UGH! I have had such a busy work week that I am just not getting time to put this post together. For all those who have been asking- so sorry this took so long!
If you follow me on social media you probably already know, but I went to Maryland last weekend to meet up with Claire and Olivia (2 of my fellow podcast hosts) for the first time! Taylor (the 4th host) was sadly on a family vacay, but I have never met any of them in person so I was thrilled to have 3 out of the 4 of us together.
When we record the podcast we Skype video chat. It is a somewhat weird phenomenon to see people every other week but not have met in real life. I knew what Claire’s living room and Olivia’s bedroom looked like. I have met Jesus, Olivia’s cat, and Tucker, Claire’s dog, via webcam. I had met Claire’s husband and her adorable 2 yr old daughter. Finally getting to be there IN PERSON was absolutely incredible. It felt so natural and not at all awkward. We all started with huge hugs!
I arrived on Friday mid morning and Claire and her daughter met me at the airport. After a quick tour of her house we headed to the barn to meet Pluto. Pluto is even MORE handsome in person, and I was able to watch Claire have a wonderful jump lesson. The weather in MD was fantastic, a cool front having just hit which brought the temps down to low 70’s. Pluto definitely felt good and was showing off during their ride.
After Claire’s lesson we headed to another barn, where her junior hunter AC is happily retired and her daughter was scheduled to take a lesson on the cutest little pony I have ever seen. Olivia was able to meet us there, having just gotten off of work (darn adulating!). It was actually so cool out that I could have done with a light jacket- such a relief from the Texas heat. After Claire’s daughter’s lesson we took a tour of the barn and met AC. He is the sweetest 32 yr old who is living the good life. Seriously, Maryland is just so beautiful and green!
We all went to Claire’s house to get cleaned up and head to dinner, a fabulous sushi restaurant. Claire’s husband is just the nicest, and didn’t mind that we talked about horses non-stop. We had an awesome sleepover, ending the night with popcorn and multiple episodes of the Saddle Club which was great for our nostalgia (amazon prime, check it out). We obviously discussed who would be which member of the Saddle Club and picked apart the ridiculous riding and plot lines like the good equestrians we are.
On Saturday the 3 of us headed to Claire’s barn so she could hack Pluto. The facility was hosting a horse show, so there was a festive atmosphere and plenty to see. We even got to meet some podcast listeners who recognized Pluto, thanks for saying hi ladies!!!! Pluto was feeling feisty in the cool weather and elevated show atmosphere but Claire rode him through it like a total pro.
After Claire finished up we hopped in the car and head to Olivia’s house to pick up her pups (who stayed over with us Saturday) and headed to her barn to meet Coco (her surrogate mare) and ride Juliet. They are two are the nicest tempered mares I have ever met, and Olivia’s barn is like a private oasis. I was drooling non-stop.
Olivia warmed up Jules for us, and we even got her to pop over a few fences. It was obvious that Juliet was not overally impressed by the smaller jumps and easily she stepped over them. I would love to watch then run cross country someday, they are so in sync and confident together, I bet they just eat up the courses.
After Olivia showed up the ropes on Jules I got to hop on. I have never ridden in a hackamore and I did NOT know what to do with my hands once I got on LOL. Not to worry though, Juliet was a perfect angel. Leading up to the trip Olivia and I had a running bet who who’s horse had a ‘harder’ canter. As soon as I picked it up I busted out laughing and proclaimed that Olivia was the winner. Don’t get my wrong- Juliet is LOVELY. Her canter just isn’t as smooth as Olivia makes it look in her videos! I quickly wimped out and switch to a half seat.
Olivia even let me pop her over am X-rail, and in true Kelly fashion I found a delightful long spot. What can I say, I like what I like! I also felt so confident on Juliet, I could tell she was game if I was.
Claire hopped in the saddle next and took big Mom for a spin. Sweet Juliet tolerated her multiple riders in true queen-like fashion. She was rewarded with many many treats, although I am pretty sure she gets that many treats every day. Mrs. Pastures and German Horse Muffins are her favorites!
Saturday night we went for dinner again, and headed back to Claire’s for more horse movies and the best cookies ever. International Velvet was on the schedule for that night- Claire’s all time favorite horse movie which Olivia and I hadn’t seen. The three of us were legit like pre-teen horse crazy girls all weekend, spending all of our times at barns and then going home and watching terrible yet somehow still good horse shows. I haven’t had this much fun in ages. I can’t stress enough how wonderful it was finally getting to meet these ladies in person. They are both so incredibly kind and passionate equestrians. It is so wonderful sharing your passion with fellow enthusiasts.
Sunday morning Olivia had to head home, but Claire and I headed to her barn one last time so I could sneak a ride on Pluto before heading back to Texas. He was an absolute saint, and I had so much fun hacking him around and playing with all his buttons.
Come Sunday afternoon I was NOT ready to head back to Texas. Maryland is so gorgeous, and there seemed to be barns on every corner. Plus if I lived there I could see Claire & Olivia all the time. Not to mention they have this place called Pure Raw Juice with the best acai bowls ever. Pretty sure I’m going to try to convince my hubs to let us move to the NE some day! Then again, not sure I could handle their winters… Guess I need to visit in winter time to see how bad it is for myself!