Thursday, January 7, 2016

Full Metal

**This post contains photos of non-helmeted riders, please for the love of god keep comments about helmets to yourselves. We are all adults here, hopefully.

Normally, most of us try to keep our personal lives separate from the blogging/horse world, but I personally believe they are one in the same. I know for myself at least, most of my decisions revolve around my horse and his welfare and our plans etc. I also have a S/O who is wonderfully involved in my life and curious about my horse endeavors. Numerous times he has come out to the barn on his own free will to photograph or video our rides, he's been to our first show and he always asks how my rides went or how Bacardi & Yankee are doing. Its incredibly refreshing and adorable and to know he will always be there willingly to support me.

While I find it sweet & adorable and fondly refer to him as The Boy, I think he wants to be depicted as a super strong, manly man. While this is incredibly accurate, I will always think of him as The Boy on this blog, but since he requested a name change I will gladly honor that request since he has spent many hours at the barn with me willingly.



Quick backstory on my S/O; all through high school AND college he triple lettered in Football, Wrestling and Track and made the All-American team in 2014 for College Wrestling. He also is an avid and competitive crossfitter and shares my passion for the sport.

yeah Crossfit
He is way better than me actually, and successfully competes all over OH & KY. In addition, he is one of the strongest people I have the pleasure of knowing in real life and recently PR'd his deadlift at 625 lbs at a Powerlifting meet in which he destroyed competition and won easily.

Newspaper clipping from his win
Why is this important and relevant to riding you say?

Well. He has entertained the thought of riding a few times with me and proved to be a natural (of course) at it, in which I was blown away and pleased since I selfishly could then drag him along on rides and horse things without feeling horribly guilty.

Riding sweet LillyBelle
In Septemeber he told me that he has been entertaining the thought for a long time about becoming a knight.

Yes, a knight. Who jousts. Its a real actual thing.


At first I wasn't sure what to think because even though I had seen it at Renaissance festivals, I thought it was just randoms dads who got bored and decided to showcase a dead sport.

Nope, its a thing.

There are World Championships and everything, and we happen to live 30 minutes from the man who IS the reigning Jousting World Champ and was the host for the show on TV, Full Metal Jousting.

Shane Adams
We actually got to meet with Shane in September at the Renaissance festival and he asked S/O if he was serious about it and detailed how the training program started. While talking with him I learned that jousters learn how to ride Dressage first (yes, DRESSAGE) and then learn jousting, then learn how to ride with the armor. I was sold. Hell yeah Dressage! Apparently Shane has competed up to PSG and also used to be a hunter jumper, which is insane because he is a large human being.

I of course was giddy, knowing that my S/O might possibly learn Dressage if he wanted to go forward with Jousting training. Its hella expensive and requires a lot of time, obviously. This is where Shane looked at me and said "I need you to teach him how to ride. teach him Dressage" and then we discussed my past and Eventing and Dressage and it was intriguing.

There were two options, S/O work his ass off for 10 hours a day in exchange to learn the basics of riding from Shane on lesson at a time....or bribe me to teach him how to do more than putz around on a QH on the trail.

Um, obviously he chose me.

I was SO excited to get the chance to teach someone so important to me the basics of Dressage and how to gallop a horse etc.

The main issue was finding a horse for him. He's twice my size and in no way is Bacardi ready for beginners to be on his back, let alone someone his size. Sadly, perfect Miss Lilly sold and no longer is an option. Luckily, I have a few friends in the area and one of them just purchased a half-Belgian for her equally as green and large bodied S/O. She also is more than willing to let us use him for lessons! #winning

His name is Chewbacca and he's the cutest half-Belgian I've ever seen.

Literally perfect for the job and at only 5, he is stunningly chill regardless of what you do. We discovered that he is actually extremely lazy and the safest horse for teaching newbies.

Our first real lesson into the emersion of Dressage was this weekend and I wanted to focus on learning the dressage seat and feeling the gaits and recognizing when to correct.

