First few weeks of 2014!

2014 is in full swing already…. Still can’t believe it’s already January and the days are starting to get longer….  I got a text from Lauren yesterday, and guess what just came! Jax’s stall plate for the barn! AHH so excited to see it at the barn today!

I offered to help Lauren with apparel orders and her new “show setup” for 2014. Well the first round of apparel orders have come in and the *NEW* LLE jackets are amazing! Can’t wait to see how the show setup turns out!


To kick off 2014 I attended a Hawley Bennett clinic out at Dragonfire.  Like I told Lauren – it’s really great to have such an amazing trainer at home- because when you go to clinic you really just learn a bunch of little things, instead of the major- you are doing this all wrong. Was refreshing to hear the things Hawley had to say were in line with what Lauren and I have been working on. Basically at the end of the day Jax needs to be more rideable and I need to be more accurate. I need to hold him to my lines and not let him drift – just because he can drift and still clear the poles doesn’t mean I need to let him. Both days were amazing, it was super cold so I got my wear my new jacket both days- where normally I get too hot in a jacket to wear while riding. Jax showed his little green self for a few moments on Sunday and its really hard for me to grasp that this brave 4ft+ jumper can be terrified of a little 2ft cross country/ scary natural fence. Anyhow- lesson learned, when coming into something scary – don’t jump the first element giant. CHECK. It’s always embarrassing to have mistakes in a clinic but at the end of the day I have to remember how lucky I am to have this amazingly talented horse, and that I have to let him and I have bad days every once in a while.

Lauren and Adi also got to ride in the clinic- and I had helpers galore both days with Camille, Haley, Mackie, Maddie, and lil Lauren helping film, photograph and hold Kumo!

Zalsa has now been back into work for two months following her mini-vacation to grow some much needed front hoof. She has been rather un-amused with the 8 weeks of flat work, and has definitely communicated her boredom to both Lauren and myself. Well Tuesday was the first day back to jumping, and she was SUPER excited. She was a little startled when I pointed her to a cross rail and actually kept her on the line instead of turning before the jump. She jumped the cross rail a little crooked and then bolted around the turn. It was like a little light bulb went off in her head – WE ARE JUMPING!!!!!!!!!!! She was a little terror after that and Lauren set some canter poles with some flower boxes to get her to settle to the fences. After having been on Jax the past few months, I have forgotten how easy it is to stay with Zalsa while she jumps. She is just a smooth operator, and unlike Jax who I am always having to slow down with half halts – Zalsa I literally have to give her the reins, otherwise she just runs to all the fences. So as she is OVERLY excited cantering at the fences, I just get to sit pretty and give her the reins. But, man is it fun! I am made that I didn't get any photos :(

Came into the barn on Monday- to find Jackie taking a little nap. He actually stayed down even when I was taking photos of him. He looks kinda fat in these photos and his stall looks tiny! hahaha Fat horse in a little stall - bahahahah neither or which are true....


Nail Polish that actually lasts a week

Yup.... the have finally mastered a nail polish that actually doesn't chip in 2 days!

Its called CND Vinylux, and I am in LOVE with it! It goes on and off like normal polish, just wears so much better! I am riding 1-2 horse a day 6-7 days a week..... so I am not exactly nice to my nails and the polish really does stay put.... I have tried four colors so far and I have to say the "shimmery" ones seem to wear just a tad better and go on a bit thicker..

The application is 2 coats of the polish and then ONE coat of the "weekly top coat". Dries in about 8 minutes... Exposure to natural light makes the polish stronger so I try and get my nails in the sun right after I apply and while they are drying...

If you don't want to invest is a while new line of polishes the CND Super Shiny Top Coat makes your regular polish last just a few days longer... Really shiny!

Vexed Violette- shimmery silver purple. Really easy coverage, wore the best
Asphalt - kind of a navy/grey. Really LOVED the color!

Lilac Longing- first color I tried. Went on a little thin, should have done thicker two coats to really get full coverage...
 Dark Lava - color I have on now. This one went on the easiest by far- GREAT coverage. I didn't really like the color in the bottle, but it looks really good one. Day #2 and not one mark in them....


