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An Update: Let's Play Catch-Up

There are SO MANY things I need to update everyone on. I know, I know. It's been well over a year, but I've been a tad busy. See, not long after my first show and purchasing my sweet Hailey, I found out I wasn't the only person showing last November. That's right. I was pregnant!

But while I chose not to ride through my pregnancy, I did get my oldest daughter, Maddie, into the saddle. She wasn't quite five yet, but I knew she was mature enough to do it. She's still on the leadline, but she's progressing better and faster than I thought she would. After just a few lessons, she was learning to post to a trot aboard the trusty Arabian gelding, Chant (TF Afrikhan Chant).

So I was still around the barn. And Hailey was started under saddle right around the time I gave birth to my third and final little girl, Virginia (pictured below at a day old).

I have since gotten back in the saddle, and Hailey is progressing in her training. To make things further complex, somehow I got it in my head that I would be in great enough riding shape to take on the Autumn Classic Charity Horse Show all of three months after giving birth. Oh, and let's add Maddie to that as well. She and I did a mother-daughter weekend and showed TF Senzational (Huey) together.

Now, not a lot of people would let their five-year-old daughter take a five-year-old Arabian gelding into a riding arena, much less in a show environment. But Huey always takes great care of me, so I trusted between him and Heather and Jazmin that Maddie would be okay. And she did wonderfully -- even getting her first blue ribbon! Needless to say, she's hooked.

As for me, I decided not to do the original class I was signed up for that would have required me to do walk, trot, canter, and hand gallop. I opted to repeat the walk/trot classes I took on last year. It was a good thing, too, because by the time the first class was over, I was getting jelly legs from using them (despite lessons twice a week for a month). We took home a second and a third in our three classes. I was happy with that, but I was also a little irritated with myself for not being in top shape. That being said, I'll never complain about the no stirrup November thing again. When we entered the arena at a trot for my first class, someone standing at the gate spooked Huey. So he went to the side, and I wound up losing my stirrup right in front of the judge! I ended up posting to the trot for an entire lap before regaining my stirrup. Thankfully, Huey behaved and took care of me by doing what he's supposed to do without much effort. I was shocked we got second in that class, but I didn't really pay much attention to anything besides making my heart slow down. When I got to the stands after the class, no one noticed my little mishap.

So as it turns out, those no stirrup rides I had in college weren't just to be mean and make me die a slow and painful death. Who knew?

It was put into perspective for me when someone pointed out that I had JUST had a baby. My third c-section at that, and this time was completed with a tubal removal. I was still sleep deprived and unable to coordinate my abdomen in the same way I could a year before. Heck, I'm still not even at my pre-pregnancy weight, battling hormones daily, and only getting sleep for 2-3 hours at a time while juggling two other children and two dogs living in the house.

When I plug all of that into the equation, I'm amazed I was able to even be competitive against such a deep field of riders. And now I'm starting to sit down and set goals for myself and for Maddie at the barn. I always like to do short term and long term goals. Tomorrow's my birthday, and after that starts the new year.

As I'm sure you've noticed below, there's a little gallery of pictures. It mostly features Maddie around Talaria throughout the last year. I'm just waiting on her to ask for her own Arabian horse because every time I go to the barn without her, she is angry.

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