Volunteering at my barn’s last three phase of the year

The barn that I ride at has 3-4 schooling shows a year. There is usually one in April that is just a two-phase, dressage & stadium jumping. The cross country field is usually not ready in April. Then there might be one in June, then a three phase in August, and then in the past they have done a three phase or a cross country derby in October.

I don’t own a horse, and I don’t have a lease currently, so I am happy to volunteer at the shows. The clientele at our shows are usually middle school to college age, and then people in their forties/fifties who are financially secure, have kids that are older. Riders in the middle like myself are usually trying to save money for other things and can’t own or show a horse OR they are showing at a higher level. Volunteering is so much fun, and its an awesome way to learn more about how shows and judging works.

In the past I have scribed for the dressage judge (which is so cool), judged at xc jumps, timed for xc, and been the ring steward for stadium. I always learn a ton and have a lot of fun with everyone. Scribing for the dressage judge is hard work but you learn a lot about what they look for. Cross country is exhilarating and beautiful to watch. Watching horse and rider gallop through fields, and through water, (hopefully) effortlessly leaping over coops and walls is breathtaking. Stadium jumping is great too, sometimes I realize I am actually holding my breath while one of the girls who I have watched from pony camp to now jumping 2’6″ zoom around the course.

The dressage arena- a square/rectangle space marked with letters around the perimeter where riders do a series of movements called a dressage test
The dressage arena- a square/rectangle space marked with letters around the perimeter where riders do a series of movements called a dressage test
Autumn decor at C in the dressage arena
Autumn decor at C in the dressage arena
Stadium jumping
Stadium jumping 

I think I will probably make the cross country fields its own post, there are so many fun things to photograph out there, from the jumps to the water feature.

Volunteering at horse shows is an awesome way to get involved in the horse world. I used to volunteer for MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen MA. I mucked stalls, filled waters, and volunteered at events like Groton House Farm Trials and the Fidelity Jumper Classic (now held in NH) in Hamilton, MA. Definitely a cool way to be present and involved without necessarily having a horse. Plus you are donating your time to others to help, which always feels good!

I just recently started jumping again after doing just dressage for a year or so. I was at the point where I was out jumping in the xc field and doing in that 2′ area in the ring. Here is what I was jumping recently, this beautiful little cross rail haha! I will get back there eventually….

Oh hai cross rail!
Oh hai cross rail!

I love Monday holidays because it means only a four day work week! I am really looking forward to this weekend already, Oyster Fest on the Cape Saturday, Head of the Charles Sunday…..we just need this rain forecast for Sunday to change!

Hope you all had a lovely day!!

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Hike up East & Mt. Osceola, #33 & #34!!

Sorry I have been MIA, it has been a busy weekend of hiking, horse shows, & football!! I love Columbus Day Weekend because it usually the peak of the fall foliage in New Hampshire. This year did not disappoint. Saturday was a cooler day, and the trail was a little wet from rain on Friday, but we managed to get up and down East Osceola and Mt. Osceola, 2 4000 footers on my list 🙂

I have never seen as many people leaf peeping up in the Whites as we saw this weekend. Sunday night they were estimating ~660,000 people were traveling in NH for the foliage. That’s crazy, and really awesome for NH’s economy. Many inns/hotels/campgrounds that we passed were full up and many parking lots for scenic overlooks were packed with traffic causing lines to get a picture of the beautiful colors painted across the mountains that have become like a second home.

Anyways, here are some pics from the hike!

There are no views from East Osceola, just a cairn signifying that you made it, and even then you are supposed to walk down a small trail for about 60 yards to the true summit, something you would only know from reading the Appalachian Mountain Guide site. Mt. Osceola is where the views are at!

Standing up there on the summit, the colors transform the landscape. Its hard to see in the foliage in the pictures, definitely easier to see at the lower altitudes. Up in the 4000 footers, what you see is evergreens. I got some better foliage pics on today’s hike!

We went up via the Greeley Pond Trail to Mt. Osceola Trail. We think that coming up from the other side might be easier? There is a chimney (rocks that are arranged so you have to climb and squeeze through like Santa) between the Osceolas and a slide thats a pain when its wet…which it was…on the Mt. Osceola trail just before you summit East Osceola. This was actually my third attempt at the Osceolas. Once, it was wayyyy too wet and I was tired from a hike the day before, and the other time, the trail had new snow and was a mess with post holes and we couldn’t deal. That happens, we always say, “to hike another day”, meaning make sure you are hiking in a way that will allow you to hike another day, the mountains will be there.

