Life has been delightfully chaotic lately, which is something I don’t necessarily mind. Since moving back to Boerne, I’ve immersed myself in furthering my career both at In The Irons Tack and the blog, making up for lost time with my fabulous friends, and spending my mornings before work, and weekends, with Leah. It’s been an adjustment, reprogramming myself to full-time career life while juggling the horsey life, but any Adult Amateur can attest to that involvement. So far, it’s been so good, and frankly, I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve also taken up a serious hankering for caffeine. Starbucks is far too convenient, and overpriced, but life is too short to drink bad coffee. Right?
Chai Tea Lattes and mozzarella, tomato, pesto Panini sandwiches aside, I wanted to give you all a few updates about the latest happenings in both Leah’s life and mine.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know all about the Mare Mantra. Be there, halt square, control that mare! The saying originated from Eva, my trainer, and took shape when she muttered the phrase to a fellow client before said client rode her beautiful grey mare down centerline. From there, it quickly became a mantra, proudly displayed on a single t-shirt that the client sported around the shows. When I joined Eva’s barn once again, I approached her about allowing me to market the mantra via The Blonde & The Bay; she agreed, and I couldn’t be more excited about this new endeavor! This is a fragment of The Blonde & The Bay that I’ve been patiently waiting for. I’m a firm believer that God’s time is perfect time, and apparently now is the perfect time to start the next chapter. The tees will be available quite soon – like I’m hoping for next week, peeps! – and will be in a long sleeve design for the cooler months. Two Socks Designs is responsible for creating my vision, and I’m so proud to say that I selected local companies in the San Antonio area to help bring life to the idea. Expanding the Mare Mantra to short sleeves and other forms of merchandise is the goal, but I like to take one day at a time. If you’re interested in purchasing a tee, stay tuned, because you’ll be able to do so through the blog!
Fellow Oldenbroek Tabor Sporthorses client, Connie, and her gorgeous grey, Zoraja; me and my Leah-bean! We love our mares and the Mare Mantra!
Oh, and don’t forget to shop our Consignment Shoppe, because there are some great quality items available for purchase at fantastic prices. You can shop by clicking here!
Over on the In The Irons Tack front, we are full steam ahead towards the holiday’s and the festivities that come along with the season. Our two mobile boutiques have been everywhere lately, literally, and it’s been fantastic to gain added exposure by expanding our competition perimeters. I’m in the midst of planning a wonderful Black Friday event, featuring markdowns, libations, and a spinning wheel full of prizes. If you’re in the San Antonio area, mark your calendars for November 25th through the 27th, because this is something you don’t want to miss! You can also find me on the hunt for new, exciting, and promising companies to hopefully add to our family of brands in 2017. Have a company you think I need to check out? Please, please, please, give your homegirl a hint! We strive to carry unique products at affordable prices at the shop, and while I’m pretty in-the-know of what’s on trend, I always welcome added guidance.
Speaking of trends, I’m excited to announce that I’ve been selected as a new member of the Heels Down Magazine International Style Team! I’m super stoked to be apart of such a fantastic publication, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this fun opportunity.
In The Irons Tack head-to-toe! From the shop, I'm wearing my Black/Navy Kastel Denmark 1/4 Zip UV Protective Shirt and my grey camouflage Goode Rider Jean Full Seat Breeches. Leah is wearing her grey Polar Fleece Bandages from HKM Sports Equipment, also from the shop. Check out our website to score some awesome pieces for yourself and your pony!
I couldn’t be more thrilled with how well Leah has settled into her new training routine and facility. She has handled all the changes in the last few months like a true professional, carrying herself with such confidence and a solid attitude. We’re both eternally grateful for cooler temperatures and less humidity, too. Our training routines have consisted of the basics, working to achieve, and maintain, softness, thoroughness, roundness and suppleness. Those traits are equivalent to the holy grail of dressage… can I get an “amen” from the people in the back?
Learning how to push Leah through her moments of bracing-protest has been the most rewarding part of our training. Usually, I get in the habit of bringing her back to the walk when the going gets tough - not good! Eva reminds me that the ride doesn’t have to appear “pretty” right now, and that we riders constantly worry about looking perfect instead of focusing on the feel. Leah may raise her head above the bit and bounce off the contact for a few strides, but as an effective rider, it’s my job to finesse her past the stubbornness. Eventually, she comes to terms with reality and accepts moving forward off my leg while working over her back. It’s a process; a constant conversation of aids, but the ride needs to become a bit less complicated before we even think about transitioning into the collected work.
Oh Leah, Texas' blue fall skies look good on you.
This kind of training will most likely be our focus over the winter, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Like I’ve always said, “the slower you go, the faster you get there.” We’ve played with the FEI movements, but only when Leah gives the proper feel in the hand and through her body. There are a few clinics I’m interested in attending, too! One clinician being Alfredo Hernandez; I’ve ridden with him before, but I’m curious to see what he can achieve with Leah while putting the emphasis on the passage and piaffe work. I’m optimistic about her future as a potential Grand Prix horse, and I’m not quite ready to give up on my dream of competing in the U25 Grand Prix classes.
Debuting the Prix St. Georges in 2017 is our goal, and with the FEI levels comes the shadbelly competition jacket. I’ve already begun the process of designing my very own! With oodles of options on the market, I started by setting my budget and promising myself I wouldn’t overstep my boundary… even though I was thoroughly tempted by Equiline, repeatedly. But, there’s a large part of me that simply cannot justify $1,200 for a jacket, despite how beautiful they may be. After chatting with Emily, she recommended Southeast Sport Horse; a small business that specializes in equestrian apparel and custom show jackets. They just so happened to create Emily’s shadbelly, too.
My shadbelly inspiration. THIS COLOR IS EVERYTHING.
I’m in the early stages of designing, but I’m opting for this gorgeous merlot hue with navy points and a few other navy details. I dare to be different, and this color just spoke to me. How amazing is the floral pattern found on the interior of the tails? Seriously swooning. I think this color will compliment Leah’s blood bay coat quite nicely. Plus, for all customization, features, and details, there is one base price only! I know it’s not December 25th yet, but I already feel like a little girl on Christmas.
Finally, I’d like to finish this post with the realization that I launched The Blonde & The Bay exactly one year ago this month. Holy MOLY. Time flies when you’re having fun, and this experience has been the most fruitful experience I could ever bare. The blog has become so much more than just a creative outlet. It’s become a huge part of my life and my identity, and has transpired into my very own business. Of course, none of its successes could be possible without our supportive, lovely, and gracious followers! You all make this venture so gratifying – thank you, thank you, and thank you!
We’ll keep doing our thing: posting, writing, growing; keeping things about living the dressage lifestyle honest and real 150% of the time. Cheers to another year of The Blonde & The Bay!
Now, someone pass me a glass of bubbly.