Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What keeps me coming back

So it's been a very long time since I last wrote on this blog.  A lot has changed since earlier this year, and although many of you may already be up to speed, here's a quick recap.

After an unfortunate finish at Twin Rivers in April for Brit and I, we decided to reevaluate our future together.  Brit is a great horse, but just ended up not being what I was looking for in a future upper level partner.  She is now enjoying life as a fancy dressage show horse for an adult amateur in the bay area.  Liam, my wild beast, came over to Raintree Ranch for boot camp with the trainer, Lauren.  We still have a long ways to go, but we are making progress.

Will he be an upper level mount?  Honestly, I have no idea, but this horse is good at surprising me.  Sometimes even in good ways.

The whole process of trying to sell Brit and find another horse to replace her was one of the most stressful and frustrating things I have ever done.  Horses are my sanctuary, my happy place to relieve stress.  When your stress reliever is causing you to have more stress then things don't always go so well.  In fact I would like to apologize to and thank everyone that had to put up with my antics and break downs.  When something has been a part of your life for so long, how to you deal with suddenly going without?  Being left behind at the barn while everyone else went to shows, not getting to jump for months, not having a reliable horse to do anything on, and then wondering not when, but even if I would ever find another horse, it got to me.  You start asking yourself why you even bother, why put yourself through this, is it really worth it?  I think to an extent the answer depends on the person, but after what I've been through over the past year, no, several years, I can say that my answer is yes, and here's why.

Riding has beat me up and knocked me down more than a few times.  I've had to put down a horse, deal with the heart break of injuries and ultimately giving up on another, spend months in limbo while trying to figure out if one had what it takes before making the decision to sell her, and then most recently, go through the pain of falling in love with a horse only to have something come up or have it fail a vet check.  That last one happened to me probably six or seven times, I don't even remember now.  Each time I would get my hopes up, my mom would ask me if I was excited and I would say "yes!" because I was, but by the end I didn't want to allow myself any emotional attachment because when it ultimately fell through it was that much more devastating.  Towards the end I just felt empty, it almost became laughable.

How long can you keep telling yourself that it's fate and something better will come of it?  How long can you pretend that you're doing okay even when you feel like your dying inside each time you get let down?  And I'm not just talking about the horse search, I'm talking about all the things that have happened to me and that I have seen happen to other people.  What I've dealt with has sucked, but really when you put it in prospective it isn't nearly as bad as some people have had it.  Yet we stick with it anyway.

Now back to the why:
1) I love my barn family and I couldn't leave them
2) I'm a competitive person and a hard worker with drive, when things get tough I've learned to push through.
3) I'm a dreamer that wants to compete at Rolex and own one of the red team USA coats, you don't get there if you're a quitter.
But really it is not about any of the things on that list, it's about a love for the horses and a love for the sport.  No matter how many times it knocks me down I keep coming back to the horses because I can't picture my life without it.  I tried to live without it, at least the competition part, over this past year, but I was miserable as I said above.  Sometimes you don't realize how much you'll miss it until it's gone.

So don't let this sport get you down.  Things have a funny way of working themselves out in the end, and I would never have gotten as far as I have if I had not have kept coming back for more.  And don't give up on your dreams, because then they will never become a reality.  Just look at my Breyer horse mare that I ended up with, below.  If I had given up on my horse search I would have never found her, and maybe never realized my Rolex dreams.  I still might not, but at least I came back so I could have the chance.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Pre-season Post- My Geometry Sucks

So it's been a while since I've last posted and so much has happened.  I'm going to split the events into two separate posts so that it isn't quite so insane.  This one is going to focus on the FCHP combined test and schooling as well as the two day schooling that we did at Twin Rivers, the pre-season prep if you will.

