Taking a Day to Celebrate

Every year when I leave a summer horse show, coated in 15 layers of sweat and filth, rubbed raw in places that shouldn’t ever be, I think “omg, why did I do that? That was miserable.” and then the next year I do it again anyway.

Horse people, we are gluttons for punishment.

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BUT WE LOVE PONIES

I feel a little bit like a walking piece of beef jerky today. I drank 12 bottles of water in less than 24 hours (and was asleep for 8 of those hours) but I still basically attached my mouth to the hose after XC and chugged. Then stopped on the way home for a Powerade and chugged that too. I have to give the show management many props for how they organized the ride times this year, though. My dressage was late on Saturday evening, and we were done with stadium and XC before 9am on Sunday. The riding parts were the most pleasant.

The show recap will have to wait until tomorrow though, mostly because I need to organize myself a bit more before I tackle that. Spoiler alert: we won.

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But I have to be honest, it didn’t really feel like a very deserving win. I made some mistakes and had some bleh moments and picked up my ribbon mostly just feeling like I’d ended up on the lucky end of things that day. A friend of mine said that I was the most self-deprecating person she knew, a comment that I kept mulling over as I packed my things and started driving home. I fell into a cycle of glancing at the ribbon on the dash, mulling over my rounds in my head, and then thinking about her observation.

Finally I got tired of myself and starting flipping through radio stations, trying to find literally anything without static until I could get enough signal to turn on Spotify. Quite serendipitously, as I was pushing that Seek button over and over and over, one sentence came through loud and clear out of the static – “There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy”. Not sure if you’ve ever spent much time driving through Texas, but the stations we unfailingly have the most coverage for are the Christian stations, and that’s what this was. The signal quickly faded away to static again as I went down the hill, but I found myself pausing for a second on that particular lyric.

That was really the perfect way to phrase what I was doing to myself… stealing my own joy. We won our first HT ever (pretty sure? I think our other wins have been in derbies and CT’s.) at a level that at one time seemed like my own personal version of Rolex, and here I was, stuck on a couple of fences that I rode sloppily. My friend’s observation was spot on – I AM super self-deprecating. I couldn’t even give myself one friggin day to just enjoy the fact that we finally came out on top before I started analyzing and tearing apart every single mistake.

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giggling at how funny Henry looks in his suspender ice boots: never a mistake

I decided, in that moment, to just stop it. I turned my brain off, got just enough signal to open Spotify, and selected my “Horse Show” playlist… something I made a couple years ago to play when Bobby and I were driving to shows together. It’s a ridiculous mixture of really random songs, but they feel celebratory to me. I cranked that shit the whole rest of the way home and set everything else aside.

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So, tomorrow we’ll tear this thing apart and talk about what went right and what didn’t and what we need to work on. There are always plenty of those things. But for today I’m just gonna shove a bunch of cookies into my fantastic horse and appreciate the awesome journey that he’s taken me on.

FEH hesitations

Yesterday I sent the entry in for Presto’s first Future Event Horse class! Despite my pretty gung-go attitude earlier this year about taking him for FEH, I admit that I’ve really been waffling a bit. It took a lot of convincing and second guessing and back-and-forth on my part just to enter this one, and honestly it kind of left me wondering why I was being like that.

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Entry form, 2 releases, copy of his papers, copy of his coggins – aaaaand I forgot the check. Had to go retrieve the envelope from the mail room and open it back up.

I love Presto. I think he’s going to be exactly the type of horse I was aiming for when I bred his dam, and I’m pleased with how he’s developing. His temperament is super, his gaits are good without being too much for an amateur to ride, he doesn’t have any major structural issues, and he’s brave and smart. That said, I have always been able to very easily see the flaws in all of my horses, and Presto is no exception to this. My eye is probably more critical than anyone else’s and I always go the imperfections first, like I have some kind of weird case of reverse barn-blindness. It’s made me hesitant to take him to FEH, although I don’t really know why, because logically it doesn’t make sense.

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really just wants to stay home and eat fly masks

It’s not like he’s for sale. I don’t even put much weight on FEH scores translating to useful feedback about a horse’s potential – all they can do is evaluate confo and walk and trot on a baby horse, which are definitely not the most important things for an eventer. Not to mention that babies go through some seriously funky stages, and the judge may or not be able or willing to see through that. I tell people these things ALL THE TIME. Some babies score really well at FEH and totally flop as eventers. Some score really meh at FEH and are fabulous eventers. Line classes are really hard when it comes to predicting horses that will do well in a sport like this.

