Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy New Year!

Our business operates on a fiscal year and tomorrow our warehouses stop shipping for 5 days during physical inventory.

We're all letting out a collective deep breath!

In preparation for the New Year, my coworker and I (accidentally) wore the same shirt and embarked on a massive cube cleaning spree.

Feeling prepped and ready to go for Fiscal 2017. Cheers to a New Year!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

View from the Top

Today I took a field trip to visit Wilbur's potential new home. Susie lives in an unincorporated part of San Mateo County, has some insane amount of acreage, and we're friends through the barn.

I had a number of thoughts while following her up from Woodside (where her mare is showing this week) to her home on "Fog Mountain."
How much longer can we keep going up?
Does she get altitude sickness?
I wonder if my brakes are up for this?
Will I have enough gas to get home?
How the hell does she pull a horse trailer on this one lane, hairpin turn road?
Not quite ready to move this guy

View of the pastures

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bay Area Blogger Meetup

Wow! What an incredible meetup of Bay Area Equestrian Bloggers! There were actually so many of us that I didn't get a chance to chat with everyone!

I'd had a pretty early start to the day getting both Ellie and Wilbur ridden and came to lunch straight from the barn....I figured this crowd wouldn't mind my Sunday Best e.g. dirt smudged breeches.

Pulling into the parking lot I saw a gaggle of gals pulling up chairs and I just knew....these were my people. In fact, as though by some sort of weird apparition, it looked like everyone was wearing riding clothes. Nope. Just me.

When I spotted Karley, it was like seeing an old friend. After all, I'd been following her blog for 3+ years and we've always been like ships passing in the night at various horsey events but never actually had the chance to meet.

And then Lindsay showed up which was this giant, wonderful surprise! While she doesn't publish a blog herself- she following the Bay Area group and we've become friends via Facebook. It was another one of those- 'I feel like we must have already met because I know you' moments. The best part was that she wasn't on the email thread going around so it truly was a surprise!

Olivia brought everyone a goody bag of horse cookies, tagged with her very own DIY screen printed mule- awesome and so thoughtful!

 I definitely had a 'small world' moment when Nicole and I realized that we use the same *equine* chiropractor- a perfect reminder that I needed to get Tina back out!

I hadn't known about Kat's blog prior to the meetup- excited to read about her continued adventures with Holly! There were some new additions to my reading list and it was so nice to put faces with blogs! I was one of the first to leave (thinking that booking a 4pm appointment against an 11:30am lunch was safe) and we had easily gabbed for three hours!

And of course L has a knack for bringing everyone together and making great conversation. She has promised me a visit to meet Ellie and Wilbur- I'm holding her to it!

My takeaway from this adventure is simply....when can we do it again?!? What a great group of ladies!

Clockwise from front left:
Incidents of Guidance
Viva Carlos
A Horse is a Horse...
Avid Blog Reader and FB friend
All In
Zen and the Art of Baby Horse Management
DIY Horse Ownership
A Enter Spooking
Topaz Dreams

There in spirit:
Cruisen in Stilettos
Pony and a Payday
Now, that's the Spot

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Finally Justified

For the past two years I've harbored a slight guilt about not riding Wilbur at Brown. In all honesty it came down to time. There's just not enough of it!

And the excuses I've had to make to folks now feel slightly more justified having them both at the same barn.....

Even a few stalls down from one another, riding them both is a massive time suck! Finding a centralized location to tack them both up, lugging their various girths and bridles around. I'll be damned if I didn't spend a solid 2.5 hours today grooming, tacking, and riding both of them!

Wilbur went out on the trail with the 3 yr old Baby Ali is breaking in (a Palomino Popeye K). What a saint. What a gem my Wilbur is.

Ellie and I worked on collecting and expanding strides....all while maintaining an elusive straightness. She's a good girl!

Complaining aside, I'm cherishing the opportunity to ride both of my sweet horses!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Solid Citizen

So after the excitement of being in a new place had worn off...which really just consisted of that random spin....
He's been right as rain. A true solid citizen. Diane had our token junior on him purposefully flopping around like a beginner and trotting over poles. Wilbur don't care. I've had a couple of super chill rides on him too- nothing big- just a little walk, trot, canter. He tackled the eurosizer just fine.

I may have the two most relaxed horses at the barn. And a potential new job for Wilbur- pasture pet and guest trail horse to a friend and member of the old-guard equestrian community in the Bay. Yes please! Fingers crossed yet again! In the meantime I am enjoying having my two ponies to ride! Doesn't he look super relaxed?

Sunday, June 19, 2016


I can't stop looking at this photo. And it's not just because of her knees (those knees tho) or her cute ears (forward!).
It's because I can't stop marveling at the progress we've made at Westhaven Farm since joining at the end of May 2015. One year!
I remember my first lesson with Diane- I was running late due to Memorial weekend traffic and I was so nervous I kept calling her ma'am.

Ellie and I were not getting along. She was busy doing a hop step that I mistook for lameness- which magically went away when Ali rode. I couldn't make it over a crossrail without dissolving into a bundle of nerves- I would often occasionally cry tears of frustration and fear.

Yet here we are a year later zooming around courses, and in the case of the below, jumping a three stride line oxer first. Feeling confident, braver, and strong. I trust Ellie, and I trust Diane and Ali to push me to meet my ability, despite my hesitance.

