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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and The Rearing

Alright... so I guess I should have quit while I was ahead yesterday. The ride was going great! First, it was a beautiful day out, you couldn't have asked for a better day to ride a horse; it was about 75 degrees outside with a slight breeze and not a lot of humidity, it was just wonderful. I was at the barn at the same time as another rider, but she opted to ride in the indoor, which gave me sole access to the outdoor arena while the sun was setting. So serene and a wonderful time to work on training. So we began and things started out alright. He didn't want to carry himself and was slamming up against the bridle, which is common with him trying to figure out how to correctly come into the bridle through his back and then down his neck and pole, so I just waited. We did some easy bending exercises where I tried to push him alternatively into the right and left reigns, just some easy 3 and 4 loop serpentines. He became supple and began to work very nicely. I began pushing him through while doing a walk exercise that I created. We would, for example, go to the right at the walk, and once we got the the long side, leg yield off the wall toward the 1/4 line until about the 1/4 line, and then I would push him into the opposite left reign, as for almost a turn on the forehand movement, but on a larger circle, until he became parallel again to the opposite long-side, and then leg yielded back to the wall. Once we got back to the wall I would ask for a canter transition, then asking for him to walk again about 5 strides later when we were nearing the end of the short side to prepare to do the exercise again. In doing this he became very balanced and I decided to take the chance to do some work with canter walk simple changes that we had been working on.

So we began the work on the canter-walk-canter changes across the diagonal, changing lead at X. He was a star. He did them and was balanced and really picked up the transition very well. There was a lot of "hop" in him and I was very happy with the movement. I then got it in my head to see what would happen if we went across the diagonal, and after doing a bunch of these in a row, didn't ask him to walk, but just really changed my aids and his bend. And you know what? It happened. A clean clear as day flying change. TADA. Now, no more of that... because we have do to counter-canter before we can start with those things. But that was fun, good boy.

And that's where I'm thinking I should have just stopped. I should have been happy to end there and just done a free reign walk and been done with it. But no, it was beautiful out, we hadn't worked that hard, and everything had been going so darn well!!! So what did I ask for then? Something so simple... connection at the walk. OH MY GOD. He lost his marbles. Mind you I had been trying to stay away from his face really at the walk to not impede his walk stride, but come on now, he's 5 and he can actually have connection and do some work. Fire disagrees. Walking if for relaxing to Fire, not for working. So he preceded to show me the tops of the trees by rearing and leaping in the air. WONDERFUL. I so wanted to be done and to do some easy walk work. SO then it was a bit of a.... discussion. You've all had them before. I wouldn't call it a "fight" because I wasn't going to fight a 1700lb horse that was rearing into the sky with me, not a good time to pick a fight. That's a good way to get a horse on top of you. But I did make rearing quite uncomfortable. We did work through it. It was icky and involved some odd leg yielding cow herding looking movements mixed with caprioles, and head flicking, but we got through it. Eventually I talked him down off of the baby tantrum ledge and we could finally walk with some look like a normal horse with our head in a semi okay position with actual connection (but not enough for my liking... baby steps.)

But I guess we need to take the good with the bad. Some rides, like one I talked about earlier in these posts, began like shit and ended up brilliant. This one just happened to be the opposite.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Attack Plan


Today's plan: get some really solid connection into the bridle and go forward FORWARD FORWARD (as Ryan would put it, because things tend to come in threes with him.)

I'm sure this is going to be a barrel of monkeys for me, so I'll be taking something for my back so I can really sit on Fire correctly to help him along. His issue seems to be an incredibly lazy inside leg in the trot once we really get going... so maybe today we can work on that.

I'll report back. Hopefully it'll be good and not all gobbly gook crap.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

It has been a little over one year since I first broke Fire and started riding him. I looked back on things and it looks like I broke in in late March of last year. Though he is still Mr. Rollie Pollie in the middle I can see a marked difference in his ability to move. He is carrying himself much better and is listening to my aids with an understanding that I didn't think we would have when we first started out. I've taken two recent lessons with Ryan and I think they have helped a lot too. I wish I could afford them all the time because I can see a drastic improvement in my riding and in the communication between Fire and myself in just a very short amount of time. Below are some photos... some "then and now comparison.

