Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Blogger Gift Exchange

Thank you Tracy at Fly on Over Eq for hosting yet another wonderful Holiday Blogger Gift Exchange! It's such a fun way to connect with new bloggers and celebrate the Season!

The Blog has been a bit quiet as Paul and I made our annual pilgrimage to Ohio to spend Christmas with our families. There was a fun surprise awaiting me at the office today and it must be noted that my gifter took went above and beyond to make sure I had my package before the Holiday- unfortunately we were ships in the night....I literally missed it by one day.

I was treated to a whole bevy of fun presents from Elizabeth at Clover Ledge Farm- each was individually wrapped and adorned in bows with fun tags!

The first gift I opened was in a wine bottle bag and while Elizabeth was appropriately apologetic that there was not actually wine in there (clearly she got to know me during this process), she gave me something even better- Green Spot Remover. This stuff is like liquid gold when you have a grey horse and I can run through a bottle lickety split.

Ellie scored in the next round with Uncle Jimmy's Squeezy Buns treats! I've never tried these before and I have a feeling Miss Elle is not going to object. I LOVE when I have a tub of fancy treats to give her!

Finally a beautiful, handmade suncatcher! Through Tracy, Elizabeth had reached out to find out what my barn colors were and I had shared the standard lineup of navy, hunter green, etc etc.... and then confessed that I sometimes like to dress Ellie in the choice in stone is more than perfect. If you haven't had a chance to follow along with Clover Ledge, Elizabeth owns two beautiful Standardbred gals- and the suncatcher is built on a Standardbred racing shoe! Because I love nothing more than adorning my desk with ALL THE HORSE THINGS I immediately found the perfect spot where I can enjoy it every day!

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the wonderful and thoughtful gifts! You're awesome!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Amazon Freakout

I had these grand plans of parading around the upcoming Holiday show dressed as Santa with cute boot cuffs, white gloves, a Santa hat, and maybe even a beard....with Ellie dressed up as an adorable reindeer.

I found all my gear through Amazon and feeling a little intoxicated with the ease of ordering plus the two day shipping I also went ahead and ordered some additional Holiday home decor.

Then the boxes started showing up.....all of the boxes. And when I opened them yesterday afternoon I was incredibly underwhelmed. The Santa outfit looked cheap in its plastic packaging (but really, what can you expect from a Santa outfit). The reindeer that looked so pretty in the picture was a sad state of glitter disaster. The snowflake window stickies were much, much smaller than I had originally expected.
Sad all around.

I had been busy telling Paul the other night that our Holiday decor has some equity. It comes out year after year- a few pieces have been coming out for a decade at this point and we have yet to lose a a Christmas or Halloween soldier.
I didn't feel like these Amazon purchased decorations would hold up to the test of time.

While I don't often return, this morning I packed everything back up into their boxes and got them on their way back to Amazon.

It's not a total loss- a Target stop yielded a friendly new Snowman along with some lights for a pretty console display to add to our festive house!

And I think I'll order Ellie a pair of Holiday polos to complete our Christmas show outfit!

As well as a lesson learned in the art of Amazon shopping.....don't do it after wine! You can only blame a finger slip on Amazon 1-click so many times.

Monday, November 28, 2016


I got a little extra ride in Friday on Miss Lucy- our BO's meter jumper. No jumper jumps, or any jumps, just a whole lot of fun hacking a different beastie! She's got the most comfortable canter! Fingers crossed we can work out a few additional rides to build up that extra riding muscle over the winter!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Autumn Classic Wrap Up

We came, we saw, we schooled.....

That damn cough.

I already shared our super fun time in the a quick Hunter recap......


  • Under saddle- shoot me now. If her swap didn't eliminate us the huge buck she ripped in front of the judge sure did!
  • OF- we went in for one round which was going quite well but she ended up coughing the entire back half of the trip so we scratched the second round. BUT got all my strides!

Saturday (by this point we had stopped braiding):

  • 1st OF Round- OK trip with a super chip to the single oxer (I sat up and waited though!) and a wiggle/ add through the judges line. Little cough but the add warranted a round 2.....
  • 2nd OF Round- Ali said it was the best course she's seen me ride at a show! If it weren't for a few well placed coughs we might have been in the ribbons!

The biggest win of the show were all of the AMAZING photos the show photographer took!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

.70-.75 Jumpers

Oh yeah! We did the Jumpers at the Autumn Classic!

I gave the Jumper ring a go around 5 years ago on my half-leased horse, Ben. He had a pretty short stride and would stop in the combinations when I would lean up his neck. It was the vicious cycle of getting nervous, riding backwards, leaning, and stopping- total confidence building right? Not to mention that for some reason Jumper fences look GINORMOUS without the fill of a Hunter fence.
Oh, and trying to remember the courses? Forget it!

Ellie had a lingering cough so we thought throwing a few jumper classes into the mix might help us get galloping and get some coughs out before her Hunter rounds.

Walking into the ring on Friday morning I was a total bundle of nerves. We trotted half of our fences, did a two in the one stride, BUT made it all the way around and had a blast!

Saturday we CANTERED all of our fences....with 22 time faults. I didn't even realize that was possible!

