Learning to Ride English Style & New Blog Header Options!

Good morning!

I hope you all had nice weekends! If you’re just checking in, Matt and I did our first brick workout (bike + run) on Saturday for triathlon training! Check out the recap post :)

It was really nice to be back in town this weekend after all the travel lately! Yesterday was really fun — Matt and I randomly bought a Living Social deal ages ago for a 1 hour horse back riding lesson and yesterday was the big day.


Our deal was for a place called Triton Stables about 45 minutes away. They were great! Highly recommended if you are in the area and looking to ride.


I’ve only ridden horses a few times before — back in the day at Girl Scout camp, and also once in New Zealand when I was studying abroad. I’ve always loved riding so it was fun to get back out there :) Our instructor, Austin, was great, too.



The lesson was really cool because at Triton Stables they teach English style riding, not Western riding. In English riding, you “post” or “rise to the trot”, which means that you rise up and sit back down in rhythm with the horse’s stride. It’s what you see the jockeys doing in horse races!


It was really cool to learn how to do — and a serious leg workout, too! It’s basically like doing squats endlessly. Those jockeys are hardcore!



It was awkward and a bit scary at first because you don’t have anything to hold on to but the horse’s mane and if you’re not doing it right you’re just getting bounced around. But once we got the hang of it it was really cool :) Felt very fluid!



We got to practice steering the horses around on our own some, too. Harder than it looks ;)



The horse we rode was named Mariah:


She was very sweet and calm :)


Apparently horses LOVE being brushed. She had her eyes half closed while we were brushing her and looked like she might fall asleep!


After our horse back riding adventure, Matt and I ventured the half mile over to Falls Lake — a blog reader recommended it awhile ago and it was so close to the stables it was perfect!


Swimming was pretty much the best thing ever after getting super sweaty riding horses in jeans on a 90 degree day.


They had these dog cutouts along the shore in a few places. Random?! Maybe to keep away other animals at night?


We brought along our new goggles to try, too — I’ve been searching for some good ones and Matt didn’t have any, so we decided to give the Aqua Spheres a try after a bunch of you recommended them. 


Matt liked the goggles, but unfortunately they were letting in some water for me :( I have a tiny nose bridge and need a really small nose area, and these were too wide. Sigh. Back to the drawing board! Any ideas?!

In other news — I’m getting a new banner made for my blog! I love my current one, but I want my banner to match my business cards and include my logo so everything is more streamlined. Below are two samples that my graphic designer, Bailey, created for me.

Option 1:


Option 2:


What do you guys think? Love them? Hate them? Like them but think other photos would be better instead? I wanted to include a nice mix of different types of food, and also include something running related. Please share your thoughts! :)

And speaking of my graphic designer, Bailey, she’s hosting a giveaway for a complete blog design package — a logo, a blog header, a blog button, and a business card design. Check it out! She’s awesome :)


  1. 1

    I LOVE option 1 for your header!

  2. 2

    I grew up riding English style (though I won’t claim to be any good at it!). The new banners are both really nice, but I think I might like the first one better than the second. :)

  3. 3

    Option # 1 is my favorite!

  4. 4

    Speedo women’ss vanquisher. No question. 4 nosepieces and super-adjustable straps. They have saved my life

  5. 7

    Both headers are super cute! But I like Option #2 because of the circles. It looks more unique. You can’t go wrong with either one though :)

  6. 8

    Numero uno, for sure.

  7. 9

    I lvoe horseback riding, unfortunately I’m like deathly allergic to horses. My grandfather had horses when we were kids (and dogs and pigeons, going to their house was like the zoo every Sunday) and all my cousins would get to ride them except me b/c of my allergies so when I complained enough my parents would dress me up in a snow suit (in the middle of summer), goggles, surgical mask, gloves and hat to try and reduce the amount of dander I came in contact with! Quite the site. I’d last about 20 minutes until complete allergy attack and then be miserable for the next 2 days drugged out on benadryl.

    I like design #2 :)

  8. 11

    I think the pictures are brighter and more optimistic in Option #1, and the overall look is much more appealing. While I agree that 2 is unique looking, I think it’s a little sillier/more playful but in maybe a way that would appeal to kids, if that makes any sense.

  9. 12

    I love the bottom one – but is there away to get the FF circle part of your logo to be the same size as the circle pictures? I think it would flow more smoothly!

  10. 13

    I like the 2nd header! But they are both super cute. :)

  11. 14

    I like the first header option best!! But they both are really cute!!!

  12. 15

    I’m lovin’ the 1st one! I think the 2nd one is too many circles.. i like mixing up the shapes!

  13. 16

    I love the 2nd one. It looks great and its a bit more unique! Haven’t seen one quite like it!

