some pictures from my lesson, which are above. I’m sad about two things.

1. Aria has lost all her wonderful muscle.

2. I’ve gained about 20lbs at my new job.

Bad news all around because we’re both out of shape. I definitely need to hit a gym and make better food choices (aka stop stress eating) because extra weight isn’t helping her out of shape back and I’m not thrilled with where my leg is when I ride. I look like I’m sitting in a chair.

All things considered I’m just happy to ride when I can, but I’m also hoping I can ride with some morsel of aptitude. Haha!

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Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Shameless plugging:

Go see my movie this weekend. 😉

Unfortunately I haven’t ridden in a few weeks now and I haven’t been to San Diego to do all the horse things I want to do. Work and family have been all consuming lately. Hopefully I’ll have an update that’s less a picture of a t-rex that I help build and more of a few horses and rides!

A Peek Into My Day

I’ve spent the last 6 months working on several properties (coughJurassiccough) and luckily have had the pleasure of giving some anatomical input on Spirit models and art.

Seriously, it’s like these people have never seen a horse before. I’ve pulled out my phone to show them how horses look (plus then I get to share all my horse photos! Win-win!!).

What I still can’t wrap my mind around is how the Breyer Stablemates go for $3.99 (blister pack OR blind bag) and the Just Play figures, bling bag only, are $5+!

I mean…look at the quality difference:

Chica Linda sporting that clubbed foot that’s so in fashion.

I don’t know about all of you but I know which one I want to spend my money on.

The majority of our product is pretty nice (I mean, look at that sexy T. rex) but these little Spirit figures really bug me. Interestingly enough the larger toys look great because Breyer designed them and then sold the designs to whoever is producing them now.

Flaca is pretty cute for a floofy horse with a tongue-in-cheek name.

And of course I’ve watched the whole show for work purposes. It’s not amazing but it’s definitely the horse show I wish they had on tv when I was a kid.

Anyway, I really wanted to share those awful little figures with people who would get how bad they really are. Hope you enjoyed that little slice of my life.

If you want to see something else I’ve worked on in the last couple months, just google #AmazonFindsAWay for a pretty fun Jurassic promo with Amazon where they’re delivering the largest shipment ever. I’m pretty proud of all the Jurassic stuff coming out that I’ve helped produce.

Baby Aria Pictures

Bored in LA last week I decided to stalk Aria’s previous owner on FB and found a wealth of 2yo Aria pics!

Her mane was definitely longer than it is now. I need to up my mane care game. Like…Valeria has a gorgeous long Andalusian mane now and I don’t know how to maintain it from 150 miles away beyond Cowboy Magic once in a while.

Last but not least I found the Craigslist photo that made me inquire. Can you believe how ugly she looks here? Luckily her previous owner followed up with professional photos via private message.

I’m supposed to have a lesson tomorrow (YAY!) and plan to write about that as soon as I can.

Right now I’m just praying for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom to hit theaters so I can catch a break on my current Dino workload.

Growing Up!

Holy cow. If Catalina doesn’t reach 16h I’ll be shocked. Valeria sticks at a conservative 15.2 last time I checked.

She’s living up to her nickname, Moose, at 1 year 2 months old.

I’m horrified by the rubbed out mane. It was so beautiful. RIP mane.

The Saddle Search Continued

When the awesome deal YOLO Treat Yo Self saddle failed miserably I was ready to buckle down for what would inevitably be a real bitch: finding a saddle that fit Aria and fit me.

Honestly that baroque saddle was lovely but not only did it leave the most horrific looking saddle marks it was also pretty uncomfortable in the leg department. I was already kicking my current saddle to the curb for that exact reason and no matter how good of a deal it was, for that price I wasn’t going to accept an ‘okay’ fit.

My butt demands a beautiful leather glove type fit dang it!

I was pretty bummed but I shipped the saddle back to the owner and then immediately searched for my next saddle. This time while I wanted a baroque or alta escuela I decided to be a bit more practical and look at only dressage saddles.