And on Sunday we really went for it and had a great round with only 7 time faults! Fun bits of progress and I was actually disappointed that we did not get to move into the speed phase!

Sunday course! I took advantage of the ring and height and pulled out some purple breeches!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Team Off-Site

I had the opportunity to host a few coworkers at the barn for a team building off-site. The official purpose of the day was to review our Myers Briggs test results but we made some time for a demo by Ali and some rides for the ladies! 

LK rode a little when she was pretty young but LS had the classic "my first time on a horse I was bucked off" experiences. I admired their courage in jumping up and taking a whirl- particularly on this cold, blustery day. 

The Ells enjoyed some MAJOR snuggles and treats and was a total ham for the camera. It was really an amazing experience to share horses with non-horsey friends!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catching some Zzzzzz's

Ellie took a mid-morning nap and had zero desire to get up for our Saturday lesson! The only thing that got her going was the crinkle of a peppermint wrapper!
We should all feel bad for her- she works so, so hard!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Holiday Show

Any opportunity to ditch the show coat...I'm in. This schooling show calls for breeches and boots......Holiday attire welcomed. 

So I'm thinking...

Sleigh Schooling Jumpers: a jingle bell breast collar?
Mistle"low" Hunters: a Rudolph and Santa theme (antlers and pink nose for Ellie, Boot cuffs and Santa hat (maybe beard) for Emily)?
And the Rudolph Reindeer Games Derby with an "Ugly Sweater"

I'm tempted to take this theme super seriously because it seems like a ton of fun! Please share if you have any fabulous Christmas themed ideas!  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

World Series!

What's going on in the world outside of horses?

Paul and I spent the evening cheering on the Tribe in the World Series. We should absolutely not spend any more time cheering because two of the five games we've showed up for our team has lost. No more! Ask me what I'm doing Tuesday night- I won't be watching the game! Go Tribe!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Conquering the Bank

Just jumping down a bank (don't laugh at my use of the word 'bank' for this speed bump- looking at you, eventers) like it's no big deal.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Early Voting!

Paul and I got our ballots in! Early voting rocks and we made a little date out of it by dropping them into a 24hr Voting Dropbox and then going out for a celebratory dinner afterward!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


It's taken me a hot minute to like Ellie. We've been partners now for two and a half years.

Year one was spent wondering what the heck I had done. She wouldn't pick up her right lead canter for me. I would cry in lessons trying to jump a crossrail. And I contemplated just selling her and ending the madness too many times to count.

Year two was spent learning. She was learning how to carry herself, how to balance, and how to relax to fences. I was learning how to communicate, how to be brave, and most importantly, how to trust.

And in the past 6 months we've been growing together. We've established trust in each other. I love her. And she loves treats.

Ali knows how to push me and our ring has three, count them, three Swedish oxers. This videoed ride was our third attempt at catching a single that had ridden poorly for me each time. With a change in track and a little move up (not without anxious twitching from me) the distance finally showed up. Ellie carried me over all three times at my direction and finally on the last attempt I got it right.

And she was kind enough to do it again just once more :).

Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet Bob

Just your run of the mill barn Bobcat. NBD.

Likes to hang out in trees looking unassuming. Or better yet, in the mulch as you walk down the stairs- he blends in.

I keep hoping he'll run into Harry and it'll be some sort of epic battle. Harry is the Tarantula that lives in the stall next to Ellie and if I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind if Bob ate him.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Welcome Welcome!

Our new barn mates joined us on on Saturday, along with 22 new horses, let by Dressage trainer Nadine Pestana.

Our barn owner hosted a BBQ and the two teams mingled on the back barn patio over champagne, brats, and one of the DQs made this amazing homemade potato salad!

It's probably not fair of me to assign the Dressage Queen label just yet- these ladies seem super chill and I didn't spot a single rhinestone. Their motto is- "We all help each other."  Read Zero Drama.

As an added bonus, it sounds like we may snag the occasional dressage lesson!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Three Foot What?

A few weeks ago Ellie and I jumped a 3' standalone fence. TWICE!

We were jumping around some 2'9" fences and this vertical had been riding really well so I nonchalantly suggested we put it up. Like so chill. "Hey- why don't we just put that up a hole?"

It wasn't until I was riding towards it that I realized the gravity of my situation. But it showed up.....a little deep, I sat back a hair, and over we went. That was the first time....the time not captured on video.

The second time I was like, oh shit I don't see anything! Pace! Kick! Run! Maybe if I Wiggle/Twerk a bit something amazing will happen. Nope- just a little long.

I usually get super excited when we "move up" but this just felt like we'd finally gotten to a place where the real work begins.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Succulent Standing Desk

I recently ended up with a standing desk- this giant, black plastic monstrosity that has absolutely taken over my workspace. In an effort to make it a little more palatable I've added a few potted succulents in hopes of adding some visual interest. Paul drove me around to a million different nurseries and we spotted these cuties (pre-potted) at Cactus Jungle in Berkeley.

