Monday, July 29, 2013

Wierder Than Fiction...

Ok, as you know, there is some crazy-a$$ head scratching stuff out there in the world.  Some of it's good, some bad.  I'm in favor of the good stuff, and this morning I came across some stuff on the interwebz that certainly dials it up to eleven on the old whack-ometer.  Both these videos made me smile, and since it's Monday, I'm sure we could all use a smile, right?

Happy Monday, y'all! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Sainted Mare Weighs In: Diets Suck!

The great white attacks the
unsuspecting seal...ChompChomp
Due to time off for boo-boos (hers and mine), The Sainted mare has not been working very hard of late.  The lack of exercise has taken its toll, and Madame Mare has become increasingly stout plump portly zaftig fuller- figured.
With her health in mind, an executive decision was made to put The Sainted One on a diet.  Needless to say, Sug is not pleased about her decreased caloric intake, and she has been stating her opinions on Operation Sugar Reduction quite vociferously.

Sug has always been a bit of a treat whore  beggar, but since the onset of her diet she's gotten worse.  Where once she'd rumble a low nicker when I entered the barn, hoping for a carrot, now she trumpets forcefully, letting me know in no uncertain terms that she NEEDS A CARROT - STAT!  In the past, when other riders would walk past her on the cross ties, she'd stand up to her full height and cock her head, putting on her "treat face."  Now she does the whole routine, but adds impact with full throated nickers designed to let all passers by know of the ill treatment she's been forced to endure.  She's basically morphed into me when I'm stressed and desperately in need of of a chocolate fix. If she had opposable thumbs and the ability to drive I'm sure I'd find her in her stall downing spoonfuls of peanut butter followed by Hershey's syrup chasers.

Yesterday I brought a plastic shopping bag carrying a pail of electrolytes to the barn and left it on my tack trunk.  Sug heard the noise of the bag and went into high alert mode; she knows that crinkly plastic bags often harbor yummies! When I walked her over towards the grooming stalls and paused at my trunk to get my grooming  kit, she saw her opportunity and took it, grabbing the bag in her teeth like a great white shark grabs a seal.  She dragged at the bag, sending the pail full of electrolytes toppling to the floor.  Did this give her pause?  Heck no.  She bit the pail, testing it much like the shark would test potential prey, and, like the shark, leaving evidence in the form of a big bite mark behind. She then moved on to prod at the bag, absolutely certain that she'd find treats inside that.  When she didn't, she took a hopeful peek around and inside my trunk. 

My son Noah was able to get some of her antics on video ( I tried, but apparently am too technologically inept to press the correct button. Sigh.).

When her efforts proved fruitless, Sugar left me in no doubt of her feelings about the matter.

Where the $#!% are the carrots, woman?!?!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Luuuuuuurrrrrve...

OK, so I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and true beauty is more than just a pretty face and all that, but really?

This face.  Just look at this face.

How can you not fall in love with this face?

I don't know if it's the soft, intelligent eye or the chiseled bone structure, but I just look at him and sigh, he's that handsome.

Fellow 12 steppers: My name is Amy, and I have a pony-crush on James, my kids' OTTB.

Well, then, it's official.  The line between sanity and batcrap crazy has been crossed.  Time to be fitted for the huggie jacket.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I'm in the food industry and one of the big trends we speak about is what's called Grab and Go consumption.  You know, basically anything that's handy to eat or drink while you're in the car rushing to wherever it is that you have to go.  Breakfast while you run the kids to school? Sure. Lunch on your way to an appointment? No prob!  Dinner on your way to the barn?  Gotcha covered.  There's usually a snack bar and a bottle of water in the cup holders between the driver and passenger seats of my car.  Right where I can reach down and grab a swig of water when I'm hot or shove a quick snack in my face.

Grab and go eating is normally not problematic for me, but it almost became so this morning as I was driving to a client meeting.  I reached down to take a drink from the ever present bottle in my cup holder and thankfully it registered just before I took a drink that "Wait a second!!!  This stuff isn't water!!!" 