First, then, last year about this time:



Then, some from yesterday. It was about a million degrees out, so excuse the tank top!!


What a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Helmet Awareness Day

UPDATES BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!! UPDATES BELOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

National Helmet Awareness Day will be Saturday July 10th. There will be many events held that day around the US raising money for helmet awareness, brain injury foundations and for special helmet sales. Look below for a comprehensive list of retailers that will be offering discounts on helmet purchases that day as well as other events that well help to raise money and awareness.

Here is more info via USEF on the whole drive

Participating manufacturers to date include: Troxel, Charles Owen, Aegis (Devon-Aire) and GPA. If you are a retailer that sells helmets from one of these manufacturers in your store, please contact the manufacturer directly for details of the promotion.

BIG UPDATE: the word is that many of the retailers have let out their deals: 15-20% GPA
15% Ovation, 15% Charles Owen at this point!! Look out for more! If you're a retailer, know you can contact these manufactures and get in on these one day deals for your store too!!

Most recently Ovation and IRH have joined the ranks as well!




You can find the great "Strap One On" shirt for sale HERE if you like. Many colors available! They come from the Courtney King-Dye Medical Fund and are all being sold via EBay.

Participating Retailers (offering a discount on helmets purchased on July 10th) If you are a retailer who will have specials in your store and would like to be included, feel free to contact me and your store will be added!

This list will be updated periodically.

National (online):

Equestrian Collections
877-873-4415
www.equestriancollections.com

Dover Saddlery (online and in all store locations)
1-800-406-8204
www.doversaddlery.com

Smartpak Equine

will be offering 15% off any Charles Owen, IRH or Troxel helmet on the 10th!

1-877-885-2904
www.smartpakequine.com


Rick's Heritage Saddlery

will be offering 15% off of all helmets now through the 11th!
732-446-4330
http://www.saddlesource.com/

Valley Vet Supply
800-419-9524
www.valleyvet.com

Arizona:

The Pampered Horse and Rider, Inc., 16211 N. Scottsdale Rd., Ste A-7, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Will be offering on GPA, Troxel and Charles Owen between 15-20% off
480-342-8801

www.pamperedhorseandrider.com

California:

Tack Room, 5437 McHenry Ave, Modesto, CA 95356

Will be offering 25% off of all helmets on the 10th!

(209) 526-6650
www.etackroom.com

Mary’s Tack and Feed, 3675 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA
858-755-2015
www.marystack.com

San Diego Saddlery, 1783 E. Main St., El Cajon, CA 92021
619.441.2613
www.sandiegosaddlery.net

Calabasas Saddlery, 23998 Craftsman Road, Calabasas, CA 91320
818-591-0292
www.calabasassaddlery.com

Kahoots Tack and Apparel, 31 Poindexter, Moorpark CA 93021

Is offering 15% off of Troxel helmets
805-523-7757

Connecticut:

The Equestrian Center, Riverdale Farms Bldg. # 12, 136 Simsbury Rd., Avon, Ct. 06001

Will be offering 15%-25% on helmets depending on brand

860-678-1913
www.equestrian-centre.com

Florida:

Saddle Up Tack, 7818 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Lithia, FL 33547-1880
(813) 681-1600
www.saddleuptack.com/xcart/home.php?cat=11

Winning Edge Saddlery, 6998 N US Highway 27 # 112, Ocala, FL 34482

All helmets are 10% off for the entire month of July (Tippery, CO, GPA, International & Ovation)

352-622-9000
www.winningedgetack.com

Advanced Equine Products, Palm City, FL

15% off of Charles Owens helmets on the 10th

772-220-9418
www.advancedequine.com

Spectrum Saddle Shop, 6738 N. State Road 7, Coconut Creek, FL 33073
954-429-8877

The Tackeria, 13501 Southshore Blvd. #107, Wellington, FL 33414
561-793-2012
www.tackeria.com

Georgia:

Bar G Horse & Cattle Supply, 1060 Astondale Rd Bishop, GA 30621

Troxel, Charles Owen and Ovation Helmets will be 15% off. A few styles will be up to 50% off!! They will also be at the Four Seasons Farm Horse Show in Madison, Ga. with helmet safety info on the 10th!