New Year Resolutions

Marriage goal:     Learn to balance horse and home life better. The weekends that I am not gone doing the horsey thing I need to make count! Little day trips or two-day trips need to be arranged so Bryan and I can have some much needed quality time.


Work goal:     Really own my tasks at work. I have had to successful reviews with my new boss and I really want 2014 to be the year I really shine. I have been doing well, I just want to do awesome this next year!


Health goal:     Exercise more! I ride basically 6-7 days a week and some of those days I am riding two horses, but I really need to strength train. I did this on and off in 2013, but would really like to get into a routine of doing it regularly and not just before shows and clinics! I would also like to get back to eating smaller dinners. Huge dinners just make me feel so yuckie, would be nice to get back on the routine of smaller dinners like I did at the start of 2013


Horse goal:     I don’t want to say I want to be to X level at X time. I just really want to push myself this year. Get myself out of my comfort zone so that I and my horses can learn the most. I need to have a daily plan while riding and really make the most of my time in the saddle. I know that sounds really vague, but how many times when riding on your own are you just going through the motions? I want to have a plan of attach for each ride!


2013 in a nutshell

So this post has been sitting on my desktop for about three weeks. I still can't gather all the pictures I wanted to post, but I figured I would post anyways.... 2013 has gone by so fast... so since I really lacked on posting this year.... here is my year in a nutshell!

Trips- Argentina/Utah/Oregon

Bryan and I had a few trips this year. We started off in January going with my parents to Argentina. My parents flew us first class and Bryan and I were nicely spoiled in our sleeper cabin – boy is that the way to travel long distance. We were gone for a total of 9 days and enjoyed every moment of it. We visited Argentina and did a short trip to Brazil to see the Iguazu Falls – which were SO amazing!!!! I am kicking myself since I don’t have many photos from that trip. Grrrr. We also did a few trips to watch Utah Football, and surprisingly I enjoyed all of them! One of the trips we made it to the Utah/BYU game and it was a crazy game ending in all the Utah fans chanting on the way out… pretty dang cool.


New Horse Trainer / facility / farrier / vet!

At the beginning of the year I changed horse trainers and subsequently riding facilities, farriers and vet! It was a big change for me and I have to admit I was a little nervous coming into a facility where I didn’t really know anyone. Now looking back at this past year I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lauren has really transformed the way I ride and approach training my horses. She always provides fresh new ideas regarding training exercises and I am so grateful for the rider I have become.  Her attitude and approach to problems has been super refreshing and she has become a great friend along the way. Sabine has also been a huge part of this past year in helping me acquire my new horse Jax and helping me practice in the sandbox. The move to Raintree Ranch has been awesome, and the support system we have in place in amazing! This next year is going to ROCK!!!!
sorry Lauren- just had to put this one on here! bahahah

Horse Clinics/Expo

I was lucky enough to go to two Hawley Bennett clinic’s and a Greg Best clinic! I learned a ton in such a short amount of time. Zalsa was a total champ! Got to do a Daniel Stewart clinic for the first time this year, which was amazing! And I got to ride at Horse Expo this year on Vicky’s wonderful dressage horse Vinnie. I had a few lessons with Sabine prior to Expo since I had never ridden him before. I learned how to properly queue for half pass, flying changes and at Expo I did my first canter pirouette!
horse expo on Vinnie
 Greg Best clinic on Zalsa
 2 Hawley Bennett clinics on Zalsa!

Horse Shows (spring)

Had a bit of a rocky start with Zalsa this spring. I got a new trainer and subsequently learned that while jumping I needed to let go of Zalsa’s face so that she could really jump properly and use her neck over the fences. Unfortunately for me the first show was a bit bumpy as we were still ironing out the kinks! Zalsa was also getting fitter with me riding her more and subsequently our dressage was still a little messy - however I was SLOWLY learning to ride with more leg than hand... probably slower than Lauren would have liked, but I was getting here.... The remainder of the spring season was great and we finished up at May Woodside at training level in 4th!

