Life after Lame

I’m sure many of us have been there. You’re riding and something feels wrong. Are you pulling on the reins too much? Is your seat not right? Are you out of balance? I naturally go to what I’m doing wrong (which is the usual suspect), but this time, it was Chance’s leg that gave out.

Chance is my steady Eddie…the Golden Retriever of horses; forever an ambassador for the equine species to kids and adult beginners and husbands alike. To see him out of action breaks my heart. His gait was never completely even, but this seems different, like we won’t ever do that training level dressage class we were working towards.

Chance has a bad stifle (the rescue where I adopted him said it was because of an injury as a colt…we’ll never know for sure). There seems to be quite a bit of arthritis in the joint, and it’s basically taken all summer to for him to feel up to trotting at a good clip for more than 20 minutes; we’ve yet to canter.

I’m left wondering if he’ll ever be back to normal, but then I think will I? My back and neck have arthritis and hurt every other day. I’ve been feeling carpal tunnel start in my wrists of late, and I have to struggle to keep off that last 5 pounds these last few years. As we age together, I’m happy to fight for every canter, trot and trail ride we have left. With enough Advil for me and bute for him, there is definitely life after lame!

xo

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Go Stallside, with Matthew Eliott, DVM

I worked at New England Equine Practice, a large referral equine hospital in Putnam County New York for two years, and in that time, I met Dr. Matthew Eliott, one of their practicing equine veterinarians. I spent most of my days in the equine pharmacy, which gave me an opportunity to chat with most of the techs and doctors; his was always a friendly face when he came through the door. One day, he mentioned that he wrote a book, and being very gracious, gave me a signed copy.

I swore to myself that I would read it, and as soon as my schedule allowed, I grabbed the chance.

Stallside, My Life with Horses and Other Characters, is a really fun and interesting book. Dr. Eliott takes his readers all around the globe, following his life growing up in Jamaica and New York, his internship working with zoo animals in Ohio to working as an equine vet in California.

These memories are wonderfully entwined with vet stories from the Dr.’s point of view; all creatures big and bigger, of sorts. What I really found entertaining was not just his description of what vets do when they work up your horse, but WHY they do it with medical explanations (in ways the layman can understand).

When Dr. Eliott isn’t out on farm calls, he spends time riding his steeds and tending to his gorgeous Riverhorse Farm, in North Salem, NY.

Horse lovers, and animal lovers in general, will find this a fun, informative and great book to read anywhere, but I suggest it would be a refreshing summer read while sitting on a bale of hay next to your best four legged friend, eating carrots and sipping rose!

xo

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First Show in Years

My son Dane has ridden horses for years, but only recently decided to start showing and get a little more serious. This past Sunday, we took him to his first show at Gardnertown Farms across the Hudson in Newburgh, NY. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me!  He looked very dashing in his show coat and tie. I told him it would look better with a sparkle unicorn t-shirt (like the ones you can buy in my store) but he disagreed <wink>. 

Dane has been training for showing with Angelo Danza at Three Phase Equestrian Center / AD Sporthorses, and it’s been amazing to watch him improve and ready himself for this level of intensity. I’ve always been proud of his ability to bond with horses, especially the very forward and sweet thoroughbred Greta (show name “Game Face”), he was riding today. 

The first class out of three, was a crazy course with 14 jumps.  I looked at the map and realized that this event was almost more about memory than equitation. The rain was varying from light to medium and was probably a blessing as it would have been very hot in the afternoon sun. The small crowd of watchers gathered under the trees by the event ring as the riders strenuously repeated the course in their heads, “red, red, outside, diagonal, oxer – no, brown!”  

The first rider rode and cleared, though her horse was an unwilling participant, shying and fighting the whole way. I hoped Dane was paying close attention but I’m sure the first event butterflies were not helping him concentrate. After a couple more riders, it was his turn. 

The whistle blew and he was off.  One jump and then another went smoothly but Greta was excited and running super fast. Angelo was calling out instructions from ringside, mostly to “slow down!” but Dane was struggling to steady the pace.

Agh! SLOW DOWN!!!

Eventually around the twelfth jump he made a wrong turn and the beep-beep of the “rider off course” ended his first run. But for a first run it was great – fast (too fast!) and he had almost finished. To add to the excitement he knocked over a standard on the way out (still going fast) and Angelo went to pick it up for him. 

Dane was clearly frustrated but we told him it was an amazing first run. The rain drizzled on and the riders cycled through the second round until it was Dane’s turn again. They had changed the jump order and he nearly got it except for a wrong turn right at the end. Beep-beep!  So close, but Greta was feeling more confident, as was Dane. 