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His thoughts on my first attempt at wrangling that crazy-ass mustang forelock

For all of those reasons, his scores don’t actually matter. At the end of the day, it’s just one person’s opinion of a horse on that day, given what they can see. I know all of this. I know it really well. But that hasn’t stopped me from being hesitant about entering him. I already know his scores will just be average (y’all, the llama phase, it is real) and I already know that it won’t matter anyway. But I was still hesitant. I just… I dunno. I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t want to take him out in public when he doesn’t look his best, or if I just don’t want someone handing me a scoresheet telling me that they think he’s gross. It’s not as though I’m not already very used to the concept of subjective judging and one person’s opinion.

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Hoping he’ll decide to bring this trot, but honestly his patented PokeyPony Trot is more likely

After thinking about it for a while, I still don’t really know the root of my hesitation. I don’t totally understand my own psychology here, so I’m probably just being dumb as hell. But after talking it through with some people, and realizing that this next show is my last chance at getting him to a FEH class at all as a yearling, I decided to just buck up. Yeah so he’s gawky and he still hasn’t sprouted his chest and the orientation of his neck can change 100% from day to day (today: upside down). Who knows what he’ll look like the day of the show. But we’re gonna go and support the program and trot around that triangle like a real horse with no actual expectations (aside from good behavior), because why not? And if the judge doesn’t like Presto then oh well.

So Henry has a schooling show this weekend where we’re gonna play with a few new ideas and get an XC run in (we haven’t been out on XC at all since our March show, I think?), then Presto’s FEH is next weekend, and then Henry and I leave for Chatt! The next month is going to be busy.

Railbird

If you follow me on Instagram at all, you’re probably thinking that Presto spends his entire life tied up in some place or another. While it’s not quite THAT much time, he’s definitely logged his fair share of “patience hours” lately.

crossties = boring

Since his weekend adventure with The Tree of Knowledge a few weeks ago, he’s become quite reliable about tying. It wasn’t a one-and-done for teaching him how to stand quietly, but it definitely taught him that resistance is futile. I’ve been tying him in the barn for grooming every day, either straight-tied in the aisle or crosstied in the grooming area, and he’s been rock solid. Not totally STILL, per se, he still wiggles and tries to chew on things and sometimes tries a few half-hearted stomps that are the saddest attempt at a temper tantrum that I’ve ever seen. But the thought to pull back or resist or try to escape does not exist in him at all.

Lately he has resorted to the ever-dramatic “pouting” method of coping

So, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I moved on to tying Presto at the rail in the arena while I rode Henry. He was a little mad the first time, but honestly handled it better than I thought he would. I could ride Henry right behind him and he didn’t care (I mean, he looked more mad, but he wasn’t upset). I don’t ride in the arena very often though… generally only when the fields are too wet or too hard.

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second time tied in the arena
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how I found him at the end of the session: chin resting on the railing

The next time I rode Henry out in what I call my “dressage field” – a smaller, flatter field in front of my jump field – I noticed something that hasn’t really registered with me before. Tall, very solid poles that I assume used to be part of an old fence. Now it’s a lower wire mesh fence, with my dressage field on one side and a corn field on the other, but a few of the taller poles are still in place.

So after one more session hanging out on the rail in the arena to make sure he understood the game, I ponied him out with me for a dressage ride one morning, tied him to the tallest pole (which – it is not that easy to tie one horse on a fence line while riding another, btw. Put THAT in field hunter classes!), and rode away.

Pretty sure you can hear Henry’s evil laughter

Not like… far away. I slowly spiraled Henry away from him, watching to see what Presto’s reaction would be. After all, he was tied next to a loud corn field (it’s kinda scary when it’s windy!), out in the middle of nowhere, and the only horse he could see was leaving him. This was definitely a lot different from just tying him to the arena rail, right by the barn. I could see the wheels turning as he decided what to do. It only took him about 30 seconds to choose the “good boy” option and start nibbling at all the grass that was tall enough to reach.

Got noms. Go ‘way.

I heard nary a peep out of him that day, and he’s been out on that post three other times since. I ride Henry past him and towards him at every gait, but Presto never seems to care. Sometimes he gets bored and tries to paw or pace, because yearling, but he never seems worried or upset. He’s become a bonafide Railbird.

