Misti, who taught me how to sit a buck that matched that of the best bucking bronco.
When I first started working at Frog’s Leap a few years ago, my jaw dropped when I walked down the barn aisle and saw stall after stall of big (usually bay), beautifully bred warmbloods. Each one was more astounding than the next.
(Seriously… if any of you big-wig riders and trainers are lucky enough to stumble across this… you need to call B. She breeds BEYOND amazing Danish horses.)
Then at the end of the aisle was Skippy. He was all tucked into his little stall, snuggled in his purple blanket (it was February when I started with FLF), making this noise that I can only describe as similar to prisoner banging his cup aganist the bars of his cell.
B told me that I’d sit on him in the spring, when it came time to start into a lesson program. I was a little put-off. Here is this barn of amazing horses, and she was putting me on the little chestnut who was attempting to make my ear drums bleed. I wasn’t so sure about this whole thing.
As winter turned into spring, and I got ready for my first dressage lesson (former hunter/jumper kid here) on Skippy, I was still a little skeptical. I was cocky, I knew what I was doing in the tack (so I thought). I wasn’t some beginner who didn’t know inside from outside.
While I tacked him up, that crafty little bugger threw every trick in the book at me (and still does to this day!). He wiggled, he waggled, he held his breath, he refused to pick up his feet, he held his breath some more. I stopped and looked at him at one point, and raised my eyebrow. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.
My lesson progressed with no real issues, and I was lucky enough to go on to ride a few different horses in the barn, including B’s FEI schoolmaster, Wonder.
I still thank Skippy for opening up this wonderful world of dressage to me, and I’m forever in his debt since he packed me around so quietly while I muddled through things those first few
disasterous lessons. He was always patient, always challenging me just enough without pushing it too far. He’s the one that really made me fall in love with the sport, and strive to do better. When I was asking him the right way, he floated, just like all those big warmbloods. When I wasn’t, be patiently waited for me to get my head out of my ass and get with the program.
When he got tangled up in the fence last year, the whole farm was devastated. Luckily his owners (who are an amazing couple themselves) went the extra mile, and after un-wrapping, flushing, applying ointment, and re-wrapping daily for months, we all jumped for joy when Skip was allowed to go outside and enjoy life.
As spring is upon us this year, I’ve been honored to be the one to pilot Skip during his (exactly 10 minute) re-hab rides, and after taking over 9 months off to have a baby, he’s the only horse that I’d sit on my first day back. He took care of me like I was made of china for our walks around the arena, and his second cookie was always well deserved! Now that I’ve gotten the thumbs up from my doctors to be back in full action, I’ll be getting Willow started for show season. I’ll still take Skip on his walks for as long as I’m lucky enough too, and hopefully he’ll be back in action before too long as well.
He’s even in love with Shannon, and snuggled with my belly often while I was pregnant. I would fill his water bucket and he would gently lay his nose against my belly and whuffle it. Shannon would kick, and Skip’s ears would come up and he give my coat a big ‘ole lick. When she was born, I held her up to see him, and he (just as gently) held his nose to her teeny tiny little face and whuffled her in the same way. She gave him a huge gummy smile. How does that NOT melt a Momma’s heart?! I went into the tack room and he tried to follow us. His owner had to stop him from walking all the way through the door. It’s really adorable.
I know that when it’s time for us to move away, I’m going to miss walking in the barn to Skippy’s ‘music’ of teeth raking his stall front, laughing at his misshapen water bucket, watching him babysit the young horses in the field, and sitting on him when I need
a good ass kicking from B to go back to the basics.
He’ll be 21 on May 5th, and you can bet I’ll be bringing lots of cookies!
So here’s to Skippy! The little horse that would!
The cookie monster himself!
I’m really getting excited for summer… and have even started working on memorizing Training Level Tests 1 & 2. Our first outing will be Intro A & B to get our feet wet and make sure Miss Pilly-Pants doesn’t kill me, but I really want to qualify for Regionals, and you have to be showing at least Training. We’ll see if we get there, but that’s my equine goal for the summer. Hopefully our first show will be early June. CDSS puts on great schooling shows, that have inexpensive class fees, are usually just a day, and are great to get your horse going! I love them! Hopefully if the June show goes well, we’ll be able to go to Vermont Dressage Days, where you can qualify got Regionals over the weekend. I’m showing open (!!) this year, which is pretty exciting. I missed show season last year, and that made me pretty sad. Having a baby gives me an excuse to buy a pretty new dressage coat though… since my old one
won’t strech over these awesome new boobs my excess baby weight shrank in the wash. 😉
We’re off to meet the in-laws for breakfast, then do some shopping with my Mom.