As the last round got going my husband worked with Dane to memorize the jump order as they watched the other riders. Then it was time to run again. Dane made one jump after another . I heard Greta hit a pole in the middle but I didn’t see if it fell. A tight turn into the final jump (“let her see it!” called Angelo) and he had finished his first successful run! Great Father’s Day Gift!

Great jump, but squinting from the pouring rain….

The riders went to put the horses back in the trailer while we waited for the results. We knew he wouldn’t be placing in the first two incomplete rounds but then I heard them announce the third, “First Place, Dane Beels and Gameface”. A blue ribbon on his first competition!  The other kids cleaned up as well! He makes me one proud horse Mom!

The blue ribbon round 🙂

Retail Therapy

I have fun news for my local readers: some local and very popular tack stores have given me the opportunity to launch my line in their beautiful shops. We’ve collaborated and curated specific Tack and Tweed apparel and accessories for clients in and around the Hudson Valley, Westchester and Connecticut.

The first store to graciously feature my apparel is Saddle Manor in Patterson, NY, which serves Northern Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield Counties. Owner Donna Woods will be sure to take care of your every need with a smile and warm welcome. She has a wide variety of beautiful saddles, apparel, tack and anything else your horse or horse lover could possibly need! Stop in Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm. 2974 Route 22, Patterson, NY 12563 (845) 878-3881.

The Horse Connection is in Bedford – New York’s horsiest town. It was started by owner Natasha Tarasov in 1992 as a mobile tack store offering the best products at the best price with the best service. Her store is a popular staple in Bedford’s historic downtown. Treat yourself to lunch in town at Bedford 234 or the Bedford Post Inn after buying your horse-crazy girl one of my super soft sweatshirts ;).

Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. 38 Village Green, Bedford, NY (914) 234-2047

The next two stores are local famous farm markets and have taken on some of my more artsy apparel. We feature the stunning equestrian watercolors of the talented Lorisa Zorina. Please drop by and enjoy some cider donuts and their very own hard cider (yum!) at Harvest Moon Orchard in North Salem.

Open daily summer and fall 9am – 6pm. 130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem, NY (914) 485-1210.

Also take some time and visit the stunning Rochambeau Farm in Mt. Kisco, NY. Your kids will love to feed their incredibly happy farm animals while you will enjoy munching on their own fresh produce and browsing local products, like my friend Susanne Nastasi’s line of homemade, all natural laundry wash, aptly branded The Farm Babe.

Open Wednesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, Sunday 10am – 4pm. 214 West Patent Road Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 (914) 241-8090.

If you are in the area, please support these amazing local stores who are holding their own against the big online retailers. There is something so wonderful about going in to a real store, trying a pair of breeches on for a perfect fit, touching soft and luxurious garments, smelling leather tack and most importantly, creating a genuine relationship with local business owners who truly care and contribute to our communities.

xo

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Happy New Year!

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For the New Year’s celebration, I’ll be kicking it here at home. My daughter has a nasty cold, so babysitters are out. This has, however, given me some time to shop online New Year’s Eve sales for equestrian equipment while sipping some bubbly.

Post Christmas, there are some great deals, so if you have a moment between parties, check ’em out. 

Need new muck boots? Normally, these Noble Outfitter’s Ladies MUDS are over $100, but you can get them at Dover Saddlery for 39.95, and yes, there are multiple sizes and colors still available. 

NobleOutfittersBoots39.95

This is an adorable vest by Riding Sport at Dover, normally $40 on sale for $14.99, pretty great price for a pretty quilted vest. Different colors and sizes available (this one matches the boots). 

RidingSportQuiltedVest

It seems as if we’ve had (at least here on the East Coast) more days of rain than anything else. I’m about to build an arc…anyway, this rain jacket (it’s men’s, but I’m sure anyone can wear it. Beval Saddlery regularly $199 on sale for $49.99 – pretty good!!

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If you’re looking for something for your four legged friend(s), like a new snuggly winter blanket or sheet, type on over to Statelinetack.com and you can shop their big blanket blowout. I found this really nice Tough-11200D Snuggit Tough blanket from $69.95 (normally $156):

turnout

And, if it’s not too late…try to go out and find this for your celebration or drink it at the barn with your buddies, Dark Horse Brut, $13.99.

DarkHorseSparklingWine

xo,

lb

Merry Christmas!

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May your holiday be filled with love and happiness, and yes, maybe a horse or two :). We spent the days before Christmas with our buddies Chance and Ron, who didn’t complain that they got their presents a couple days early.  A belly full of candy canes kept Ronnie from wanting to work ;). Today, after a big present-opening extravaganza, our tummies will be treated to a prime rib roast (Happy Christmas to me), some hot toddies and old-timey Christmas music. Nothing better.