706-769-7960

Illinois:

Saddlers Row, 20066 N. Rand Rd., Palatine, IL 60074

Will be offering many specials from 15-20% OFF of all brands, including GPA helmets... and free gifts with purchase!
Expert helmet fitter Holly Lemanski will be there to fit helmets
847- 776-6700
www.saddlersrow.com

Oros Saddlery, 1931 West Wilson Street, Batavia, IL 60510

Will be offering GPA helmets for 20% off!
630-482-3240
www.orossaddlery.com

The Riding Store, 3050 Hobson Road, Woodridge, IL 60517
630-515-9779
www.theridingstore.com

Kentucky:

KBC Horse Supplies, 140 Venture Court, Lexington, KY 40511
1-800-928-7777
www.kbchorsesupplies.com

KBC Horse Supplies, 7500 Turfway Road (Stable Area), Florence, KY.
859-817-9856
www.kbchorsesupplies.com

Bob Mickler’s Inc., 1093 West High Street, Lexington, KY 40508-3113
800-443-6824
www.bobmicklers.com

Massachussets:

Briggs Tack Shop; Trailer Sales, Inc, 623 Hanover St, Hanover, MA 02339
781-826-3191
www.stoneponytack.com

Michigan:

Sporthorse Saddlery, 56840 Grand River Ave., Suite 800, New Hudson, MI 48165
248-486-5616
www.SporthorseSaddlery.com

Millbrook Tack, 510 68th Street SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49548
616-281-0777

New York:

Green Valley Tack, 792 County Route One, Pine Island, NY 10969

20% off of Ovation, Troxel, GPAs and CO

845-258-3564
http://www.greenvalleytack.com/welcome.html

Horse and Rider Tack Shop, 528 Bloomingburg Rd, Middletown, NY 10940
845-733-1910
www.horsenridertack.com

Beval Saddlery, 859 Peach Lake Road, North Salem, NY 10560
914-669-5900
www.beval.com

The Horse Connection, 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY 10506
914-234-2047

The Cheshire Horse of Saratoga, LLC, 402 Geyser Road, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
518-584-5566

Brennan’s Bit and Bridle, 42 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton NY 11932
631-537-0635
www.brennansbitandbridle.com

The Hunting Horn, 1867 Penfield Rd, Penfield NY 14526
585-385-9690

The Equestrian Corner, 81 Pondfield Road #234, Bronxville, NY 10708
800-518-0997
www.TheEquestrianCorner.com

North Shore Saddlery, Ltd., 6308 Northern Blvd. (Rt 25A), East Norwich, NY 11732
516-671-4367

Shupperd’s Tack Shop, 305 State Highway 8, Bainbridge, NY 13733
607-563-7363

Horseman’s Corner 307 White Plains Rd Eastchester, NY 10709
914-961-0774

Ohio:

Schneiders Saddlery, 8255 E. Washington Street, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023
1-800-365-1311
http://www.sstack.com/

Pennsylvania:

Malvery Saddlery, #1 E King St., Malvern, PA 19355
610-695-9980
http://www.malvernsaddlery.com

South Carolina:

Meeting Street Tack, 720 Dupont Road, Charleston, SC 29407-6092
(843) 766-4346

Texas:

Rose Hollow, 19073 I-45 South, Suite 120, Conroe, TX 77385
936-271-2505

Charlotte’s Saddlery, 114 W. Main St., Tomball, TX 77375
281-351-1705
www.charlottes-saddlery.com

Charlotte’s Saddlery, 11623-A Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079
281-596-8225
www.charlottes-saddlery.com

Equine Goddess, 202 Market St., Eddy, TX 76524
1-800-259-5130
www.equinegoddess.com

It’s All About the Horse, 3115 W. Parker Rd #420, Plano, TX 75023
972-964-6736
www.itsallaboutthehorse.com

Virginia:

The Saddlery, Inc., 731 Walker Road, Unit E, Great Falls Va 22066

15% off of Troxel, Tippery, CO and Ovation

703-759-3500
http://www.thesaddleryinc.com/

The Tack Box, Inc, 7 W Federal St, Middleburg, VA 20118
540-687-3231
http://www.thetackboxinc.com/

Saddles N Stuff, 216 Amsterdam Road, Daleville, VA 24083-3156
540-992-4144
http://www.saddlesnstuff.com/

Corner Tack Shop, 7960 Richmond Rd, Toano, VA 23168
757-566-1666

Canada

Alberta

Extreme Tack, RR#1 Tees, AB T0C 2N0 (will be at Thompson County Horse Trials July 10th)
(403) 755-6025
http://www.extremetack.ca

Monday, June 21, 2010

Where is this opinion coming from?

