Wednesday, October 28, 2015


This will conclude our marathon show weekend.  The title.  You may wonder what it means.  This fraction represents the number of those of us who did NOT stay on their horse for the the entirety of our rides.  Two-thirds is the fraction of jumps that I remembered how to ride properly like I've learned in my lessons lately. And approximately the number of you who will make it through the entirety of this post.  But honestly I so look forward to coming on here and sharing with you all and reading your comments.  There is nothing more anti climactic then coming off a show high surrounded by all non horse people, who just don't get it.

We will start on a frigid, early Sunday morning in southern Indiana.  We eat our breakfast of what is made to look like breakfast food but tastes more like mushy cardboard that was on our hotel buffet.  Kelcie rode dressage at 8:30 am.  We get her to warm up and I've never seen Penny more naughty.  It even almost looked like she thought about attempting to buck.  Uh this pony does not buck or do anything else naughty.  She is fast as lightening but she isn't naughty.  She obviously opposed being drug from her stall at the Crack of dawn to do dressage.  The extent of my coaching at that point was,  "hold it together,  do the best you can and stay on". Yeah that's all I had.  There just isn't much else you can do when a pony decided to show her ass in dressage warm up.   Thankfully they did just that!  She held it together.  And actually had a decent test for those two.  If Kelcie had actually tried to halt when she was supposed to they would have had a really nice test.  I'm working with her on that but while Penny doesn't do halting Kelcie doesn't even try.  Eh, they'll figure it out one day.  I mean the kid is 9.

Excited anticipation, patiently waiting their turn.
 Show jump for her was next.  They went out and had an adorable to die for round.  It just makes your heart hurt it's so cute.  Up until the very last stride of the very last jump that was right next to the wide open gate.  On approach Penny drifted right and at the last second pulled a, no way pony stunt.  And the kid that has insane balance just couldn't stick it and hit the ground.  I can always immediately tell if my kids are truly hurt when they come off. And I could tell she wasn't hurt physically even though she did slam into the flower box and standard.  But that her pride and her perfectionist expectations were crushed.  after a hug from mom she got back on and went back out and schooled Penny and did it perfectly.  And she was so proud of herself she had a big grin on her tear stained face.  Horses are good for kids I don't care what people say!  Nothing else except a pony would teach a 9 year old those hard but necessary life lessons.  That sometimes you work hard do all the right things and life just kicks you in the ass.  But you know what you do when that happens?  Kick it right back!  That's what she did and she walked away happy and so did I.
K and Penny show jump
next was Elaina And Lilly. They were entered in their first Beginner Novice show. That alone is pretty awesome.  She was the only kid in her division.  I love that she is 12 years old and moving her way up.  Not on a made horse but on her back yard $250 pony that she trained her self.  Anyways,  like Penny, Lilly comes to dressage warm up acting squirrely. And Elaina did what she has been taught and put her to work.  After about 5 minutes of figure 8's she stopped bouncing and started listening.  They went on and knocked out the test.  Kids on ponies=not perfect dressage.  But right now I'm happy with obedient,  steady, accurate and dammit shapes! You can earn a lot of easy points with accuracy and shapes at these levels.   They did just that.  So now I think it's time to step up their dressage game.
E and Lilly Beginner Novice test B

The next hour was, well interesting.  Elaina's jump slot was 12-12:30. I rode dressage at 12:02. So by the time I was finished riding.  Got untacked and made it to warm up to coach her they were calling that there was five minutes left.  I sent her over the cross rail.  Then vertical,  then the oxer.  Lilly had a brain fart at the oxer and thought about stopping.  But she is so willing she still jumped it from a stand. still. Well if you guessed Elaina was the other 1/3 of us that did not stay on. You were right.  E fell. Kinda face planted actually.  I was like are you fine?  Yes. Then hurry up and get back on.  You have like 3 minutes and I can't send you in without getting over this oxer. She jumped back on reapproached and Lilly over jumped it.  They came around one more time and it was nice. So we headed over.  They were awesome but Lilly was obviously pooped out.  The first two jumps were sticky.  Crazy mom from the rail yelled,  "wake that pony up before you jump another jump!"  The second jump of the two stride combination was the dreaded flame jump.  I warned her that I have seen that jump take many victims over the years, by itself.   Let alone it being the second jump in a combo. And wouldn't you know the one rider she saw go had three refusals and DQ'ed on that very jump.  Let me tell you she rode the shit out of it and they did awesome.  I could tell Lilly second guessed it but E caught it quick rode her straight and they got double clear.  They completed their first Beginner Novice!  She was beaming.  I didn't video :( mom/coach/rider brain is my excuse. When we got back to the barn a guy a couple stalls down says,  'you've got some tough kids! " He apparently saw them both hit the ground and both proceed to climb back on and get shit done.  Yep that's just how we Grayson girls roll.  No time for pitty parties when you're bad ass.