We had quite the group going to Fresno for the combined test and schooling.  Adi, little Lauren, Dana, Mackie, Ellie, Kaiti, Lauren, and I with our horses Danny, Regal, Jax, Wilson, Dakota, Bondie, Diego, and Brit, respectively.  Ellie was just there for schooling and soak in the show atmosphere with the older girls. She has never been to a rated show before and wants to start going this year to a few. At age 11, she is the youngest of our group and is going to have to learn how to keep up with the big girls. Hang in there Ellie!
Jumping just a little big over the trakehner
Day one we schooled cross country.  With many of the girls looking to make their training debuts in the near future it was quite important for us to have that schooling time.  Brit schooled all the training quite nicely and is proving to me that all my hard work during the off season really has helped transform us as a team.  We were very fortunate to have the use of Dana's wonderful professional grade camera and video camera at this show to take lots of photos and videos of everyone.  They are so nice that even the girls can get decent pictures with them (evidence is above, I believe Adi shot that one).  Although for some reason whenever they have charge of the cameras a number of mysterious pictures show up on the camera--the subjects normally being one or several of the girls modeling or being silly, birds, and horse poop.  What Adi finds so artistically amazing about horse poop to justify taking pictures of it is beyond me.  In addition to this Ellie's wonderful dad brought his camera (tripod and all) and setup to take many awesome photos.  Good job sticking it out with us girls Darren!  I think he may have been feeling a little outnumbered all weekend; our group was 14 something girls and one guy.

Day two was dressage and everyone put in some nice tests.  Except for Dana, Jax was being a booger and she ended up making funny faces at us when the judge couldn't see.  She even laughed at the end.  I think we've all had at least one of those rides at one time or another and the best thing to do is exactly what Dana did, laugh about it and move on, but perhaps hold the silly faces for after the test eh?  Brit decided to spook at the judge's booth before my test and a bit during my test.  Why she did is quite the mystery, I'm pretty sure that the judge's booths didn't become giant horse eating monsters since the last time we saw them two months ago.  Either way she was a bit fresh and difficult in my test and, as it turns out, when I start fighting with her my geometry goes to hell.  Like 15 meter circles become 19 meters as the judge was so kind to point out... all over my test.  Apparently my corners also sucked and I had some of the worst geometry known to man.  I mean, she did have a bit of point, it was bad at times, but I have never had a comment on my geometry. EVER.  So you can bet that I will be fixing that for next time.
Such a cute girl, you can't help but score that pretty face well!
Day three was show jumping, the day where rails can kill.  Honestly, I came into this show with a very simple list of goals: finish, and improve on our last outing.  At our last show Brit lost some confidence jumping and we had some trouble in the show jumping.  However I am happy to report that this time that was not the case.  I gave Brit the softest ride I could and some of the jumps she jumped the snot out of, others.... not so much. But hey, three rails?  I'll take it, I don't even care.  We came out this show and left better off than the last. We may have missed out on a ribbon (again, I mean seriously, what does it take for a girl to get a rosette around here?), but we were victorious in other ways at this show.

A few short weeks after the Fresno CT and we were off to school Twin Rivers.  Amazingly enough even though it poured at home it stayed remarkably dry and pleasant at Twin.  This trip also marked a historical occasion, the first time that the Original Fictiophiliacs brought along their cameras to vlog a trip.  Now you may be asking what the heck are you talking about? So allow me to explain.  Original Fictiophiliacs is the name that little Lauren, Adi, and I came up with to name a youtube channel where we will vlog about horse shows and perhaps do some other crazy videos to entertain others with our amazing sense of humor and just plain craziness.  So that explains what the group is, but the word fictiophiliac comes from the urban dictionary term fictiophilia which refers to the act of falling in love with fictional characters.  Every one of us in this little group is quite guilty of this and so we made up the term fictiophiliac to describe one who falls in love with fictional characters.  Anyway, so each of us that has a camera was supposed to bring it so we could vlog.  I had a camera to bring and Adi was so excited about starting vlogging that she went out and bought a camera.  The morning to leave comes, I start vlogging with my camera, and Adi realizes that while she has her camera, she forgot the camera battery.  Fail.  So for this trip my camera flew solo.  I have been through the footage and it is absolutely hilarious.  Once I have time to design the intro hacking it together should be a snap and it will be quite entertaining for all.
Jumping rather large out over the roll top.
The schooling went really well for everyone and much fun was had by all.  I discovered the magic of kissing to keep the rhythm up to the big fly fences and I can now say that I am a believer Lauren, I believe in the power of kissing and counting!  You have a convert!  Although Hawley Bennett is rather likely to kill me at Young Rider camp this year... oh well.