I’m hoping that, in addition to continue developing his patience skills, this also helps make him a little more independent and not worried about what other horses are doing around him, especially under saddle. I guess we get to find out in like… 2 1/2 years.

Quick Knot first impressions

Several people asked me to post my impressions of the Quick Knot once I’d had a chance to try them out. I haven’t actually shown in them yet, but I did pop a couple braids into Henry’s mane the other day and go for a ride, so I’ve definitely at least got enough feedback about them to hopefully be helpful to those of you who were curious.

First: keep in mind that these ship from the Netherlands (yeah, even when you order from the USA site) so order them at least a couple weeks ahead of when you need them. Mine took about a week and a half to arrive, which isn’t bad from Europe at all, but if you’re expecting 3-4 day US-based shipping, you’ll be kept waiting.

I’ve been eyeballing these things since they first hit the market last year, but the price has always kept me a bit hesitant. At $40 for a pack of 100, they aren’t that cheap when it comes to braiding implements. And while they say you can get at least two uses out of each piece, it still made me wince a bit. I mean, $5 for a pack of rubberbands or $15 for a spool of nice waxed thread are prices that I’m more accustomed to for braiding products. At my core, I am cheap.

But I friggin hate sewing in braids, and I also friggin hate rubberbands for about a thousand reasons, so finally I just said screw it, had a “Treat Yo’self” moment, and bought the overpriced paper clips. Well, ok, first I did try following a suggestion I saw online that said to do the same thing with bobby pins going up through the braid and then an “arm” bent to each side, but a) it didn’t blend with the mane very well, the bobby pins were pretty clearly visible even from 10′ away b) it didn’t seem very secure. So after that I said fine, admitted defeat, and ordered a package of Quick Knot.

I got a good giggle out of the fact that the customs form listed them as “paper clips”, but really that’s kinda what they are. They’re very simple little things, basically just a little metal T that you stab down through the braid and then bend the end up to lock everything in place. I wish I’d come up with this, the profit margin has to be great.

My main concerns were that a) the metal piece would look like a big staple from the backside, b) they wouldn’t stay in. So the day after they hit my mailbox I took them out to the barn and popped a couple braids in Henry’s mane at 5:50am before our ride. He eyeballed me hard. But the first thought I had was “wow, that was fast!”.

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from their instructional video, but it really did go just like this.

So after taking the obligatory photo of the first braid, I turned on my phone timer and did the second one. Despite some fumbling with the rubberband that secured the braid itself (#manhandsproblems), it still only took 41 seconds start to finish. Rolling up the braid and securing it was ridiculously easy. The Quick Knots were stiffer and harder to bend than I had anticipated, but I quickly got the hang of how I needed to manipulate it to secure the braid. They blended pretty darn seamlessly into Henry’s mane though, making them almost invisible.

BUT WOULD THEY STAY? After a 45 minute w/t/c conditioning ride, those buggers didn’t even move. And taking them out? 5 seconds, including pulling out the band securing the braid. I hesitate to say that I’m sold until I actually use them at a show, but my interest is hella piqued.

My only real complaint so far, aside from grumbling about the price, is that I absolutely hate the container they come in. I wish they came in a nice, thick, sturdy zippered bag like some of the bands do. If you tried to use these at a show, out of that cumbersome box, they’d be all over the stall floor in 2 minutes flat. And that thought makes me more than a little nervous, being a piece of metal. I’ve already transferred mine into a baggie.

This is trouble, in multiple ways.

In trying to justify the price to myself, I did a little math (oh dear god). I bought the package of 100, and let’s just say that I put in an average of 15 braids (I usually have 10-12 on Henry, but erring toward the side of caution). That’s 6+ uses if I only use each one once. If I use each one twice (I’ll probably try for 3 times but let’s account for some losses and/or failures here), that’s 13 uses. Aka 13 times being braided, which for me is 13 shows. That’s about 2 years, at the rate I’m going. 13 uses equals out to about $3 per use, or if you’d rather break it up by year, $20 a year. Definitely nowhere near as cheap as bands or thread or yarn, but a palatable cost. Especially when you consider that it should save me at least 10, probably more like 15 minutes per braid job. That’s over 2 hours of my life that I get back.