And I'm just really proud, because this picture looks like a horse and rider team.

Goal achieved!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Karen Healey Clinic: Sunday

I've been having a bear of a time trying to get my videos to upload. But I am SO glad I have them since Sunday passed in somewhat of a blur of slight panic.

Karen set up a solid Eq oriented course and I knew there was some cause for concern when we all moved out to the rail, got into two point, and held it through most of our walk and trot flatwork. Oh why did I not participate in two-point October?!?

After working on the flat and through some pole exercises we move on to fences. Karen would have each person do a course once, twice, and as they slowly fell apart (or not for a few lucky riders) would dig into root causes. 

To tee this video up, we had done a fine job the first time around, less than a fine job the second, and the start of the video is fence number 2 of our third round. Ouch. 

Karen focused on fundamentals of basic riding- heels down, tall body, relaxed shoulders.....generally good equitation. These are things that we all KNOW but somehow when Karen said them it was as though the sea parted and the path was clear.

For us the root cause is pace. I know this. But it took Karen saying so that has made us actually go forward in the subsequent rides following the clinic.

What a privilege to ride with such an amazing horsewoman!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Karen Healey Clinic: Saturday

Oh my gosh, this clinic feels like a million years ago now!

So let's start at the top! I was so worried about getting out of Seattle on that Friday night I checked and rechecked my United app every 5 minutes. We were all set until about 10 minutes before the plane was about to leave SFO to pick me up in Seattle.....plane maintenance. I arrived home at 2:30am on Saturday- no worries- let's get up at 5:30am to head to the barn!

The sky looked ominous and our 8:30 2'6" group was slightly delayed due to a late haul-in. No rain was falling when the 8 of us started out in our outdoor ring BUT we had rented a speaker system and given the potential wet weather, they had been covered with white garbage bags and parked next to the ring. That put 6 of the 8 horses over the edge....even the 18 year old schoolmaster went spinning off. Ellie didn't flip an ear and I loved it because that meant I had that corner of the ring to myself! Worth her weight in gold. That meant that early part of the clinic was dedicated to dealing with wild horses.

Just as we started to dig into the flatwork portion, the skies opened up. As we cantered lap after lap I could hear the struggle through the microphone as Karen was trying to zip up her raincoat. And see, just to play it safe, I wore that old Charles Own Ayr8. As we cantered I noticed a steady drip, drip, drip of brown water from the brim of the helmet onto my lovely white Ogilvy baby pad. It was so sad and I have officially retired that helmet.

Karen, finally having zipped her coat, took mercy on us and ushered us up into our indoor.

Our tiny indoor. With 8 horses, rain on the tin roof, and no microphone. I pasted a grin on my face and hoped we were doing some of what she was looking for- because I couldn't hear a damn thing.

She had set a pretty simple course of 4 fences, nothing like her usual Eq focused drills, and each person jumped around a few times. I was really pleased with my focused rides to the fences despite Ellie being a bit of a sourpuss in the indoor.

The first day I guess I came out of it a little disappointed. It didn't quite feel like what I had expected a clinic to be like- and it certainly hadn't helped that I couldn't hear her comments during our rounds and little attention in the flatwork portion.

Of course you can't help but wonder if you're simply beyond help.

Ali shared with me the next day (Sunday, Day 2) that at the trainer dinner the evening before, Karen had said that Ellie and I were a nice pair. But beyond that, of all of the riders in the clinic, Diane said she was the most proud of ME for stepping up to the challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone! What a confidence boost and a great way to start the clinic Day 2......

Monday, June 13, 2016

Wilbur's Visit

So yeah. Surprise!

Wilbur moved into Ellie's barn last week! This wasn't entirely out of the blue- we'd actually planned it about a month ago.

Amanda, his trainer at Brown, had decided to move to a different part of California and she left mid-May. Which left Wilbur without training rides and fewer eyes on him during the week.

Case in point, I checked my phone when we got back from services in Ohio and found a text from Paul which read, "I'm sorry to do this. Missed a call from barn M a minute ago. Msg about horse colic and wanted a vet number. Don't have any addl info,"
Followed up by another text 25 minutes later, "Disregard. It was another horse that looks similar to Wilbur."

It was one of those awful circumstances where care had been arranged with a fellow boarder, who then also had a family emergency, and this was the one day where there was to be a lapse in check-in.

Anyway- if he stayed at Brown he would have continued to marinate in turnout, get even fatter (how?!?), and live on the dole indefinitely.

Both Ali and Diane seemed positive about his prospects! That is until I got on him Friday, he bumped into the mounting block, and spun a 360 like a cutting horse. Diane kindly suggested that maybe he needed a whirl in the round pen. Nope- he just spooked himself. Not the ideal first impression Wilbs!

He was much more settled on Saturday and got a nice long turnout on Sunday. Happy to have them both at the same spot for the time being!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One Barn

Two horses. One Barn. At least for a few weeks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Home Again

Appreciate the condolences blog friends. Home after a week in Ohio and a few days in NYC. While under sad circumstances, I enjoyed the time with my family.
Clockwise: Creeping through old photo albums, the Waggoner farm, Aunt Linda & the pond, the open road

Clockwise: Paddle boarding with Mom, Cleveland view, Mom & I on Memorial Day, Mom & Dad on Lake Erie

Beautiful Flowers from my sweet coworkers