You know when you think you know someone only to find out new and exciting things about them you never knew existed? Well... apparently Joe, my fiance, has a very large opinion on everything wedding. This took me by great surprise because in general in life, he's pretty laid back. He doesn't seem to really care about a lot of things. When he moved into my apartment a while back he came sans anything but his clothing and his dog River.

So here we go with the wedding planning. You know, the thing that ever girl begins when she's 7, dressing up in bedsheets with her best friends, singing "here comes the bride" while walking deliberately one foot at a time down an aisle of her most coveted stuffed animals? Yea, all that jazz. So when I got engaged I already had ideas spinning in my head. Already had things thought about, ideas pieced together, torn apart, redone. I didn't think that I would have much contention from the peanut gallery (read, the better half), but oh have I so far!!!

I thought that it would be nice to involve him, or at least ask if he wanted to be involved in the planning of things. I had talked to many of our friends and they had said that they (the girls) had planning the wedding and their husbands had merely shown up. That was even what my own father said he did at his wedding. So I thought I would ask Joe if he wanted to know what was going on, knowing him well and knowing that he's mostly complacent to things and would be a good perosn to be there for support. But it seems to be the completely opposite. I feel like I'm dealing with the ultimate Czar with his thumb in the air either pointing up in approval or down in rejection. I'm finding this exhausting and its all coming to a head really. Maybe we can find a middle ground? Maybe he can find something to own that I don't take quite as much stock in... like the entertainment, or the favors? But so far I feel like the input on the venue (this is as far as we've gotten) is quite elaborate and specific for the amount of work that we have respectively put in.

I really thought, after talking to many ex-bride to be's out there that this was something that the girl did... something that was put together by the bride, and driven by that msotly, but that is not turning out to be the case in my arena. Not by a long shot.

I'm sure there will be more to come later. Maybe he'll get tired of wedding planning and turn back to video games. Leave me to the girlie stuff like its supposed to be!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

take two

Today was a better ride, thank horse. I didn't have time to do much today, and frankly shouldn't have been out at the barn at all because of all the backed up work I'm going to have from having to miss class tomorrow to go work at the States Attorney's office, but I did because I was so urked at how things were left yesterday and the fact that I didn't finish on a good note.

We rode outside today and no one was there. There is something utterly sublime about having an entire barn to yourself as the sun sets. We worked through some of the issues that we were having yesterday, had much better connection to the left, not so much to the right... but the Trojan horse wasn't built in a day. We did have a slight snag when I tried to ask for connection at the walk, Fire has determined that lifting me up into the heavens via rear is a viable option. I bopped him on the head the first time and then the time after that they got smaller and smaller until he stopped his new "trick", but I don't think it's the last I've seen of the rearing. Something tells me that once we start working more collected moves later in life it may come back to haunt us.

I pushed decently hard for the amount of time I had, worked through the six cavalettis that Suzette and I had set up in the outdoor a week or so back. They really have been helping to get Fire to think about where he is placing his feet, and I do notice a marked improvement in his stride afterwords, if only for a minute or so for now.

I think today was a good "take two", a good second go at a work day. We both ended up pretty sweaty and gross at the end, and I'm sure Fire was happy to trot away after his shower up the hill with his friends to graze his night away (fatty.)

dressagemarket.com


I am a self proclaimed tack-a-holic. I love to buy and sell used tack, but sometimes find that the overhead of listing the tack on some websites just is not worth the prices that I can purchase the tack for. Some consignment fees are outrageous, 30% fees... and some listing fees can go upwards of $60 for one saddle, and that's not ebay, which can run more than that depending on the eventual sale price of the actual item. Thank HORSE that a friend of a friend, Anne, has come to the rescue and helped with her great website, dressagemarket.com!