Please share how you spend Christmas with your family (or post videos/pictures) in the comments – I love to hear different family traditions.

xo

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Fitting Your Horse Rug, Blanket or Sheet

Fitting A Blanket to Your Horse

hermesdoudoublanketwithhorse
Hermes DouDou Winter Blanket 1850 usd

Now that the weather has started to turn colder, we’re all starting to pull our musty horse blankets out from deep storage. If you’re looking to purchase a new blanket, or even searching through used blankets, getting the best available size is very important. If a blanket doesn’t fit correctly, it can cause discomfort (even rubs or sores), get stuck on a fence or tree branch, or even completely fall off and to get trampled.

When I purchased my first blanket (after adopting Chance), I got it on super sale from eBay, and prayed that it would fit my horse. It didn’t, and I couldn’t return it. Good money thrown down the drain. After that, I decided to actually measure my sweet boy and find something in his size range.

Use the following tips to get the best size for your steeds and for a final fitting, please see the guide below from Your Horse Magazine. They posted a very comprehensive and easy-to-follow tutorial on YouTube.

Measuring Tips

  1. Make sure your horse is standing square.
  2. Have a soft tape measure or a long string available (having a friend to help is always nice!)
  3. Start measuring at the center of the chest (between the two chest muscles).
  4. Stretch out the tape measure or string up the broad side of the horse and all the way around to where the hair starts to hit the buttock.
  5. Keep the tape measure tight and level for the best measurement.
  6. This measurement will be your horse’s blanket size, in inches. (If you used a string, mark on the string where you started and ended and then measure the string between these marks.)
  7. If you are between sizes, order a size up for the best fit.
  8. Remember that size varies between brands, so do a little research on the brand’s sizing for best results.

 

Now the shopping fun begins!! Look at all the cute blanket choices that are available these days:

Post tips or your favorite blankets below!

xo

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Apparently, Bucking IS the Trend

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Many brands are having horsey moments, and the house of Chloé seems to be leading the trend. Their collection is a “bit” whimsical and I really think it’s cute.

Without shame, they’ve covered entire outfits with rearing horse embroidery.  My favorite item of the collection has to be the Chloe Bomber Jacket; 70’s inspired and indulgently “little-girly”. I normally don’t dig velvet (reminds me of the monstrosity I called my senior prom dress), but this just looks fun to wear. At $2750, the price tag is out of reach for normal girls like me, but maybe someday I can buy it off price at an outlet ;).

I also love the bags that they have to match this collection;

which (unlike the clothing) will last more than one season. For horsey people like me, these bags will last a lifetime.

The simple and elegant American brand Derek Lam, has captured equestrian eyes with this amazing dress.  It features a simple cap sleeve suede top, with an elegant horse appliqué on the midi length skirt. I would wear this all day every day! It’s another high ticket item, at $2650. I’m searching for lookalikes for less money,; I’ll post updates if/when I find any. dereklamskirtneimanmarcusDerekLamCapsleevesuedehorseskirtdress

What do you think? Would you wear any of these items (assuming we could all afford them)? Comment below!

xo

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En Lusitaine by Beatrice Bulteau

A couple years back, I met the artist Beatrice Bulteau at the Equus Film Festival in New York City, where her short, En Lusitaine (above) won Best Artistic Film. Born in the countryside of Loire France, she is currently based in Portugal and works in a number of mediums. Porcelain, print, watercolor, animation, illustration; there’s nothing she cannot do. I instantly fell in love with her simple but elegant aesthetic as she celebrates the clean beauty and noble nature of her frequent subject, the Lusitano Horse.

I will have to save some money to have one of her original watercolor pieces grace my humble home’s walls, however, I can adorn my body with either one of her new clothing pieces or leather handbags. I do recall a gorgeous maxi dress in one of her promotional ads, but I cannot find it to order (please comment below if anyone knows where to find it). I will be ordering one of her beautiful t-shirts (perfect for a night out or a ride in the ring). Her original handbags and silk scarves, as well as any of her artistic works can be purchased online at BeatriceBulteau.com.

bulteaubag350
Leather Bag B 350usd

bulteau$50
TShirt Blue Jumping 50usd

bultau250
TShirt Luso Grey 50usd

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Pillow and Sheets 350usd

IronSculpture280
Iron Trot Sculpture 280usd

lusogreywatercolor650
Luso Grey Watercolor 625usd

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Mousseline Silk Scarf 158usd

xo

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Hunter Paces….