So, I’ll come back to these and update you guys again when I’ve used them more, but for now the first impression is generally positive. Hopefully they don’t let me down! We’ll find out at Chatt. And next weekend at FEH… but more on that later. 😉

Wild & Free

As I mentioned yesterday, Sunday was ADVENTURE TIME with the boys. I’m really loving the rare weekend days where I have nothing to do but play around with these two idiots.

Derp 1 and Derp 2

I took much the same approach this weekend as I did last weekend. We started out with ponying – which Presto has gotten a little bit cocky about as of late. I think he finds it to be a really fun game, and he’s not intimidated by anything at all, so sometimes he tries to nip at Henry or canter in place. He’s funny though, in all of his antics he never actually pulls on the lead rope. He’s just really excited to be there, bro.

Originally I had wanted to just do a nice long walk on the hills, but Mr. CanterOnTheSpot had ants in his pants, so we went for a big long trot lap of the entire field first. That 10 minutes was enough to take a lot of the cockiness out of him, after which we were able to settle and walk, with a few bits of stopping to practice standing still (Henry’s favorite – Presto’s least favorite).

a little less sassy after some trotting

I brought them back in and decided to chop both of their manes off, then it was bath time again. Henry is trying his hardest to do his “I don’t have hair here or here or here” summer routine, so I’ve been keeping after him daily with my variety of shampoos and tinctures. Presto has stayed funk-free so far (he’s fading into a buckskin really quickly in the summer sun though, which is sad) so he just got hosed off and then had to stand in the wash rack and wait politely while I attended to Henny. And when I say “wait politely” I mean wait not-at-all-politely, as he proceeded to try to very deliberately stomp on the hose for the next 15 minutes.

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Double nom

Since Henry kind of ruined courtyard grazing privileges last weekend with his attempted escape (why do they take turns being brats?), I stuck them into the little front paddock with the citrus trees. I took Henry’s lead rope off but left Presto’s on at first, to continue his lessons with the drag rope while I supervised.

As soon as I let them go I could see the mischievousness in Henry’s eyes. Sometimes he just gets that cheeky look about him where you can tell he’s just waiting for the right excuse to be naughty. But they both just walked off and started grazing, and I figured maybe I was wrong.

I was not wrong.

A few minutes later Henry spotted the chickens, and that was exactly the excuse he’d been looking for. He took off bucking and leaping and galloping and squealing and farting. Poor Presto was tagging behind like “Oh, are we spooking? FUN!”, while Henry proceeded to run around like a rodeo horse for the next 10 minutes. Even Presto got tired of his shenanigans and tried to go back to grazing, but Henry would come blazing past him again and Presto would have to duck and cover to get out of the way.

Presto in the beginning: YAY WE’RE SPOOKING! (also, I laughed my ass off at this capture because BOY can you tell a difference in what these two were bred to do. Balance, anyone?)
Presto after 2 minutes: “Oh god he’s behind me again isn’t he?”

I decided to rescue Presto a little bit and at least take the drag rope off, since he already had enough problems with his idiot brother the bucking bronco.

Henry levitated
and he leaped
and he tried his best to buck (it’s not his forte, y’all #whaleproblems)
And he derped. A lot.

Presto alternately chased him and then got chased, but he kept it mostly to a trot, because he’s never impressed. It was almost like they were playing tag.

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He’s usually awkward looking when standing still, but he’s always lovely in motion

I eventually had to stop their game and take them in, because Henry was getting a little TOO rambunctious. Total idiot, I dunno what wild hair got up his butt. Clearly being ridden 6 days a week with a ramped up conditioning schedule isn’t taking anything out of him. Not feeling particularly guilty about the summer horse shows anymore.

When I put Presto back in his pasture he tried his best to continue the game of tag with his donkeys, but they were 0% interested.

I’d say “poor Dudley” but he tries to escape every day when I get Presto out so he kind of deserves it
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A boy and his (not amused) donk

Watching Henry and Presto interact definitely brings me a lot of joy, even when one of them looks like a coked out dolphin and the other is a baby giraffe. Life is never boring with these two!

All the Horses

This past weekend marked my last “free” one for the next, like… 2+ months. I don’t know how this always happens, but it does, and while I do generally like being busy (especially since a lot of those weekends will be at horse shows!), I also sometimes enjoy having less on my plate. Of course, I still managed to fit A LOT of horses into the weekend, because would I even be me if I didn’t? At the heart of things, I’m still just a kid who loves ponies.

JenJ hit me up at the end of last week and asked if I could fill in for a day of barnsitting for her place on Saturday, which I was happy to do.

