My Life, Uncategorized

Wedding Schmedding

After a year and a half of being engaged, the big day is approaching in May and I feel much less curmudgeonly about it than I did at this time last year. I was so overwhelmed by all the ridiculous nonsense you have to decide as a bride-to-be. Here are a few examples of actual exchanges I have had with various people involved.

Florist: So what are your colors for the wedding, hon?
Me: Um…I don’t know, like…wedding colors?
(I found a different florist who understood what I meant by that)

The one I went with has a really cool shop

Me (to invitation printer on Etsy): …simple, clean and elegant would be best–not too many curlicues or flourishes, and not too much mixing of different fonts to “look” vintage. It would also be great to throw in a little quirkiness without going over-the-top. For example, I LOVE the RSVP card you have listed at the link below with the choice of titles from Mrs. to Marchioness. Even a nod to the fact that it’s a library wedding could be fun (like a due date RSVP card or call card) but I’m not set on that idea 100% since I can see where it could get a little cheesy.
(So–elegant, but not too elegant. Quirky, but not cheesy. Please, read my mind.)

Byron ended up designing it and I filled in the text

DJ: So…hypothetically, let’s say the moment for the Electric Slide presents itself.
(I just find that funny to think about)

Me: So between all the pattern and colors for the tablecloths, I have literally a million options?
Caterer: Yes, you can customize it to your colors exactly!
Me: Ok. Mom, pick a color.
(she chose slate gray–thumbs up from me)

Byron: Can we put a new washer/dryer on the wedding registry?
Me: No.
Byron: How about a TV stand?
Me: No.
Byron: How about adding to your horse fund?
Me: It’s NOT POLITE Byron!

After much grumbling I agreed to a “bridle” shower/steeplechase tailgate party–though I stipulated no gifts and NO PENIS HATS

I suppose this is why wedding planning exists as a career–it’s maddening if you’re not the Barbie Dream Wedding type! I am glad that I gave myself a lot of time to sort it all out…

Riding Adventures

A sneak peek of spring

Today was one of those freak pleasant days in the middle of winter that make you remember spring isn’t all that far away, so I seized the chance to ride. The ring was slushy, and I  nearly lost a boot in the mud trying to catch a lesson horse who did NOT want to be caught, but who cares? Beats work any day.

Per my instructor’s hint that a stronger core would lead to easier downward transitions, I’ve been doing some daily ‘homework’ with a crazy gymnastics video I found online (as well as my usual nightly Yogamazing). It’s been kicking my butt! Good thing is it did pay off with the transitions.

Lesson rundown:

  • Warmup: Lots of changes of direction and transitions between walk-trot
  • 5 steps sitting trot, 5 steps rising while adding some 20m circles
  • 20 strides trot to 20 strides canter a few times
  • 5 steps sitting trot, 5 steps rising, 5 steps in two-point while doing serpentines and figure 8s
  • Cooldown: transitions from walk-halt-walk, then long rein walk

Prior to riding with this instructor I didn’t really do exercises like the 5 steps sitting, 5 steps posting, etc. but it REALLY has helped a lot with the downward transitions, which have always been challenging for me when riding sensitive horses. On the Shire I leased briefly, downward transitions were pretty darn easy…not so much with the Thoroughbred, who would run through my hand and plod around on the forehand if I didn’t ask just right. With the TB, I usually just let the reins run through my hand a little bit so he had nothing to lean on, which did stop him, but didn’t really help with the leaning on the forehand.

Now I know how to keep my hands “in a box” in front of the saddle, sit tall, stretch down in the heel, and close my leg (thigh, knee and calf) briefly to get a nice, balanced transition. Before I didn’t get that it was OK to use the whole leg.

We also worked on proper bend, which is another one of those seemingly basic things that has eluded me for years. Amazing how sitting on the OUTSIDE seat bone allows the horse’s INSIDE hind leg to come under. It makes total sense and it works like a charm. My dear instructor earned her lesson fee today.

Once all the Pony Club kids, moms and siblings rolled in after my lesson, I also had to coax a small child down from trying to scale the 8-foot fence into the round pen. He was just about over the edge when I saw him. It’s a miracle these things always seem to sort themselves out just in time with a barn full of horse-crazy kids…never a dull moment.

Riding Adventures

PONY CLUB PONY CLUB

No hunting updates for a while, unfortunately, since I used up all 6 of my caps (though I did go car following). My latest riding adventure actually didn’t involve riding at all–I attended my first Pony Club Quiz (horse knowledge) meeting and potluck dinner.

I’ve been super excited to join Horsemasters, which is Pony Club’s adult education/volunteer recruitment arm, since my instructor told me about it a few months ago. I feel like I say this every couple months on my blog, but I know there are holes in my riding and horse management knowledge. In the past I’ve tried dressage to get at the riding issues, and though I enjoy learning dressage, focusing on it exclusively makes my type-A, overachiever, obsessive head explode with all the ways I’m terrible at it. Hence this year’s approach–going back to basics and getting the riding education I wished I knew about as a kid through Pony Club.

Flickr: Five Furlongs/CC

I brought juice for kids and wine (Mommy’s juice) for parents because I figured that would be a fast way to make friends. Wined and dined for a little bit with the parents, and then I took my place in a circle with the D (lowest level) Pony Clubbers. Yep, criss-cross apple sauce with three kids and an older Pony Clubber about my age to teach us (okay, yes, she was slightly younger than me too, age 20).

At first I felt a little ridiculous. I had brought my wine glass over because I thought there would be other adults but as it turned out, the other Horsemasters adults were not at this particular meeting. I slid my glass over on the side table, and got on with the day’s topics of discussion: tack, turnout and horse sports.

If there is one thing I really enjoyed about school it was being a total teacher’s pet. I was always the first one with my hand up, a regular at professors’ office hours, and the only one who refused to speak English in foreign language classes. (Teacher’s pet, total suck up…you say tomAYto, I say tomAHto). I soon found myself in my element as we went round-robin around the circle, naming obscure bits of tack and aspects of horse and rider turnout. Once we moved on to horse sports (foxhunting in particular) I totally schooled those eight-year-olds.

I mean, I shared my knowledge with the next generation. And I learned some new things from them too–for example, did you know that Pony Club is adding hunter/jumper and Western as disciplines to specialize in? One of the young girls in the circle scoffed at this development, saying that “Reining puts wear and tear on horses’ legs” and that she “hates hunter/jumpers.” The instructor gently set her on a less sassy track but I really had to keep myself from laughing…I agree with you, girl! (Not that all hunter/jumpers are awful, but if I had done Pony Club instead of hunter/jumpers as a kid I would be a way better rider!)

This will be me at a rally one day!
Flickr: Dominion Valley Pony Club/CC

Anyway, I ended up having fun. It felt like being at summer camp. I just have to remind myself–A) I look younger than 24, so I don’t LOOK totally out of place even though I may feel that way, and B) there’s nothing wrong with sitting criss-cross apple sauce with a bunch of elementary and middle school kids, especially if we all end up becoming Prelim-level event riders!