Fall

Today is officially the first day of fall! My favorite time of the year because you get pretty leaves, Halloween, and apple cider.

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Someone tell Georgia that!

 

Supposedly the temperature goes down too but the future is not looking promising.

Wonderful lesson last night that I’ll probably talk more about later. It was dressage and not anything ground breaking (and no pictures) so probably nothing I need to waste a whole post on. But, suffice it to say, new trainer, LT, is the bomb. She has already helped us so much.

On Saturday we are actually doing a ground work lesson. I used to do a lot of ground work with my horses and found it extremely valuable but I was self taught and just couldn’t get past a certain point so I kind of gave up. But Lauren does a lot of ground work with her horses and even taught her 1* horse to bow so that it would be easier to get on with no mounting block. That is a trick I need in my toolbox!

We are very quickly getting to October which is a busy month for me work wise. I work in human resources/benefits and October is our open enrollment month. Even with all of that, I am still hoping to get out XC schooling at Poplar and to a local hunter/jumper show. Gus is doing so well right now that I really don’t want to lose our momentum.

An Unofficial Review

If you follow me on Instagram (@laurenhaggerty come say hi!), you may have noticed that this showed up on my doorstep the other day:

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You all know I was in the hunt for a second bridle for the GusGus and after hearing bits and pieces of how nice Lund Saddlery’s stuff was, I figured I’d wait around until they officially debuted their line. But I had no idea when that was. What if it was next year sometime? Did I really want to wait that long? (Clue: No (and if you know where that is from, you deserve a cookie!)).

So I Facebooked them, explained my dilemma, and, much to my amazement, was told they had exactly what I wanted in stock. Sold!

And you guys, it’s everything they claim it is. Right out of the box the leather was so soft and supple. Way nicer than anything I have and much nicer than the other bridle I own in that price range. Plus, the shipping was fast and the customer service top notch.

The only bad thing I can see is that it’s so pretty I didn’t want to put it on Gus!

Trail Riding at Chickamauga

The  boy and I had been planning on going granite shopping on Saturday but then New Trainer texted me and said “Trail ride?” And since that is a way better option than granite shopping, we of course said yes.

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This would be Gus’ first trail ride off property but I didn’t expect it would be a big deal since we have gone off property plenty of times. And of course, it wasn’t a huge deal at all. Gus loaded right up along with new trainer’s two guys, King and Van, and her boy friend’s mustang, Satan, and we hit the road.

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It was a bit of a drive to Chickamauga but so worth it.

Eric got to ride Van, new trainer’s 1* horse and he had such a blast. While Eric loves riding, he doesn’t get to do so very often because we only have one horse. I tell him all the time he can ride Gus whenever he wants but he doesn’t want to screw up what Gus and I are working on or taking our limited time. So the boy was thrilled he was invited along on this outing.

 

Like I expected, Gus was good. They were setting off artillery but the only thing that was scary to Gus were the big signs explaining the history of the battle field. Those were terrifying for some reason. So Gus needs more trail riding miles to really relax but I think he enjoyed it. wp-1474286680025.jpg

 

Bit Found?

Had an incredibly fun but also intense jump lesson on Wednesday. The actual grid work we did wasn’t that hard (BN height double bounce to various other fences) except that we were doing them up hill and then downhill.

We are going to be pros as this up and downhill riding by the end of the year let me tell you!

I was really struggling on the downhill approach, it was like the first fence would just disappear from my brain and I wouldn’t know what to do. Thank God, Gus doesn’t need a perfect set up and he carried our butts through the grid every time. New trainer was yelling at me to support with the outside leg the entire way through the grid but I just was blanking.

Then we came through and Gus too exception to something I did and got me out of my stirrups. Did I pull up and quit the exercise? No, we rode through it anyway. And you know what? Because I was actually using my legs to stay on, the exercise rode beautifully. At least after that I knew what the feeling was supposed to be and new trainer did not take away the stirrups.

But the best part of the night was that I think we found a winner in the bit department.

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Just a simple single link, two ring gag. No theatrics when I would half halt but there were breaks! So I went home and found the perfect size on ebay. Both it and my new bridle are supposed to be here on Tuesday. Can’t wait!

2016 Aspen Farms H.T. – A Dandy Update

Dandy completed in the Open Prelim division at Aspen Falls last weekend. He had his best Prelim dressage score ever with a 32.5 so that was an uplifting start to the weekend.

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Unfortunately he pulled a rail in stadium (not totally surprising considering that ring is always a tough ride) and racked up a bunch of time faults in XC. Still, no jumping penalties on XC so that is a major plus. He has no issues with the fences, just behaving between them.

This was all good enough for eighth.

He was originally entered at E.I. in two weekends but he’s been scratched so now I’m not sure where his season is going. I’ll keep you updated!

Silly Boy

Before I left for my wedding, I had a jumping lesson with new trainer.

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Jumping lesson did not start well…

So after new trainer went to a horse trial and everyone at the trial was having problems because stadium was set in the grass on a hill, she came back and said we’re training on it. Alright, I’m game. We jump XC on hills too so it’s not like this can do anything but help me.

Gus was game too. So game that he could not walk or trot to save his life. I was honestly considering having new trainer get on him but that cannot be my crutch like it was with Dandy. Plus, it wasn’t like I was scared, it just wasn’t much fun.

Things didn’t get better when we started jumping. This was the first time new trainer had seen Gus jump outside the ring when he wasn’t already exhausted from two other phases. She was not impressed with his antics and his bolting. So she had me get off and switched my bridle for hers (she had been doing trot sets with her 1* horse before the lesson and he was chilling out with us).