Everyone’s favorite Haffie!

I was planning on giving my two boys the day off anyway, so it worked out. Then she asked if I’d be willing to clip Taran while I was there, and since my day was open, I said sure. I have to give Taran many props, despite being very annoyed with me and ready to go back to his turnout, he was one of the best-behaved horses I’ve ever clipped… and I used to have a little bodyclipping side business, so I’ve clipped a lot. He was almost a statue. Hopefully he copes a little bit better with these high temps without all that extra hair.

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Ok lady, stahp.

After that it was home to shower and eat lunch, and I found myself with many hours left to kill before Belmont time. Naturally I did what any obsessed self-respecting horse person would do and put up the Belmont undercard races on the TV and the live stream from the jumper ring at Upperville on my laptop.

It’s a sickness

And yeah, I saw Olivia go, because stalker. Frankie was a beast, I recognized him instantly even among an endless stream of bay and brown horses. I had a couple other friends in that division too, so I wasn’t just keeping an eye out for her, but I found her easily anyway.

After that it was Belmont time. In 2015 I watched American Pharoah’s historic win on a screen outside the videographer’s trailer at a horse show, where I just happened to walk by as they were coming into the stretch. I didn’t really follow the TC races much that year, so I was a little bit removed from everything. This year I followed it start to finish, and loved Justify start to finish, so I was on my feet whooping and hollering and jumping around like an idiot for the entire stretch drive. The dogs scattered, I almost sprained my damn ankle, and I got at least a whole day’s worth of cardio. Say what you want about horse racing, but there are few things that can rival the thrill of watching a magnificent horse running flat out into the history books.

Jockey Mike Smith kisses Justify on his way to the Belmont winner's circle (WDRB photo by Eric Crawford)
Too much for my emotions. (Eric Crawford photo)

Also I about came undone when Mike Smith was talking to him and giving him smooches after the race. It really showed just how one special horse can make all of someone’s wildest dreams come true, just by being their fantastic selves. Horses… we don’t deserve them.

By the time I capped off the day by going back out to feed Jen’s crew, I’d definitely managed to fit all sizes, shapes, and kinds of horses into one day.

Sunday was filled with my two favorite and most familiar faces:

Captain Naughtypants McSideye
and The Most Handsomest Horse in the World

but those adventures (because whenever these two are involved, it’s ALWAYS an adventure) are stories for another day.

Review: Rambo Plus Fly Mask

It’s gross and disgusting here in Texas (the hottest May on record does not bode well for the rest of the summer), which means the bugs have been out in force this year too. Henry’s old Cashel fly mask was finally looking too tattered to survive yet another season, so it was time for a new one. This time, though, I opted for something different – the Rambo Plus fly mask. Or as I affectionately call it, the spaceship.

I picked it up (along with a coat that I’ll review in another post) from Country & Stable, a tack shop that I’ve heard about from other bloggers. They had good reviews, offer free shipping over $100, and free returns. Although I’m always a bit hesitant to branch out to “new to me” shops, they had the items on my doorstep within just a few days. No complaints here.

I opted for the Rambo Plus mask for a couple of different reasons. 1) I’ve always had good luck with the durability of Rambo Products 2) I really wanted something that sat further away from Henry’s eyes. The way his face is built, his eyes are a bit prominent, and I always felt like the Cashel sat just a bit too close to them. Especially if he rubbed his face on something or rolled in mud… then the fabric would end up sitting very close to, if not rubbing on, his eye. This mask is a little on the expensive side for a fly mask, at $40, but for something that he wears 5-6 months out of the year, every day, all day, for hopefully a few years – it seemed worth spending a little bit more money to get one that would be more comfortable for him.

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stock photo with the nose cover, which can be removed if you don’t need it

Yes, this thing looks utterly hilarious. I laughed and laughed and laughed when I first put it on him. He really does look like an equine UFO. But looks aside, the mask is pretty brilliant. It fits him well and stays in place. The ears are nice and big to give him plenty of space and airflow, and that thing definitely does stay WAY out of his eyes – even when it’s muddy or he tries to rub. There are two velcro closures, one near the bottom of the jaw, and one near the top of the jaw. This makes the underside of the mask kind of anchor on the horse’s jaw itself, making it more stable on the head and not quite as easy for the horse to remove.

