Change Is Hard. . .

Do you struggle with change? I do not handle it well. Like, at all. To give you an idea, I sometimes find myself feeling depressed at the progress my tiny town has made in its growth.

I sometimes sit and daydream about what it would be like if nothing changed at all. I am very much like Jo March in Little Women: “Can’t things just stay as they are?!”

But if things never changed, we would never progress, I guess.

My lesson horse, Biscuit, is leaving next month to be with his owners in Virginia, to live out the rest of his days with his “brother” in retirement (we call Mack his brother even though Biscuit is an OTTB and Mack a Percheron/Morgan, lol)

Letting Biscuit out of his stall tonight to be in the pastures made me realize just how much I’m going to miss him. (We’ve been watching the farm this week while the barn owners are away). While Biscuit and Mack’s owners are living in Virginia right now, Anna and I have been caring for Mack and Biscuit as if they’re our own until they leave, as well as the other horses, of course. And it’s really hard. Not in the sense of hard work. I was raised to know what hard work is, but in the sense of, the more I spend time with Biscuit, the harder it’s going to be to say goodbye. Yes, he’s what I call “a grumpy old man” (when he’s really the sweetest horse) but he’s one of the most kindest and most patient horses I’ve met, and I love him. He’s the type of horse that can read your mind and do what he knows you need to push yourself to do that day. Does that make sense?

“I’m a little nervous in my lesson today”, and Biscuit says “You need to push yourself. Trust me” and does what I’m too nervous to do without his help. And he looks after me. He takes such good care of me.

And I’m really sad he’s leaving.

But I guess progress begins when change happens.

Biscuit has earned his retirement, as has Mack. That doesn’t mean I won’t miss them. I’ll miss them every day.

It’s all in the journey.

Biscuit has taken me down many roads that a trusted lesson horse could bring you down and keep you safe through, even though there have been no threats whatsoever whenever I’m on him it around him on the trail, lol!

He has taught me so much (as well as Mack, only on the ground since we do not ride him) and their owners were the kindest of people to allow me to ride Biscuit and Anna and I take care of him and Mack while they prepare their home for their horses up North.

What I’m going to learn when Biscuit leaves is hard to tell but I know with the fundamentals he and Gamble taught me it’ll all be so worth it. I’m upset, yes, because I’ve grown to have a partnership with him and these past few days being able to see him, groom him and spend time with him has been wonderful and that has only made a stronger friendship between us that I think not only I will remember but he will too.

While I am very sad to see their side of the tack room slowly empty and the day get closer and closer that they leave for good, I know they deserve the best they can get, and their owners are some of the best horse owners I have ever met; always thinking of their horse’s needs and what’s best for them.

The journey for Mack and Biscuit continues, as does my own, and I will never forget the things both these incredible horses have taught me.

Mr. Mackie-doodle (or Big Mack as we call him most days, lol) will always have a special place in my heart, as he used to be a Caisson Horse in Arlington National Cemetery, and was there when my family and I went in the early 2000’s to bury my grandfather.


Then Grumpy Old Man, aka, Biscuit, lol! Such a kind lesson horse with a heart of gold. So patient and willing to teach me, even amidst all my mistakes. Pushing me to progress but in a way that makes me trust him.

I’m going to miss these two boys whom I’ve grown to love so much.



New Year & New Changes!

Have you ever been so excited about something that it makes you terrified?

Happy belated New Year, everyone! It’s been a while since I last blogged!
The last few months have been really tough, due to sickness, Christmas and everything in between. Thankfully my family and I have a new year with new goals to look forward to, as well as the lessons 2019 brings!
This isn’t going to be a super long post, but I did want to post something super quick to let y’all know that I haven’t abandoned this blog!

My lessons have been going really well! My newest challenge is my confidence in myself. I have a really hard time with not believing in myself that I am, in fact, able to handle all the things my lesson horse “throws” at me. I am slowly getting to the point where I am having confidence in myself, enough to not totally freak out when “B” took off cantering because I had accidentally asked him to without knowing it! My first time cantering off the lunge line and first time cantering ever…yeah; It felt pretty darn good!
Well, in short, short, changes are coming; rather, changes are in the making, and I am pretty darn excited! I am not going to say what changes exactly, but I will once everything is figured out. This month is pretty crazy for me (dog-sitting four dogs; a mother and her three 3 and half week old puppies for all of January for one!) so that puts a hold on a few things, but I am not wishing my life away, because sooner then I know it, it’s going to be 2020 and I will have not paid attention to any of the present things, but bi-passed them.
Thank you to everyone that is reading this. I know it’s been a while, and I would love to get this blog started back up properly!
I’ll keep y’all posted as much as I possibly can on these changes in the making,  but I can’t guarantee that it will be often, you get me? Ha, ha!
I look forward to the lessons I am going to learn this month and the upcoming months as I explore different things in my life.
What is the biggest goal for you in 2019?
Happy new year, everyone!
Happy Trails!


Just like flowers, new opportunities bloom more often then you think!