      Hiking in Tahoe

I am gone a LOT of weekends with the horses and so one of the weekends that I was home Bryan and I decided to do a little day trip up to Tahoe and hike! We had a ton of fun and poor little kumo was totally pooped the next day. I got a call from my Mom because she thought there was something wrong with him because he was walking all funny... poor guy  was sore!

Horse growing feet/ new horse

       Over summer I started schooling some of the prelim and it felt awesome, but the schooling got cut short when Zalsa freakishly broke her breastcollar which subsequently hit her in the face scaring the crap out of her, and knocking me off… still not entirely sure what happened, but the schooling was done for her and I. About July time frame she wasn’t moving entirely forward enough like she normally does and we did some diagnostic lameness exams to see what was going on… she wasn’t lame per say- just not the forward crazy mare I was used to. She was starting to pin her ears while cantering and jumping was not the excited craz brained mare while jumping. I knew something was up- we blocked her feet and she blocked positive. Back to the drawing board on the angle and shoes. At this point her feet were so short from me requesting the farrier to adjust the angles that I needed to just give her time off to grow some foot. Unfortunately for me- she has like the SLOWEST growing feet ever! Which meant I was side lined. I was keeping myself busy riding other horses at the barn for whoever was out of town at the time and looking for a lease horse. I was even getting to jump Sabine’s dressage horse some- which was TOTALLY awesome! And then the unexpected happens…. of course when you aren’t looking to buy a horse, the total dream horse gets dropped in your lap. Sabine is friends with this woman in the Netherlands who is a dressage broker. She is actually the broker that sold Totalis to Edward Gal. Anyhow she acquired this jumper when making an exchange with another broker, and saw on Sabine’s facebook that someone was jumping her dressage horse. She contacted Sabine if she knew of anyone interested in a jumper who could also do dressage. I immediately fell in love with the videos I received a few days later. And low and behold Kaiti and I drove down to LAX on Sept 12th to pick him up.

These are the videos that I was send when inquiring about him... I still can't believe I bought him without trying him, but who wouldn't based on these????

And then- this is the first time I jumped him a few days after picking him up from LAX:

Horse shows (fall)

Even though Jax has shown at 1.3meters (4’3”) he had previously never seem a cross country jump so the fall season started off with lots of schooling for me. It was perfect timing since Lauren had just had Lacey and was just starting to get her new horse Diego going. I thought Zalsa was a forward horse…. I didn’t know what a forward horse was until I sat on Jax… he definitely isn’t impressed with the dressage and he is very subdued, however when he sees the fences he turns into this wonderfully athletic light on your feet – MONSTER that wants more and more…. Hahaha. I love him! We started off with training level HC at woodside and only did dressage and stadium. Definitely wasn’t prepared for the usually subdued dressage to go more like the crazed monster I get while jumping…. Anyhow lesson learned… lots of lunging before dressage. Stadium went very well and I was happy for his first time out. Then we had our first official HT, fresno in October. Jax was a bit better in the dressage, he likes to trick me being sleepy in his stall and then coming out breathing fire, but we managed to keep it all together.  Stadium he decided that because we were only doing novice that the fences were too small and his bit was too light and we ended up blowing through out course. Definitely needed a little more bit-since he was previously training by two taller gentleman, my upper body strength just wasn’t cutting it…. Anyhow we get to cross country… first fence is away from the warm up arena and stabling and apparently had a scary jump judge so he tries to run back “home”. BAHAHAHA… rest of course went well except the afore mentioned lack of upper body strength and soft bit, which resulted in lots of circles on course. But we made it – no ribbon, but we made it through the finish flags together. Was proud of him at the end of day for being able to gallop around the course without being terrified we were away from “home”. Net stop- Galway. My Mom flew down for this show and I was happy to have her for all three of my phases! Long 10+ hour haul getting down to the show grounds a few days early, which means Jax has a little extra time to settle. Dressage- still felt a bit strong, but was getting better about my half halts and was able to let go of his face some… stadium was on the same day, and the dressage scores hadn’t been posted yet… so on to stadium, which again being novice is tiny for Jax, but this time I had a little bit of bit, ahhaha, to help me keep him a little more backed off. Went clean! Yay! Later that afternoon I find out I got a 28.5 in dressage and with my clean stadium I am now in first! YAHOO!!! Saturday was spent drooling over all the FEI division that were running cross country. Sunday comes and its cross country day for us. A little nervous – ok actually a LOT nervous – siting in first is really nice, but also terrifying that I will blow it. Anyhow the course was very straight forward and the other thing I was worried about was fence #2 which was after a turn away from the stabling and the warm up. Well at the end of the day we ended up making it around double clean. It wasn’t the prettiest round, but we accomplished first place, and I was super happy to be ending my show season on such a wonderful high note J