The construction seems to be pretty top notch, too. The mesh itself has a sturdier feel than the Cashel did, a bit stiffer and more rugged. The edges have low profile fleece lining for comfort, and there’s a removeable nose cover (which I took off, since my horse doesn’t really need it). I’m optimistic that this mask will last him for quite a while.

even though Presto does his best to destroy all the things, including Uncle Henny’s fly mask

The Rambo Plus mask comes in a few different colors – silver/purple (for all you weirdos that like purple so much), silver/navy, and tan/black. So far I think it’s definitely a winner. When Presto stops growing so fast he’ll get one too… I like it a lot more than the Noble Outfitters Guardian that I picked up for him a couple months ago. Similar design concept, but not nearly as well-executed, IMO.

Country and Stable was kind enough to offer a 10% coupon code, if anyone sees something good on their website and wants to give them a try! Facebookpony10 (of course, some exclusions may apply, depending on manufacturer restrictions).

Take My Internet Away

You know when you’re doing so well with resisting the urge to buy things, not looking at sales, and talking yourself out of stuff you don’t actually need?

This is not one of those times for me.

Yeah I know, as of Monday I was doing pretty well. I’d resisted the idea of buying a new coat and a new pair of breeches for Chatt. All I’d really succumbed to was a package of Quick Knot. Okay, that was actually a lie. The Quick Knot was the only show-related thing I had succumbed to. Okay, that’s still a lie. I forgot about the fact that stupid Dover got me with their stupid 50% off sale and I grabbed a few shirts (the shirts don’t get called stupid because I like them. Just Dover and their sales are stupid, even if they do manage to get me like once a year with something and then I feel really dirty afterward for months. Is there a 12 step program for this?).

To be fair, the shirts averaged out to $25 each. It barely counts.

The things I deliberately didn’t mention on Monday (and they’re really small things, so again – BARELY COUNTS) are:

1) A noseband taper gauge

I actually mentioned this handy dandy little tool in my post a couple weeks ago about nosebands. I was intrigued by it, but too cheap to buy it and pay the shipping from the UK. Plus, like… why do I need to own one of these, aside from sheer curiosity and an obvious lack of impulse control? Oh right, I don’t. BUT THEN, as if by sheer magic, Blackjak Refinery posted on Instagram saying they had a few extras for sale, and it was really cheap and I was like omg nifty little toy thingy ooo shiny and then I dunno, I blacked out or something and ta-da now I have a noseband taper gauge.

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I’m insane.

I already played with it on my own bridles (I actually DO have “2 fingers” of space in there, by their standard!) so I don’t really know what to do with it now. I really want to go full batshit and volunteer for bit check somewhere and run my own private study on what % of people have their nosebands set to what adjustment, but I figured that might get me volun-fired and volun-told not to come back. So instead I’m thinking that if anyone else out there wants to try this out and check their own nosebands against an actual measurable standard, let me know and I’ll let you borrow it. But if you lose it or don’t send it back I will absolutely 100% send a glitter bomb to your house because yes I would in fact have your address. Make good choices.

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2) A bonnet for Presto

Yeah I know, you’re sitting there screaming “You idiot, he’s a YEARLING!”. You’re not wrong on either count. See, what had happened was, I was sitting there chatting with Sierra of If the Bonnet Fits about how funny it would be if Presto had a bonnet with spikes. He’s so freaking punk rock/emo with his side eye and his “whatever, man” attitude and his ridiculously voluminous hair. If any horse ever deserved a spiked bonnet, it’s him. And then Sierra is all like “I can make anything, just watch” and then again I blacked out and a few months later, BOOM.

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looks normal from here
Prestobonnet2
but then – teeny spikes!

Tell me it’s not magnificent.

Actually don’t, because I love it and it’s okay if you don’t. But yeah, that’s how the yearling got a bonnet even though he’s at least 2 years away from realistically wearing one. If you came to my blog looking for good decisions and things that make sense, you made a wrong turn.

But those were the only 2 (ahem 5) things I didn’t fess up to earlier. And they’re all in the “under $50” category so none count.

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Then, yesterday happened. I’m still not sure if we should call it an epic win or an epic fail, but here’s how it went down.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good deal on a new schooling helmet for the past few months. I wanted brown, and I’d narrowed it down to either a Samshield or a One K, whichever I could find the best deal on. I even got in low-key bidding wars over a couple of new-in-box helmets on ebay, but both went above what I felt was the price that warrants FANTASTIC DEAL in my mind. No problem, I’m not in a hurry. I can hold out for the deal.