I'd forgotten I'd put a bottle of Hooflex Thrush Remedy in the car to remember to bring back to the barn. 

DOH!  Not good for thirst, possibly okay for dealing with a nasty case of hoof and mouth disease? Just kidding!

Maybe it's time for another cup of coffee...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ah-hah! An Epiphany!

Cue choirs of heavenly angels, seraphim, and whatnot.

Seriously, it was a real "Light bulb" moment. Complete with expression of dawning comprehension and a cartoon light bulb appearing over my helmet.

To give you a sense of the moment, here's a visual:

OK, so I'm not Despicable Me's villain-in-his-own-mind Gru, but you get the drift, right?

I was taking a jumping lesson and it was going well. I was keeping a good rhythm, and most of my distances were good ones. The ones that weren't actually were not too bad, just a bit deep, and I was able to adjust my plan to the next fence accordingly.

The light bulb moment came when I was discussing my ride to a particular fence with my trainer. I was deconstructing what I'd done, telling her that I'd ridden the approach too far out, saw a funky distance and realized I'd need to adjust and ride the mare up a bit and that's why the spot was a bit too long.

"I didn't mind the spot at all," she replied. "You can't always get a perfect distance. You don't NEED a perfect distance. You just need to get them to a spot where they can jump."

Hmmm? Perfection isn't necessary? Mediocre is acceptable?? I don’t need to pick-pick-pick my way down to a fence to find the perfect distance??? Awesome!!!!!

For whatever reason, in the past I’ve put myself under so much pressure to find the perfect distance it damn near incapacitated me. Maybe I believed the perfect distance would be some potent magic that would keep the mare and me safe. Maybe the ability to find it meant I was a good rider. I don’t know.

I do know that I made a conscious decision to spend the past 9 months at my new barn going back to basics in what I call Remedial Jumping, or Jumping for Dummies. Instead of jumping 3” or more and feeling like I barely survived (perhaps an overly dramatic assessment, but that’s how I felt) I’ve been jumping 2’ fences, concentrating on producing a canter with impulsion and maintaining constant rhythm. The “magic canter,” as my favorite clinician, Eric Horgan, would call it.

I’ve found that if I maintain impulsion and rhythm, even if I don’t get the “perfect” distance, I often get a pretty good one. In other words, I get the mare to a spot where she can jump. She takes care of the rest. If I get too deep, we still have enough impulsion that I can leg her on and fix the rhythm before the next fence. If I’m slightly long, so be it, I sit up and re-establish the rhythm move on. The way I rode before, I would pick down to one fence, jump from a deep spot, desperately try to reorganize, and then run like hell to the next fence. Then I’d feel panicked and overwhelmed, micromanage her to the next fence, chip in, panic, and gun her to the one after that. Ad infinitum.

Giving myself permission to step back and reassess gave me the opportunity to rework my riding and address some key weaknesses. I still have goals, but have realized they are not about the height I jump or how I place in shows. For me, it’s about the riding. Am I improving?

It’s not like I’d never heard the whole “rhythm will help you with distance” thing before, but hearing it in a lesson or two or a clinic is a lot different than forcing yourself to take a step back and work on nothing but a specific weakness until you fix it. I’d been approaching the whole thing bass-ackwards backwards before, and now that I’m coming at things from a different perspective it feels like things are coming into place. I’m more confident when I approach a fence or a course. I actually want to jump more, not less.

Okay. So maybe it’s taken a while. I never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the string. But hey, while I may not be the brightest bulb, but I certainly had my LIGHTBULB moment!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's A Major Award!!!

Careful, it's Fra-gee-lay!
 So, I've kinda been a slacker this summer, which I will apologize profusely for and offer the standard excuses: Work has been crazy, kids' schedules, blah, blah, blah and so forth and so on.  While I was slacking, it seems like Dragon of I Trot On and Wolfie of What Was I Thinking...? and Sammy Jo of Hoofprints nominated AWIP for the Liebster Award.  Awww, thanks, friends and fellow bloggers!!!  That made my day! (And I'm so sorry it took me so long to recognize your kindness.)

