What a sight for sore eyes – finding a quiet moment to sit behind the screen of my MacBook and watch my fingers work feverishly across my keyboard, blogging! Allow me to apologize for my three months of absence, my loyal readers and followers. You see, 2017 has been anything but lax.
At the beginning of the year, post Mare Mantra Tee launch (and its huge success), I made the executive decision to allow the blog to run itself for an indefinite period of time. With copious amounts of my energy being thrown into this platform for almost two years, I needed to take a step back, catch my breath, and refocus my priorities. Inspiration, and time to write, ran sparse, but that’s something all lucrative bloggers experience.
It’s an ebb and flow.
Over the last three months, here’s what has been happening:
My career at In The Irons Tack has kept me pleasantly busy. I went from Creative Director to Store Director, now overseeing all in-store operations as well as managing all marketing, social media campaigns, and events. I do love what I do, and to be honest, it hardly ever feels like work anymore. As we transition into the warmer months, my focus shifts to advertising our wide selection of summer-appropriate riding gear, as well as fall ordering and things of the sort. Which simultaneously means my chance to stock up on the season’s latest fashions… adios, paycheck.
Since writing my last blog post, Leah and I have made leaps and bounds in our training. She’s become a powerhouse, gaining muscle in all the right places and feeling incredibly fit for the work at hand. I couldn’t be more proud of the horse she has blossomed into, and her work ethic continues to amaze me every single day. Over the course of the winter, we really focused on effectiveness throughout my seat, reactions to the aids, maintaining softness and overall conditioning. With a plan to compete at the Emerald Classic during the first weekend in March, we worked our hardest to turn that goal into a reality.
The show weekend went off without a single hitch – I always joke that competitions are my vacations, because I’d rather spend my money on the experience than a plane ticket to a white beach somewhere tropical.
Well, most of the time, anyhow.
Cantering our way to our final 4th level Silver Medal score.
PC: Moonfyre Photography
While I recapped our results via Instagram, I’ll make it long story short via the blog. Leah and I competed in Fourth Level Test One, earning a 65% (and some change) each test. We brought home two blue ribbons, and our final Fourth Level score towards our USDF Silver Medal. Leah couldn’t have handled the competition atmosphere better, reminding me that she is the real professional and always rises to the occasion the moment her polished hoof hits centerline. God bless that mare.
Now, we make the jump to the Prix St. Georges. Since returning home from Emerald, we’ve hit the training hard. Working towards the PSG is something that’s on a whole other level. Things are much more technical, much more meticulous. I’ve learned that timing and accuracy are everything, and can really impact your score either for the positive or for the negative. While Leah has competed through the FEI levels, it’s a common misconception that she’s of schoolmaster mentality. We have to refine and sharpen her skills, which can be a bit of an uphill battle when dealing with a long backed, lazier horse. Our struggles lie in our collected trot lateral work, a hindrance when it comes to our PSG training. Half passes will the bane of our existence, but I’m prepared and accepting of the fact that they won’t be one of our stronger areas. What points we lack during our trot tour I hope to gain back during our collected canter. Leah’s pirouettes and changes are her highlights… it’s just up to me to ride every stride and COUNT. Properly.
Again, it’s an ebb and flow, much like blogging.
We’re a week out now from loading up and making the three-hour trip to Katy, Texas for the Shoofly Farm CDI and Houston Dressage Spring Classic. After some recent changes in my life, I promised myself I’d spend these last few days before the show focusing all my energy into our training. This goal is what I’ve been working towards for years, and having the dream turn into a reality is something I’ve yet to really comprehend. Earning our USDF Silver Medal would be fantastic, but just having the opportunity to ride down the FEI centerline with a horse like Leah is “pinch-me worthy.”
Goodness, I love this horse more than anything.
PC: Moonfyre Photography
She’s my rock.
She’s my precious fluffy unicorn.
She’s better than any boy around.
I might be a bit short on words lately, but know that the blog is becoming a main priority once again. Realizing how much you all enjoy following our journey and reading our posts is incredibly comforting. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again for the people in the back: our followers are some of the best cheerleaders around.
We love you guys! More writings coming soon…