I found one that was in the same price range AND brand new. I’m not the biggest fan of brand new but I’ve also never shopped for a saddle over $300 before, so I figured a quality saddle brand new wouldn’t be difficult to break in.

I hemmed and hawed over it, reached out to the rep and asked several questions. Ultimately the answers came back pretty clear that this would not be the saddle for Aria. It would have the same issues of being much too big and wide as the first saddle.

It’s surprisingly hard to find Iberian tack that fits a tiny Iberian potato like Aria! Everything is built so big and so wide, though we have wide pretty covered because she takes a 7.5 gullet. Not bad for a 14.3h tater tot.

Keeping in mind that she will fill out again with more riding and with her much broader in the shoulders I stuck to flex tree saddles. The next saddle I found was one I had been eyeballing for a long time. It was a little more expensive but I inquired anyway.

They did have one in stock in 7.5. The rep asked me to take several measurements of my current saddle that fit Aria perfectly (go figure). All measurements seemed to check out perfectly. I thought about pulling the trigger. After all, if it didn’t fit I could return it and only be out the shipping cost.

But it was new, so that meant if it didn’t work out I was stuck with an exchange or store credit. I have terrible luck so I prayed this one would be a match because otherwise I might be stuck with store credit for a manufacturer my horse simply can’t wear.

I sat on the idea for a couple days. I rode in my current shitty saddle a few more times. I finally gave in and confirmed I wanted to try the saddle for a Treat Yo Self Redux.

Now begins the nightmare of acquiring this saddle. I had a 7 day trial policy on the saddle. I tried to coordinate the saddle arriving on a Thursday or Friday so that I could drive down to San Diego and have the whole weekend to test it.

Haha.

That SO didn’t happen.

The saddle was scheduled to arrive on a Thursday. I was cool with that. Then there was a delay due to snow storms that postponed it to Friday. I was okay with that too because at least it was actually in California Thursday evening. Then 8pm on Friday rolled around and I checked the tracking number.

Strange, it returned to the shipping facility at 7:30pm. UPS delivers until 8pm. I called up customer support right away. I couldn’t get a person on the phone. I set out a tweet and an email to customer support inquiring about my shipment and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I saw that the saddle was on the truck again. By 11:30am on Saturday it was flagged as undeliverable due to a bad address.

Now, I knew this wasn’t true because I had a copy of the receipt. I literally blew up UPS’s twitter account. I also blew up their support page. I called them a few times but due to it being a weekend no one was there to answer calls. Someone on twitter got back to me and said they would let the facility know the address was good and would try to deliver it Sunday morning.

A second twitter rep replied that they don’t ship on Sundays or Mondays so the saddle wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday. Cue me blowing up their twitter DM (they had asked me to follow them by this point). The saddle rep also blew up their phone lines from her side of the country.

I was resigned to wasting my weekend on a saddle that never showed up and would have to drive back down again the following weekend to try it. The saddle did eventually show up on Monday morning. Woo! That first rep must have pulled some strings because it was originally due by end of day Tuesday.

I had to wait a whole week and actually cut out of work early just to drive all the way to San Diego the night before for an early morning ride on Saturday. That night I opened the box the saddle was in just so I could smell the leather all night while I slept. Lol

The next morning I was saddling Aria before she finished breakfast. I took her on a nice hack to build up a solid sweat but I didn’t want to work her too hard if it wasn’t a good fit. Surprisingly the markings came out pretty decent.

But you know, there was still that dry spot on the right side. I personally felt it was my crap seat but I still consulted all my blogger friends for their opinion.

I should also mention (for anyone paying attention to the spoilers in the first picture) that this was also Valeria’s first hack off property! But more about that in another post.

I let the saddle rep know that the saddle had a weird spot that all friends suggested I could just shim. But I was planning to give it one more ride the next day and really pay attention to my seat.

