Whew. It has been a busy, stressful, exciting and productive eight months. Jeez, eight months. Yes, yes, I know. That is quite bad in the "grand blogging scheme” but now here I am, updating you in all things Fat Bottom.
Firstly, I have (as of a week or so ago) completed graduate school. I rode horses and taught lessons all day, then did schoolwork every evening. I did this for 18 months—in the full swing of show season—with upwards of eight horses a day to ride and five lessons to teach but ladies and gentlemen, I did it. I can proudly say I have my M. S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Coaching Education from Georgia Southern University. (#GATA, #GOGSU). As with everything I do in my life, I had some incredible help and guidance along the way from some amazing people and I couldn’t have done it with out them, especially Mikki. Thanks, dude.
Secondly, New Years Resolutions! How have I been sticking to the goals I set for myself way back in January? Well, actually, pretty dang well.
Number one on my list was to fix my shoulders. A constant problem of a closed, sagging chest and dangling shoulders has haunted me since I first started wearing a bra. In the saddle, my poor posture never changed. But beginning this year, every time I sat in the saddle I would make sure to fix these dang shoulders at least once or twice per horse. Slowly my shoulder blades started to pull together and I could spread my collar bones apart and actually hold them there. My posture still isn't perfect by any means but I can proudly say that it’s much better.
Number two on the list was to improve Will’s PSG scores. Check that one off the list as well! With improved timing in our changes and steadier foot placement in our pirouettes, our PSG scores stayed well above the 60% mark. We still have one more show to hit before Regionals so I don’t want to jinx myself but he is feeling and looking great. I have high hopes for our super-secret ultimate goal; earning our USDF gold medal together! We qualified for Regionals at our first show of the season in February and even scored FEI Reserve High Point at our show in March. I love this Draft Cross of mine who gives his whole heart all the time.
Number three was to do more with Hagrid (aka the Baby Giant) and more I did! He has been all over the state of Georgia for our training sessions with Felicitas. I’ve hauled him to clients’ farms to ride with Greta Wrigley and Laura Klecker. He went to Conyers with us to a Dressage show as a Non-Compete horse and won the warm up all three days. He blew me (and my nerves) away with how calm and cool he was. He was literally at the busiest show of the season and acted like we do this every day. I was over the moon with how his brain worked in such a busy environment.
I hemmed and hawed over taking him to a rated show and while there were pros and cons to it, I ultimately
decided he’s still not ready for a rated show…yet. But...that doesn’t mean he can’t experience a schooling show! Last month, Hagrid and I ventured to the picturesque Stableview Farm for a Dressage Schooling show. It was lovely and quiet and all around a great confidence builder for the wee man, plus some encouraging feedback from a judges point of view. He even walked away with a blue ribbon! I’m beyond excited to start doing more but I’m also trying to be realistic. If I don’t have anything to show, I won’t show. If we’re going to bomb it’s not worth the stress. To make sure we still have the basics in place, I’ve scheduled many more training play dates and set my sights on another awesome schooling show in November.
That show is the Autumn Classic in Perry, Georgia. It's a very fun charity show that benefits the Albany Humane Society. It has a ton of classes (English and Western) but most importantly a great Dressage section (and secretary!). I’ve taken clients there twice now and am excited to bring Hagrid along this year. The show itself is a two day format that gives the rated show experience with schooling show prices.
There we go. Now that we’re all caught up and I have some more free time thanks to school being DONE, I hope we can return to our regularly scheduled programming!