Like I said I rode dressage just before all that.  In warm up Steady felt good.  Not his best ever but good.  We walked mostly.  That's our theory in dressage warm up from now on.  It just works for us.  I was watching our competition and they looked fancy.  Aw damn we don't do fancy.  We're just us.  I think I read through my dressage test once. Yeah with everything else going on I forgot that minor detail.  Thankfully these level tests aren't hard to remember for me and I did end up knowing it.  Not confidently but good enough.  The test went pretty good.  I was pleased with it.  Our best?  Nah but not embarrassing.  I was proud of my horse.  He starting to act like a real pro at shows.  Finally!  It's nice.
Amy and Steady Novice Test B
I did get dinged for rider on the right lead canter.  Said I was two point like. and that is quite fair since I was purposely trying to stay off of his back since he had a history of swapping behind in tests.  Hey it worked!  Or his stifle injections did either way I'll take it.

Show jump warm up went great.  He felt really good.  He was listening and jumping lovely.  Thankfully all the courses were the same besides adding in combinations and raising them.  So after coaching two kids I had that down pat. If you know my horse at all you know he has many faults but jumping like a fucking beast is not one of them.  Utilizing the skills my trainer has taught me lately that I need to blog about because they were instantly life changing for us.  We rode the first 2/3rds of the course and it felt amazing.  Best I've ever had.  We had a long spot to jump 1 but still good.  He came back to me in between.  He got a little rushed in between but not bad just something to work on over the winter.  He doesn't look at jumps he just jumps anything in his path.  Jump 6 felt so incredible.  I was relishing the beauty of it in my head.  And compltely blew my concentration.  At the last minute I realized I was about to canter right passed 7 and I made an ass move to save my own  space cadet ass and yanked him left.  Well that was the end of us being connected and fluid.  He was like,  "oh you want to play the old way?  I can do that. " so we pretty much blasted through the last 3 jumps.  Again lots of homework for next year.  But you know what?  Those jumps didn't look that big anymore at 3ft. Which pretty much means training isn't out of the question in our near future.
Amy and Steady Novice show jump

We packed up,  loaded up and went to check scores.  Elaina and Lilly ended up 3rd! I'm sorry not sorry but my kid is amazing.  Compltely surprised knowing who our competition was Steady and I ended 1st! I didn't see any of the final scores but I'm wishing I had because I like to see where we lined up. All I know is that we ended on our dressage score of 28.25%. Not bad I guess.   Haha just kidding I'm not a DQ  that says asholey things like that.  I mean if I'm outta the 40's I think I'm ballin!

Monday, October 26, 2015


Between blogger and YouTube it makes you want to just give up on adding media.  Geesh! I've had this typed up for a week now and have been trying to get videos on here since.  I added links which is the best I can do at this point.

There a going to be a few of you who know how this story ends from Facebook.  For the rest of you I'm going to be a jerk and let you read to the end.  What a whirlwind weekend.  I can tell you though I did live and it was actually completely amazing,  fun and exhausting.  Our family made quite the team.  Everyone chipping in to get the next person to the ring.  Watching, cheering each other on.  Even the hubs was a complete trooper for an entire weekend of eyeball deep horse stuff.  I was actually expecting for this to be stressful and exhausting but I came away feeling incredibly blessed to be privileged enough to not only own horses and get to ride and train but to do it along side my three beautiful children who fur what ever reason choose to love it as much as me.  To get to show myself and also be coach,  show mom and cheerleader for these three.  Getting to spend an entire weekend doing this passion with the loves of my life.  I couldn't have written a better story for my life if I tried.

Saturday at the hunter/jumper show,  the plan was 4 out of the 5 Grayson's(other 1/5 being Ryan of course) were going to show but when it came down to the last class for the girls, rushing to get Steady ready and hope it went well in the hunter ring sounded a lot like hell. So I opted to skip the show and have a nice CT prep ride. I really don't know how to break up this whole weekend into bite size pieces.  But here's my best shot.

Macy (middle child-10) this was her very first show.  She did ground pole hunter division.  It went well,  she had fun.  She is loving riding now which is crazy because 6 months ago she wanted nothing to do with it really.  She came out frustrated from her first class because she did her courtesy circle the wrong way and missed a pole.  Once I saw how serious she was taking it.  I reminded her this was supposed to be fun and no one gets it all right especially their first time.  It seemed to be all she needed to hear because the rest of the time she had a smile on her face.  She even placed in two out of three of her classes.  A 2nd and a 6th. She was finished first and was such a great helper for everyone the rest of the weekend. She had a great first show and now she's hooked.

Next was Kelcie who did the cross rail classes.  I thought Penny was being a little shit for her.  because Kelcie picked up the canter and flew through her rounds at mach 10. They were completely adorable either way.  Come to find out later she tells me,  "I wanted her to go fast so I made her".  Lol, ok. Whatever,  the kid is 9 and having fun jumping her pony.  Can't ask for more then that.  I may be a lot of things but a stage mom I am not.  If they are safe and having fun then that's aok with me.  There is video of the speed hunter round.

you can play in hunters without looking the part. So BOWS!  Ungodly expensive completely worth it. Cause bows!