I’ll keep the credit card in check, love.
|Umm… yea. That’s my awesome kid. ❤|
|This is seriously the story of my life. I love it!|
- I expect Dixie to behave when she’s on the leash. I’m more strict with her when I’m pushing the stroller. She’s expected to walk quietly at my left heel, and we don’t stop to sniff every single piece of grass. If we have to stop to cross the road, or for any other reason, I tell her to ‘sit’ and ‘wait’. She doesn’t move until I say ‘ok’. We do our potty buisness before and afterwards. Nothing makes the neighbors more angry than a dump and run. I stay consistent with the rules, and she picked it up really quickly. We went on a few family walks with my husband pushing the stroller so I could focus on working with her. She also has a good ‘recall’ and I wouldn’t take her with us if I didn’t know that she would come right back to me if I were to drop the leash. Bringing your dog with you is a great way to get them the daily exercise that they need, but if they can’t behave in a way that makes them managable don’t risk it. You don’t want to chance them getting hit by a car, or even worse, pulling you and the stroller into traffic or a ditch. I recommend this harness. We use it with Dixie, and it’s worked wonderfully. Just make sure that you adjust it properly.
- On the days that are too hectic to bring the baby to the sports center, my Mom ends up coming up to watch the baby so I can get the dog out, and it’s usually around dusk. It’s a beautiful time of the day to walk. There have been a ton of people disappearing lately, so I forgo my normally hilly route, for a more populated area. There are houses on either side of the road, and no long stretches of nothingness, unlike on my usual route. I’m about 5’2 and I weigh 120 lbs. I’m not exactly a ninja master, so any type of fight would be pathetic. (My husband and I used to wrestle all the time, and he was a GREAT teacher when it came to teaching me to wiggle out of any restraint, but when I got pregnant we stopped.) It makes me a pretty easy target. Staying in a populated, well traveled area is the safest option for me. I have had a handful of people stop to try to talk to me while I’m walking with the dog. I just ignore them and keep walking. 9 times out of 10 they drive off, but if they do stick around I make sure to stay aware of the type of car they are driving, liscence plate number, and the person themselves. I wouldn’t hesitate to call the police if I really felt that there was a threat, and I always carry my phone with me. No exceptions. Ever. With the press of two buttons, my husband is on the line and I trust him to make the proper decision in any type of emergency situation, even if he’s 1,000 miles away. Listen to your gut, and don’t fall for any smooth talk.
We have a great wildlife population in the area. It’s fun to watch the deer in the fields, or see all the different types of birds and cute little chipmunks. I’ve also seen a bear. I carry pepper spray with me on every walk for that reason. (I talked to one woman who carries a small handgun, but I don’t feel comfortable with that. If anything were to happen with another person, it could be easily wrestled away, and used on me or my daughter. I’ve been sprayed with pepper spray twice and it really sucks. Like really, REALLY sucks, but I’m confident that I’d be able to work through it.) If you were to see a bear, or other dangerous animal while you’re out walking don’t chase it. Most of the time they are more afraid of you then you think. Jump up and down, scream, make obnoxious nosises. They’ll probably run. Call your local police station or game warden, report the sighting, and make your way straight home.
The cars on these roads usually travel at a pretty high rate of speed. We don’t have a local police station, and while the State Troopers are great about having a presence in the area, speed limits are usually just a suggestion. I walk into oncoming traffic and stay as far on the shoulder as possible. It’s easier when I’m walking with just Dixie as Shannon is still too small for our jogging stroller so I have to load her in the ‘mall stroller’. I also wear highly visible clothing. Bright colors are your friend. When I walk Dixie closer to dusk, I usually steal one of husband’s reflective belt things and Dixie’s leash is also reflective. I see SO many people with just the reflectors on their shoes, or bike spokes, beboppin’ around at night. It’s not enough people! I’m sure I look like a fool wearing that giant yellow(ish) belt like a prom queen sash, but I think I’d look even worse with my face caved in. Maybe I should get a light up tiara to top off the outfit. I also have reflective tape that I put on Shannon’s stroller. She doesn’t come with us on our dusk walks, but better safe than sorry. Unfortunatly accidents still happen but take all the precautions that you can to be visible. If you’re driving and see somebody on the road, slow the **** down! Taking the time to slow 10-15 mph down is so much eaiser than the guilt of hitting somebody.