Raising The Fear Threshold

If I could sum up my last couple of months in one word it would be: hectic. I’m not lying when I say that I hardly remember the last couple of weeks, let alone the last couple of months, which is why I have not posted. Thank you for bearing with me!

Have you ever had that one lesson that you just can’t stop thinking about because it went so well? Well, that was my lesson yesterday!
I was a little hesitant for this lesson, I will not lie. Anna rode earlier this week and she rode Miss. H’s horse and she did some trot work and we had not trotted in a long time, so I had a feeling that Miss H. was going to have me trot and that made me a little hesitant. But I went out into the arena, got on “B” and took off into the warmup!
Let me just say that yesterday the weather was beautiful! The weather doesn’t really matter but it’s nice to mention! Lol!
So Miss H. had me walk around the arena a few times, then had me go from a long rein to a little more contact with “B’s” mouth while I practiced on my circles. For some reason, the circles just “clicked”. I was able to keep “B” bent on the circle with no problem (after a few times of error when I followed my first zig-zag track of hoofprints,  lol! But alas, I was able to keep him on a 20-meter circle both to the left and to the right, which is very rare, lol!
Then Miss H. said what I had been fearing before I got on: “Okay, now when you pass the center line I want you to pick up a trot and keep the 20-meter circle going.” In a split second, both fear screamed “No! I’m too afraid to trot!” and “JUST DO IT!” at me at the exact same time and I asked “B” for a trot and we were off. I could tell that I was a bit rusty with posting since I hadn’t done it in a while. I felt my knees pinching a few times and my toes pushing into my stirrups a few times, so what I did was instead of focusing on the fact that I might lose my stirrup and fall on my face I focused on using my thighs to control the up and down and that helped tremendously!
I felt myself allow “B” to slowly make the circle smaller so I experimented with how much leg it took during the trot to move him out without so much of the outside rein. He went back out before we slowed to a walk again. We changed direction and Miss H. said to pick up a trot again and keep the circle again. I asked “B” for a trot after the red markers in the arena and we were off again, but this time the trot felt different; much.
“Oh! And now you’re cantering!” Miss H. laughed. It’s amazing how many thoughts go through your head at the exact same time because I was now thinking, “Get into two-point like jumpers ride the canter” so I “raised” myself to two-point but it made me lean forward so I now thought “Today’s the day I’m going to fall”, then “Hey, cantering isn’t that fast!”, then as Miss H. told me softly “If you sit back with your butt in the saddle it’ll be much easier to ride then leaning forward, because then you’ll end up on the ground”. Now I was telling myself, “Lean back, butt in the saddle-Hey this isn’t that bad!” *gentle squeeze on the reins to slow to trot, then to walk, then to halt because I was laughing so hard saying, “I’ve never cantered before! That wasn’t that bad!” Miss H. replied with, “Instead of saying “it’s not that bad!” say “cantering was fun!”” and I did and it was so true!


This is what I was trying to achieve, but alas, won’t find a picture of what I might have looked like, lol! 

It was so much fun! Only at one brief moment did I doubt that I could slow “B” down but I shoved that negative thought away and slowed him down to the speed I wanted!
Why “B” cantered in the first place was because was I asked for him to trot, I unknowingly brought my outside leg back behind the girth, giving the cue to canter. That’s okay because he listened and did as I asked, even though I didn’t know I asked it!
I still can’t stop smiling about it when I think back on my lesson! It was the best lesson I think I have ever had! Everything just felt so right when I did it, even though part of it scared me.
Jane Savoie in Freedom From Fear talks about slowly raising your fear threshold and when I felt the fear telling me not to trot for the first time, I slowly raised my fear threshold and trotted because I was afraid to. And I guess my body felt more confidence in myself then what I was revealing to myself because my subconscious mid asked for a canter when my conscious mind was a bit more apprehensive, lol.
It was such an amazing lesson and I got off after doing some more trot work and cool-down and Miss H. couldn’t stop smiling! And neither could I!

I learned in yesterday’s lesson to “Just do it!” and to embrace the fact that I can trust myself in my abilities.
I am so excited to start canter work!
Do y’all have any advice when it comes to starting canter work?
I know this was a short post, but I hope y’all enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed reliving my lesson!
Don’t forget to hug your horse!
Happy trails!

Trail ride

Also, can I get a “woot!” for cold weather coming?! Haha! 

Two Dream Jobs

I won’t lie when say that I don’t remember the last time that I blogged. Oops. Sorry!

I feel like each time I haven’t blogged in a while I always say that life has just been really busy. Well, that can’t be even truer at the moment!
Anna and I gained another job late last month when our friend Miss J. was bucked off her horse and broke her collarbone, so she has had to keep her arm in a sling and not lift anything too heavy. She is on the mend, though! She is back to her spunky self that jokes around, dances around the barn when her favorite song comes on (or out in public in general! Lol), minus an arm of course! Lol! She has been so positive while she has been healing, and she has been so kind to my sisters and I as we help her out with feeding her horses three times a day, cleaning the barn, picking up in the pastures, weeding in the pastures, etc. every day.
I know she would appreciate your prayers for her healing!
We have learned so much while keeping two jobs (Miss H’s. and Miss J’s.) and number 1 has been: Time management. Without it, we would literally get absolutely nothing done, both when we are at home and at the barn. It has taken a few weeks to get the hang of, but now it’s like we have done this system for years.
Number 2 is: Learning different ways about how to care for horses and take care of a barn is really good. Everyone does things differently in their barns, and that’s okay. It’s amazing how different, but similar they can be.