  14. 17

    Quickly popping in to see the header options – LOVE # 2 best. I like the circles. It fits with the overall look of your “brand” with your business cards and such. :)

    Also – so fun on the horses. It’s been too long since I’ve gone riding. I used to go all the time when younger.

  15. 18

    I love both, but I think I like option #2 better only because of the circles.

    Thank you for posting the link to Bailey’s giveaway! That’s way sweet of her to offer her services.

    P.S. Matt looks darn cute brushing that horse, but you probably already knew that.

  16. 20

    number 2

  17. 21

    I definitely love the second one the best.

  18. 22

    I like both options, but I like option #1 a bit more. :)

    Horseback riding looks like fun! I think I have only been on a horse once, when I was in elementary school, but I would like to try it again.

  19. 23

    Ahh so fun!! I rode hunter/jumper in junior high and high school–I miss it!
    I like the first header!

  20. 24

    I love the first banner!

  21. 25

    You’re banner is so true. It feels like all of my comments on your blog are, “SO FUN!”. it’s true! Always up to something new, Anne! I love both of them.

  22. 27

    Option 1!

  23. 28
    Lindsay Holum says:

    I’ve never ridden a horse English style, only Western. You post when you ride Western as well. It’s all about helping the horse out by working with them and not against them! : )

  24. 30

    I like Option 2 because the circles all have the same theme going on. I do agree with another commenter that the size of your logo and the size of the background circles is too similar that it looks like a mistake in the size. I’d make your logo BIG to counteract, though I can see it would be hard to have it not just blend right into the photo sized circles. Hmm… tricky. Maybe I do like option 1 better for that reason. On first glance though, Option 1 seemed too busy. Not enough of a statement on a quick glance, but that’s the danger of using so many photos in a header I suppose.

  25. 32

    I like option 2 better, but I like the race picture better from #1 (the background). I think I don’t like in the first one that the pictures aren’t all the same size… I’m kind of a symmetry nut ;)

  26. 33

    Riding looks fun! :) Banner looks good! Win-win!!!

  27. 34

    Option 1 for sure!!! LOVE IT!

  28. 35
    Pat Elsberry says:

    Both are nice, but I like Option 1 best. It gives a more uniform, sleek design.

  29. 36

    I prefer design #2 :)

  30. 37

    I’ve never ridden English before but I’ve done bare-back once. English looks pretty cool though. I was riding Western one time when my saddle slipped because the horse had a rather round midsection and we were cantering and I couldn’t get the horse to slow down! I ended up letting go before I was completely underneath the horse. I had no idea at that point that you could just grab ahold of the mane! I think I got a concussion out of the deal but otherwise everything was ok. I was wearing a helmet so I’m guessing it could have been worse.
    I like option #1 the best. Love the large photos.

  31. 39

    I love option #1! It’s super cute!!!

    I would love to go horse back riding! Looks awesome!

  32. 40

    Option 2, no question

  33. 41

    Fun random afternoon activity! I think there are some trail + horse-riding business around here…we did it as a Fam WAY back when (i.e. like 12 years ago), it was a good time :)

    Both of the headers look great! I kind of like the one with the circles better – more fluid, but they’re both awesome!

  34. 42

    love #2 because of circles too. never been that interested in riding horses because of wearing jeans in the heat! but they are sooo pretty.

  35. 43

    I like #1. It’s sleeker.

  36. 44

    I like both of them, but prefer #1 more because I can read the name of your blog right off the bat!

  37. 45

    Your new headers are so cute! I think I like the second one better, maybe a little easier to follow, but both are good :)

    And for the goggles, i’ve used the speedo women’s vanquisher for years! They even have different nose bridge things that you can change out and adjust. They should be under $20 if I remember right, but i’ve had mine for years so I don’t even know!

  38. 46

    I love option 1!

  39. 47

    I love Header #1 – Mainly because it has a jumping picture and that just makes me smile.
    As for goggles, I agree 100% with Speedo Women’s Vanquishers. Get 2 pairs – one tinted and one not – that way it’s like you have sunglass goggles for outdoor swims and normal ones for indoor swims :)

  40. 49
    larissa h says:

    those cut out dogs are to keep Canadian geese ( which poop all over) away!

  41. 51

    I like the first one. I like that the images are larger.

  42. 52

    Gosh I love them both, but I think I like #1 a little bit better!

  43. 53

    I definitely like #1 the best. I just like that the pictures are bigger and they seem to flow more. I think one of the pictures should be a dessert though-with chocolate. LOL :) But that’s just me.

  44. 54

    Love the first one!

