Ode to the Horse Friends

pond riding

I’m going to make a lot of guesses in this post. I’m guessing that, if you were like me, you probably didn’t have many girl friends growing up. “Typical” girls didn’t understand your competitiveness, your drive to succeed, your connection to ‘a dumb animal’, your need to be strong and your willingness to get your hands dirty, literally, to achieve your goals. If you did have girl friends, they were likely other “horse girls”, or strong women who recognized your ‘ganas’ and respected them instead of fearing them.


It’s no surprise that we as horse women relate so well to other horse women, and less to the domestically correct ideals of old that society continues to offer us. Cook dinner every night? Maybe when I get home from the barn. Keep everything spick and span? Ha, have you even seen my car? Smell like roses all the time? If the name by which a rose also goes is Foster, sure.

Antonia and Bob

Still, to say that all horse people will immediately befriend one another is to paint that picture using only rainbow colors and maybe those fuzzy animal stickers we coveted as children. Many of us are sportsmen as well as horsepeople, so there is always going to be an array of opinions and competitiveness that makes everyone being everyone else’s best-friend-forever just impossible.

Alex Bo Barn

So when we find another horsewoman (or to be fair, horseman) that then becomes our best friend, well, that’s something special.

Photo by High Time Photography

Photo by High Time Photography

It takes a special person to not only put up with, but enable hours of conversation on one subject (duh, horses), supports you in your many goals on your path to personal equestrian world domination, and then still probably won’t judge you for the mysterious stains or smells you bring to the party. That person that makes the effort to watch your rides at shows, and hollers and whoops at the end of your dressage test, even if their ridiculous jubilance draws looks from passersby. And if that person can’t be there, you know they are going to call you the second you get done, that they care enough to want a play-by-play of how a line rode, or your iffy canter transitions, even if that stuff will bore most people to tears. And you would do the exact same for them.

Nikki Star Dressage

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I really discovered this rare breed of ‘horse friends’. Much of that I owe to my collegiate dressage team, which first introduced me to the concept that collegiate or not, being an equestrian is much better when it is a team sport. 10 years later I still keep in touch with those girls, and the memories of silliness and bonding are more important to me than any show of my college career.


When I left college, bought Foster, and moved to new farms, I thought those kind of relationships were unique to the college experience, and so a thing of the past. But once again I found kindred spirits, and started new adventures, and with those people I made new memories. We have cried, we’ve been scared, we’ve been brave, and we’ve (I’ve) certainly embarrassed ourselves a few times, and it’s been glorious. The only thing that makes these different than the days before is that now we are old enough to imbibe in an adult beverages to celebrate, or drown our sorrows, or attend the local schooling show.


Being an equestrian is not easy. And I don’t mean just that riding horses isn’t easy. Living with and loving animals so breathtaking, and yet so fragile, means that we constantly are living lives of highs and lows. The ride will always be sweeter when you find someone to join in the journey.





In which Britt whines about stress

If you want to ignore my whining, and trust me I don’t blame you, tune in next week. I promise I’ll be back to cheerful then.


I’ll admit it, I’m a little overwhelmed. Life is coming at me with just a trifle too much for me to process everything at the moment.

My car decided to have a sick day, which was not cool of it at all. Like, barely got me to work and then was straight up fussy for 36 hours. Of course after that it goes back to normal and even though the shop went over it with a fine tune comb, they can’t find a single thing wrong with it. Oh, except I need four new tires soon. Awesome.

Normally awesome car decided to be not awesome for a day

Normally awesome car decided to be not awesome for a day

Elliot also decided to have sick days, and now needs medicated eye drops three times a day on top of his regular anxiety meds. Thanks Elliot, I promise you I don’t enjoy wrestling you to the ground three times a day either.

And of course Foster’s ulcers and recheck tomorrow are on the brain. Hopefully it will go well, since he’s becoming more and more like himself. By the way, thanks Fosterpants for the solid dressage ride last night. Preesh.

Still, some of it is good- I am absolutely swamped at work but the upside of running to meetings is that I actually get out of my office instead of shutting myself within my windowless four walls murmuring My Precious to the Thunderbolt display before me…

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

Also, I get to celebrate this weekend as part of an old friend’s wedding party. Like, this chick and I go back to kindergarten together. Should be lots of fun. Just gotta get that dress altered, then hemmed, and then try not to give a crap about my semi-permanent farmer’s tan arms.

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?