It has been really fun teaching our sisters how to work around horses, so in case Anna and I are not able to work at Miss J’s. they can do it for us. And they have enjoyed working around the horses, just as much as we have!
My sisters have worked around horses before, but it has been really fun teaching them the things that Miss H. has taught us as well as Miss J. And they have thoroughly enjoyed it!

There are lessons in everyday life with horses, but I have particularly noticed and learned these past few weeks:
1. The early mornings with horses are probably the best. Every day around horses is wonderful, but there is something about seeing the horses first thing in the morning and they greet you and start nickering and whinnying for their breakfast.
2. Observing how horses are in the wild and applying that to everyday handling makes a difference. One of the first things Miss J.  told Anna and I the week we started working at her barn was: “When most people approach a horse, they approach their face. You should always approach their shoulder and stroke their shoulder because that’s how horses groom each other in the wild.” And since doing that the past few weeks, I have stained clothes from one of the horses because he has “mutual groomed” me after he’s eaten as I stroked his shoulder, lol.
3. Turpentine does wonders! Soft soled horse because it’s been raining every day for the past two weeks? Turpentine! Paint that stuff on their soles and it’ll toughen up his soles. Works like a wonder!
4. Showing the horse that you can be a leader is priceless in itself. One of the horses was really nervous because the weather was turning really nasty really fast and I had to bring him into the barn. On the lead-line, he tried running ahead of me because he was so antsy, and I had to jerk on his halter and show him that just because he was nervous, I wasn’t and he needed to trust me. After a couple more attempts by him (again, trying to speed up his pace and get in front of me to get to the barn faster), he finally calmed down and trusted me to lead him back safely. In the end, that’s a huge thing for a horse! To trust someone when they’re afraid is huge! I felt very “honored” that he trusted me as his leader in that situation.
Buck 1
5. Body language is everything. Miss H. has told Anna and me just how important body language is around horses, but especially working around horses every day, threes times a day it makes you much more aware of what type of “signals” you’re giving the horses. Just yesterday one of Miss J’s. horses came at me because he kept trying to break down the stall guard while I cleaned his stall (he bites, so we are a little extra careful around him), so I had to get at him and make him back up. He pinned his ears, his eyes got dilated and he threatened to bite me. I threw my hands up and yelled “Hey!” and he backed off in agitation, but I went and grabbed the crop anyway because the only thing going through my head was “Move his feet. Move his feet. Gain his respect by moving his feet“. I backed him up with the crop and didn’t break eye contact until he broke first. He was fine after that. Miss J. gave me pointers (and gave me permission to get after him more) if he does it again. 1. Approach any horse with your shoulders back. That shows confidence. Slouched shoulders invites the horse into your personal space. 2. Backing up a horse is a very de-dominating thing to them. It shows them that you can move their feet and they are not in control of their feet; you are3. Maintain eye contact only when you discipline them for biting, kicking, pawing, etc. Don’t do it “just because”; it is a sign of challenging in the wild.
Buck 2

There are so many more things that I have learned, but at the moment my head is muddled, lol! The past few weeks have taught me and my sisters so much, it’s hard to find words for it all and it would take me forever to write it all if I did find words for it!
Buck 3
Anna and I should be getting back in the saddle in the next couple of weeks. Miss H. has surgery so rides have been put off, as well as because of the heat.
I hope you all are enjoying your day and your horses! I’ll “see” you next time!
Happy trails!