It was a Myler Dee w/hooks, either level 2 or 3. Gus hated it. He kept tossing his head and chomping at it. But you know what? We also had breaks.

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So anyway, that’s obviously not the right bit, but we are going to have to bit up now for XC and probably jumping too since he can be a little expressive. The hunt is on to find the that magic bit. Time to start spending $$$.

But all you eventers know what it means when you have to ride in two different bits… that’s right… a new bridle!

You know what the boy said when I mentioned I was in the market for some new leather straps? “Can’t you just switch bits out?”

Silly boy.

 

Review: Annie’s Equestrienne Apparel

I am now the owner of two pairs of Annie’s Equestrienne Full Seat Breeches. One in their rust color and one in the Tardis blue with crystals on the pockets.

The rust was my first pair. I bought them on pre-order after seeing them on Facebook. I love old school riding attire and thought it’d be nice to have some cool schooling breeches. When I did the pre-order, they only had them in full seats but they do also sell them in knee patch.

What was super disappointing was the fit. I went with a size 28 after reading their sizing chart and going with past experiences where I was maybe a little over zealous with how small I am. They fit great in the leg but had a huge gap in the waist. An awful awful gap. I put them aside and kept meaning to post them for sale on Facebook but never got around to it.

But I loved the sock endings, I loved the fabric  (so soft and comfortable! and not overly hot in the GA humidity), and I loved the color so when they had their summer clearance sale, I thought, for $60ish, I’ll try another pair and I’ll just get a size smaller.

This time I went with the Tardis blue. I love blue. Blue looks great on me and it looks great on Gus. Besides, a little bling is always fun. Much to my dismay, these pants were way tighter! I got them on but I felt like I was going to be splitting the seams on the full seat. The waist probably fit okay but I couldn’t yank it into the right place!

To give credit, once I was on Gus these not only looked amazing, they did settle in. By the end of my lesson I forgot how tight and restricting they felt. Still, I wasn’t going to order another pair of full seats!

I still might try a pair of their knee patch breeches if I find another color I like at an okay price. I do love the fabric and the color washes up wonderfully. The crystals, did not… but oh well, at least they aren’t leaving behind junk so you can’t tell they are missing. I think the big thing for me is that these breeches are just made for someone who is a bit smaller in the thigh than I am.

Viva Carlos Blog Hop: Barn Artefacts

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Oh man, this is definitely a blog hop I can participate in! I have SOOOOO much JLE gear.

Long Sleeve Shirt

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Technically this might not qualify for JLE gear since it was actually purchased to help send JLE to Rolex… but whatever, I’m counting it. Just a simple cotton long sleeve. I love it.

Team Fly Bonnet

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We got these as gifts for the holidays one year. It had a JLE monogram patch on it at one point but I took that off to dress up another bonnet. I still use this a ton because it’s just a basic easy bonnet.

JLE Polos

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I have a white one too. Never got to wear these while riding for JLE because I didn’t take any clinics or go to any shows. I did occasionally wear them while grooming Dandy at the big shows though.

Team Jackets

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Confession time, I have TWO of these team jackets! The first was originally purchased when I first moved out there and I really wanted to be part of the team and fit in. The second I purchased right after I moved and is the updated jacket (with zippers on the pocket and a fleece liner). To be fair, the reason I got the second was because I was an “owner” and got the jacket sponsored and only had to pay a minimal wholesale cost. But I LOVE these jackets so much. They get a lot of wear and still look great.

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Kerrits helped with the cost of these jackets so I got one. It’s nice for early winter (or mid winter here in GA) riding.

Team Saddle Pads

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We ordered these right before I found out I was moving. Sort of disappointing. I suppose I could have sold these to someone at the barn but they are nice Tolkat saddle pads and I have found they fit Gus great. I’m keeping them and using them. I have three. Two in the above color combination and one with the blue and silver switched.

Not pictured:

JLE helmet/carry all bag
JLE sweatshirt
All of Eric’s JLE swag (sweatshirt, polo)

 

That’s a lot of stuff! Now I just need to start collecting the new team gear. LOL.

 

 

Expect More

So the good and the bad of having new trainer ride Gus Gus was that she learned all his little secrets… mainly that he is capable of doing a whole lot more than I am making him do. To be fair, part of this is because I just haven’t been in a consistent program and am not in as good of shape as I should be. But part of this is because there are still some lingering habits from Dandy where I certainly was not going to push for more.

Gus can do it. I need to expect more.

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Our lesson on Tuesday was tough due to this. Absolutely no more giraffeing. Poor Gus Gus. That is his favorite move! But since he can hold contact in the bridle, we are now working on more even contact in the right rein (no matter the direction), which means he has to stop hanging on the left, and me using my core to dictate pace and tempo. We were both sweaty and tired at the end of it!

At least his botched plastic surgery attempt isn’t messing up our riding schedule! (It looks a lot deeper in this picture then it is.)

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Someone decided he really wanted to be a unicorn. Good thing I’ve got such an awesome barn to immediately take care of it and let me know. One less thing to worry about when you’re a thousand miles away!

And That’s A Wrap!

The wedding that is! I am so so glad to be done with it. Not that I didn’t have an amazing time but I am so glad to have that weight off my shoulders.

Everything came together just how I imagined it and nothing went terribly wrong. I’m excited to get the official photos but I thought I’d share some gems from the night.

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And now I can go back to focusing on the Gus Gus!