The next day rolled around and I hauled out for a long, serious business kind of ride. I added a little more padding just to give some extra cushion if that spot on the right because problematic again. I really shouldn’t have worried because 1.5 hours later I pulled off the saddle to the most beautiful and even sweat marks I had ever seen.

Before I even unbridled Aria I messaged the saddle rep and told her to consider the saddle sold. Aria didn’t appear sore or in a foul mood (she’s a mare, her mood is already surly due to being in season, so I guess…she wasn’t even more surly?) the next day. Which was great because the saddle fit me great and was very comfortable, making me feel really good about my posture and leg position.

I really thought I would be trying saddles for a while. I guess the shipping nightmare absorbed all that bad juju and the saddle gods took pity on me. #blessed, am I right?! Lol!

I’m now the proud owner of this beautiful saddle that truly feels like a Treat Yo Self purchase.

In case you don’t know me well enough, take that #blessed with a humorous and sarcastic grain of salt. 😉

St. Paddy’s Day Weekend

Since I’m sitting at work with nothing to do while they set me up with a new computer I’m going to take advantage of the down time and write a quick little blog (or maybe a big blog. We’ll see how it goes).

I was down in San Diego last weekend, I try to alternate weekends, but because of all the rain the ground was too wet and my riding plans were nixed. It also looks like this current weekend will get washed out as well. I can hear east coasters laughing at not riding because of wet ground.

I love the way she moves. Can’t wait to see what we can do in a dressage court.

Saturday I spend pretty much the whole day at my cousin’s kid’s birthday party which featured pony rides, bounce houses and slides, piñatas, an Easter egg hunt, an ice cream truck, a mobile wood fire pizza setup…probably a few other things I missed, I’m sure. This kid is Spoiled. With the capital S. I did manage to bounce before clean up, I helped with setup, and scored an 8ft beach ball to torture my horses with and the largest Pusheen plushie I have ever seen.

Before you think I left early to avoid clean up–even if you are partially right–I also had to get to my parent’s place with enough daylight to doctor Catalina. She had come up 3 legged lame a few days before and needed a new wrap for her heel abscess. She seemed 100% sound on Saturday, so the abscess must have blown before I saw her. Or she’s dramatic. I mean…it could go either way.

This better not turn into a recurring issue.

Because I’m not around so much, she is not getting handled much. She took 2 full doses of sedative to calm down when the vet came to see her! Yeah, delicate flower she is not. This made wrapping her foot fairly difficult but she did eventually settle enough for me to get my job done. It probably would have gotten done sooner but at one point when I was packing her back foot she sat on me and that turned into a whole issue. Haha. It’s not really funny. My back still hurts 5 days later.

But thems the breaks with a baby who isn’t getting handled much, is now 15 hands (the legs on this girl, longer than Ben who is 15.2-15.3), and way smarter than she gets credit for by everyone but me. Even simple things like grooming and leading, which we had solid in October, are now difficult. I think Catalina needs a couple sessions with R to remind her of her place in this world. Followed up by more handling when I’m in town.

Legs.

When she stopped being a wiggle worm I groomed her. She loved it and with my Sleek-EZ shed a whole other horse. She looks patchy and mangy now which I find hilarious. However, I can see how thin she is, which makes me sad but her joints are so stressed from her crazy growth that keeping her ‘light’ is preferred until they calm down.

Valeria looks so good now with her mane and tail partially grown out.

I hit Saturday night, St Patrick’s Day, pretty hard to help assuage some of my guilt about being an absentee owner for my clever girls. Memo to me: avoid this tactic in the future.

Drunk Karen has way more fun that Sober Karen. She also throws caution to the wind and screws up all of Sober Karen’s plans. For example, Sober Karen is saving for a dressage saddle so I can show Aria. Drunk Karen took this money and purchased what I now refer to as the YOLO Treat Yo Self saddle.

Drunk Karen got a hell of a deal, so I’m not even that mad. I mean, I’m a little mad that Sober Karen can’t find good deals and that I have to refer to myself as two different people because this is not the first time Drunk Karen has made crazy purchases.

