I ran my first half marathon.
2.5 hours of running. Can't say I recommend it, but the medal is mine and no one can ever take it away from me. I'm very proud of my achievement. And then I totally stopped running for a month because ugggggh, my knee just doesn't like runs longer than six miles and it was weeks of training to get ready for that run. I scaled back on my riding since the combination of long runs and riding was making it worse but then it dawned on me. I run to improve my riding, not the other way around. If anything is going to get paused, it's the running.
I scraped plans to run another half marathon, took a week off from everything to let the body heal, and boom, I was back in the saddle with a vengeance. Amazing how much more fun it is when there's no pain. Well, no joint pain. Plenty of muscle pain because I? Am a show off idiot.
I also love to dress up my horse. Can you believe I found those polos in clearance a year after I bought the pad and browband? Even the trim on them matches! My friend's expression matches Theo's opinion. So many people humor me.
I needed to make up some lessons so I joined in on a random Saturday lesson with a couple of teenagers. Oh, and it's no stirrup November. Most adults get a pass on that nonsense but not me. Never me.
My stirrups were popped off my saddle after about 15 minutes of warm up. I then played follow the leader, giving the teens a lead through a serpentine. They worked on steering, I worked on correct changes of bend using my seat bones. Then I worked my counter canter and what will become my collected canter. The teenagers couldn't stop laughing as Trainer A was yelling 'lift him with your crotch!' and I was grunting while trying to not swear. And then I whacked the pommel, curled up in a ball, and walked. For the finale, I demonstrated that yes, you can post without stirrups.
I'm dumb. I'm also too old to post without stirrups for any real length of time, especially when I had mi papi powering along with a real trot. Ow.
November is also 'Shear Your Yak' month
November is still a thing and my thighs/abs/butt are still aching. Riding without stirrups is hard. For my second Saturday lesson (thanks, winter storm Avery) I didn't get a saddle at all. I adore my horse. It's cold, breezy, snow is falling off the roof, and I'm practicing without a saddle or a care. He's grown up so much. I haven't had video of him since March and when Trainer A offered to record us, I practically threw my phone at her. With no saddle, I wasn't exactly asking for a lot out of him. I was mostly focused on my leaning problem, getting my leg back, stuff like that. I didn't want him truly powered up because I would bounce off. When Trainer A handed me the phone to check my position, I almost cried. Look at him carry himself even when we're being chill!
Found this very familiar face in Equine Journal with the results of the Northeast Western Dressage Championships
Other than working on his canter and acting like I'm still a teenager, I've spent most of my time managing Theo's mane. I'm determined to grow it out, but the New Hampshire weather is not cooperating. Wearing a neck rug rubs out half of his mane. We're getting down to 7 degrees this week. IN NOVEMBER. So I've had to take desperate steps.
This faceless sleazy goes under his blanket and neck rug to protect his mane. It was the only pattern they had in stock. I couldn't wait 4 to 6 weeks for a more sedate pattern. It's under his blanket so it's not that bad but you know a pattern is hideous when I'm embarrassed to put it on my horse. So far his mane is looking good, hopefully we'll be able to get through the winter with his mane intact.
He will look so good with a running braid. His mane is almost long enough to stay braided.
For the winter, our goals are to do twenty meter circle figure eights without changing leads (or either of us turning into an overreacting, bracing alien), protect the mane, jump once a week, and find some sort of system for my ridiculous collection of saddle pads, boots/polos, and browbands. I might love the matchy match game a bit too much. I gave 8 saddle pads to the lesson program and I still have 10. It's not healthy.