Not only does this website with the fresh, easy to navigate layout offer affordable prices to help you list your used tack ($10 for a whole 90 day listing WITH a photo!), but you can also list your dressage horses for sale as well! The prices there are even more fair, ranging from a mere $30-$55 depending on the option you choose. The website allows for high resolution ads and even areas where you can include video links, all without any additional hidden costs. Its easy, fair and really a class act. There is even an entire directory for artists, judges, breeders, vendors, trainers and the lot! All in all this website has the ability to over come other similar websites by leaps and bounds, all created by a fellow ex-young rider.

I interviewed Anne to get some answers to a few questions I had about her drive and about the website:
1.- How did you come up with the idea of dressagemarket.com? (did you find there was a lack in the WWW? or was it something that you found yourself doing as a hobby on the side that grew?)

While going to graduate school full time, I decided to teach and train dressage since I had over 20 years experience and am an FEI rider. During this time, I had several students wanting me to market and sell their dressage horses for them. There was only one popular dressage horse sales website at the time. This site costs several hundred dollars to list your horse and even more for trainer or vendor listings. My students and I thought that dressage people were being taken advantage of and many of them did not want to pay to advertise on this site. This led me to the idea of creating Dressage Market. I felt that if I could offer people a more affordable service with more advertising options that dressage enthusiasts would appreciate it and advertise with the website.
2.- Dressagemarket.com seems to have a steady stream of horses and tack posted, did you ever think it would be such an instant success? Or was it not as instant as it looks to the rest of us?


The website has been up since January 2010. To attract initial visitors we offered free horse and tack listings during a short introductory period. Since that promotion has ended, we have continued to get several listings per week and that has led to over 210 dressage horses listed on the site.

I definitely think Dressage Market has been a success especially since it hasn't even been on the web for 6 months. We definitely want to continue to grow and create awareness. Currently, we have been trying to spread the word through advertising, newsletters, facebook, etc and have had amazing results. Site traffic is up 94% compared to last month and horse inquiry emails are also at a record high.


3.- For all of the other entrepreneurs out there, what advice do you have about the amount of time that you spend keeping the site running and how much work you thought you were going to have to put into it?


I started designing the website in August and it was lunched in January. During those months I put in hundreds of hours. Since the site has been up and running, I have been spending anywhere between 20-25 hours a week. This includes helping customers, advertising, and working on and testing new projects that haven't been launched on the site yet.

My plan is that I will no longer have to continue working my current job and be able to focus fully on the website. This was my intention all along and I hope this becomes a reality sooner rather than later.

For entrepreneurs, I would recommend that when you create your business whether it is a website or brick and mortar, try to make it something you enjoy doing because you will spend a great deal of time and energy towards creating a successful business.

4.- Do you have any future ideas to further expand dressagemarket.com?

Yes, we have several new features for Dressage Market that should be coming out in the next month or two that out competitors do not offer. For that reason, I can't tell you the details but it will be exciting!
--------------------------------------------------


I know I'm excited to see what happens in the upcoming few months with dressagemarket.com, and know that I'll be listing more tack with them in the near future.

If anyone has any questions for Anne, or would like to list a horse, some equipment, or would like to create a directory listing, she can be contacted at: info@dressagemarket.com.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fire is FIVE (but acts TWO)

Today is Fire's fifth birthday. I was determined to make it a point to have a talk with him. When I got to the barn, and before my lesson I went into his stall and gave him some of his special made birthday treats and told him it was time to grow up. Now, I told him that it was okay if he still wanted to get dirty, because even older boys like to get dirty. But that he had to now learn to suck it up and be able to handle more training. He needed to get a tougher skin and learn to push through the difficult things without throwing fits, because big boys don't throw fits.

So then, he promptly threw a fit.