Yesterday an auction was ending on another one of these ebay new-in-box helmets, a brown One K in a large long oval (which is like, semi-miraculous in and of itself to be able to find the exact weird thing I need). I’m feeling extra penny-pinching these days since I just mailed off 2 horse show entries, so I set up an auction price for something even lower than my previous FANTASTIC DEAL price and promptly forgot about. I figured no way it would go for that, since even with several hours left to go it was already only $15 less.

onek

Then, while I was waiting for that auction to end, a friend messaged me and said that eBay had a 20% off code running for the day. While that was not applicable to an auction item like the helmet, something else did immediately spring to mind. A few days prior (when I was being a big whiny baby about whether or not I should just bite the bullet and buy the Motionlite coat) I had seen a UK seller with a few different colors and sizes of new Motionlites listed around $175. When I looked before they didn’t have my size available, but when I wandered back this time, they did. So I was like “hmmm, wonder if that coupon code works on this?”. So I put it in, and it DID. Now it was $137 with free shipping. Whuuuuuut. Another blackout, and I awoke to another completed Paypal transaction. Maybe I should see a doctor about this.

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As I was heading to facebook to tell everyone else about this fabulous deal, I got a “Pay Now” message on my ebay. I had won the brand-new-in-box One K for $99. Again: whuuuuuuuuuut.

So while, yes, I did not intend to make any of these purchases, I don’t feel particularly guilty about them either. However, I’m officially cutting myself off.

Probably.

Because let’s face it, I really just can’t be trusted with the internet.

“What The…” Wednesday: Extreme Overjumping

If you’re on facebook at all, you’ve probably seen the video thats been going around this week of the gray sale horse freejumping and clearing the fence by about 3 miles. I think at least half of my friends have shared this freaking video (or pictures of it) by this point.

 

The general concensus from most people is “wow” and “I’d love to own that horse” and “so much talent”. I guess I am in the minority when I’m sitting over here with this face:

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First of all, if that horse hasn’t been poled/hot wired/worn pinch boots/been prepped in any other myriad of ways, I will eat my helmet. Literally. Eat. It. The fact that a lot of other horses from this same place also have a tendency to majorly overjump makes me even more sure of that. Sure, horses sometimes get taken by surprise or are quite green about things and they’ll overjump, of course, but a) not THAT extreme b) not repeatedly. It’s very hard on their bodies to do that, so sometimes a very extreme effort can scare them a bit and make them not want to jump at all.

If the horse HAS been prepped, you’re going to have to un-train that, mentally. Sometimes the ones that get prepped too much end up overly careful, which can turn them sour or make them want to stop. If the horse HASN’T been prepped (which again, I’ll eat my damn helmet if it hasn’t) and jumps like that naturally, who the heck could ride it? Definitely not me. Probably not you. Maybe McLain could stick that.

Not to mention that I sure hope you have a really freakin good vet and equine (and human) chiropractor, because good luck keeping something like that sound.

So I guess, yeah sure, that jump is an impressive feat as far as sheer athleticism goes… but I just can’t get on board beyond that. I don’t like it. I don’t like how it’s produced and I don’t like the effect it has, mentally and physically, on the horse. Someone explain to me why the rest of the internet does.

Days Like This

I need to think of a name for this Dynamic Duo. They’re like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Starsky and Hutch. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Batman and Robin. Abbott and Costello.

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I NOM YOU

This past weekend I was pretty excited to be home and have no other plans. That’s a rare occasion these days. I planned a big, exciting (to me), day of fun (for me) with the boys. Henry worked hard all week so I figured he could have an easy riding day, and Presto desperately needed a bath. I planned to spend a nice long leisurely morning at the barn doing whatever the actual heck I wanted, and taking however long I wanted to do it. Those are the best days.

Days like this

I showed up before 8 while they were getting fed, so I spent some time organizing and cleaning up my stuff while they ate. A friend let me borrow her western saddle to help make ponying a bit easier, so I cleaned it up a little and went off in search of a pad to borrow. Side note: why do so many western pads have neoprene bottoms, directly against the horse’s back? Is that a thing? I had to dig to find a felt-bottom one.

Then I brought both boys in, tied Presto in the aisle and put Henry in the crossties, just like I’d done the day before. This time Presto found plenty of ways to entertain himself while I tacked Henry up.

