July 3, 2015

Future decisions!


I have some big decisions coming up, and I’d love some advice/comments from those more experienced than I.

I graduate from college next December with a Bachelor’s in Physics. During my time in college, I’ve spent two summers as a working student, once for my original trainer, where I mostly worked with our pony camp program, and as a groom. The other I spent in Florida, working as the barn manager/assistant trainer, where I also worked with their summer camp program, and well as teaching lessons, showing sale horses and running the farm while the main trainer was abroad for several week(this included mostly dealing with the care of the horses and having my own working student working under me). I also ride on my college’s nationally ranking IHSA team, and have attended IHSA nationals as a finalist for their horsemanship scholarship competition, as well as being a finalist  for the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge, although I could not attend the finals. Here at school, I’ve also taught the first two levels of our riding PE program, and helped with team practices.

I’d been planning on attending graduate school and working towards my PhD in Biomedical Engineering.   However, I recently got a job offer from my trainer I worked with through high school as an assistant trainer, and she also offered to help me build up my own program within her own, and possibly eventually going out on my own. This is actually the second offer I’d gotten, I also was offered a permanent spot at the facility in Florida I worked for, but I decided that Florida wasn’t the place for me to live full-time.

I could attend the university in the same town as this new offer and do my graduate work through them, but it’s not fantastically well known. I don’t want to give up on my academics, because I do love research. However, I had  always wanted to go into the horse industry, I had just thought that I was never going to be able to accomplish it because I never had the money, the horses, etc. to actually get started and get the experience I needed. Now it seems like the opportunity has finally popped up and I’m very split on what I actually want to do with myself.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading my ramblings.

First time cross-country!

1549462_957429331885_8868836886334589831_nHello all! This is picture from my first time every going cross country. I have an intense fear of solid jumps and wide jumps, so it was a very interesting lesson. Thankfully, the mare I was riding, Mondu (who is a school horse), had more than enough excitement to make up for my fear. I ended up having a super fun time, and we jumped everything, including the large 3’3(ish?) ramp, as well as up the banks. This picture is of us jumping a table that might have been 2’9, could have been 2’6? If you could judge my position, that would be great! I’m primarily a hunter/eq rider (specifically IHSA at this point in my life), not an eventer, so this was just a fun day outside the ring to unwind. Thanks!

Jumpers on Charles

I apologize for video quality, a friend of mine was kind enough to film us, but it was with a iphone! Hopefully you can see something :D

This is me, and of my university’s school horses, Charles, showing in the 2’6-2’9 jumpers.  This was the power and speed portion of the division. Unfortunately, we missed the turn from the end of the power phase(the in and out) to the start of the speed phase(that would be the fence we have a rail down on), and didn’t place. This was also the only class I missed my distance to the liverpool, but luckily Charles was perfect and didn’t care too much. We were 2nd in the speed by .003s though! I’d ridden Charles in our IHSA practice once before, a few weeks prior to this show, so this was only my second time on him. He’s a fabulous little guy, just a bit over pony size, but super duper fun.

How to succeed in the IHSA?

I recently made my school’s very competitive IHSA team, which I’m so excited about! I love my team, and I’m  proud to have been selected, considered about 30 people tried out for my division and only nine people were chosen(I’m novice division).

But I’ve always ridden a single horse, or switched between several horses that I know very well. Honestly, having to just get on a horse I’ve never ridden before and then immediately go jump a course is somewhat scary to me. I know I can be a good rider, but I have a lot of problems with my confidence, and I tend not to trust the decisions I make, especially when I don’t know how the horse I’m riding is going to react to my aids . How can I set myself up for success in this world of IHSA showing? I really want to put out the best rides possible for myself and the team :)

How to keep riding in college?

I’m going back to college in a month, and I really want to keep riding during the semester. My school(Mount Holyoke College) has a barn on campus, and various lesson programs, but I found in the last year that lessoning there didn’t really help my riding at all…I came back to my current trainer with some problems that had to be fixed.

So I want to find another barn to ride at, and preferably work at. I need advise as to how to approach trainers about work(a working student position would be fine!)? Is it polite to just call barns and ask if they need anyone to work for them? Would email be better?

I’ve been a working student/groom for my trainer(who shows on the local circuit as well as the NorCal rated circuit) for the last four years, and have a very good reference from her and her assistants. I’ve taught children and adult beginners on the ground, and occasionally mounted, I supervised and helped plan our summer camp programs, and I also currently do our newsletter and sale ads. I can clip, bathe, pull, braid, etc. I can feed, muck out, etc as well. I’ve also lived on site and been the night check person and I’ve worked with a variety of horses, from green babies to grand prix horses to stallions…Do I have enough experience to be able to get a working student position in an area I’m not all that familiar with?


Theo_thumbnailSorry for the blurriness! This is a still from a video. I’m riding my trainer’s sale horse, Theo. We were preparing for a short right rollback after this oxer. He pretty much just canters over the jumps at this height, they have to get a bit bigger before he starts putting in more effort. I know my back is rounding out, I’ve been working really hard on keeping my back flat through the whole arc of the jump and not sitting up too soon on the landing.

ETA: Also, he’s the sort of horse that you have to keep a short release on, or else there’s no way to get him back before the next jump and he just loooves to drag you to the fences…his nickname is “Boulder” ;P

Special Hunters on Thelonious

Me showing on one of my trainer’s sale horses, Thelonious(aka Theo)! We received first place with this round, and another first with the special hunter round we had before this one(even though we swapped a few strides out from the brown diagonal line…). We also got a first in the mini-medal, which I don’t have a video of. Even though it’s a hunter round, if you could critique my eq that would be amazing! He has a tendency to get strong and pulling in the show ring, and rush to the fences, so I was pretty proud of this round :)

SNHSA Mini Medal Finals

The finals for my local circuit were actually a month ago, but I’ve been holding off on getting pictures :P I qualified for the mini medal finals early in the year, so these are from the finals! I ended up reserve champion. I was actually first going into the second round, but having so much time to wait made me get really anxious, so our second round wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. The horse I’m on is Picture Perfect(aka Beau). He’s one of my trainer’s school horses. He’s a 13 yo Appendix Quarter Horse. He’s nothing fancy, but he always keeps going to the jumps and gets his changes :)

I know the angle/timing of the picture isn’t the best, but the photographer for the show wasn’t very good :( I look like I’m looking for a turn or something…which is strange, considering this was the last fence on course, and the only way to go was straight. I have no clue what I was doing.

Mini Medal

I found this image floating around in the depths of my computer! According to the properties, it from a show about two months ago. I believe this was our 2’6 Mini Medal round. My leg seems to have slipped back quite a bit, but please judge me and my mare :)

Faramir and Colbie, please judge!

Hello! This video is from a local schooling show at my barn this weekend. I know the jumps look tiny . Recently me and my mare have actually been schooling 3′-3’3, but I took a pretty bad fall(a cracked helmet and a bad concussion was the result) a couple weeks ago that didn’t do anything good for my confidence. So we’re starting back up small. I’d really appreciate it if I got an eq critique, even though this is the jumpers, since I did qualify for our local Mini Medal finals at the beginning of the year, and I’d like to do really well at them :)