Well, I guess it wasn't that "promptly," I did brush him and get his boots on and tack him up and warm him up... then he lost his five year old marbles. I was having a hard time getting him to come under himself and carry himself correctly. I was glad that I had a lesson that day, because Ryan had some great ideas. He had me really trying to push him out with the haunches and keep his forehand in, in about a 5 meter circle... kind of like a turn on the forehand but larger. It reminded me of a flower. An ugly flower because Fire didn't want to come under himself and up into my outside rein, so this exercise was helpful when it was done correctly but half the time it was a stiff train wreck. We tried other things too. We tried doing some reverse shoulder-in at toward the wall and then back to a natural bend. This worked, but Fire tends to get freaked out having his face shoved into the wall. So I started to get a little frustrated at the 30 minute mark and then Ryan took over.

And then the circus started.

Ryan was just asking for something simple to start, just walk/halt transitions to get him connected. Well, after 11 of these, Fire had had enough. He wanted to go backwards, which Ryan would not let happen. So they walked forward, but marching. But Fire did not want to march. So what does a young warmblood do when it doesn't want to give you a marching walk? They SPANISH WALK of course. Now, as an aside, we have never done any trick work, nor does he have any secret Andalusian blood in him. He was just being a brat and this was how he wanted to show his displeasure for Ryan making him go forward. Ryan then decided to give him a tap when he would detest and give his special walk, well then, Fire REALLY didn't like that. So then, he started rearing. First, the rears we just little hops. Just little hops that could be sat into and pushed forward... but when Ryan wouldn't stop tapping him for tossing in the Spanish walk, well- then the rears were full on hi-ho silver rears. Oh I laughed, because if I didn't I might have cried.

After 30 minutes of Spanish walk and rearing and tantrums had by all (even a swear by Ryan), Fi finally came through correctly with connection and listened. I foresee a few more fights like this in our future, but maybe now that Ryan did this one for us, the next one will only be 29 minutes long.

I guess he'll grow up when he wants to grow up. Today was not that day though.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fire is FOUR!



Thats right folks.... Fire is FOUR... only for a few more days though. His birthday is on Wednesday and in preparation I have already made him some cookies to celebrate and talked with Ryan to have a lesson on that day too. It'll be our 5 year old, one year since breaking, lesson.

ps: I rarely will ever even cook food for myself.... but cookies for the horse for his birthday??? OF COURSE!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bar Study Review Thus Far: Kaplan SUCKS



I know some people stumble upon this blog looking for some insight on how Kaplan is vs. Barbri... so I can give you what I've got so far... I HATE IT. Maybe its because I feel like the rep they have running it gives me a feeling like she lied to me to get me to pick this course and now is sliding in all of these other things that I swear weren't there before like "oh there will be some Saturdays" have turned into every single Saturday except two. And the fact that when I ask questions about this discrepancy I get an answer of "I don't like whiners." Whatever though, thats a personality thing, not something to do with the program.

As far as the program so far: Our syllabus is all fucked up. There are phantom things there in our "personalized" syllabi that shouldn't be there that they have recognized but haven't removed. This causes the days to remain unchecked... and for an anal retentive person like me... drives me utterly insane and causes me to recheck things thinking that I'm consonantly missing things. So thats annoying and not getting fixed apparently and is all over the syllabus which is supposed to be "personalized."

Another thing... that really gets to me... is today I went to take our first graded essay. At this time we've studied TWO subjects: Torts and Contracts. So I open up the file to look to see what I have to type to actually send in to be graded and what is the subject?? OHHHHH Agency. AGENCY?! Thats not even a core subject!!! I've never taken Agency!!! Sure, I should have taken it, but I didn't because I thought I would be taught it by my bar class that I paid through the nose for. So what, now they are deciding to test me on a subject that I've never ever even attempted to take and that isn't required... for my first EVER attempt to turn an essay into them. WONDERFUL.

FAIL.

There are positives about the program... I just don't feel like listing them right now. At this point I feel like my friends are happier taking the BarBri course than I am stuck in the Kaplan course. Take it for what it's worth.

New Goal..



We are SO doing this.

Pinto "world championships" YES!!! I knew there was a reason I started riding a silly black and white pinto horse...

I want one of those giant honkin' buckles that says "World Champion" WAY better than saying that you're some area champion... pichaw.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

good thing I had on my good breeches today

Though I didn't get launched into oblivion, it felt like I was going to today. I decided that I was going to ride Fire outside today... after not riding since Sunday and him not going out all week. So, we were off to a good start already. I thought he would just be a little spirited at first and then be able to get down to business. That's if there weren't two horses turned out about 20 yards away tearing ass around in circles in the turnout.