Jokes on you kid, I got your brother a relatively indestructible fly mask. RIP to the lid of that supplement box though, that’s going to require a drill and some screws to fix. Although in his defense it was already mostly broken off. Sorrryyyy. Add it to my bill.

It’s been many years since I put a western saddle on a horse, so I had to spend a few minutes remembering, but once it was on I could not stop giggling. Poor Henry gets mistaken for an Appendix ALL THE TIME (which is fair, he looks like one), and putting the western saddle on just took his natural QH-ness up a notch.

hehehehehe

Presto was fascinated by the weird new thing that Uncle Henny was wearing. It must have smelled different to him, he’s never seemed interested in my other saddles but he just kept resting his nose on the seat and taking deep whiffs.

Presto: DIS WEIRD! Henry: Mom, why?

Then we went out for a pony session! I had intended to go for a nice long walk on the hills but someone was feeling mighty full of himself and kept trying to nip and play with Henry, so I decided to do a lap of the field at trot to take some of the friskies out. It was more like a Henry trot/Presto leap and canter lap. The good part is, Presto gets tired fast. After a trip up the big hill he decided maybe he should just trot, and after the full lap of the field he thought my original plan of a nice long walk was sounding better and better.

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Henry when you act like you have manners

Every once in a while he thought maybe he was ready for another frolic, and Henry would without fail start pushing him over toward the tree line. At one point he pushed Presto right into a bush. Honestly, he had it coming. He was acting like a kid that belonged in a bush. I can’t fault Henry for putting him there.

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Henry when you try to push past him and be rude

We spent about 45 minutes out there, and by the end they were both just chugging along like a well oiled machine. It was already HOT though, so they were a pretty sweaty well-oiled machine. This was part of my plan though, because confession: Presto has never had a real soap bath before. I wanted him to be kind of sweaty before we started, so that maybe it would feel nice instead of offensive.

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Post-pony: sweaty Presto in crossties, sweaty Henry in the barn aisle

I brought Henry along, because role model, and stuck them both in the wash rack. Originally I had one of them on each side but they kept play-biting at each other and getting each other’s lead ropes over their heads, so eventually I gave up and put them on the same side. Sometimes I feel like the ringmaster of the circus with these two.

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Henry wants a cookie. Presto wants to walk the runway.

The bath itself was actually pretty easy, aside from when I was rinsing the conditioner out of Presto’s tail and apparently shot some cold water up his buttcrack, judging by the way he curled himself up like a roly poly. Whoops. All things considered, though, it was a good first bath and I was able to scrape a lot of that crustiness off of him.

Then I took them both out in the back corner of the courtyard to graze while they dried. I’ve been slowly introducing Presto to the concept of a “drag rope”… letting him drag the lead rope around while he’s loose and learn to not freak out and panic when he steps on it. I prefer to do it supervised, just in case. Each time he stepped on it he figured it out a little bit more and started trying to drag it to the side (Henry has never thought to do that, it was interesting to see Presto’s smarts at work!), and by the end if he hit resistance you could see him trying to figure out which foot to pick up to free himself.

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Of course, Henry tried to exit stage left during all of this and take off for the barn, until he realized that Presto was still just obliviously grazing next to where I was sitting. Henry stopped, looked at Presto, looked at me, and came walking back in a huff. So much for the grand escape. From babysitter to instigator and back again, all within 2 seconds flat. Never change, Henny, never change.

After that Henry was shopping for new friends, because apparently Presto betrayed him.

Ok maybe he’s QH/Saddlebred.

The boys went back to their stalls after that, since it was already getting really hot. Oh, and I did actually stick both of them. For some reason I had it in my head that Henry was 16.1h, and I don’t think I’ve measured him since the day I brought him home. I’ve been shorting him all this time – he’s actually 16.2h on the dot. As for Presto, he’s 15.0 1/2 right now, which means he’s grown 2″ in the past 4 months. That’s not hard to believe. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either, if the sudden re-appearance of his ribs is any indication. The growth spurts are constant. His dam seemed to do all of her growing at one specific time of year and not really grow at all in between, but Presto seems like more of a slow-but-steady type.

sometimes from certain angles you can catch a glimpse of the horse he’s gonna grow into

It’s getting to where he looks more and more like a horse and less and less like a foal. Ok, maybe not horse… maybe giraffe, or llama. But not a baby, either way.

It was a good day. ❤