Monday, October 17, 2016


I have the best coworkers and have been meaning to get Nazera out to the barn for a hot minute. By day she works on Ariat's Marketing team but moonlights as an Equine Masseuse. Ells hasn't gotten a massage for a few years so it was nice to start that cycle again. I think starting a more regular schedule of chiro and massage may help to extend her stifle injections (fingers crossed anyway). 

Generally my horses tend to get far more spoiled by bodywork than I do but I just happened to cash in on a gift certificate for a massage Paul got me back in 2013 on Saturday afternoon and I feel great! Massages for all!  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Strides & Tides: Ammy Days

Wrapping up our Sonoma show a solid month later! If you recall, our biggest challenge at Brookside in April was getting down those damn lines. So I started off the 2'6" Hunter division with some big spurs and a goal.

We dusted off some cobwebs on Friday and I realized that my left hand has a mind of its own (pulling + kicking = refusal). We got the strides in a few lines but Ellie's stop out of the tough diagonal line challenged my confidence. Ali suggested putting a colored band in Ellie's mane that I could reference for my hands when we got into the line- so on Saturday I added a little blue bow and each successful line was purely due to landing the first fence and "grabbing bow."

There was a tragic Flat class but I'm going to blame a saddle pad switch-up that left Ellie with a bee in her bonnet (even more so than normal). Something on that pad was incredibly bothersome to her- to the point where she looked like a large gray dog shaking off water.

We did have a Saturday class where we got ALL the lines (see Ellie round 1 video), a Derby with an accidental trot fence, and a Sunday Medal that we were busy killing until we trotted the last fence. So new goal. Don't trot non-trot fences. 

Paul came to watch on Saturday and he took tons of photos and video for me! I was excited to show him how far we'd come! He was a trooper and staying till the bitter end (my over fences classes went at 5).

And I realized that I have the most supportive friends who send you awesome texts (see Trot Fence video) in response to watching a video of your Derby round.

Hoping to squeeze in one more show before the end of the season so we can canter some full rounds!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Holy hot mess express.

Between the Oakland Raiders game the afternoon and the Debate the evening I am totally spent. I haven't been to an NFL game in about a decade and honestly, I was not super pumped about going to see the Raiders- they're a bunch of hooligans after all. I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd- lots of cheering & camaraderie....of course it helped that they won!

Whoa- we are so scary!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ears Forward Ellie

Ears forward Ellie. To me that means that she is looking at something she shouldn't be or about to do something terrible. But in my 8am lesson on Tuesday and my 5:30pm lesson on Wednesday, it actually meant that she's engaged. In fact, while we were warming up on Wednesday Ali noted that she hasn't seen Ell with her ears so perked while just doing flatwork. Winning!

So as I rode around clutching my reins I asked Ali to please understand that I need a moment to get used to ears forward. Ellie actually is not going for attempted murder but maybe, just maybe is enjoying her job.

We've started riding in the Jumper ring versus our big oval ring. It has a bank, a little down hill/ uphill thing (I don't know the technical term), and a tree growing right in the middle of it! Maybe a little change of scenery? More things to keep her busy? Riding at some different times of the day in the cool, Fall weather? Whatever magic is in the air, I'll take it.
Or maybe it's the overnight turnouts. Yes. I said it. On Wednesday Ellie had her dinner in turnout and got to stay out until the next morning. Tell me where else in Cali there is "pasture" board? It makes me so happy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Coffee Break

This is what an 8am Tuesday lesson looks like.....

1 Gray Mare, 1 Bay Gelding, 1 Trainer, 3 Coffees

Monday, October 3, 2016

Strides & Tides: Pro Day

For Ellie's last two shows I had been able to see her go on both Pro days- Wed & Thurs. For Sonoma Strides & Tides I was only able to make it out for day 2. I had heard that Ellie had been a good girl but the competition was stiff. For some reason Sonoma wasn't running the Baby Green Division but instead had a 2'6" Open- which meant she had some former Derby horses, some current Derby horses, and just generally nice finished horses in her division. Naturally I was totally miffed about until she got 5th out of 19th in one of her classes.  

OMG- yes- I am very aware that I am the overzealous Mom standing on the sidelines shouting asking why there are Varsity players in the JV league. 

I think she's just about ready for Pre Greens! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Landmark Equestrian

So much has happened this past month and I am getting sidetracked by technology while trying to knock the blog rust off (e.g. just spent the past hour trying to renew a domain name, fix my google analytics, and organize photos in Elements 10.....did not succeed in any of the above). 

In the past 30 days:
- Westhaven team gave notice at our current boarding facility to move to a new spot a few streets down
- Horse Show @ Sonoma Strides and Tides
- Ellie and I made the difficult decision to stay behind at Fairmont under the banner, Landmark Equestrian, Ali's new business venture

I love our facility, the small but mighty group of clients, and that Ellie's training program isn't disrupted. There will be some changes to the schedule that will hopefully help to accommodate my weekday rides a little more. So overall, very few changes for us- just opportunity to continue to move up and grow!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

3'3" for 33

I thought it might be a great idea to celebrate my 33rd birthday last Friday with some jumping- 3'3" to be specific. Better safe than sorry (given that we've only pushed that 3ft+ envelope once before)- bring on the grid!