On Sundays We Wear White

For someone who has been riding for thirty years and competing on and off for most of those years, you might be surprised to know that I had yet to compete in the jumper ring in white breeches. Something I considered to be a badge of honour and also something I’ve really striven for. So, I preemptively purchased a pair of second-hand whites from H for the upcoming show at Thunderbird, hopeful I might get a chance to finally show in whites.

The week went well. We moved from the 0.9m’s to the 1.0m’s and I felt like both Fire and I handled that leap well, especially considering we did the Baby Greens for most of the year. I do feel a bit like in the last year I have ridden eight different horses while in the process of bringing Fire along and am currently struggling to try to figure out how to ride this cool new horse I seem to have under me. That’s the great thing about young horses – they’re never boring! Or at least mine certainly isn’t.

On the last day of the show, dressed in my new-to-me white breeches, we warmed up well and I loved the way Fire felt. I was feeling confident, even if the first two fences were oxers, (admittedly not my fave). We walked in the ring and all the sudden that horse under me was gone and instead I had one that was backed off and I had to fight just to get to the end of the ring. I found a long distance (my biggest weakness) to the first oxer. I was desperately trying to put her together around the end of the ring to the second oxer and when I put my leg on and there was no response I got desperate. Old habits die hard, and this one is dying a slow and painful death. I pushed coming out of the corner for a ridiculously long distance to a substantial oxer and while Fire tried to jump initially, we did not make it.

I hit the dirt and was up as soon as I could, worried my horse was going to go for a victory lap around the ring. The jump crew very kindly caught her as she ambled away from me and the jump, likely wondering what the heck was wrong with me and why on earth was I laying in the dirt? I determined I wasn’t hurt enough to need a medic unless they could repair my pride. Talked to my coach, got back on and jumped a couple jumps in the warm-up ring. We talked about what went wrong, how we needed to fix it and then our show was done, and it was time to rush home for the ferry.

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PC Totem Photographics

It wasn’t the best way to finish a show, there may have been a few tears shed on the drive home but that might have been in part because of the exhaustion and looking at the state of my bank account after paying my entries for the week. It was and still is a good wake-up call as to what we need to work on at home. When I put my leg on to go forward the answering machine cannot be on! We have since had about a month back to work and the issues we had at the show are still here but we’re working towards fixing them. While I wish we could have finished our season on a higher note this year, I am truly looking forward to the fall and winter of boot camp to get ready for 2019 Show Season and another chance to show in white breeches again. Maybe next time I’ll make it over more than one jump 😉

MG Community: Work, Eat, Ride, Repeat

As you all know, ManeGirls was created on the foundation of finding commonality and community in our difficult and all-consuming sport, by coming the realization that the three of us were struggling with the same things at the same time, and there was no sense in tackling these things alone. For us, this adventure is just as much about sharing with you, as having you share with us! One of the ways we thought we could connect with you ManeBabes a little better was to open the doors for you to ask questions! On the home page of our website we’ve give you the ability to connect with us. What would you like to hear from us?

One of our lovely Babes sent us this email, and we’re super duper excited to respond to it because it’s not only a great question (or series of questions), but it is also extremely relevant for us, and therefore we believe it will be relevant for you all too!

Laura writes:
“I would love to hear your views on the important of a “program” – both for horse and rider. As an ammy with a desk job with a too-smart mare who finds all sorts of fun (read: demonic) training evasions, I am forever trying to balance my own career, fitness and saddle time. Add in trying to balance my mare’s workload with my lessons and shows and trying to make sure she gets occasional training rides but also some more low-key days, and things can get complicated. Would also love to see a “typical week” program for each of you, and your lovely unicorns! Maybe it will give me ideas and/or inspo to get my ass in gear!”

To answer this, we’ve decided to respond separately, since we all have different lifestyles and schedules to manage.

 

H-Love says:

I can tell from your email that you’re on the right track, because the answer to your question is right there: PROGRAM! I think a lot of people shy away from rigorous scheduling, because it can often feel like failure if you can’t meet an obligation, but I’m a fundamental believer in organization and scheduling both in the short and long term.

My story is that I have a desk job that revolves around a different time zone (eastern), so my days start early and often end early too. This gives me freedom and flexibility for the afternoons, but man is it hard to find any motivation at 3:30pm. This is where my scheduling comes in. If I have specific places I need to be (especially if there are people to see in those places!) it helps me a lot to keep moving. I’ve always found that the busier a person is, the better they become at time management.

The things I need to balance are my work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time (so important!). My schedule is allowed to be flexible and things are allowed to come and go from that schedule, but it remains organized, and I always give things a go for a week or two before I decide if they fit or not. I also lean on others for help. This comes in the form of our coach doing a training ride on my young horse, or having a (trusted) friend take her for a hack.

The most frustrating part of my day is my commute. I live a 15 minute walk to my work, but I live a 35 minute drive (that becomes 50 minutes at 4pm!) from the barn. I’ve been trying to find a way to use my commute as some of my “me” time, whether I listen to some new music or just try to relax and enjoy the time alone, rather than being mad at the F**KING TRAFFIC! This is not perfected, and remains a source of frustration for me as it feels wasteful and unproductive.