I will never be a real instructor since I have a difficult time breaking down the art of riding into understandable and smaller parts. I really want to nit-pick every little thing, like seat, hands, hips, knees, shoulders etc and I know thats completely overwhelming for a new rider.

I figured that hardest part for him will be opening his hips and not sitting in chair seat and its imperative for dressage (and jousting) to have a deep seat and long lines. We really focused on just feeling the walk, each footfall and how the hips move through the gait and relaxing those hips open and rounding around the horse instead of what most green riders do...chair seat, tip forward and flail.

S/O was a great study and after learning how to get a lazy butt horse to move, really settled into a longer frame and worked on stretching through his heels and keeping his body aligned.


Its a bit harder in a western saddle, but for now I want him in that to have that horn for balance and security. In time I know his hips will open up and getting that leg long will be easier.

I also briefly covered the function of posting vs sitting trot and how to do each. Then we dabbled in a little bit of trot (think one lap) work to begin to feel the movement. He did great but as all new riders, had some difficulty, thus the short spurts. I wanted him to focus on correctly riding instead of just flailing about until he got it. So the second his leg came up and he felt unbalanced we asked Chewy to walk.

It was a great lesson, and I hope I'm teaching the correct way. I really want him to be successful in this endeavor and I am so grateful to be a part of something so cool!

Bangor: Destroyer of Worlds and his trusty steed Chewy

Do any of you have S/O's or Hubbies that ride too or are at least interested in your horsey world? I hope so :D

30 comments:

  1. Dude. Monica. THIS IS SO COOL!! My guy appreciates my love of my horses and loves to give them equal attention/treats when he's out with me. He'll go riding some, and ask to go riding with me even, but it isn't a big thing for him. I'm really thrilled he respects how into it I am though and is supportive. It's all I can really ask for. =)

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    1. Go us!!! :) Its really awesome to have S/Os who understand and are involved!

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  2. That's so awesome!!! I hope he sticks with it - he will make an awesome knight! My hubby does crossfit as well and is also a rider - we actually met in college on the IHSA team where he was doing western walk/jog. I have since converted him to riding english, because jumping is way more fun! He is a disgustingly good natural rider and we all call him "McLain". In the future we hope to get him his own (appropriately sized lol) horse but for now he snags rides on the pony now and then.

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    1. Knowing him, I think he will stick with it, he's not one to quit! Obviously english is the way to go, I'm glad he's a convert :P "Disgustingly good rider", I laughed at that one!

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  3. OMG THIS IS AMAZING KEEP THAT MAN!!!!

    My hubby has gotten on my horse once, but really has no desire to ride at all - he has come to every single one of our shows though and taken pictures, held the horse, etc. - so that's really all I could all for! How awesome that your SO had a natural interest in it!!

    My inner nerd is completely geeking out about jousting because I've secretly always wanted to try it myself! I heard about full metal jousting and wanted to watch it but never did - probably didn't get the channel. Maybe I can find it somewhere on the good old Internet....

    Also, Chewbaca. Amazing. I can't even.

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    1. He's not going anywhere >:)

      Sucks the Hubs isn't all that into, but at least he does all the photography and whatnot!

      Chewy is the shiiiit

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  4. You need to talk to Jen over at Wyvern Oaks blog! Her husband jousts on a few of her horses! *This is so exciting!

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    1. i second this!!! what an awesome idea for your SO - i hope he LOVES it! and yea, JenJ and her husband are also super into all things jousting and she has posted about it extensively and probably would be happy to connect you with all kinds of resources (plus she might know other ppl in your area). Chewbacca is adorable too :)

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    2. I will commence creeping immediately :D

      ALL THE EXCITES

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  5. Wow, so fun! I gave my hubby a couple lessons/pointers a few years ago, it was difficult for me to teach him, even tho I was giving beginner lesson at the time. He has a natural seat, but is afraid of horses so was very tense. Cosmo is too big and scary for him, so he just comes to take pictures occasionally.