And lastly, we are so close to wrapping up our master bathroom I can taste it. All it’s lacking is a couple decor items, which I simply haven’t found time to install between coming home and collapsing into bed.

Things will calm down, I know. But whinging about it in the meantime is therapeutic… right?

Quality Times

I spent the weekend focusing on the house and horses, and it was a pleasant reminder of what life can be like when not constantly chasing a season. Not that I don’t love competing, I do, but there is something just so nice about not having any real plans or schedule to worry about.

This coming from the girl that was champing at the bit to plan our potential glorious Training debut. Well, that’s horses for you folks, and we all find peace where we can.

Part of my non-competing weekend including supporting J at MacNair’s for a Novice CT, and playing photographer with a continuingly crap-focusing camera. I really enjoyed watching Jasper go and catching up with a lot of folks I know from the equestrian community. Bonus that I got to see a couple logo projects being displayed on various shirts and fleeces being worn about the show.

Even a bling squirrel finds a nut though

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes (aka the adorable OTTB Jasper in dressage mode)

I then got to go visit with my BFF, A, and her amazing Appendix gelding, Bo. These guys are a real comeback kid story- from Hunter/Jumper glory to eventing, and after multiple mishaps (not eventing related btw), to being almost retired with one functioning leg of the four. Now Bo is learning to be a dressage horse, and the transformation from broken horse to where he is now left me awed. The wonders of dressage, people!

Jasper again

Jasper again

The weekend wrapped with heading out to my own barn for some quiet time with Fosterpants. I love being met with a whinny when he first spots me, and spent a long time just sitting in the grass and watching him be. I did hop on for a whopping 25 minutes, and while he started off a bit stunted and eh, he settled into the work and we did long and low at trot and canter before I put him in for the evening. Joy of all joys!

I hope everyone else had a peaceful or fun weekend, and got lots of similar quality pony time. It’s good for the soul!

Photography Friday: Nikki’s Bridals

Ahh, I finally get to share these with you!

I had the honor of photographing Nikki for her bridal portraits back in September. It was a beautiful fall day, and this bride-to-be simply glowed! The sky kept changing as we went along, and I swear to you I felt like I was seeing something out of Pride and Prejudice unravel before me – the scenes of pastoral splendor, combined with a stunning dress and glamorous model were simply too much!




We took this opportunity to photograph Nikki with her mother as well, and I'm so glad we did! What a stunning pair!

We took this opportunity to photograph Nikki with her mother as well, and I’m so glad we did! What a stunning pair!



Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Halloween!


Wedding weekend, grumpy quads, and a clip job

You know you’ve had a good weekend when your legs are so sore from dancing that you struggle with stairs, and sitting down is actually more like falling into a chair, because your quads just can’t handle those last couple inches before your butt hits the seat.

Selfie with the bride!

Selfie with the bride!

This past weekend marked the last wedding of the year, and it went off with a bang. I had a simply marvelous time seeing old friends, testing my public speech abilities (not so hot- I shake like a leaf!), and putting some serious moves down on the dance floor. Also one odd moment when the entire dance floor decided to fill my updo with glow sticks… Can’t wait to see that picture! The bride is a current best friend and former dressage teammate of mine, so it was fitting that the venue take place in a converted barn, and we seriously raised the roof on that joint!

The bride and I geeking out at her HP-themed engagement party!

The bride and I geeking out at her HP-themed engagement party!

Back at home, I decided I was not so sore I couldn’t give Foster a clip, which he definitely needs with temperatures predicted to reach the 80s this week. It’s not my most meticulous job ever, but I thought it was pretty good for getting it done in just under an hour!

Will take better photo of the clipped pony later

Will take better photo of the clipped pony later

Our work with the draw reins seems to be paying off, and his canter transitions are slowly improving. We’ll continue to visit dressage town this week, and maybe get a jump school in before daylight savings hits this weekend! Can I just say, I hate daylight savings- getting to the barn in the dark is just sad.

Hope y’all had great weekends as well!! Happy Monday!

Photography Friday: Alex and Bo

As you know, I did a couple photo shoots last weekend for a couple dear friends of mine. The second of these was for my BFF (going to pretend like I’m not too old to say that), Alex. Alex and I have been buds for forever, even before she acquired Bo, the four legged love of her life. Bo is a 15 year old Appendix gelding with a personality goofy enough to match that of Alex’s. The understanding these two have for each other is inspiring and hilarious to witness- they are the perfect compliment of each other.