Looks like Aria and I will be focusing on Working Equitation full time for now. Not a bad thing because I like WE a lot and the last time I rode we executed opening and closing a gate, with one hand, so beautifully that I lost my mind after and praised Aria for like…15 minutes.

Happy Birthday Aria! March 21!

I don’t actually know when she was born but I do know it was around this time, so I made her birthday the first day of spring. She’s been just a fresh breath of air for my horse ‘career’ that I feel the date is appropriate. I’m so happy to have found her. We’ll pretend the saddle is her birthday gift! Happy 6th Birthday, Aria!

Happy Birthday to Valeria as well! Her birthday was on March 10. March is so crazy for me. My parents’ anniversary, March 2. Mom’s birthday, March 3. Dad’s birthday, March 5. Valeria’s birthday, March 10. Catalina’s birthday, March 11. Aria’s birthday, March 21. Keep piling them on, March. I can take it!

Go big or go home seems to be the trend in this particular post. March is also a big month because I start PT on my previously broken/crushed finger. The bones are healed, I just need to address the pain and gain fully mobility again. Fingers crossed the numbness fades because it’s the ring finger and kind of important for feeling your horse through the reins.

And that’s my rough recap. Except that I started this post at 10am and should have been back in action by 11:30am but here I am at 2:25pm still waiting for my computer to finish doing it’s thing. LOL.

Milestones

Wow. I don’t even know where the time goes anymore. My days are so busy, I think even if I wanted to blog I couldn’t consistently find time to post regularly. But I’m hoping this constant stretch of weeks without posting isn’t my new normal. I like to be busy, but not this busy.

Work is insane. I’m hoping that changes when we get a new person. I’m the only person doing my job and I support the entire world. Logging in every morning to almost 200 new emails is a normal day for me.

chris-pratt-jurassic-world-fallen-kingdom-zoom1

Baby Blue is so cute. I need one.

There have been a couple milestones since I last posted. Last night my fingernail finally came off (read ripped off. Yay). So at least that particular source of pain is gone. The naked nail bed is going to present it’s own problems for a few more weeks. I’ve got an appointment on Monday for my finger because I’m still experiencing a lot of pain and during a ride last weekend I felt what I can only describe as a crunch when Aria rooted at the reins.

Another milestone that you probably figured out: I’m riding again!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andalusian bedhead is strong.

It’s a total pain in the ass to tack up because my finger isn’t 100% but I don’t even care because I can actually spend my time on my amazing mare and that is all I live for right now.

In an effort to be totally honest, living in LA sucks and this dream job is seriously impacting my dream hobby. My horse time quota is so low, I may as well not even own horses. I can only go to San Diego every other week. Which means my saint of a mare is only ridden 2x in 14 days. It’s criminal.

When you lunge one and the other liberty lunges of their own accord. Winning.

But I take heart knowing that this move to LA was extremely temporary and I’m actually looking at jobs right now to move back to San Diego. There’s a light at the end of this horse barren tunnel. 🙂

The last major milestone is Catalina turned 1 on March 11!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Workin’ it.

Sorry for all the exclamation points. I’m very excited about a few things. Obviously.

Catalina is now almost as tall as her mom. Which puts her at 15-15.1h. I’ll have to stick her when I see her this next weekend. I don’t know when she got so tall but she was definitely a solid 15h at 11 months. It’s kind of crazy and my short legs hope she doesn’t clear 16h but the dressage rider in me is screaming 16.3h!

Valeria has to actually make an effort to see over her spawn.

Things aren’t perfect right now but I know they are a necessary means to an end and I’m sort of okay with that. I wont pretend I haven’t been getting depressed (or at least my version of depressed) by my current lifestyle but I also know that I made this choice and I knew what I was signing up for. I just didn’t realize that boarding up here would be a no-go.

Time to get that 6 figure job or snag a rich hubby! 😉

Hopefully it wont be so long between the next post and this one. Love you guys, miss you guys, and I hope I’m back in the blog scene soon!