I love to listen to music when I work out. In fact I can’t exercise without it. I blast it in the gym, and at home (when the baby isn’t sleeping), but I don’t blast it when I’m on the road. I can’t hear cars coming up behind me, other people walking or biking, animals, or if the baby starts crying. I’m not a hard core runner. I walk/jog to get cardio into my workout routine in a way that I can include the dog, and get the pumpkin out in the fresh air. When M is home, its a great way to spend time as a family. I don’t need to have music blasting as a way to motivate myself to pump out that last mile, like I do when I need motivation to bust out those last 10 Russin Twists. Keep the music at a reasonable level, or keep one earbud out. I also don’t text or make phone calls while I’m walking. I will stop (when it’s safe) to take a picture or two, but I’m always aware of cars and I take my earbuds out.
- I don’t talk to people that I don’t know on the road. I have a wicked cute dog, and an even cuter baby so more often than not people want to peek into the stroller, or give the dog a scratch. I don’t stop. I’ll flash a quick smile, or wave, but I keep the same pace. It makes me feel like I’m making less of a target of myself. That and it gets really annoying when people are constantly sticking their face in my kid’s face. I don’t know if you’re sick or not.
She’s getting more and more alert, sleeping longer stretches, and really starting to develop a personality. It’s amazing.
She’s getting bigger too, she’s outgrown ALL her preemie clothes, and some of her newborns are even getting a little tight. We have our two month check up next week Friday, and I’m excited too see how much she weighs.
We are LOVING our gDiapers, although I discovered that I didn’t need to buy 8 covers. I went a little bit crazy because they are just so darn cute. When she grows out of these I’m only going to buy a couple of the next size up. They stay SUPER clean, and I love that they keep her butt from getting all red. I’d use them again in a heartbeat, and when we go the next size up I’m planning on getting the cloth inserts for nighttime.
Speaking of night time, her sleep schedule is still fairly erratic, and we had a pretty sleepless (I don’t want to call them bad) night the night before M left for training, but she’ll sleep for 3-4 hour stretches. She sleeps in her cradle next to our bed, but if she’s really fussy I have no problem cuddling her in our bed until she falls into a deep sleep. I think that she just needs the closeness, I’m happy to provide, moreso now that big Daddy is gone.
Breastfeeding is going really well. I’m a pro at wipping it out just about anywheres, and we just nurse away. M is still a little on edge about me nursing her in public. He doesn’t want to make a scene and then have to jump in to resuce me. Breastfeeding in public is entierly legal, and I do cover up for my own modesty. I found that it’s easier to use just a regular blanket than those stupid nursing covers. It attracts more attention when you’re swearing at the thing because it’s choking you so hard you think your eyeballs are going to explode out of your head and hit the bald guy at the next table over. I wear tank tops under everything so nobody can see my ‘excess’, and off we go. Easy peasy!
We spent her 2 month birthday running around. I had a doctor’s appointment and we went and hung out at the barn for a while, since it was such a beautiful day.
Willow is getting ridden for the first time tomorrow. I’m wicked excited! I exchanged her bridle for the next size up, and she got a new bit. We’re going to try her in a 5 1/2″ 3 piece (french link) loose ring and see how that goes.
On our walk I learned a new skill that may or may not come in handy some day.
Leaping 10 feet in the air mid-stride while shrieking, compliments of this thing…
I hate, hate, hate snakes. Dixie and I were just running along, I wasn’t paying attention, then all the sudden… this thing. I screamed and lept into the air. Like really lept. Over the dog, into a ditch. My husband would say ‘you got ups.’
Cereal ups husband. Cereal.
If you don’t read this honey… I just said cereal (twice!) and anybody who reads this thinks that I’m freakin’ nuts…but you understand it. 🙂 Love you!
We also passed the ‘haunted house’.