“Stall” Rest

I knew this already, but wisdom teeth surgery is/was painful.
On Tuesday I went in at 10:40 A.M and waited in the waiting room of the oral surgeon’s office with one of my sisters, Sarah, and my mom. The week before I felt myself getting really nervous about having oral surgery. I was nervous about the IV (’cause this girl!), and I was nervous about how I would react to the anesthesia after waking up from the surgery. But when I walked into the office on Tuesday morning I was really nervous, I was actually excited because getting my teeth pulled meant my braces getting put on a week later.
The nurse called my name and I went back to the room where the surgery would be done. The nurse was really nice. I told her while she took my blood pressure that July must be the month of surgeries because my boss (Miss H.) is getting surgery next week (please pray for her surgery). So that spiraled into the nurse asking me what I do for work, me telling her that my sister and I are working students at a barn. She thought that that was pretty cool and asked if I wanted to work with horses for life or just for the moment, to which I replied: “It’s something I want to do forever.” She then asked if I wanted to a rescue some day and I said, “Yes! I want to someday open a rescue and rescue neglected horses and also rescue from slaughterhouses.” She thought that was really cool and started telling me about some of the dogs she has fostered and how much she loves rescued animals. She even told me about a chicken she rescued from a parking lot that she had for the longest time that ended up running off to a neighbor’s yard and hatching out a batch of chicks. True story! Lol!
The oral surgeon came in the room and took my arm for the IV. I probably would have swallowed really hard and tensed up big-time if I wasn’t laughing nervously at the joke he made about the nurse’s chicken. The needle did really even hurt going in, which I was SO thankful for! Then he put the anesthesia-stuff in my arm (which I didn’t really realize he did until after I woke up after surgery. All he said was “I just put your medicine in,” and I thought, “Okay, he just means the IV”…)  and I was out like a light in probably less than fifteen seconds, which that sensation was really weird. I tried really hard to focus on the light in the ceiling, thinking that it was my nerves and then I was out. What was even weirder was I actually felt them cutting around one of my wisdom teeth and felt them take it out while I was under. Of course, it was just a ton a pressure but in the moment I knew what they were doing even though I was under. You get me? Lol!
When I woke up I was actually quite aware of everything. The oral surgeon asked me a couple of questions (“Are you feeling alright?” *gives him a thumbs up* “You’re not nauseous at all?” *shake of my head*). Apparently, nausea is common when coming out of anesthesia which I did not know. Goes to show you learn something new every day!
I was completely aware when my mom and Sarah came back and when he went through instructions of what I’m supposed to do and what I can eat and so forth, then he wheeled me out in the wheelchair to my mom’s car. I remember the entire ride home and was even able to write what I was trying to say to my mom and Sarah on Sarah’s phone and it all made sense! Lol!
After about an hour my mouth was starting to get feeling back and the pain set in, which was really tough. The pain meds that were prescribed for me I never took because I wasn’t sure how I would react to them because…hives. I ended up putting an ice pack on my jaw and it helped a little to numb the pain just enough. Before going to bed I took Tylenol which was hard to take, not gonna lie. It was the liquid stuff because we weren’t sure if I would be able to swallow the pill form as easily, but it was so sweet and I was already nauseous from the protein shake I drank because I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since the night before surgery. Add to that, whenever I changed the gauze out in my mouth every hour, I kept gagging while I tried to shift it to the right place in my mouth, which was not fun but I couldn’t help but laugh because I was so tired and in pain. You do what you can when you can to laugh off what you have to. Does that make sense?
Wednesday was better. The pain wasn’t nearly as much as Tuesday, but I could definitely start to tell that I had stitches because I felt them whenever I talked and laughed and it’s still like that today which kind of wiggles my stomach.
All in all, I am thankful that everything went well during the surgery. Thank you to everyone who prayed. It means a lot *sends a hug to each of you*
Next week I get my stitches out and then later that week I get my braces on! I’m so excited!
While it is hard being on “stall rest” as Anna put it in a text to Miss H. this morning, I know that I’ll be on my A-Game for work next week! It’s amazing how much you realize you miss the barn when you aren’t there and you literally go crazy, lol! I told Anna as she walked out the door to go to the barn this morning, “Tell all the horses I say hello!” Haha.
Sometimes it’s best to take it easy and wait for your body to stop bleeding after oral surgery (yes, my mouth is still bleeding, but nearly as bad!) before going back to work.  That doesn’t make it easy though!

I hope you are enjoying your time at the barn this week!
Happy trails!

All The Things. . .


Hello everybody!
I know. . . I’ve not blogged in a while. Basically, as a quick recap life has been getting busier and busier. One of my sisters-in-law had her baby in early May and my other sister-in-law her baby this month in June. We have another niece and our first nephew! Both babies are absolutely adorable and both mom’s and babies are doing really well!
We also went out of town in early June for a concert that we had bought tickets for back in December! We saw Harry Styles and it was amazing! Our seats were better then we thought they were going to be and he can put on such an amazing show! Then my brother wanted to swing by the Florida Keys because we were only a few hours away. The Keys were amazing! It was so different from where we live, the vegetation is so different but gorgeous! We saw many abandoned houses on little islands that seemed to leak stories from the walls. I wish we could have had time to go and see Ernest Hemingway’s home in the Keys, but we had to leave. We were all pretty bummed, but we got to see so many beauties on the Southernmost Point. We never got a picture with the buoy because the line to it was super long but we did see it!
My brother Andrew vlogged the trip down, the concert (which has some clips from the concert!) and the Keys as well. He had a blast and enjoyed himself so much! The Drone footage he got is incredible!
The links to the vlogs will be below, going in order from top to bottom!

All credit goes to Andrew! He did a really good job with the vlogs! You can visit his Youtube channel Megachristianvideos, and his picture is of him in a white caving helmet.
It was an adventure I will never forget, and I would totally go back to the Keys in the future!

I’ve decided that if you don’t own a horse, so you, therefore, cannot practice throughout the week on your riding, just ride a mower, lol! Miss H. taught me who to use her mower so we can start mowing the pastures for her when needed, and driving it through the pasture was so much like riding a horse! The type of mower Miss H. owns is one with bars for a steering wheel instead of an actual steering wheel. I’m not sure what that type is called, lol!