My sweet steed, Chance, is really shaping up. Minus an old stifle injury as a colt, he’s been sound. He’s not going to any grand prix competitions any time soon (neither would I, by the way), but he has gotten in shape enough to “compete” in some regional hunter paces. My son rode in last weekend’s Rombout Foxhounds Hunter Pace up by Hyde Park, NY.

The hunt club did a wonderful job setting up the jumps (all decorated beautifully), tabletops and food. Catering was delicious (pumpkin soup, chili and desserts too numerous to count)!

I love hunter paces. From beginners to super-competitive riders, all are welcome. Dane (my son) and Chance had lots of fun and Team Beech Hill (our group of three riders/horses) did great! Not in the ribbons, but there were many teams and their time was pretty darn good.

Have any of you done hunter paces? How do you like them? Post your pictures/videos here or on our Facebook page!

xo

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…and they’re off!

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Catch Rider – part 2

CatchRiderCoverI ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lyne for Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading.  I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.

While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.

Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.

Okay, now Ms. Lyne….time to write a sequel.

The Author, Jennifer Lyne
The Author, Jennifer Lyne

xo

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A Great Riding Read – Catch Rider by Author Jennifer Lyne

CatchRiderCover I admit it, I’m an older rider (cough cough), but I love to read anything about horses, especially books intended for young adults. It must satisfy some longing for a younger self, or maybe I never grew up inside, or maybe I’m just reaching mid-life crisis. Catch Rider, by Jennifer Lyne, is a wonderful read! I’m only partially through it, but I can’t put it down, even though I HAVE to because my family does require attention now and then.

I’m posting this before I finish my read because Ms. Lyne, a fellow Chappaqua resident, will be signing her book tomorrow at the great Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival located in Bell Middle School right in town. Any fans, new readers or parents of horse-crazy kids will want to stop by and meet her as well as pick up a copy of her book.

Not only will this support our wonderful festival, but Ms. Lyne has decided to generously donate all her proceeds from the festival to Everytown for Gun Safety – in honor of the victims of our most recent tragedy in Oregon. Thank you Ms. Lyne. I will be buying several copies

I’m going to use the publisher’s description of Catch Rider, as I’m not done reading it yet!! I will, however, get right to it when the kids go down tonight. Watch out A Circuit 😉

Catch Rider is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis

Sidney Criser, 14, pursues her dream of becoming a catch rider–a show rider who can ride anything–despite her poor background and ferocious competition from more privileged girls. Set in Virginia, Catch Rider is an authentic behind the scenes portrayal of a show barn and the elite, demanding world of equitation.  Catch Rider is not a horse book; it’s a book about horse people. 

xo

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A “Shout Out” to the Schramms – Q & A

ImageAs a relative newcomer to riding, I find myself voraciously consuming anything equine-related to help me get to the next level. One of my newest go-to places is EventionTV.com. Originally on YouTube, founders Dom and Jimmie Schramm, professional three day event riders and owners of Schramm Equestrian in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, shared their endless knowledge of all things equestrian. It took off. After my first view, I too, was totally hooked. Now in their second season, the adorable Dom and Jimmie combine expert advice, real riding examples, humor and loveable personalities into digestible horsey segments on their very own newly-launched webTV channel EventionTV.com.

Their warmth, caring and expertise is a welcome addition to the equine airwaves. I especially love that every episode includes a “Schrammo’s Shoutout” where Dom and Jimmie bring much needed attention to equine-related charities around the globe. Consider EventionTV a horse treat for us humans.

I recently caught up with the super busy super couple to ask a few questions:

lb: What is your riding background? How did you guys meet?

dom: I grew up in outback Queensland Australia. I had the typical ‘bush’ start, tearing around on ponies and being a boy. My mum was the one who got me started competing in the show and dressage ring bit. It was when my father was on a military posting in the UK when I discovered eventing at age 11 and I never looked back. Since then I have ridden track-work, broken in lots of horses, and re-trained problem horses to fund my eventing habit.

jennie: I am originally from Dallas, TX and went through pony club which is where I learned about eventing. I rode with Chrissy Allison who also happens to.be where Tex aka Mellow Johnny came from. I went to college at Auburn University where I had the opportunity to work for Mike and Emma Winter who taught me the ins and outs of upper level eventing. I then spent a few months in California with Tamie Smith and that is where I found my current mount Bellamy and have been striving to make it the the top with him ever since. Dom and I met through our good friends Ryan Wood and Jennie Brannigan. We did the long distance thing for a little over a year and then got married and the rest is history.

lb:  What is EventionTV and who is your main audience/ who are you trying to reach?

