As you may or may not already know, after planning for a literal year, Emma and I finally arranged a blogger XC schooling meet-up, including the lovely and talented Niamh, the fantastic and supportive Austen (and her wonder-huskies), and Niamh's wonderful trainer, Emily.

It was, basically, the best day ever.

I got to meet Isabel and Riley in the flesh, and it was like finally meeting a celebrity after years of fan-girling from afar. Isabel is SO dainty and gorgeous and ready for action at all times, and Riley is just such a cool dude, ambling along with his floppy ears and generally being the chillest TB you've ever met in your life.

We all met in the middle at Carousel Park in Delaware - a really cute little county park/XC schooling venue/mounted police horse unit base. There was a lot of squealing and gushing and hugging and getting super excited about meeting each others' celebrity horses!

Austen was marvelous and acted as our ground person and took so many pictures of the day, so thanks to her you get a very media-heavy post! WOOHOO! Austen, you are the greatest!

Riley is so dashing!

The daintiest mare evar.

Emma can't even contain herself

Since we were all late to our own party (I was the latest. Oy.) It was a mad dash to get tacked up and in the saddle so that we could assure ourselves maximum riding time before Emma had to be super lame and go get on a plane for her job or something dumb like that.

Blog friends help each other <3 

Emma is ready for fun! 

I call this the Lunch Lady Boogie. Note the hairnet and very attractive hands-free-belt-satchel.
Niamh and Riley looking bored waiting for us to get ourselves in gear
We let Emily lead the way to the XC schooling areas, since she and Niamh are quite close to Carousel and have schooled there several times. All of the horses handled the water crossing like champs, although Dino had to inspect for swamp monsters, etc., before dipping his toes in.

Dino was feeling great, and popped up into a little canter as we all trotted up the first big hill to start warming up. I just sort of giggled and loped him away one-handed and basked in the glory of the perfect weather and the best blogger friends!

Over the river and through the woods, talking each other's ears off the entire way!
We started out going all the way to the last field, planning to work in the water complex first and then work our way back towards the parking area. Unfortunately, there was no water in the water complex at all, so we just rode our mighty orange steeds through the empty basin. Dino took GREAT offense to the change in footing and had to slam on the brakes and stare at the mud several times. Isabel, Riley, and Emily's baby horse were all total pros. Leave it to the one senior in the group to look like he's never seen a water complex before!

This guy is such a rockstar! 

Iz and Emma say the water basin is NBD!


Riley and Niamh being perfect 

These two are just as badass in person as they are online! 
Since the jumps in the water complex field were a bit large for all of our tastes, we moseyed on to the middle field to start jumping, where there was a variety of baby size fences that would do quite nicely for our relaxing, confidence-building outing.

Go little mare, go!  

Dino cannot be bothered to lift both legs at the same time over this silly little jump.

BOING!! Maybe I should rename him Tigger?
Niamh and Riley having a casual lope over this little box

The best pony

This is our Super Man impression. 

Hitting this one coming downhill!

Hunting the next fence

From a training perspective, I actually didn't have a great plan coming into this schooling session. I knew I wanted to have a fun day and jump some stuff successfully in a new place. Without a solid plan, my nerves were flapping around like so many butterflies, so I decided to mostly stick with the tiny stuff that I felt 100% confident about. Dino was absolutely great, and listened attentively to me the entire time. For better or for worse, he did everything I asked. Even when stupid me pulled the reins like my life depended on it on the way to a BN-ish size ramp thing and a 'bigger' hanging log and made him crawl to a stop. BAD RIDER. Of course, when I sat up and, ya know, put my leg on, Dino jumped everything like a total dreamboat.

But other than that, we had a GREAT outing. I was 100% fine about galloping down hills to jumps (!!!) and Dino gave me absolutely NO 'tude about ANYTHING. He was perfect. Absolutely perfect. I did work quite a lot on our Land & Gallop skills, and homeboy really turned on the afterburners for me! We also got to practice coming out of the start box, and D-Money was off like a shot when I said go. It felt good. 

I. Love. This. Pony.

Land.. and..
Look at these guys killin' it! 
When we were all done jumping, Emma in all of her brilliance suggested a victory gallop. 

Um, yes. 

Victory Gallop/Match Race of the Century between all of the best blaze-face chestnut blog ponies? SIGN ME UP. 

We lost Riley and Niamh somewhere in the beginning, and Emily wisely chose not to gallop her baby horse hell-bent for leather in a group, so it was a match race between Isabel and Dino!

While the photos show Emma and Isabel taking an early lead, I'll have you know that SuperPony and I caught up to and passed them in the end! #sleeper

All in all, it was a wonderful, perfect, FUN day with some of the best people I have had the pleasure to meet through this blog. I never could have predicted the great friendships that have grown out of blogging, and I am SO happy that these wonderful ladies and their horses have come into my life. 

Chestnut midget friends for life
Actual quote from Niamh: "IT'S HAPPENING!!"
I can't wait to do it all again! 


  1. Looks like a super fun time! I'm jealous y'all are close enough to each other for a meet up.

  2. soooooooo much fun!!!!!!!! Dino is absolutely the coolest wonderpony out there, it was the absolute best getting to bang around those fields and jumps with y'all!!! must do again (and again and again!!!) :D

    1. AGAIN AGAIN!!! Next time Austen must bring a steed!!

    2. Next time we'll jut stick another one on the trailer for Austen, no excuse:) Best thing about having a 2 + 1!!!!

    3. I'll ride anything as long as it's chestnut! ;)

  3. OMG This is the best thing ever! My fave blog posts are blogger meetups -- it's amazing the little community we've built over the internet!

  4. This is amazing I wish I could have come!

    1. I'm so sad I just missed you when you were in DC! :(

  5. I was dying waiting for this post! Looks like you guys had SUCH a blast! I wish I was still down there to break up the chestnut party. ;)

  6. so so jealous!! looks like a great time!

  7. This looks like so much fun! It's really funny that you all have chestnuts.

  8. That park is so gorgeous! I love all of the little yellow flowers everywhere. It looks like you guys had a ton of fun, and I'm definitely a little jealous.

  9. That looks amazing! Yay internet pony friends!

  10. So glad you had an amazing outing! Looks like so much fun, lots of smiles and cute ponies :)

  11. Maybe someday my little red mare and I will be this brave! Loving all the beautiful pictures - what a fantastic day :)

  12. Looks like the best kind of day!! All the cute chestnuts :)

  13. OMG I LOVE THIS!! What a fun day!

  14. Um, talk about a good time. Only thing missing? Food.

    Look at Dino go!


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