Kelcie and Penny Pincher Hunter round

Elaina and Lilly finished up our full day on Saturday by looking like a couple of pros out there in the 2'6" division.  Their rounds were pretty much perfect. Not even kidding.  They got every lead had perfect striding.  It was a smooth as buttah.  I couldn't be more proud of these two and how far they've come.  Some of you may not know their whole story
But they have been through it together. When you are 10 years old and break your leg on a horse not too many come back after that much less with that same horse.  But this kid never missed a beat.  Never once wanted to give up on the pony and went and trained her to be the solid horse she is today.  Just watch the videos.  They make me want to do better, be better and get better.   She also ran over and did a 2'9" warm up jumper round for fun and experience.  We only did warm up because we have no interest in rushing Lilly through for time.  That is not a good choice for her training.  But the decorated jumps and jumper turns are great experience.  Not surprisingly they rocked it!  At 12 the kid is growing up to be a lovely,  poised, confident rider. It's a privilege to watch and be a part

Elaina and Lilly hunter round 1

Elaina and Lilly hunter round 2

While the kids fed and cleaned up I went out to ride my beast.  I was displeased with his distracted hyperness.  I decided to get off and lunge and I'm so glad I did.  After I got him listening I got back on and he was a dream.  We popped over a couple jumps and he felt amazing. Now let's just hope this holds for tomorrow.

We tucked in the horses and went back and met Ryan back at the hotel where he retreated mid afternoon to watch the Michigan vs Michigan state game.  We made it back just in time for that tragic ending of that game.  We didn't emerge again until about 6 am Sunday morning.

to be continued...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life with horses and kids

Also titled our summer in photos

You hear a knock at the door.  Is this what you expect to see?  It is not out of your reality with kids and horses.

Can you ask for more than being champion of your division at your first show?

You hold your breath and suppress your panic when you see your kid and horse have a moment of miscommunication.  Then help your kid up make sure nothing is broken and tell them to get back on.  It takes nerves of steel.

Then there is this moment.

You watch them figure out life together.

And conquer fear with their partner.

Accomplish things they didn't even believe they could do.

Experience the rush that is cantering a horse through water.

There is just nothing like it.

What is life like with a bunch of kids and a bunch of horses?  Well there isn't much extra money, time or energy but there are tons of smiles, memories and happiness.  That first time you get your diagonal right, or the first jump or the next height.
  It is happiness multiplied!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I don't really regret much in my life.  I got married by most people's standards young, at 21.  Against my husband's parents strong opinion that I was not the right one for him.  Then didn't wait 3-5 years before having a baby.  I was pregnant 6 months into marriage.  I didn't space out my children to ensure they each got the deserved amount of attention and proceeded to have 3 children in 3 1/2 years.  I ignored a lot of thoughts and advice on all subjects and did my own thing.  And I regret nothing.  I have now been married for almost 14 years. With some tough spots here and there we are still happily married.  My girls are each others best friends and their age closeness has much to do with that.  I did many things "wrong" and regret none of them.  But you know what I am starting to regret?  Is getting my children a pony!  From the time my first daughter was 1 we have had ponies for them.  And now, you know what?  They all freaking love horses.  This I regret.

How can you regret anything that brought you to this moment of joy?
I am kidding of course, mostly.  But it is getting ridiculous.  Children taking over my horse, taking over my show monies.  What is a woman to do?  Most of you who read this blog don't have children and are probably thanking you lucky stars for that fact.  Next time you are at a clinic just having to make sure you bring tack for one horse.  Snacks and drinks for one person.  Money for meals for just you.  You can think of me and say a little prayer.  That maybe just one day I will get to clinic or show or even get my horse back.

Or this feeling of accomplishment?  3ft!

All kidding aside, mostly.  I took Steady for a lameness evaluation and while he tested positive on the right hind in his hock and more so in his stifle none of it was completely awful.  We started the hopefully short but expensive process of seeing if we can figure out why he is dead set on killing me.  We will see.  We can get back to full work Sunday.  We will go for a lesson on Tuesday and see what happens. Wish us luck!

What is there to regret?

I am sending in an entry to a show! Again wish us luck!  Not for placings or anything silly like that but entering a show after the last lesson we had and not being %100 sure this isn't going to continue has me a little unnerved. It is just a schooling CT so it isn't big deal I just want it to be fun.  I plan to head back to my old stomping grounds to Hoosier Horse Park for the Octoberfest charitiy show.  Saturday is a hunter show and Sunday is a CT.  We will be spending the weekend and playing with the Hunters and Jumpers on Saturday, doing CT on Sunday and XC schooling afterward.  I also plan to sign up ALL 4 of us!  I AM freaking crazy!  That is what you do when you have 3 children that all love to ride and so do you.  You just all do it!  I'll let you know if I live.

We will have entries in;
M 10 yr old - Ground pole
K 8 yr old - Cross rail
E 12 yr old - Beginner Novice
Me - Novice