The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued. Here are the rules for accepting the award:

•Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.

•List 11 random facts about yourself.

•Answer the 11 questions given to you.

•Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.

•Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.

•Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.  (I may be a bit slow on this part, but I will get there, I promise!

11 Random Facts About Me (There will be a quiz later.)

1. I am a Sagittarius.  Not that this really means anything, just figured I'd share that.
2. I am allergic to seafood, which is fine by me, as it's never really appealed to me anyway.
3. I have blue eyes.  They don't work too well, so I wear contacts.
4. I am prone to sinus infections.  Can you tell I have absolutely NO CLUE what to write about???
5. I am addicted to coffee, wine, chocolate, cheese, and garlic.  Not necessarily all at once.
6. My favorite wines are Sauvignon Blanc and Malbec, although I am also partial to Syrah and Prosecco.  Who am I kidding?  If it's wine, I'll drink it.
7. Am slowly moving away from football to soccer as my televised sports addiction.  I blame this on my daughter, the future USA women's soccer star.
8.  Given the choice, I would live by the ocean.  I love Maryland's Eastern Shore -- lots of land and access to some of the most beautiful water on Earth.
9.  I love to cook, although I do not follow recipes very well. 
10.  I prefer small, cozy, cottage type homes to really big homes.
11. I have sung 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall using Roman numerals.

The Questions Asked of Me

1.Get up early to ride, or stay up late?  Early.  I am NOT a night person. 

2.What do you do for a living?   I'm the Associate Publisher for a B2B trade publication.  Biggest responsibility is creating integreated marketing programs for my clients.

3.What do you wish you did for a living?   Aside from an Olympic level equestrian? (Discipline does not matter).  I'd love to be a writer.  I can picture myself living in a seaside cottage somewhere, with enough property for a small barn, riding ring and paddocks, writing best sellers.

4.If you could try any type of riding what would it be?  Probably eventing, but I'm too chickenshit.

5.What is one thing about your horse you wish you could change?   I wish she were younger.  She's 17 now.  I wish I'd gotten her when she was 7 or 8 so we'd have more time together.

6.If you could change your horse's name to anything (registered or barn) what would it be?  Her registered name is Obottie, which is sort a family name that comes from her KWPN mare line.  Show announcers can't pronounce it, even when I spell it phonetically, but I've never cared much about changing it. 
7.Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram?  Facebook.  Don't know Tumblr, and really don't know much about Instagram either.

8.Ebay, Craigslist, or Tack shop?  Tack Shop.

9.If you could take on the life of any character in any TV show or movie, who would it be?   Gibbs, from NCIS, because I would like to be that strong in my sense of self and in my convictions, and would like to be that kind of natural leader that people look up to.
10.If you had an unlimited budget, what type of car or truck would you buy?  Well, if we're talking fantasy I'd love one of those fancy deluxe horse box/RV set ups.  Something like one of these. That would suit me just fine.  Now, I'd just need the $$ to be able to take it someplace!!

11.If you could move to any part of the world, where would it be?  England.  Or Marylan's Eastern Shore.  Or the Carolinas. 

11 Blogs with under 200 Followers (in no particular order)

Confessions of an AA Event Rider and Convicted Overthinker I Pick CRAZY Princess Diva Diaries  Just A Girl and Her Horse
Adventures With Shiloh
Tucker the Wunderkind
A Fat Girl & A Fat Horse  (Best damn blog title ever, IMO!)
Viva Carlos
Bob the Equestrian

OK, Liebster Bloggers, I'm gonna cheat on this one.  You can answer the 11 questions I did, as I have not had enough coffee to create any.  Or, feel free to make your own up and answer them.  We're not about rule following here at AWIP.

Go forth and blog!