Hiking is one of the most rewarding ways to spend a day, physically & mentally. We saw lots of families and groups of friends which always makes me happy. There were lots of dogs as well, which makes Mizpah happy too!

I will catch up on the rest of the glorious Columbus Day weekend over the next couple days, promise! Hope you all had a great weekend, and to my Canadian friends, I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!!

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Prep Craze: Flannel Shirts

Ok folks….the way some of the fashion bloggers I follow have been talking up flannel this year you would think this new trend came straight out of NYFW….maybe it did….I doubt it. My father and grandfather wore flannel as a uniform from October to April every year. It was what my dad threw on to get wood for the stove, and what my mom wore over turtlenecks in the winter. My grandparents owned a farm in Maine so lots of outdoor work even in the cold. There were flannel shirts, shirts that were insulated with long underwear, flannel lined with quilting, flannel lined jeans, flannel hats with the ear flaps…and us kids all had flannel shirts, pajamas, nighties, shorts, and of course sheets. I had a set of mocha flannel sheets that came out in the fall and I would have my mother wash and dry them in the same day so I didn’t have to use other sheets 🙂

This year, flannel shirts seem to be on everyone’s fall essential lists, in everyone’s instagram posts. This was all well and good until I clicked on a particular blogger’s link to their flannel shirt and found out that it was $168…..it was under a sweater, under a Barbour…..only the collar and tails of this shirt were showing…..$168. Was it free? I don’t know, I didn’t see the tell tale c/o after it.

Guys, please don’t spend that much on a flannel. If you spend that much, you are doing it wrong. These shirts are soft on dry chapped skin in the winter, and I love them, but if you are paying that much for one, it should like….also massage your shoulders or something. These are casual, comfy shirts…save that money for a nice dress shirt for an upcoming occasion/interview, not on a flannel. Oh and just an FYI, not all plaid shirts are flannel, and not all flannel shirts are plaid 😉

Here is my small collection of flannels:FullSizeRender-7

Top two shirts are from Old Navy Classic Flannel. They are all less than $30. They are very lightweight, which some people will like, some people won’t. They fit me ok, but the button over my chest kinda pulls which is crappy, but going up a size would make it too big. That being said, for the price, they are awesome under sweaters and under vests. A lot of us are wearing these shirts like that anyway.

Third one down was a present from my sister, the Eddie Bauer Stine’s Favorite Flannel Shirt. These fit me perfectly, they are on sale right now for $45, some great colors (I love the Atlantic!), and they are a little more substantial than the Old Navy shirts.

Finally, the bottom one in one of my favorite plaids, blackwatch, is the LLBean Scotch Plaid Shirt, Slightly Fitted. They are $44.95, great price for the quality. They also have this shirt in a relaxed fit. Pay attention to the size chart for LLBean because I go down a size for their clothing. This is a heavier weight shirt, closer to a true old school flannel shirt. I will definitely get more of these in future years.

Oh! Here is the J Crew Flannel Shirt I mentioned earlier. Its from the Thomas Mason for J Crew collection, so I guess if you are into that, then maybe $168 isn’t bad. J Crew does have other flannel shirts in the $80s, Orvis clocks in at $79. J Crew Factory have the Factory classic button down in flannel for $41.50, but a bunch of colors are backordered already.

Flannel came from the British Isles, worn by people who worked outside and wore these to stay warm in the rough weather often found in that area. If all you want flannel shirts for is to wear under a sweater or a vest, go cheap and lightweight, better for your wallet and your body temp if you work inside.

Annnnd to end this prep craze post, here is a beautiful pic of the Nashua River today from my trail run with the pup. Such a nice afternoon run.

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Happy Wednesday everyone! We are almost through the work week to the Columbus Day weekend!!

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Hiking North & South Twin- 16 4000 footers to go!

On Sunday, the fiancé, pup, and myself headed up to NH. I am working on hiking all 48 4000 footers in NH, and I now have 32 done!! It has been an amazing journey. North and South Twin was an 11 mile, 7 3/4 hour hike. It was long but beautiful. The views from the summits are unlike any I have seen yet. The Twins are right in the middle of many of the 4000 footers, so it was amazing to see so many mountains I have hiked all seeming so close. Walking through the woods for hours to come out in the open and see all the peaks that have become so familiar was breath taking.

Here is the Little River that you cross back and forth over a few times taking the North Twin trail. So pretty, but a little scary hopping on rocks trying not to end up in the river. On the way out, we took a detour so we only had to cross the river once.