We had Bryan’s family in town for Thanksgiving. Which meant we had …. Let me count…. Thirteen people in the house! This is a record for us. We borrowed some blow up mattresses from my parents and we ended up with everyone in beds. I was amazed! It is always great to have his family in town! The highlight was definitely Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone had a little part they were responsible for and it turned out pretty amazing, beside the fact that we totally forgot about the ham…. My poor mom went a few days earlier to get the ham, and we totally forgot about it in the fridge, and to make matters worse my Mom wasn’t able to come over on thanksgiving because her neck was giving her problems L The Thanksgiving weekend ended with what was suppose to be sky diving for Keven (bryan’s older brother)… They arrived around noon and around 3 were finally loaded onto the plane…. However once everyone was on board the pilot decided he didn’t like the sound of the engine and ordered everyone off…. Jessica had planned this for months so it was a little disappointing for all of them to miss out.
Kumo and Z - so cute!

Christmas was done at my parents this year which entailed the usual luminaries on Christmas eve accompanied by Chinese food, yum! Bryan and I got some cool presents but I have to say my favorites were my new head phones from bryan… yes that is right head phones…. I am that excited about them because I can’t seem to wear those dang ear buds since they hurt my ears and they ALWAYS fall out! Well bryan got me this cool bose head phones they are like ear buds but don’t hurt your ears…. They are hard to explain but so cool! I also got an awesome new camera from my parents which then lead to me going out to the barn on Christmas to try it out!

Laurens new website

Last but not least I got a little creative and helped Lauren develop a new website for her business. I had a TOTAL blast designing it and maintaining it.... Check it out!




So a lot has happened this past year in regarding to my horsey hobby!

I moved barns in February of this year! Zalsa is now out at Raintree Ranch in NewCastle. I am so thrilled with my decision. I now have access to two wonderful trainers and an amazing facility. Things have been sort of a roller coaster since the move – but that is life with horses. When switching facilities I unfortunately also had to switch farriers, which meant my sensitive mare getting some new shoes and new angles. Unfortunately she did not agree with the new shoes and shortly afterwards in April let me know by not having that great of a first show to the season. Unfortunately with horses, they cannot just tell us what is wrong, so an ultrasound and two heel blocks later we discovered that she was just foot sore. Thank goodness! Onto the second new farrier, and her feet are coming around! Yippie!

I am still so totally stocked with my two wonderful trainers! I cannot express the appreciation to all they have done for Zalsa and myself. I am so lucky to have access to them on a daily basis. Along with the new facility, new trainers, and new farrier, I now have a wonderful new vet! She is out at Raintree almost everyday so it’s always nice to have a second pair of eyes when you can’t quite figure out if something should be a concern or not.

Overall the show season has been a blast! The rocky start in March left me hungry for more. Two shows later, Zalsa and I placed 4th at the May Woodside Event at training level. Plans are to move to Prelim sometime in the fall. I gave Zalsa a nice mid-season break at the beginning of June and we are finally back into full work! I seriously cannot handle not being able to ride my own horse. I do love to help others at LLE by offering to ride their horses, but no horse is quite as fun as Zalsa!