I'm currently working on a video mashup of my schooling footage, that should be up soon and a link will be included in my next post where I will write all about the Fresno Horse Trials, our first real show of the season.  Until next time! I'll be working on my geometry, because apparently sometimes it sucks.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I ride horses and climb poles, I am also a nerd

Stop, before you read this, do yourself a favor by scrolling down to the bottom and listening to some of the epic music I provided you with.  Warning, I am not responsible for any loss of hearing if you have your sound up too loud or if you lose your mind at the sound of such awesomeness.

Are you listening to some now?  Good.  Onward!

Believe it or not, the first show of the season is next weekend.  Crazy huh?  Seems like show season just ended, but I for one am dying to get back out there.  Last season for me did not exactly end on the greatest note from a showing perspective, but Brit and I have accomplished a lot during the short off-season and I feel like we are really ready to get back out there and kick some butt.  A few members of LL Equestrian have already taken their first trip of 2014 to ride in the Hawley Bennett clinic out at Dragonfire in Wilton. This clinic, as always, was amazing.  Unfortunately I am a bit strapped for cash at the moment and chose not to ride.  I did get the chance to go watch, however, which is always an illuminating experience. Hawley is an excellent clinician and I would highly recommend that if you get the chance to ride with her DO IT!  Dana, Adi, and Lauren (trainer, not little) all rode and I was the official videographer for the weekend.
Adi and Lauren repping LLE with our gorgeous new jackets
I think I did a pretty nice job, and Camille definitely did a good job capturing some pretty pictures on Sunday with Dana's snazzy new camera that she got for Christmas.  Maddie was the designated photographer for Saturday, and got some nice shots as well.  Little Lauren and Mackie were also there and were the official Kumo keepers.  Our amazing new jackets also came just in time for the clinic, so we got to look nice and sophisticated out at Dragonfire and we are sure to look awesome at all of our 2014 shows. Hawley brought a lot of interesting exercises that really challenged the horse and rider to be very accurate and adjustable.  We set a few up at Raintree this week for the jumping lessons and they have been a great challenge.  Brit and I can really benefit from this kind of exercise because our biggest problem is not having enough adjustability.  Brit can have an open stride all day long, but it is difficult to get the collected stride on her.  We made a lot of progress in our lesson, but I am going to have another stab at it before the course gets changed again.  Improving our adjustability is going to be a big piece of the puzzle that will make us ready for prelim.

In other news, we have finally taken down the Christmas decorations at Raintree.  Well, most of them anyway.  Somehow we missed the lights in the tackroom... and the wreath on the grain shed... and the stuff in the palm trees... really all we did was take down the things on the front of the barn that for some reason had been stuck up there with duct tape.  Now I'm not really sure how the heck the girls got some of the things up there, but somehow they managed to wrap tinsel around the front posts of the barn.  The tall ones. So how do we get the duct tape down?  Well obviously you climb the pole.  Now most of the girls did not think they were capable of climbing up there and I'm pretty sure most of them did not actually expect me to get all the way up there.  Well you know what?  I climbed that pole and I got that duct tape down.  Bam! That's right.  And I wasn't sore at all the next day... not even a little bit... sort of... maybe... okay.  Below is my picture proof.  I did actually make it all the way to the top, this was just on my descent.
Kumo is unamused.
Ellie climbed the other post to get the tinsel down.  We were all pretty impressed, her mom included, that she was able to get up there.  Apparently she is a tiny climbing machine haha.  I also find it really amusing that I put this picture on facebook with the caption "Climbing the post in front of the barn the other day... because I can. Or because I was getting the tinsel down from Christmas which was stuck to the very top of the pole. Seriously, I climbed all the way up there to unstick some duct tape."  I got the most likes on that post that I think I have ever gotten from any post.  Was my caption that amusing/interesting?  Was my picture that great?  Was my feat of strength that impressive?  I have no idea, but apparently both my horsey and non horsey friends alike were amused for some reason and gave me a like.  Moving on...