This is her mower

Miss H. had me practice driving it in an open space, away from things that I shouldn’t hit, lol! Before she left to go to the barn to get some things done while I mowed today, she said to me “Be assertive when you mow, just like when you ride! Look ahead, not at the ground otherwise you’ll crash into something! Look ahead and just mow!” While mowing I worked on my position (“Don’t collapse in the middle!” “Look ahead, not at the ground” (I.E. the horse’s ears!). “If you aren’t assertive, you won’t do anything! Be assertive!”). And do you know what? It helped! Needless to say, I’ll be practicing even with my family’s push-mower! Oh the things we don’t realize that help with our riding! Lol!

Riding has been really good. There have been some lessons that I have had a hard time with, but those lessons you end up learning the most with! So my quote of the day is:

The hard rides are the ones you get the most out of; push through it and keep going, no matter how hard it may seem!

I really appreciate the fact that Miss H. is very open about the hard rides as well as the good ones. She isn’t afraid to tell us that some days we are going to take several steps backward when we feel like we’ve finally “jumped ahead and made progress”.
Last week I felt like I had my own horse for a few minutes because I was able to ride “B” around the arena a couple of times all by myself! (Miss H. was getting something from the barn). I actually thought to myself “I’m on my horse [even though “B” isn’t mine; he’s a boarder’s horse], and I’m taking a nice stroll today.” It felt so good to finally make it to that point; it makes you feel like you’ve conquered the world!

July is looking to be just as busy as this year so far. Next month I go into surgery for seven (yes, 7) teeth to be taken out before I get my braces. Two and a half are baby teeth and the other half is a root from a baby tooth that decided to stay put, lol. The other four are all.four.wisdom.teeth. Yikes. I’m a little nervous because I’ve never had any type of surgery before, but I’m looking forward to my braces and the 27 upcoming months of them being on! That’s what my orthodontist said: 27 months!
I don’t go in for my surgery for another two weeks but please pray that everything goes well when I do. I’ll let y’all know how everything goes once I’m no longer groggy from the anesthesia, lol!
Any advice from those of you who have had their wisdom teeth taken out, or any teeth in general? What methods helped you be more comfortable after surgery?

That’s it for my quick little update!
I hope y’all are doing well and not forgetting to hug your horses!
Happy trails!

Tension, Fear & Power Talk!

I know. . .I haven’t blogged in a long time. May seemed like it would be somewhat of a “laid back” month but it has been the opposite! The past few weeks have been super crazy, hence why I have not blogged! 
At the beginning of May Anna and I helped Miss H. with her husband’s retirement party at the barn so the preparation for that required more hours, which was totally fine! But can I just say that the barn at 9:30 at night is so magical with the lights on the front posts and the stars shining super bright along with the moon? It was all so pretty and I had to step back and look out how nice everything turned out as the friends and family of Miss H. and her husband danced the Two-Step and Swing-Danced. The band was awesome! They played Johnny Cash, Chris Stapleton, Beach Boys and some music I believe they wrote themselves! It was all such a wonderful day and party that was a blast to help out with. Both Anna and I felt very at home with all the family members of Miss H. and her husband and we literally felt like we were a part of their family because everyone was so kind. Several people even came up to Anna and I and complimented us on the work we did, which was totally unexpected but so incredibly kind of them. Needless to say, it was an experience we will never forget because we had so much fun helping out. P.S. And we may or not have been standing in the corner where no one saw us and singing and “dancing” to songs we knew. . . Lol! 

I technically have two-and-a-half lessons to share, the half I’ll explain after the first lesson.
In my first lesson of May, I rode “B”. I went into this lesson with positive thoughts, excited thoughts because I hadn’t ridden in about two weeks and I was ready and super siked for it. That’s good that I had positive thoughts, right? I even hummed and sang a little to “B” before I got on him to help loosen myself up and let him know that I wasn’t tensing up or getting nervous before the lesson, which I was not.
I got on and it started out really good; I was able to keep him bent on a nice circle several times, I was able to follow pretty well with both my hands and my hips, it was great. 
Miss H. told me to pick up a trot but keep him bent on the circle and I was really excited when I heard the word “trot” because I hadn’t trotted in two weeks. So I got myself all ready; shortened my reins, took the polo wrap around “B’s” neck in my hands just how you would hold the reins (along with the reins, just to keep my hands more steady and I don’t yank on “B’s” mouth on accident), asked “B” to trot and he took off in a really nice trot. But the “issue” was I didn’t keep him on a circle. He went straight and I let him go straight and when Miss H. was calmly telling me how to ask him to slow down (because he was in quite a fast trot), I got the feeling and thoughts of “I’m completely out of control and I’m going to die!” I passed Miss H. twice before I was finally able to get him to stop and I was really disappointed in myself because I had let “B” get away with what he wanted and that led to me feeling out of control which led to my I’ve-Gone-Into-My-Fear-Shell-And-Can’t-Hear-Anything-You-Tell-Me phase. . . And I had completely let my fear take over and threw all of Jane Savoie’s method(s) in her Freedom From Fear out the window because in those very few moments of feeling out of control, all that was in my mind was “I’m out of control” and that terrified me.
Miss H. wasn’t upset with me that I had completely “zoned out” but she did stress to me as she put me on the lunge line to work on getting “B” to stop when I asked him to that whenever I feel like I might be out of control is to 1): Stay with it. Don’t zone out in fear! 2): Try bringing my right rein to my hip and say “Whoa” 3): If bringing the right rein to my hip doesn’t work, try bringing both reins to my hips saying “Whoa 4): And if those don’t work, bring the horse in to a circle because they can’t keep a fast trot like “B” had in a circle that gets smaller and smaller but not so small that he falls over (in Miss H’s. words in a small laugh) and the horse will have to stop.
When I put on the longe line, I won’t lie and say that I was necessarily excited about it. I wasn’t upset at Miss H. for putting me back on it for a few minutes; I was just upset with myself that I hadn’t been able to control “B” like I had done several times before this lesson. I felt like I had taken several steps backward when I had just taken a step forward a lesson ago.