Here’s a snapshot of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Tuesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma
My friend or coach will ride this day
Gym (with trainer) 4:00-5:00 PM
Wednesday
Office 6:30-3:00(ish)
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
OFF
Thursday
Office 7:00-3:00(ish)
Flat – Carma 4:30(ish) PM
Gym (solo) 5:45-6:30 AM
Friday
Office 6:30-2:30
Jumping lesson – Carma 5:30(ish) PM
Gym (with trainer) 3:00-4:00 PM
Saturday
OFF
OFF
I try to do something active Saturday or Sunday, but it can be anything! No specific plan.
Sunday
OFF
Flat – Carma 11:00(ish)

Polo practice 2:00(ish)

Now, this isn’t foolproof. Things change. People get sick. Horse shows happen. Special events come up. Work runs late. But, it’s a pretty easy place to start!

 

Ranchero says: 

I love routine and I generally follow mine to a T. I basically have the same list of things to manage as H-Love (work, riding, fitness, responsibilities at home, and my “me” time) but I do it slightly differently.

I also have a desk job that I must answer to, however being my own boss allows me to have the flexibility to make my own hours. Having said that, I must be a glutton for punishment because my days start at 5:00am (gross). For me part of my “me time” is working out, I really find that I am a better person overall when I have either hit the gym or hit the road for a run, and what I have found through some trial and error is that working out in the mornings is what I have to do. After the gym I usually head to the barn (unless there is a pressing work task) and ride either one or both of my horses. After that it’s back home to my desk for the balance of the day. Taking the time in the morning to do what I love sometimes means that my work day doesn’t end until well after dinner, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. There are times when work responsibilities or a social engagement will throw a wrench in my plans and in those moments, I try to lean on a friend or our coach to lighten the load. It’s important to recognize when you need help and not to be ashamed to ask for it!

Along with this I find meal planning especially helpful; sometimes I’m running around from the gym to the barn, home to change, out to a client meeting without a moment to think and if I don’t have something easy to grab I will either not eat (NOT GOOD) or end up at Starbucks 3 times a day (NOT GOOD EITHER).

Here is an example of my week:

 
Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Tuesday
Work at client office
CBX – lunge in pessoa
Aloha – lunge in pessoa
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Wednesday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Jump school
Run – 5:30 to 6:30(ish)
Thursday
10:30 – when I’m done
CBX – jump school
Aloha – Off
Gym 6:00 – 7:00
Friday
11:00 – when I’m done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – Hack
Swim or Run 6:00 – 7:00
Saturday
OFF
CBX – Hack
Aloha – Hack
Off
Yoga
Sunday
Any catch up that needs to be done
CBX – light hack or trail ride
Aloha – light hack or trail ride
Run or Hike

Looking at this you will notice that CBX doesn’t really get much for days off, and this is because that is what works for him – I don’t think most horses need to go 7 days a week but at this stage in this life he needs to go out and do something (even just a walk) every day to not turn into a holy terror. Aloha however is much less energetic and can get away with a couple days off.

As H-Love said, this isn’t set in stone as things happen, but having a plan like this really helps me to keep the ball rolling 🙂

 

Apes says:          

OK, so my reply to this question may read like a little convoluted but bear with me here. I work full time with some flexibility for hours as long as I am in the office by 9 am and work an eight hour day. I also teach and train on the side to help support my horse, and my unfortunate champagne tastes on a beer budget. Recently I also decided I needed to get back into running and am currently signed up for a half marathon this fall. You know, cause who needs sleep anyway? I use the Nike Run Club app for my run training and love it. You can design your program based on your fitness level and goals, and it is so helpful to stay focused. My current program also incorporates Nike Training Club workouts that can be done anywhere with little to no equipment making it attainable even with a crazy schedule and especially for someone like me who is pretty much allergic to gyms.

I find for me I always have the best intentions when planning my week and days, but things happen, including sleepy Apes turning off her alarm clock in the morning. Something like that can throw my entire day off and make me feel pretty bad about things. But we’re only human right? So I try to do the best that I can for my clients, my horse, and myself. Often Fire will be the last one I get to in a long day, and that’s not always ideal with a young horse. I have learned, (the hard way) that some days just lunging is OK. Or even just a light hack or an extra day off if things go sideways is better than a fight. I do need to incorporate more fun times for Fire though, like trail rides and adventures.

Here is a look at what a “typical” week looks like for me, although it seems to change on the regular. Allowing some flexibility in my schedule is huge for me when working around so many different variables and people.

Work
Horses
Fitness
Monday
Office 8am-4pmish, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Tuesday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:45-6/7pm
Fire – Hack
Nike Workout
Wednesday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, Teach 6:30-8pm
Fire – Lunge/Hack
Run
Thursday
Office 7am-3pm, Teach/Ride 3:30-8pm
Fire – Day Off
Rest Day
Friday
Office between 7/9am-3/5pm, No Teaching
Fire – Jumping Lesson
Short Run
Saturday
OFF
Fire – Hack
Rest Day
Sunday
Teach/Ride 8:30am-1pm give or take
Fire – Hack
Long Run 10K+

 
~until next time, Babes. xoxo, MG