Recently I learned that I have the entire soundtrack for Mass Effect 3 on my computer because apparently it came with my collector's edition of the game (heck yeah I bought the collector's edition, it is only my favorite series of all time).  I started listening to the sound track and oh my God this game has the most amazing soundtrack of any game EVER.  This is not up for debate.  Period.  End of story.  I mean, just listen to this song:
How much emotion do you get from that song that doesn't even have any words?  At least EA can get one thing right, they do good soundtracks.  Also, the trailer music from Mass Effect 2 & 3 has now been added to my list of cross country songs, joining "If Today Was Your Last Day" by Nickelback and "Hall of Fame" by The Script.  Entitled "Protectors of the Earth" and "Heart of Courage" (the video below) both are by Two Steps From Hell, who apparently specializes in epic music that ends up in many movie and game trailers. They are 'mazing, nuff said.

So I think that is where I am going to end this post.  I am going to try and do another one before the combined test next weekend.  If I have enough to write about, I would like to try and make this blog a weekly thing, we will see.  Until next time: watch some clinics, ride your horse, climb some poles, and listen to epic music--because you're just that awesome.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What I Have Done Over Winter Break

So a couple weeks ago I finished my last final.  I was ecstatic, to say the least, that I had survived my chemistry class and passed.  I didn't even care that I had gotten a C, the point was that I had taken what is universally regarded as the most difficult chemistry class at Sierra (and perhaps in all of college) and made it through when well over half my lab had dropped out.  Seriously, there were nine of us left from the original twenty-six by the end of semester.  Now, with a full six weeks of winter break--yes, I know it's awesome--I could finally get to some of the things I had been meaning to do and pretty much do whatever the heck I wanted.  I am now about halfway through, and here is what I have actually managed to accomplish with my time:
-Play Skyrim, lots of Skyrim.  Like take a level twenty to over level thirty in about four days and also start a new mage and get to level ten.
-Install Skyrim's predecessor, Oblivion.  Play through the intro, get annoyed, go back to Skyrim.
-Cut twelve inches of my hair off to donate to Locks of Love.  Fourth time doing so, and probably not the last.
-Do a hunt clip on Liam, spend an hour pulling his mane.  Now he looks like a sophisticated show horse, not that he acts any more like one, but we're getting there.
-Attend Northern Mines Pony Club Christmas party.  Knock an ornament off the tree the moment I arrive, shattering it, everyone makes fun of me for the rest of the night.  See Adi, I call her Tris due to our inside joke, she calls me Tori.  Eat lots of the amazing berry jello thing with the cream, so good.  Try and play telephone with all the girls, fail miserably.
Captain Tori Williams dress up, you wish you were this cool.
-Play dress up as Captain Tori Williams, the fictional main character of my book.  Take lots of selfies, edit said selfies and flood Adi's phone with them so she can change my contact picture.  Come up with a clever idea of a homemade cover.  Take pictures and edit, e-mail cover to Adi.
Homemade cover idea fun. Bonus points to those who get what is going on here.
-Write about 2500 words to my book, get irritated that I haven't written more, go on Youtube because somehow that will fix everything.
-Send first chapter to Adi.  Bug her for ages to read it.  She reads it and sends me an e-mail where half of it is incoherent.  I think she may have liked it.
-Attend the barn Christmas party where Ellie gets surprised with a new horse, Dakota.  Congrats Ellie!  Participate in group photo.  Listen to barn opera courtesy of Lauren and her sister, Ricia.  Encourage little Lauren to sing too, clap when she does awesome.  Play a hugely epic game of ninja, it comes down to me and Mackie, I win after accidentally purposefully falling to the ground and taking her by surprise.