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After the river crossings, the trail turns and heads up to the North Twin summit. From there its around 45 minutes to the South Twin summit. Most of the pictures below are from North Twin. My pics from South Twin didn’t come out too great. There is definitely foliage up there, a lot of yellow right now though. I am hoping this coming weekend will have more orange and red!

Pretty sweet view up here!
Pretty sweet view up here!
Just starting to see the color change to mostly yellows
Just starting to see the color change to mostly yellows
Mizpah looking out over her mountains
Mizpah looking out over her mountains
View of the Presidential Range
View of the Presidential Range
View of Franconia Ridge & Mt. Garfield
View of Franconia Ridge & Mt. Garfield

After a long day of hiking, we ate our homemade sandwiches, pickles, apples, and yes, some pretzel/cheese combos and headed home. There was a huge traffic jam for a moose on the way home. Looked like a young male moose just hanging out on the side of the road. We contributed to the curiosity traffic haha, it was pretty cool.

Hiking is such amazing exercise and is pretty much necessary for my sanity. Being out there just softens life’s craziness. My fiancé says it turns down the volume for a while. Pretty cheap adventure too, just need to pay for gas! This one didn’t even have the $3 parking fee!

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Fall apple picking & Wachusett Brewery visit

This past Saturday, one of my fiancé and I’s friends came out to visit from Boston. He got a zip car and everything, so awesome. The weather could have been better, but it wasn’t raining thank goodness. We took Mizpah, our pup, to an off leash trail area nearby which was such a nice start to the day. Mizpah is so happy running through the woods, and its so beautiful & peaceful there.

Then we headed to one of the many apple orchards in central MA. This particular one is just pick your own apples, some have cider and apple cider donuts, some have full country stores. In the area that I live there is literally an apple orchard every 5 miles or so. We like to check out all the different orchards, but this year we hit up Doe Orchards in Harvard MA because it allows dogs on a leash! Our favorite apples are cortlands, and we got some honey crisps for my sister. We eat an apple a day, and I only like to get my apples from local orchards in my area. I have been burned getting apples at the grocery store. Nothing sadder than biting into a bad apple. Cortlands are awesome for eating & baking, can’t wait to make apple crisp!

After apple picking, we grabbed some lunch, and then headed to Wachusett Brewery in Westminster MA. Wachusett was founded by three WPI graduates, and their brews are served all over Worcester, and really all over New England now. They have a beer honoring the Red Sox, Bruins, Larry Bird of the Celtics, and so many more. We brought our two growlers to fill up with Nut Brown Ale and Black Shack Porter and in the meantime we sampled some beers! So good. Don’t get me wrong, I love a glass of wine or champagne just as much as the next girl, but I also love good beer. Going to school at WPI, we often went to The Boynton Restaurant and one of the cool things they did was put actual blueberries in the Wachusett Blueberry. Its the only blueberry beer I will drink 🙂

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Apple picking is a very affordable fall activity. We got a huge bag of apples for $13 and we know that money is going right to the people that run the orchard. Doing growlers at your local brewery can be huge for savings. At Wachusett I believe we paid $25 for a growler and then refills are $7. Good deal for a half gallon of beer right from the tap at the brewery! Love finding affordable fun things to do on the weekend 🙂

Cheers to getting through Monday!!

c/o Mon

As the leaves turn…

It has been a week! It is finally Friday and this work week has come to a rainy end. I was going to do a ride today with one of the school horses after school today but he is still lame and sadly all the other horses had dates this Friday afternoon. Now…when we say a horse is lame, that means that his gait is off for some reason, not that he is a loser ha. The vet narrowed is down to a hoof and thought rest and bute (horse tylenol), would be just the trick, but the lameness has persisted. We don’t ride our horse friends until they are sound again, meaning the issue that has caused the lameness has been resolved. Some horses do have chronic issues and vets can give people the ok to ride a horse like that, but generally we want our horses to have 4 happy legs/hooves for riding.

While I was there, I took a couple snaps of the trees just starting to turn. The barn I ride at is literally one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I’m so lucky.

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The barn is on a property that used to be an apple orchard. That’s pretty typical for central Massachusetts, so for the next couple weeks, free apples at the barn!

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Enjoy the apples, just return the baskets! 😉

I would have taken some if I didn’t already have plans to go apple picking tomorrow! We’ll see, if we get rained out I might be going back to the barn for some free apples 🙂 Have a great weekend!!

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