In the last few years, Alex has transitioned from Hunter-Jumper princess to the dark side eventing, and asked me to photograph Bo now that he is at the peak of fitness. Mere days after capturing these images, Alex felt there was something not-quite-right with Bo, even though he was, even to vet-trained eyes, sound. But from insistence from her, ultrasounds showed the mineralization of an old tendon injury. It’s still unclear how things will continue, but I’m all the more grateful that we were able to take these photos before that news. It all goes to show that horses are such fragile animals for all their size, and every moment we have with them is precious.






Bo marveled at my umbrella holding/camera shooting skills


As you can see, it was actually raining pretty hard- thank goodness for these beautiful crape myrtle trees!


fb_DSC4781Have a great weekend!


Photography Friday: The story of Baron


Alright, y’all. This is a photo shoot that has been on my mind and heart for a very long time before we ever picked up the camera.


Here’s why…


I met Ali and Baron when I bought Foster, as fellow boarders at the beautiful old barn I left not too long ago. Ali, an adult amateur like me, was bringing up a young horse with the intention to event. Enter Baron- a fiesty little 15.1 hh former racehorse whose sweet disposition and occasional exuberance made for an exceptional event horse in the making.

fb_DSC4039Ali and Baron have joined Foster and I on almost all of our adventures, and so I’ve watched them grow together. I saw them jump their first roll top, that first 3′ fence (both of these accompanied by exclamations from Ali that I can’t list here- did I mention his exuberance?), watched them master lead changes and find success in the dressage ring. Ali and Baron are a great pair, and it’s been joyful watching them progress so much in just a few years.


Fast forward to last April. I was riding a train through Scotland on my honeymoon, and I was reading an email from Ali about a bump that had formed on Baron’s face. We thought many things- maybe he had been kicked, maybe he had a tooth issue, but eventually the worst was thought; maybe he had cancer. A trip to NC State’s veterinary school confirmed that Baron had Plasma Cell Myeloma, a cancer that has only been diagnosed in 12 horses before. Heartbroken is the only word fit to describe that day.


Still, more than a year later, Baron has been mostly unaware of the sickness. He still does daily gallops around the field, begs for attention, and continues his normal antics. Ali was able to continue riding him for some time, until soreness in the sternum prevented him from being girthed and saddled. Now Baron is retired, enjoying his days steeped in peppermints and affection. We know those days are limited, but for now, he is happy, and that is enough.


I did this photo shoot with Ali and Baron, for two reasons. One is simply because I owe her so much- she has become a wonderful friend and I will never be able to pay her back for the generosity she has shown me over the years. The second reason, is that this horse deserves a moment to be celebrated, for all he has done and simply because he is a beautiful animal, and that is always to be celebrated.


With these photos, I attempted to capture some of the heart of Baron and the relationship he has with his owner, who is a brave, brave woman and so fully deserving of having these moments to keep with her forever.



fb_DSC3950Have a great weekend, y’all.


Photography Friday

This weekend I will be doing a couple fun horse-related shoots for two wonderful friends and their equines who have been been on some rather eventful journeys. The first, Ali and Baron, is a rather poignant event. Here are some photos of Baron that I have taken over the past couple years.



1235429_10101422834934299_212011834_n Hug your horses, friends, and have a great weekend.

A spray tan and a Wedding


I spent the weekend in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, feeling oh-so-honored as bridesmaid for a special friend of mine! I met the bride on the first day of orientation at college- we were roommates and discovered that we were both horse crazy girls who were determined not to gain the dreaded freshman 15. So what started out as a running partnership evolved into party antics and then developed into a beautiful friendship that has lasted all these last 9 years!


So last week was a balancing act of evenings spent getting manicures (necessary for bridesmaids who are also barn heathens riders) and spray tans (again, necessary for covering up that sports bra tanline you got last week while outside showjumping), and maybe getting in a little saddle time that hopefully won’t undo all the hard work it took to actually make you look human again. Le sigh.

My obsession with this creature occasionally makes me unsafe for public display.

My obsession with this creature occasionally makes me unsafe for public display.

But all in all, the wedding was perfect- a little bit of everything needed to make for a great occasion. Much love, a few drinks, and lots of laughter. Also, I only tripped once. A resounding success, all around.

Memories from the wedding: The beautiful bride, NC mountains, the husband, the bff, and rehearsal fun

Memories from the wedding: The beautiful bride, NC mountains, the husband, the bff, and rehearsal fun