“You’re going to take a really good step forward and then you’ll go several steps back. That’s just the nature of the beast”-Miss H. 2018 about the laws of horseback riding.

And Miss H. is such a kind person because when my Mom picked Anna and me up from the barn Miss H. told her “Yeah, they’re both doing really, really well. They’re making such huge progress.” She’s so kind; she really is. She always, always finds a positive after what I felt like wasn’t a good lesson. She’ll say something like “Do you remember how when you first started riding you couldn’t do___?” and she names the specific thing that I now don’t even really think about when I ride that I used to struggle with and she’ll always have Anna and I leave a lesson with something positive.
And so comes the next lesson. . .

This lesson Miss H. had me get on her horse “F” for only like 20 minutes or so. She said after I dismounted that she wanted me on again for at least a minutes before the weekend.
This lesson was about really feeling like I was “one” with the horse and feeling every motion that came with the walk and trot.
When I asked “F” for the trot on the lunge line I was a little too tentative and so he all he did was lengthen his walk. It was a really nice lengthy walk, but I didn’t ask enough so he thought I was just asking for a lengthened walk and not the trot.
I was able to get him in a nice trot and I could tell that I was pinching with my knees a little because my stirrups kept falling down my foot and I had to keep fixing them. And it’s amazing what a difference in turning your toes toward the horse’s belly VS out does! Once I turned my toes it was amazing the difference it made! I was even able to sit several really good steps in the trot which is huge because I do better with posting! It’s funny because Anna is a lot better with sitting the trot. We’re the complete opposite, which is so funny but awesome! You learn lessons from everyone!
Before I asked “F” to trot one last time, I told myself something that Jane Savoie talks about in her Power Talk video: “I am an elite warrior!” And I think it helped! 😀
At one point during my lesson though, my sister pulled in the driveway at the barn to pick Anna and me up and so she got to see me ride for a few minutes before we ended my lesson. I got nervous because I thought it was my mom and I’ve been wanting her to come and watch me ride (as well as Anna!) but it was just my sister Sarah. Anna and I got in the car and she looked at me and said: “I literally didn’t know who was riding in the arena until I realized that it was you!”
Needless to say, my mom was disappointed she hadn’t come to pick us up, lol!
When was the first lesson your mom came to watch you ride? Were you nervous at all?
We left my lesson off on a really good note so that I could remember the good over the weekend. 

Fear is such a fickle thing; one minute you’re terrified that you’re going to fall out of the saddle and die, and the next you are trotting and thinking to yourself “When is more coming?!”
I told my Aunt Donna recently that having a riding instructor is so helpful because you know that they have battled as much fear as you have to get to where they are today, instructing others and telling them that taking leaps forward and being brave are so worth it.
Something I’ve learned since starting riding that I didn’t even really give a thought to was just how much you have to trust your instructor. You have to trust the horse too, but the instructor is telling you when to take that big leap.

For any of you who might be struggling with fear in the saddle, I highly recommend Jane Savoie’s Freedom From Fear program. It’s on the pricey side, but it is so worth it! If you would like me to do a video on why I recommend it and how it’s helping me, let me know! I think it would be fine to do a video on it!
I hope you all are having a wonderful day.
Happy trails!

1 Year & 1 Lesson

It’s been one year since I decided to create this blog, and I am so happy that I did! I have had the wonderful pleasure of “meeting” all of my followers and I have learned a lot from each of your blogs. So thank you!

If you would like to go back a year ago and read my very first blog post, you can find it in the link below.

I rode last week. I should have blogged about it sooner, but both this week, last week and the week before that we were/are/dog/house sitting for two different couples so these past few days/weeks have been super crazy. One of the nice things about this house I’m in right now is the couple’s front door is quite literally (all joking aside) twenty feet away from a river. And I’m not talking like a little stream or something. Like a RIVER. I love hearing the boats go by and the water splash against the river bank. I also like to imagine myself floating down the river in a kayak with my dog (that’s I don’t even have, mind you, lol!). Would I go swimming in this river? No thanks. Alligators take up territory here. Out of all the years that my sisters have been working here, we’ve only seen one alligator in the river and that was last summer. I still wouldn’t swim in it, lol. But I want so badly to go kayaking!