Oh it was ON.

We snorted and farted (okay... he farted) and squeeked and most importantly LAUNCHED in many different directions. I stayed on, thanks to my great Pikeur leather fullseats and 20 years of previous training. I was able to get him back on track every time and get him to push through the areas where he was deciding to spook and go back into whatever exercise and gait we were attempting before the mini explosions, but MAN was that a workout for my core muscles! At one point the barn owner so us go by so fast outside she thought she just saw Fire, sans me and came running. Oh I was there... I was just a blur in the wind sticking like glue to the horse's back. Yeeehhhh haw (?)

All in all I think it was a good experience. He was alone and there were other horses doing other things that he couldn't participate in... which is just too bad. I just can't imagine what wonders await us at our first show. Maybe I should get myself a football helmet and some more insurance... or maybe just some more great breeches and a prayer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bar Study



This is how I felt today, but sans window. I've been studying for the Illinois Bar for about a solid week now and I've just had my official first panic attack. I think it was a combination of sucking at torts, the easiest subject there is, and having all of this work piled on top of me. That and being in a room with no windows where the doors are pulled closed and the lights are off, it just got to me and I had to get outside. Not fun. I felt like I couldn't focus and I couldn't think for myself. Case in point: Joe asked me if we needed anything for the house and I couldn't come up with "paper towels" but instead said "kitchen papers." That's what happens when I freak out, its like my brain short circuits. I felt a tightness in my chest and I wanted to sleep or run a marathon.

I know in writing this I'm probably committing the cardinal sin in showing how utterly scary and stressful all of this really is, but I'm thinking maybe other fellow bar studiers out there will stumble upon this and feel a sense of comfort that maybe they aren't freaking out as much as I am, or if they are, that they are not alone.

It took me a good 4 hours to pull myself together. I know I can't do that all the time... but I needed it this time. I tired about 7 things before I found the right cocktail of methods to slow my mind, heartbeat and stomach (I started throwing up to boot, no pun intended) and went off back into my lair to study.

Once I got back upstairs into the world that is piled too high with matching Kaplan books, I got right back to business and pounded out what I needed to do, and did decently well on what I needed to and really only have one thing left for tonight that I want to do before retiring, which isn't too bad considering my derailment and that its 7:30pm.

But yes... I panicked, HARD. And yes, it was ugly and I'm glad that I was at home alone for the majority of it losing my mind like the little lost puppy that I am. Hopefully I've gained some coping skills from it, and I don't come out of this with any more insane habits.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wedding Crib Sheet

Because I have to put my wedding planning on hold for a while... here's what I've come across as a few do's and don't and funny little quips that I thought others could benefit from:

Wedding Guest Don’ts:

1. Lighten up a bit—don’t wear a dark suit or dress unless it’s after 6pm
2. You’re not trying to play the virgin, so don’t wear white (save it for the bride)
3. Unless the venue is a club in South Beach, don’t dress too sexy—unless you like being “that guest” I use to have a friend who would try to make wedding these social "look at me" events. Girls... its not ABOUT you, and thats tacky. Don't be that girl.
4. Don’t wear high heels to a wedding on the beach—you’ll look sunken, not fabulous. Get wedges if you must.
5. If for some crazy, closed-head-injury reason you’re thinking about it, don’t wear jeans (ever)
6. Unless it’s a “black tie” affair, don’t be a douche and wear a tuxedo
7. It’s written on the envelope for a reason—don’t invite a date unless it specifically says “and Guest”. People are poor... be kind.
8. Brides have a sixth sense, so don’t get to the ceremony late because they will know…and hate you. And if you are late... feel really really bad.
9. Open bar isn’t a hall pass to get completely polluted—don’t be remembered for overserving yourself

Not to be left out... there are also some tips for those great Brides and Grooms...