-Bake enough Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve to feed a platoon.  Go to Grandma's house for dinner, none of the family that I saw on Thanksgiving says anything about my dramatically shorter hair... Really?
Epic purple metallic padded halter from Mom and Dad :)
-Get lots of amazing gifts on Christmas day (thank you Mom and Dad!).  Too of the coolest are a leather halter, black with PURPLE METALLIC padding, and a signed copy of Phillip Dutton's book "Modern Eventing."  He wrote for me to follow my dreams and that he would see me at Rolex.  I would certainly love to see him at Rolex someday, perhaps I'll even take him by surprise and beat him at Rolex someday haha, one can dream.
One day Phillip, one day.
-Spend half an hour assembling Rachel's hamster palace for her hamster, Perry, from the huge number of tubes and ball capsules that she got for Christmas.
-Assemble the special edition Christmas lego set while watching my brother play Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  A working carousel and little festival stands, how neat!  Takes me several hours.
-Kick brother off of xbox and play Assassin's Creed IV.  Get hooked and spend hours plundering ships as a bad ass pirate, decide that Edward is so superior to Conner that I have no idea how they could possibly be related.  He's also pretty hot, but Ezio is still my favorite, can't beat that Italian accent.
-Ride in the Daniel Stewart Clinic, fail so miserably that I have to do a total of two hundred equestrian sit ups.  Then I lose bet against Lauren, have to do another one hundred.  But the point of the clinic was to fail and be okay with it, so did I really fail, or did I actually succeed?  I'm confused.
-Decide that my New Years Resolution is to finish writing one of my book ideas.  Any idea, but I must finish at least one.  Find an article on becoming a traditionally published author in twenty five steps.  Here is a Link to the article if you are interested.  Discovered that I am only on step five, the word vomit of the first draft.  Proceed to Youtube.
-Create a Sims 3 town made up entirely of my own characters, it takes several hours.  A bunch of the barn girls and fictional book characters thrown into the big city, Bridgeport.  Camille, Adi, Mackie, Maddie, little Lauren, and I have a giant condo together.  Adi instantly adopts a cat and becomes a police officer.  Little Lauren turns on the stereo and starts dancing, she wants to be a magician for some reason.  Mackie and Maddie start reading books.  Camille burns the waffles she was making.  Adi's boss at work is Dana.  Mackie meets Jace from the Mortal Instruments at work, she starts flirting with him.  I think I nailed it.
-Decide with little Lauren and Adi that we should make a Youtube channel and do vlogs.  Start picking out screen names.
-Hold a book club meeting while sitting on our horses.  We all discuss our adoration of Tris and Four from Divergent, but get equally pissed that Tris has a complete melt down about holding guns.  Come on Tris you are supposed to be a bad ass.  Argue over who gets dibs on Four, but Adi already called him ages ago before any of us had read the books, darn you Adi.  Lauren yells at us for having social hour.  I yell back and tell her its book club.
If you haven't read these, do it. The first is Divergent, it's the first series I have been hooked on for some time.  Finished the first one in less than two days. Second in about a six hour straight period. The third in about thirty-six hours.
-Buy new music on itunes, become obsessed with "Waiting for Superman" by Daughtry and "Say Something" by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.
-Send in entry for Fresno County Horse Park combined test.  Is show season really starting already?

So that was my first half of winter break in a nutshell (actually in a blog post, where the heck did that expression come from anyway?).  Not terribly horsey this time, but hopefully you still found it entertaining. Brit got a few quick breaks over the holidays and not a ton is going on right now so there just hasn't been a lot to write about on that front.  Next weekend is the Hawley Bennett clinic, and although I am not riding I might try and go watch.  Until next time, this videogaming, failed story writing, book clubbing, future Youtube vlogging equestrian is out!