Do you like kayaking or any type of boating?

Anywho, back to my lesson!

I rode “B” and this was another lesson entirely off the lunge line! Can I get a “WOOT, WOOT!” Lol!

Miss H. had me working on circles again. I’m having a little trouble with bracing with the outside rein when I ask for a consistent bend in the horse’s body. For example, when I’m asking him to tip his nose to the inside and use my inside leg to push his ribcage to the outside rein when I use my outside knee to keep him from drifting with his outside shoulder, I brace with the outside rein so much that he can’t tip his nose to the inside. What have you done to help with that?

Once we were able to get that “under control” we moved to trotting through the cones that Miss H. had earlier set up. I was able to keep him bent on a Circle but it wasn’t a 20 meter Circle that Miss H. wanted, it was smaller which was fine because she told me that I was at least keeping him in a Circle and bent nicely throughout. Then Miss H. had me trot him up and down the long side. She noticed that instead of me landing softly in the saddle I was more like falling so she told me to tighten the fronts of my thighs (not the inside) and really control the down. It helped a lot!

Miss H. ended up bringing out a polo wrap and wrapped it around “B’s” neck and had me hold it like the reins, along with the reins. That was just so my hands were a bit more stable.

I felt a little terrified at one point because “B” sped up his trot and I thought “He’s going to canter and I’m going to fall off and die! Oh no!” But then I remembered that if I tightened my core and made my posting smaller that he would come to meet me at the new speed. And it worked!

I felt really great when I dismounted and gave “B” plenty of pats and “thank you’s”.

I am very excited to test out some new methods that I have learned for riders who struggle with fear in the saddle. A couple of weeks ago I bought the Freedom From Fear riding program by Jane Savoie and, boy, is this program amazing!

I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling with fear in the saddle. It is really good and I can’t wait share how the methods help me with you guys!

I hope you have an amazing Tuesday. Happy trails!

Two Fantastic Lessons!

Life has been so busy, I have not had the time to sit down and write a post about my past two lessons. The past week we were dog-sitting for a couple (who had five dogs!) and that was crazy in itself because we couldn’t stay at their house all day so we had to go back and forth to let the dogs out every hour and a half to two hours throughout the day. Today is the first day that it will be a full day home. It’s so funny how much you take for granted your own bed but when you’ve been away from it for a week, it’s literally the best feeling in the world to plop yourself on it and sleep, lol!

My first lesson was awesome! I did a couple things that were such huge accomplishments for me!
I rode “B” and walked him around the arena a couple of times before getting on. When I was mounting, Miss H. said, “I want you and Anna to get to the point where you’re confident enough to warm him up without me being here and you’re riding him.” I replied with “I want to get to that point as well!”
I feel like recently that I have been able to keep pretty good control of my fingers being closed, which I am so happy about! And my following off the bat was pretty good!
Miss H. had me work on circles while she stood in the center of my circle. I had a little trouble in the beginning but I was able to keep a really nice bend in “B’s” body and keep a pretty good circle. Yay!
In trot work, I was having a little trouble with pinching with my knees, mainly my right. I was able to let my knee go and lift my toe to fix my stirrup because it kept sliding back on my foot. . . during the trot! That’s huge for me! Even though I felt like I was going to fall off, I was still able to fix it!
Then while I was posting along, Miss H. said, “Okay, now we’re going to go down the long side.” I laughed and “This is awesome! I haven’t done this before!” Miss H. said afterward that she was really happy that I was talking because she knew I wasn’t holding my breath but breathing!
One thing I have to remember, though, is that I need to keep my shoulders back when posting so I don’t land in the back of the saddle. It all comes with the learning territory though!
I was really, really pleased with this lesson and walked away feeling so good about it!

When I walked “B” into the arena for my lesson last week I tried my best to keep happy and good thoughts in my head, like I’ve been practicing. What I’ll do is hum when I walk out which helps a little with any last minute nerves I might have.
Miss H. stood a good distance away when I mounted and was off. I walked “B” around the arena a few times and Miss H. had me cross the long and short diagonals to change direction (I feel like a pro when I do that!).
She ended up leaving the arena for a minute to get some cones so I could work on Tandem Circles, something that I’ve done before and have done a post about as well.
When keeping your horse bent in a circle, you need your outside rein (to say, “this is how far you can go), your outside knee to keep your horse from leaning or “drifting” with that his outside shoulder, your inside leg to push his belly to the outside rein, and your inside rein to point his nose just a little to the inside to show him where you’re going.
What I tend to forget is to steer with my knees and not so much my hands. Miss H. had me go to a long rein to feel how much I can steer with only my knees and barely even doing anything with the reins. As long as you point your knees where you want to go, the horse will follow and go there!
Something that I struggle with also is not fighting myself when I turn my body to turn the horse. I kind of freeze and don’t move, which results in the horse deciding what to do because I haven’t moved.

