lovely spring weekend

This past weekend was the first weekend I didn’t worry about getting things done around the house since we’ve moved. My parents came to visit and we spent out time exploring the city and taking it all in.  In a lot of ways, it was as if I was seeing the city for the first time. Winter was so long and grey. Then I wasted the first bits of  Spring in Uhauls and unpacking boxes. Walking through Brooklyn I was taken aback by how green everything was.

Flowers

I had some great adventures with my parents. We saw the 9/11 memorial and headed to the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum (absolutely recommend).  Of course, we stopped by the Museum of Natural History, which is my favorite place on Earth. On a foggy day, we walked over the Brooklyn bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

After they left, I decided I needed some serious “me time.” I booked a two-hour long trail ride out in Long Island on the Old Westbury trails through Big River Barn.

horse Riding

Isn’t he the most handsome? I can only afford to ride once or twice a month, but I think this might be the barn for me. It’s only a 45 min. train ride away.  They focus on horsemanship, which works on communicating with horses by becoming familiar with their behaviors, instincts, and personality. So, I won’t be doing work in the ring, but I will get to experience what it’s like to be on a horse outside of a ring, so it’s a bit more practical.

I still feel very much like a beginner, so I appreciate any time on a horse. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is making sure the horse is comfortable and we’re both having fun.

horse riding

At some point, I hope to get back in a ring, but I’m not sure that’s feasible for me in NYC. This was my first trail ride, and it’s completely different from anything I’ve done before – running up hills and down valleys, through trails with fallen trees, and being the only people around for miles.

horse riding

Isn’t he just the most handsome?

horse riding adventures in the Northeast

I was back in the saddle, guys! And it was perfect.

Horse Riding Adventures

I missed riding so much. It’s been five days and my saddle sores still haven’t healed and I don’t care! My last ride was more than six months ago and it was a horrible experience.  (I only briefly mentioned it here.) I stopped riding regularly back in December. I still am facing challenges getting to a ranch for lessons. It’s mostly my lack of money and lack of access to a car.

This horse’s name is Hudson and he was such a sweet guy. I rode at My Saddle Brook Farm, and I highly recommend them. They were nice people, encouraging trainers, and had happy horses. Also, they were the lowest price in the area for a private lesson. They’re located about an hour and a half outside of Brooklyn.

Before I mounted Hudson, I was shaking with the fear of my last ride. But once I got in the ring, everything started coming back. It was seriously like riding a bike. My legs were a lot weaker, but I was still able to get in a decent amount of trotting. Hudson was a patient horse for putting up with my rusty maneuvers. Thanks Hudson!

And it was a gorgeous day for riding. I couldn’t have asked for a better day in the foothills of the mountains.

Horse Riding in Walden, NY

sunday catch up

I haven’t been blogging much and it’s making me very sad. After our move to New York, I expected to be settled much faster than this. Or maybe this transition has been quick, and I’m just impatient. After all, it will only be three months tomorrow. The kitchen in the room I’m renting isn’t great for cooking. And the closest craft stores are expensive, 35 minutes away, and only sell specialty stuff like yarn or paper. I’m looking at craft supplies online, but it’s not the same as waking into a Michael’s.

Sometimes, it seems impossible to do the things I love. Baking, crafting, camping, and equestrian. I had my first, and last, riding lesson in the city. It was a pretty awful experience. So now, I’m looking to ride somewhere in New Jersey, but that requires a car. I’m exploring those options and, hopefully, I’ll be riding again by Autumn.

Maybe I need to love new things in this new city. But where does that leave this blog? And where does that leave me?

Not all is hopeless. I am baking donuts as I write this. And I finally signed a lease in a dream apartment. It has a huge kitchen, two pantries, and a dining room. So, my days of entertaining and baking are close. And I can finally get my cats back, although, it might break my heart to take them away from Ryan. They’re so sweet to each other.

my first horse show

I had my first horse show last Saturday! Despite being incredibly nervous and more than clueless, I received a blue ribbon for my equitation class. I rode one of the lesson horses named Turkish Delight, also called Turkalicious, Turkelton, Turk-a-derk, or usually just Turk. Sorry for the photo dump. But come on, how cute is he?

Turk

I cannot even tell you how much I love this guy.

It was a chilly, foggy morning while we were warming up.

Here’s a few of us in the ring during the show.

The equitation class was just a walk/trot, but you know, we got a little fast.

And my friends drove all the way out to the country to see me perform. It was really touching.

I’m going to miss riding so much when I move to NY. I’ve already scoped out barns to try to ride in, but let’s be honest, equestrian is a rich white girl sport, and while I may have the income to do a few lessons in Tallahassee, it’s not very likely that I can afford it in NY. I’ve already investigated the cost and a one-hour private lesson is almost triple what I’m paying here.

I’ll also be unemployed for a while, mostly by choice, which means no health insurance, which definitely means no riding. I hope to pick it back up in March or April when I’m more settled and NY is warmer. Even though I’m discussing these obstacles,  I don’t think anything can stop me from riding. I look forward to my lesson each week and leaving the ranch and the Iron Star Equestrian Team will be incredibly sad. In the mean time, I’ll always think back with great fondness about my first show and this dear horsey.

weekend adventures: wakulla springs

My friends and I went to Wakulla Springs State Park this weekend to cool off by the springs.

Wakulla Walkway

The Wakulla Springs are old, like Saber-Tooth old. They were home to our prehistoric ancestors. I’m fascinated that I have a chance to swim in the same waters they did

Springs

and walk in the same forests.

Wakulla Tree Path

These days, I’m falling deeply in love with North Florida. It’s going to be a hard place to leave.

Mossy Trees

On Sunday, I continued with my equestrian lessons. So here are some gratuitous photos of that. These are the only photos where I don’t have a terrified look on my face, so I’m posting ’em!

I am having a blast at these lessons. I never grew out of my childhood “horse phase.”

Ok, so I sort of look like I’m about to fall off in this picture. I’m getting more comfortable and much faster. I can’t wait to start jumping over things.

And I love this horse. He’s such a sweetie!

Twister

the weekender {Easter Egg Edition}

Me & Twisty

I bet you guys thought I died after my 10k, right? I’m alive and finished the race with a personal record. The day after the race, I was finally able to cash in my horseback riding Groupon. This horse’s name is Twister. He was not that excited to see me since our lesson was scheduled during nap time.

I’m gearing up to host our Adult Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch this weekend. I’m not sure what makes it adult, except perhaps booze and the potential for trespassing and climbing trees. Also there are tons of raccoons in my neighborhood that would love to get their grimy hands on brightly colored hard-boiled eggs. So there’s the potential for a face-off with a raccoon.

I was also considering doing an egg in spoon relay race. And the main event will be a lego-filled-egg hunt. Participants must find enough lego-filled eggs to build something spectacular with legos. It’s timed and will be harshly judged.

In honor of the copious amounts of boiled eggs you’ll be eating this weekend, I present to you Easter Egg Edition Weekender.

Boozy Treats to get you started: Easter Egg Jello Shots with peeps!

For the decorating: Naturally Dyed Eggs and Super Mario Bros. Eggs.

For the egg aftermath: Southwestern Deviled Eggs, Wasabi Deviled Eggs (the best!), Baked Deviled Egg Casserole and a Golden Polenta & Egg with Mustard Sauce.

Sweet treats: Easter Egg Cake with White Chocolate Spotted Eggs.

And these perfect wooden eggs.

Happy Easter!