  45. 55

    I like option #1 better, but from quickly scrolling down, I saw a lot of #2’s! I hope you can come to a decision! Either way, they both look great! I just personally like your site name on the left better, with the jumping pic :)

  46. 56

    Awesome photos. On the banner I like #1, it says it all. Fitness, Food, Fun

  47. 57

    I spent a summer helping a friend with his horse – awesome! I loved the brushing as much as the horses did (riding was a little scary). I prefer Option #2, but would substitute the photo from Option #1. The first option seems too busy on the eyes.

  48. 58

    I like the design of option 1, but I would flip it and have the logo on the left. I like reading it right to left and reading the catch phrase and then the actual name. If that makes sense…

  49. 59

    I love horses how awesome!~ And I like banner #2

  50. 60

    I like both banners, maybe #2 a little more.

    Such a fun afternoon–I haven’t been on a horse in years but I used to take (Western) lessons as a kid and loved it!

  51. 61

    I like look number 1 better. It has your logo first, the pictures and logo make for a nice mix of shapes and the pictures are more crisp.
    I adore your blog….your zest for and exercise comes across in a super healthy manner. :D

  52. 63

    I really love option #1! :)

  53. 64

    Heya, Anne! Both options are super cute, but I love #1 – it caught my attention instantly and I love the pic of you jumping on the beach. I think it looks very professional and sharp but still retains the fun, colorful aspect of your personality and the blog! :)

  54. 65

    Option 2 all the way ;)

  55. 66

    Option #1! More focus on the pictures draws in the eye…and the stomach ;)

  56. 67

    #2 is fun and unique!

  57. 68

    Option 1, Anne. ANd great post!

  58. 69

    Option 1 for me- it looks “more fun”. Were you sore after the ride?

  59. 71

    I highly recommend the Speedo Vanquisher for women. I tried a bunch of goggles until I found one that fit right.

  60. 73

    i really like the 2nd option, the photos in the circles looks really nice! both are great though, she did a great job!

  61. 74

    My only comment is that I like the photo of you much better in the first one — nice pretty background and we can see your face better! Otherwise, they both look great :)

  62. 75

    Definitely the first one.

  63. 76

    P.S. Maybe the fake dogs are there to scare off 2 legged animals in the dark.

  64. 77

    I think option #1 showcases the photos better… you can’t see them as well in #2 since they’re smaller. Both are great though!

  65. 78

    I like the larger photos in option 1 but I do like the circles in option 2.

  66. 79

    Option #1!! I think the vertical lines make the header super polished! :)

  67. 80
    Jen Robinson says:

    Version Number #1 :) Excited to see what one gets picked finally!

  68. 81

    My 2 cents on the headers: Both are super adorable, but I like the first one better! I like that the name of your blog is in the top left corner so it’s the first thing you see. Can’t go wrong with either one, though!

  69. 82
    Jennifer says:

    I love the first header, though the second one is cute, too! But I think the first one suits your blog so perfectly. So fun!

  70. 83

    The new header ideas look great!! I’m a fan of #2

  71. 84

    Love the new banners – I vote for the first banner. The pictures are a little too small in the second one.

  72. 85

    English style riding is fun, isn’t it?! I enjoy it a lot more than western just because of the way how the horse moves, how beautiful it is when doing either dressage or show jumping. Discipline – that’s what I like :-)

  73. 86

    I like the first one because your blog name is on the left side, so it “reads” well.

  74. 87

    Love them both (I’m a purple girl too!) but I’m especially drawn to the second. Can’t wait to see your new design!

  75. 88

    I love the pics of you riding! I am a professional horseback rider (English style!) and hearing you say you enjoyed it made me smile. I will say, after riding ten horses a day for about fifteen years, riding no longer feels like doing squats. Actually, I don’t even get that good of a workout from it because my muscles are so trained. I broke my ankle about ten years ago and had to take two months off of riding. I remember when I started back my legs were SO SORE!!!! Glad you had a good time.


  76. 90

    I was a competitive swimmer for ten years and then transitioned into triathlons and the ONLY goggles I will wear are Swedes. Like this:

    I know they look uncomfortable but I PROMISE that they are super super comfy once they are adjusted properly. The trick with these is to not use the nose strap that comes with them. Instead you should cut a piece of the elastic strap (that goes around your head) and thread it through the nose strap holes. They are completely adjustable!! Don’t be afraid of the lack of “padding” around the eyes – once they are set they don’t have to be very tight and they are SO comfy – plus you don’t see double of everything! The only concern with using them for triathlon swims is that they might hurt more if you get kicked in the face but I’ve NEVER had a problem with that (including a bunch of Ironman 2,000+ people mass starts!).

    Plus, they’re only $4 so they’re worth a shot! :)


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