Friday, April 13, 2012

Riding English

Life has been hectic between working at PEAR Sports, coaching water polo at SDSU and then getting in my training for my ITU triathlon (that is only 5 weeks out).  Even with life being hectic I have managed to get in some fun activities.  A few dinners with my family and grandpa.  A few great bike rides around San Diego.  A near crash with Brennan. Yea totally my fault- good news I only gave him a love tap with my arm shoving him out of the way as I rode through the intersection.  I am still mastering the whole cycling thing :)

The big adventure Easter weekend was I went horseback riding.  If you didn't know I love horse. No idea how it happened but I have loved them since I was little.  My parents have numerous books at home that are all about the different type of horse, saddles and all else that goes with horses.  While some girls played with dolls I played with horse. I had so many.  One Christmas my grandma (who had a miniature store) made me this huge barn.  Glued every red shingle on it.  Had fences. It was awesome!! Kinda wonder what happened to that barn. What I can tell you was it got its use- think Sean eventually went on to play with it and all his animals he collected. So Brennan being amazing like always knew that I loved horse so for Christmas he got me a riding lesson.  

When I got it for Christmas I was so excited and again made me realize he loves me so much. He truly listens and takes time to be extremely thoughtful.  This was the kind of gift that you realize the person took a lot of thought and effort to execute, not the I will just run to the mall gift.  He said he followed Living Social for weeks waiting for something with horseback riding to come along. 

I realize your thinking Jamie that is a huge gap.  Yea with everything happening since Christmas I had yet to schedule my horseback riding lesson. I finally did about 2 weeks ago.  We were on for noon on Saturday April 7th.  Brennan of course came with me and held out in the attack of the fly's.  The ranch was about 25 miles from where we live.  Once arriving at the Chestnut Hill Equestrian Center we were greeted by a nice woman named Sally who would be my instructor.  Since we were early (Brennan & I are always early) the lady was great about just getting us going.  As she asked me some basic questions she decided I would ride Monty who is a Thoroughbred that used to race.  I loved that his name was Monty and he was the kinda horse I have always wanted Brown with a lovely white diamond on his forehead.  Turns out I think Monty had a big crush on Brennan. More to come later in my blog.

To the delight of Brennan I was fitted for a jumping helmet. I had to laugh as well because I have ridden before but never with a helmet. At one point I did think maybe I am getting in over my head.  Turns out I am kinda athletic so I was good!  Sally let me brush Monty and help her get him all saddled up.  We were riding English (she claimed it is more comfortable) pretty sure I had only ridden Western prior to this lesson.  Once Monty was all saddled up I swung myself up.  I was ready for this lesson.

We headed down to the arena.  Once in the arena Sally went over a few basics walked next to me for one lap around and then let me go. Working on steering and all that good stuff. After a few minutes she then asked if I wanted to Trot. Of course I said sure.  Took a little getting used to. I would go with no problem and then forget something little and he would start to walk.  I think the best part of all was once I really started to get the hang of trotting whenever we got in front of Brennan no matter how perfect I was riding Monty would just stop and stare at him. To bad we cant have Monty at our wedding because he seems to love Brennan as much if not more than me.  More to come of this love story. (Stay Tuned)

After what seemed like not very long Sally then asked me if I wanted to try jumping. I thought hell why not! So she was teaching me what to do. I was a bit nervous but when I say jump it was not like at the Olympics it was probably 2 feet off the ground and my horse could just walk over if he wanted.  Needless to say a few times I think he did do that.. haha  However after a few rounds I could really tell when he was leaving the ground.  I guess a few times he cleared way over the jump and did a few canter steps.  Which was really awesome. I did the jumps coming from different angles and things.  It was cool. Then she set up two and I did like an obstacle course (avoiding where Brennan was watching). I did the obstacle course a few times and then it turns out I had been riding for over an hour, so we headed back up to the barn.
On the way back up to the barn she asked if I wanted to give him a quick bath.  It was pretty warm and the poor guy was all sweaty. I of course thought sure that will be fun. Yes again I realize by having me do it she doesn't have to, but I thought I rode him I should give him a bath. And why not get the entire experience.  So we hooked him up so that we could get the saddle and everything off. While I was doing this Brennan was standing in front of him a ways way.  Monty kept inching toward him, he kept inching to the point where he was basically laying his huge head on Brennan's shoulder.  Then Brennan finally was petting him and Monty just looked so happy. So needless to say I think my horse loved my Fiance!! It was soo funny!! Once he was ready we took him over to get his bath. I learned very quickly why all the little girls that were there washing there ponies for a show on Sunday were wearing rain boots.  My feet got soaked!! Plus the little girls thought I was just so funny. Then I gave Monty a snack! 

Then it was time for us to go. I was sad to leave Monty.  Sally invited us back anytime for a lesson or just bring carrots.  Plus I am always welcome to help wash horses and things.  I just might take her up on that offer.  Needless to say it was one of the best gifts I have gotten.  It was a great time. However my back killed for about 4 days after.  Like any new activity you are surprised at all the muscles you use and riding and jumping a horse is no different. However back pain was totally worth it!!!

Thank you Brennan for an amazing time riding my horse Monty!!!
Sunday we headed to my parents house to celebrate Easter with my family. We had a great day just hanging out all together- enjoying each others company.  We would also do a semi birthday celebration for my mom, me and Sean.  All us kids gave mom her present from us (only a week early) but we wanted to be all together when she got it.  Then grandpa gave all us April Birthday's our gifts since he was with us. It was a great day and much needed with all the other hectic things happening in life.  To just get to spend time with the important people in my life!!! Take time to be thankful.  Life is short, we have to enjoy every minute of it!! 

I also think my mom has the right idea of avoiding any type of Easter egg hunt as we have gotten older. Us Vessey kids are pretty darn competitive and then throw in Brennan and Brooke's boyfriend Nik it could have been one ugly battle for the golden egg :)

Easter weekend was a huge success of working out, riding horses and many many many laughs with my amazing family!!

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