So onto the latest news – having Zalsa back into full work after her small break, LLE went to Woodside to school the cross country course in preparation for the show in August. Woodside is one of my favorite places to school so I was totally stoked, plus I would be schooling all the prelim. I have been schooling prelim since February, but never a full course – usually just a few of the combos. Anyhow so I was totally ampted. Lauren had a large group of students, along with Teresa and her student, so we had 7 horses total. We decided since most were training level and below that we would follow the BN-T tracks and jump the prelim out of order. First two prelim fences I point Zalsa at she jumps them beautifully. At this point I need to remember to keep my horse moving forward, the larger prelim tables you need the added momentum…. Check… onto the water complex. I walk Zalsa around in it for a while, and Lauren’s other students start with the “new” training downbank into the water. I say new since it was built for the may course, with last years water entry on the other side. Anyhow I have already done this down bank before with success so I was ready for it. I know Zalsa does not like this new location, but she puts up with it and into the water we go. This is when the unexpected happens….

From my point of view-- Land in the water, something is wrong and Zalsa’s front end comes up with her front feet out in front of her. I see two legs in my field of vision. I am thinking oh crap something is not right. Next thing I know she brings her front end up again this time higher but with her feet underneath her. I am already unseated at this point and very concerned something is horribly wrong with my horse. I am mostly off, so I know I am not going to fight it and while falling to the ground think “oh I get to test my airvest out – I haven’t had one go off on my before” so one loud pop later and I am laying on the very hard sloping gravel edge of the water complex. I hear multiple people yelling at me to stay still. My vest if inflated and I have my arms crossed over my chest. The vest surprisingly did not knock the wind out of me, but at think point my legs are on fire! Everyone is still yelling at me to stay still and I proceed to just lay there with my eyes closed very still…. Lauren, Teresa and Vicky are instantly around me asking if I am ok. I take a moment to slightly bend my legs (since I landed like a log with them completely straight) and they are both moving, however with large amounts of pain… Vicky takes my now deflating airvest, and Lauren is off to grab Zalsa. I take a few moments to bend my body around so my head isn’t sloping down towards the water and I get up. I think the first words out of my mouth are – “what did my horse just do” – lauren informs me that Zalsa has pulled and shoe and broken her breakplate. I of course and totally bummed because this means the schooling day is most likely over for me. Second words out of mouth to lauren “oh nooo! Will you come back to woodside??” – at this point Lauren knows I am totally fine…

At this point we still don’t totally know what happened. Multiple people saw some different angles and nothing really seems to add up. Conclusion is that we think Zalsa upon landing in the water, clipped her front bell boot and shoe with a hind leg. Freakout moment #1 -- she flings her front legs out in front of her, which them caused her breastplate to snap from her girth and hit her square in the face. As everyone knows my horse already has an issue with things around her face, so freakout moment #2. End result – broken breastplate, floating shoe and bellboot in the water, and me testing out my airvest.

Fortunately we are both fine. I was able to get Zalsa’s shoe tacked back on and we were able to walk around the course minus the breakplate. I see a large amount of water schooling in my future, since I am pretty sure she blames the water for the mishap. I am generally ok—cut up elbows are minimal, two very sore and bruised thighs, and one nasty wound on my hip. Sunday and Monday were rough for me -- Adi and Haley helped on Sunday since Bryan was out of town. Lots of icing and I feel like I can probably get back on by Thursday. Zalsa gets a nice tune up from Sabine in the meantime :)

There is nothing like an update without photos! So here are some:

 Zalsa and I at the Greg Best Clinic
 Zalsa and I at the Greg Best Clinic

 Zalsa loves Adi
 Little Lauren capturing my warmup for woodside
March Twin
 Zalsa loving Raintree ranch
 new blanket for Zalsa
 Todd's came to visit and I got Kiley on a horse!!!! She loved it!!!
 kumo sleeping with his tounge out
 This is adison -- on our way home from a horse show -- she someone ended up with Soda in her Swedish fish bag -- we still do not know how this happened
 Me on Vinnie at Horse Expo -- here we are doing canter pirouette's -- A very special thanks to Sabine and Vicky for letting me ride!!!
 Me showing off my new boots from Argentina -- I look a little crazed in this photo.... oh well!
 kumo loves the lawn!

 New Saddle for Zalsa -- just had to get the red piping!!!!
My helpers on our way home from Woodside -- I needed ice for my legs and Adi and Haley had to get them from the cooler in the back without spilling any ice... ahhahah it was entertaining to say the least