java current date

I’m nothing if not a follower of trends and since country date night started this one and I saw http://partyponyeventing.com/dog-dating-app/… I figured I would throw back to my best girl for this one because retired life means you don’t get nearly enough attention. Also because she lives like 1000 miles from me, but yeah.

The earliest photo I can find of us

Lucy was purchased as I was moving out of the 11 & Under walk-trot division into the 13 & Under and later, the 14-18 division. We found her at the 2004 Pinto World Show, literally a paper ad posted on one of the bulletin boards. Over the course of a week or so, we rode her and tried her a few different times. The final time that solidified it being late at night while the baseball park next door set off fireworks – and she could not have cared any less.

She was only 6, but had been shown by a junior prior who decided she wanted a western pleasure horse. Lucy was (is) a pattern horse – equitation, showmanship, trail – and she’s a good mover, but she’s not a specialized pleasure horse. For me, I was coming off of a barely-15h pleasure horse who put up with patterns, but much preferred to hang on the rail in a pleasure class and was still a very nervous rider. I distinctly remember thinking she was HUGE and a huge mover – in hindsight, Luce is all of maybe 15.3 and moves like any average stock horse. Mind of an 11 year old though.

We actually didn’t purchase her at the show – negotiations stalled and we walked. I was heartbroken, but we went home and I kept looking for horses. Turns out, within three weeks my parents were back at the table and made it happen – and Lucy came home.

Unapproved helmet, stock pin and OMG THOSE BOOTS ARE SO SHORT WHY

Luce was basically finished when we got her, but what took a lot longer was for me to figure out how to ride her. She had buttons on buttons, but I also had the legs of a mosquito larva. Figuring how how to canter her was an ordeal, much less, you know, doing anything with it. Then came learning how to package up a stride that was bigger than anything else I’d ever ridden. How to ask for (and get) a clean change.

I don’t honestly think there was a button we had to truly put on Luce, except maybe finishing her canter and that was more of ‘finishing her canter for a 12 year without legs’. I was a really, really lucy kiddo in that way.

I didn’t give her any real firsts – no first bath, no first away shows, none of that, but together we had a lot of firsts – so much learning how to synch up, for me to put my hand down damnit, for her to like, not fall asleep in the middle of a pattern.

We showed consistently through 2006, then came suspensory tear #1 at the end of the 06 season. She was off for 16ish months and then rehabbed back. That was a learning curve for both of us – learning how to rehab. A good lesson to have that you don’t want to use. We made it back to show at the 2008 World Show, which would really end up being my last ‘big’ stock horse show.

Everyone is skinny in this photo which is the first indication it’s old

Since then, my mom showed her in some amateur classes here and there and she took a little girl from my barn to her first Congress in the walk/trot. I think she could have stepped into that job the day she came home to me, but I’d like to think that I had a hand in getting her to the point where she was the perfect pony for tiny legs.

Lucy’s favorite job (also LOOK you can see her heart marking under her belly!)

In 2011 she tore her suspensory for the second time and we pretty much retired her at that point. She hangs out at my parents’ place with her mini-donk Sancho and bullies him around. She’s still my best girl and I trust her more than any other horse in the world. It’s totally common for me to jump on her when I get home in a halter bareback only for someone to tell me nobody has sat on her since the last time I was home… six months ago.

She did more for my confidence and making me a competent rider than I did for her, but I hope she’s loving her cushy retired life knowing I’ve finally moved on to bugging another horse to go do things requiring energy while she naps.

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In which water takes a defining role

The end of summer brought some low key weeks with it (as if all summer hasn’t been low key, but…) around here. Doc and I went on a nice long trail ride with a friend a few weeks ago (where we played in the water), then Finny the Dog and I packed up and spent a week with my parents at their house in Florida (next to the water) where we did a lot of iguana stalking, crab chasing and reading. I’ll let you guess who did which.

We got home just in time for football season to kick off with a big Auburn win (yes, this is not horse related, I do not care, it’s my blog). And then for it to start raining (water from the sky).

#CFB

And basically never stop. I was pretty sure I needed to trade my car in for a boat this weekend. Instead, I lessoned Saturday morning, came home and drank pumpkin spice chai while watching college football all day. Not a bad way to spend a gloomy Saturday.

Lesson itself was good, but not great. We were just figure-8-ing over a cavaletti in the middle and I just could not. At the trot my body decided I was a walk-trot beginner. I tried (in no particular order): throwing myself and horse at the pole, getting behind the motion, acting like we were jumping 3’6″, falling on his neck and bouncing around like a disaster in motion. Cool, cool.

I love that this dork of a horse so much

I earned myself a lunge line lesson for that one. Yup. Reins taken away, two point on a circle, stand up, back to two point, figure out how to actually, you know, carry your own body. Weird idea.

So I’m like, cool, got this now. An exercise that most 11 year olds can do, but whatever. We’re cruisin now. Let’s canter!

HAHAHA.

Off the right lead? Great. I can do this. Look left, come around the circle, remember to sit up… and miss the cavaletti. Veer right.

Repeat 509349534 times. (No, literally it felt like that many times). FINALLY, I manage to not dive at it, sit in my right seatbone, keep my outside leg on and tap on the right shoulder and we, you know, canter over a 12″ cavaletti. Big accomplishment here guys!

By this time, by back is done. While it’s healed and I’m medically allowed to do whatever I want, I’m still so weak through my core that I can feel it get tired much easier/faster than it used to. A year ago, I would have pushed through it, but these days I’ve had to accept that it means it’s time to cool out. Riding through it either leaves me hurting for days after or just becomes unproductive. No point in really continuing to practice doing things wrong. So Doc got lunged over it to the left to prove to him that uh, he could do it, it’s just his uncoordinated minion who can’t.

The river was so high and moving so fast that day!

It finally stopped raining (insert hallelujah hands here) and was sunny and beautiful today. I’m (hopefully!) in my last week or two of funemployment, so I’m trying to take advantage of all the gorgeous fall weather we’re supposed to get here. Wouldn’t you know, I had an amazing flat ride. So much power and roundness from his hind end, really good canter work and some lovely transitions. I guess someone was as happy to have sunshine as I was.

I’ll be out of town for a bachelorette party the last XC schooling date in September here, but the tentative plan has us doing a CT and (finally) a HT in October, so I’m ridiculously excited and hoping things can fall into place. It’s been a non-existent show season and I’d love the chance to at least get out once before winter sets in and I have to hibernate.

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