“Point your sternum where you’re going!” Miss H. 2018

While I was working on my Tandem Circles, Miss H. says all of the sudden, “Okay, not pick up a trot and keep this circle going”. . . . . *crickets* My mind sort of froze and I was like, “Are you serious? You want me to keep this circle in a trot OFF the lunge line?!” She laughed and said to go down the long side instead.
I asked “B” for a trot and I was able to control where he went off the lunge line! That’s the first time!! Woot!
It was so crazy amazing and I had so much fun!
When I dismounted I told Miss H. that I didn’t believe her when she told Anna and I that trotting off the lunge line is actually easier than walking because the horse has less time to think about changing his body. It was so much easier then I thought it would be, and I  made sure to tell her that!
I walked out of the arena feeling like I had been on my own horse, and I am so happy that I was able to accomplish such a huge step in my riding journey!
What is the biggest step you conquered that you will never forget when you first began riding?

These lessons were absolutely fantastic and I am so looking forward to my lesson this week and all the things I  learn from it!
Happy trails!

Two Rides & Two Years!

Note: I wrote this post on Sunday, April 8th and haven’t posted it until today. Oops…

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post. Whoops. Sorry. But the good news is that I have two lessons to write about! Woot!
First off, today is exciting because it marks two years that I have been riding! *excited squeal*. Two years ago today I got on my first lesson horse and learned the basics of sitting on my seat bones and keeping my ears, shoulders, hips, and heels in a straight line, how to stop and go, etc! I have a video on my sister’s cell phone and it’s fun to go back and think about all that I’ve learned in two years.
Two years ago I would never have thought that picking up the stirrups at the walk would be possible, let alone not looking down to find them! Let’s be honest; at the beginning it was H.A.R.D! But now that I’ve loosened up I’m able to do that without thinking because it’s gotten so much easier!
What did you think you would never be able to do in your first lesson (I.E, picking up the stirrups, lol!) that you don’t even have to think about now?

The first lesson I rode “B”, who was great!
Miss H. came up to me and asked what I was thinking about before I left the barn to go the arena for my lesson and I said “I’m really excited. I’m thinking positive thoughts. And whatever happens, good or “bad”, I’m looking forward to.” She was happy that I was focusing on the positives vs the negatives.
I got on and I was really good with following instantly, which made me really happy!
What I have to work on is not being so tentative when I ask for the walk from the halt. I kinda go into like “I’ll go slow at first to see if you want to walk” when I need to be like “We’re going to walk and we’re going to do it now”. And it’s been since the first lesson that I have been tentative with asking for an aide.

“When asking for an aide, you want to give as little as necessary, but as much as needed”-Miss H, 2018.

And yes, I write quotes from Miss H. and keep them in my riding journal. Do you do that as well?
When we started on trot work I had a little trouble with really swinging my hips up and toward “B’s” ears and landing in the front of the saddle. Toward the end, I was able to do it a little better and also keep him trotting a full circle without him slowing to a walk, which he did a few times before. Oops…
But all in all, I was very proud of myself at the end of this lesson and excited for the upcoming lesson…

In this lesson, I rode “F” who I have not ridden in a long time. As soon as we started walking I was like “I’d forgotten how much I love riding him!” lol!
We started out with helping me just get used to being on “F” again since I haven’t ridden him in so long. I feel like my following was pretty good off the bat, which makes me happy!
When we started trotting I realized how different “F’s” trot is from “B’s”, and I don’t mean it in a mean way! I mentioned it to Miss H. and she said that it’s because “F” is a Warmblood. In the trot when I ride “F” I literally feel like I’m being thrown out of the saddle when I rise because (not only is his stride HUGE!) the suspension he gives is enormous! And his trot is super floaty so it literally feels like I’m floating when I rise. That’s the only way I can explain it, lol! He has a super floaty and light trot!
“B” has a smooth trot as well; it’s just not as floaty and light. You get what I mean about the differences between horse breeds, right? It’s so amazing how their are so many different horse breeds and they feel so different when they trot!
When I felt like I was going to fall to the right I kind of spiraled into the thoughts of “Oh my gosh! I’m going to fall! Oh my gosh!” Miss H. had me halt and asked what I was thinking and I replied very honestly with the above. She kind of laughed and said “When you feel that ‘oh my gosh!’ fear, try to turn it into a positive oh-my-gosh VS a negative. Think instead, “Oh my gosh, I’m doing it!” not “Oh my gosh I’m going to die!“”
She then asked me when we started trotting again how to change diagonals. Sit two and then go back to posting the trot. So when I was posting along she would say “Change your diagonals” and I would sit two and post again.
Because the trot is a two-beat motion, changing diagonals is when the horse’s outside front leg goes forward (when you rise) and when the inside hind leg meets the outside front is when you go down in the saddle in posting. It was so much fun to change diagonals because it made me feel like a pro! *crickets* Okay, maybe a super pro, lol!
When my lesson ended I gave “F” a big pat and rubbed him up and down his neck and told him what a good boy he was/is. The patience of him is beyond my understanding!

I ride again this week and I am super excited about it!
Miss H. actually mentioned to me about a program that might help with the fear I have in the saddle so I am going to look into it and might order it today. I might have a new series or something on it and on what I learn from it!
I hope you all have an awesome day!
Happy trails!