Bride & Groom Don’ts:

1. Nothing’s ever perfect—don’t have unrealistic expectations
2. It makes for a great story later, so don’t freak if your friend gets drunk and hits on your mom
3. Attack of the clones—don’t make bridesmaids wear identical dresses and hairstyles
4. A lot goes a little way, so don’t blow your budget on things your guests won’t remember
5. Here comes the broke!—don’t spend the vast majority of your budget on your gown and shoes
6. Remember work/life balance, and don’t invite co-workers (they don’t want to go anyway)
7. Make um’ work for it—don’t put registry information on your wedding invitations

Note that “Don’t get a background check” and “Don’t sign a prenup” didn’t make the list.

What if you're like me and poor as dirt and you want to make a budget wedding fabulous?

• Do it at home, if possible
• Only invite those who are really important to you—each guest is money out of pocket.
• Order your invitations online—you can get really high-end invitations very inexpensively
• Don’t scrimp on the photographer. The pictures will last forever, so you want to use a good one.
• Make sure you budget enough money. Tying to get everything in a $100,000.00 wedding for $10,000.00. This waters down the event, and it doesn’t come off very well. If your budget is limited, do something that is best for your budget.


... and don't make anyone do the chicken dance!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

big hit

Just hit 1,000 page views!! And I think that's awesome! I've had people look at my blog from all over. Still missing a few... I know I know people out there in Australia and a few in South Africa! Maybe I'll even get someone who is bored surfing the net in Alaska!

Don't forget to say hi!

horses

"You should get a horse, because when you own a horse, half your heart comes back to you."

This is where I'd like to get married...

This is Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne, Illinois. Not very many people get married here, and I don't know why. Maybe its because it is so out of the way? Or because they don't do any advertising for it. Whatever the fact, I'm glad that I found it because I love it. Its got a lot of really nice charming features that are country "chic" and classic. All of the paintings are old horse paintings beautifully done, and there are marble inlays everywhere original from when the building was built. The dining room has floor to ceiling windows where you can see the bright red barns and the jump course. Its truly beautiful. Now I'll just have to convince Joe to commit, this shouldn't be the hard "one" right???




This is the dining room from the far side. The chandeliers are beautiful and we can hang some things from the ceiling as well. We talked to the coordinator and she assured us that we would be able to fit all of our guests in the room at the round tables, and I was excited because I've always liked the look for the formal round tables. And look at those beautiful big windows!!!



















I much rather...


be at this bar than getting ready to study for the Illinois Bar... ug.

Bye bye summer... we could have been good friends. I will now proceed to lose my mind (and hopefully a few more pounds.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hockey


Tonight I went with Joe to watch him play league hockey. If you know me, you know I don't do "cold" things, but Joe enjoys it so I like to support him when I can. He did really well and though they didn't win (didn't lose either, tied! 3-3) Joe did really well and hustled the entire game, and even scored a goal!

I'm starting to learn more about hockey as I watch more games. Like now, when they go off and have to restart in the little side circles, if it goes off into the other side and hits the baseboards, they have to do it over again. I also know now what a "poke check" is (and that Joe is good at them) and I know that you're supposed to keep your stick on the ice all the time and having it up is a bad habit. I guess its like riding a horse with your hands crooked, a bad habit to get into.

All in all it was a good time, even though no one else was there to watch... it was a 9pm game (though it didn't get started until after 9:30!) I took a bunch of photos which kept me busy. It helped me learn more about the game. I guess if Joe can sit through me riding the horse at the barn all these times I can sit through a few hockey games here and there too.

Bar Study/Workout

I'm determined to not only pass the Illinois Bar this summer, but to also look good doing it. I'm starting my study course in earnest on Thursday and tha'ts when I'll start my workout schedule as well. I'm doing the workout so I don't waste away into a fat blob from sitting around studying so much, and also because I'm planning on getting married in about a year and I need to start to think about getting in shape from all these Law School years of neglect.

When I look at photos of myself from my first year of Law School and now, there is a HUGE difference, HUGE. I think that needs to be rectified and shouldn't be too difficult with a good schedule. I'm going to include biking, riding the horse and going to the gym (of which a membership I still need to get, whoops.) I still have 24 hours to get it together, right? We all know I'm a better procrastinator than I am anything else anyway.

I'll start by getting up off of the computer now and getting to a few chores that were put off in the house over the long graduation weekend.