    So excited for you both!

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    1. I feel, that, I'm struggling to figure out how to teach him well!

      Pictures are always appreciated!

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  6. That's awesome!! I wish my boyfriend wanted to keep riding. His parents raised cutting horses so he grew up riding them and warming them up at shows for his dad. He doesn't show any interest in riding anymore, except for the one exception of going on a trail ride with me, where it was so cool to see that he could post and everything!

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    1. Hey at least he HAS horse experience, which is a plus!

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  7. I'm glad you're getting your SO into riding. I'm sure he'll pick it up quickly; men I've known learn it so much faster than women. My husband rides. Prior to his horse's injury, he rode a lot. We did a lot of horse camping, endurance, and showing earlier in 2015 before the injury. I'm grateful to have an SO that rides; I'd be lonely doing it all by myself.

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    1. I just HATE that men seem to be naturally better at this than us womenfolk haha.

      Thats really awesome that your hubby is so into it! Def a plus :D

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  8. This is really cool!! Hope he sticks with jousting and we can learn about it too. My SO has taken some riding lessons mostly so when we go on vacation together, he can keep up on the rides. He isn't really into it though, I wish he was.

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  9. This is adorable!! I hope I get to see your "Boy" on Full Metal Knights part II sometime! He could be like... a full metal squire!

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    1. SO adorable <3

      He's my knight in shining armor...or will be :P

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  10. This is SO awesome and I hope he sticks with it! Most men are enviably talented at riding. This is something I have discussed on my blog before! :D My husband loves animals and was very supportive of the horses...and then I decided I wanted a second horse and that he/she should be gaited, and not only was he okay with this hairbrained idea, he played along with the real reason behind it: so he could ride with me on the trails.

    He's been riding consistently for a year and a half but sits a horse like he's been on them his entire life, has a solid relationship established with Gracie (our gaited mare) to the point where she'll come up to the field gate when he pulls up in the car, is able to think like a horse person nowadays, drives our truck and trailer, and has opinions on which saddle/bridle/bit he prefers to use. He now wants to try the sport of endurance himself! Can't complain one bit!

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    1. Sickening how talented the menfolk are haha!

      That really awesome about your S/O is so into it :) Thats enviable and really cool that you have someone to share your passion with

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  11. My hubs is content to watch from the sidelines :) This is really cool though, can't wait to see how he progresses!

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  12. My hubs is content to watch from the sidelines :) This is really cool though, can't wait to see how he progresses!

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    1. I'll def give everyone Knight updates haha!

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  13. Aww look at him go! Major high fives for him! Mine would make a face and swear if I told him he had to learn dressage. He fancies himself a cowboy type and was also naturally gifted on a horse. He likes cutters and reiners though, but I remember watching Full Metal Jousting with him and he thinking he could do it. I bet your boy/MAN can!

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    1. He's a quick study thats for sure! I can't wait to see where this goes.

      I doubt I can ever get him INTO the dressage saddle, we will see. He might stick with western like your hubs

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  14. I feel weird for how excited I am for you lol the big Chewy is so cute! My S/O will clean stalls/ clean up after me at the barn but that is about it. He made a face when I stuck him in the dressage saddle (after a lot of coaxing!)

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  15. I am lucky enough to have a husband as horse-motivated as I am. Despite our three children we manage to ride together three times a week. As an added bonus he's great at getting on my mare when she gets all feisty on me. There are never any arguments over house expenses, we are equally guilty.

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  16. Encourage the hell outta that man!

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  17. This is so exciting!!!!! I'm glad you found a man who is interested in learning more about horses and how to ride. I love jousting!! I've never tried it because it's seriously lacking in this area (my only access is through the SCA we are members of, but they don't have a lot of horse events due to expense and participation), but I love watching it. I bet he is going to love it! That is so cool you guys met Shane! Oh and Chewbacca is adorable! Thanks for finally introducing us to The Boy... err I mean Bangor. :D

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