d&j: EventionTV is a FREE web based how to tutorial series that presents practical information for horse enthusiasts in a fun, fresh and easy to digest way. We target any one who enjoys horses, wants to learn and likes to have a laugh!

lb: Why did you guys start this channel/ what prompted you to start making your show?

dom: To be honest it actually started as an idea to write a book, but I realized living in a digital age, online and visual made more sense. We try to answer simple questions people may have in the least condescending way possible as we thought a lot of what was out there was making people feel stupid. We also realized being broke ass event riders that we didn’t have mom and dad with the never ending checkbook that we were going to have to differentiate ourselves if we were ever going to get off the air mattress and pay the bills!

lb: What will be different about your second season? What is “new and improved”? Any spoilers to share with my readers?

d&j: We have put a tonne more effort and money into this season. Viewers can expect more in depth explanations. Visually it will be broadcast quality and revamped.  We will be trying out new technology to do things that have never been seen before in equestrian videos so it is a really exciting time. As far as spoilers, well, you can expect some more humorous segments as well as some special guest appearances!

lb: What is your favorite riding gear – what do you guys use on a regular basis (I know you use Stubben saddles…anything else)?

d&J: Really all of the Stubben gear is fantastic. Not just the saddles but the bridles and all the accessories as well are such great quality. My new favorite piece of tack is a Stubben jump bridle with fancy stitching. I like that sort of thing.

lb: What is your recommended show clothing? Hack clothing? Does it really matter?

j: For me it always matters, you want to look professional and put together. It obviously helps if you ride well too: ) I wear Pikeur breeches in competition and I have been searching for new competition jacket and tails and really like the Charles Ancona ,their stuff is beautiful. For every day in the summer the EIS sun.shirts are a staple. In the fall and winter I like polo shirts and rugbys. Ralph Lauren makes some really fun ones as well as Joules. As far as breeches go I like Pikeur and Cavallo. Yes they can be expensive but for someone that rides a lot of horses every day, they last.

lb: What is the best advice you have for an adult beginner rider? Is it worth their time working towards a show?

j: The best advice.I have for an adult beginner is to make yourself a realistic schedule and most importantly STICK to it. And by schedule I mean daily rides, lessons working up to possibly a competition. I also think it is worth aiming for a show because it gives you a goal you can work towards and a reason to improve your horse and your riding.

lb: What was/is your biggest challenge putting this show together?

d: Two things, finding the time on top of running a busy barn and second, paying for the production!

lb: Will we get to know some of your staff better in any upcoming episodes?

d: Steph, our barn manager/superwoman of all things is crucial to everything we do. I really want her to be more visible on the show but I know she will groan when I ask her. Hopefully you will get to see more of her.

lb: Where/when can fans come and cheer you on (your show schedule)?

d: Things are actually quieting down for us however we do have our biggest show of the year coming up in Fair Hill MD Oct 16-19. I will be in the CCI** on Cold Harbor and Jimmie will be contesting the CCI*** on her superstar Bellamy. We love seeing Evention fans at the shows so come out and say G’day!

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Personally, I would love to cheer them on in Maryland this October. I may need to use some of their horse loading tips to load my kids into the car for a road trip – so we’ll have to see 😉

Check out these pics – I wish I could do this!!!!

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xo

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Tuesday Giggles

For my horsey readers…cute.

xo,
lb

My Own Private Classic

My new beau, Sonny
My new beau, Sonny

I would never be able to show at a place like the Hampton Classic or the the American Gold Cup;  hacking around the lesson ring is just fine for me. I’m a late-to-the–game horse rider, who started only 1 1/2 years ago. I have to say, taking up a sport after kids was the best thing I ever did (well, okay, besides my children).

Today, I jumped my amazing palomino lesson horse, Sonny, over my first jump. I didn’t win a ribbon, but I sure felt like it. I can’t imagine how amazing competitors in any show, let alone a Grand Prix, must feel after completing a clean run. I need to thank and give full credit to my amazing instructor, Hannie at Greenlawn Equestrian Center. I learned more in 2 months from her than I did the entire year at my old barn. I don’t have any pictures or video of my ride (my jumping was so sloppy, I wouldn’t want anyone to see), but I am attaching some shots of Hannie riding a course set up by her 12 year old campers.

Have any of you started something later in life and lived to tell the story? If so, I would love to hear. I also want to give my friends hope that life doesn’t end after 30. Now more than ever, I’m excited to cover the Classic this Sunday. I’m going to be so torn about what to cover first: the horses and competitors in the ring, what people are wearing or what they are eating!!

xo

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