Year End Awards

When I was at Pine Hill on Sunday I finally picked up Henny’s 2017 year end award ribbon from Trainer. She grabbed it for me at the banquet last month, because, well… if you’ve ever met me then you know that I’m not exactly the banquet type. I’ve been to enough of them by now to know this about myself. I rarely drink, I don’t really like large gatherings of people, and I don’t like having lots of eyes on me. So, yeah, banquets aren’t exactly my bag.

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me, on any given day

We finished 4th for the year in Training Senior for GHCTA. On one hand I’m really proud of my horse and it was fun to put the ribbon on his bridle at the barn and snap a quick picture. Training was nothing but a wild dream a couple years ago, so to do it and not die is pretty awesome to me. I’ll take the recognition in a tangible form and be grateful for that. We only did a few shows, so how we scraped up a ribbon is a mystery to me. I’m not really super into ribbons though, so I did struggle a bit with what to do with it. Ultimately it ended up on the ribbon wall in the guest bedroom, with some of Henry’s other eventing ribbons (the ones that I have not lost along the way, because yeah that’s a thing I do sometimes).

I am really really bad at decorating

Part of my apathy towards ribbons has to do with the fact that I figured out a long time ago that progress can’t be measured by satin. Sometimes you luck into a ribbon you really don’t deserve, and other times you go home empty handed when you should be wearing a Rolex and carrying a trophy. That’s just the way of the sport. Ribbons are fun to stick on the halter and take a quick picture of, but beyond that they just don’t tend to hold much meaning to me personally.

I also struggle a little bit, ethically, with the idea of year end awards. They are straight up point accumulations, and most of the time the people who show the most are the ones at the top. I have a hard time getting excited about a system that ultimately ends up rewarding those who show their horses into the ground rather than those who pick and choose a schedule that is in the best interest of the horse.

I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve gotten the big fancy year end ribbons and prizes and gone to just about every show of the year, back in my h/j days. I felt like I didn’t always make the best choices during those years, and I vowed not to do it again. I’d much rather get to the end of the year and feel like I did right by the horse and myself, rather than feeling driven by points. And hey, if I do that and we manage to squeak out a year end ribbon, then that’s just gravy I guess. Points are not something that I ever want to have on my radar, though. I don’t want my decisions to be influenced or driven by that.

If year-end prizes were calculated off of some kind of average, I’d be more into it. Like the dressage awards with their highest average percentages and stuff like that. I have no idea how it would work, and I’m not really interested enough in it to figure it out, but that method is certainly more appealing to me as an eventer. I feel like we have to be extra aware of how much we show our horses.

Henny sure did look cute in his white ribbon though, and I had a momentary swell of pride in the fact that I was looking at a year end ribbon that said Training on it and it was on MY horse. I suppose that’s the real purpose of them, whether I really believe in the system or not.

How do y’all feel about year end awards? Do you plan your whole season with those in mind, or are they just coincidentals?

Planning Presto’s 2018

Guess what I did yesterday???

Yep, Presto is an official, card-carrying, USEA-registered horse. So legit now, man.

Really I was going to wait to decide whether or not to go ahead and get his Future Event Horse registration until later on in the year, if at all. I didn’t want to take him to FEH unless he decided to stop looking like a donkey at some point (which I am not holding my breath for, btw, since his mother looked like that for LITERALLY YEARS). But then USEA released the FEH schedule, and, well… there isn’t a lot for our area. There are two March classes held in conjunction with USEA recognized events, which, like… show me a yearling that is show-ready in March. Unless you want to body clip it and keep it in a stall and feed it like a show hog, none of which holds much appeal to me. Presto has an early birthday compared to most but even he would be just BARELY a year old for those shows. Most yearlings don’t start looking acceptable til late summer/early fall. Early in the yearling year is generally REALLY unattractive.

Why yes, he’s standing there with his foot in his own dinner while eating his friend’s stolen dinner, because he is totally on board with the “feed it like a show hog” approach

But our latest FEH class (not counting Championships) in this area is in June. Soooo… hmmph. If I held out until he decided to be slightly less hideous, his yearling FEH opportunities would be gone. Now I’m kinda just like well screw it, if he’s hideous and acts like a demon donkey, then so be it. He’s not for sale so if he doesn’t score well then whatever. Mostly I just want him to get out in the show atmosphere and start learning how to behave in the ring. And of course I want to support the USEA programs at the same time, so FEH it is. Since I don’t want to/literally cannot show him in March, nor do I want to drive 6 hours to Oklahoma, our only other two options are May and June.

They’re both at the same venue near Houston, and honestly they might work out for the best anyway. They are held in conjunction with an unrecognized derby, not a recognized event, so there are WAY fewer people and the atmosphere is much less grand. They’d be good little shows to let him get his feet wet without blowing his mind completely, and if he’s really hideous or terrible then at least we didn’t embarrass ourselves in front of everyone in Area 5.

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Therefore I decided to go ahead and do his FEH registration with USEA (thank you USEA for making this level of registration only $25). At least now it’s done for the year and I don’t have to remember it later, and it also means that he’s officially in their system, which is kind of fun.

EEEEEEE you can search for him and he’s got a profile page!

Of course, if he’s gonna be ready for FEH by the end of May, I need him home in April. He’s got to start learning about the triangle and standing up properly for confo, and get less feral about trotting in hand. So we’ll see if I can actually make this happen, but I’m definitely going to try.

I also took a screenshot of the USEA membership form page as I was filling it out because I thought it was too funny. No wonder people new to the warmblood world find the whole thing to be extremely confusing.

FEHregistration

By a Holsteiner stallion and out of a Zweibrucker mare, but he’s registered Belgian. Yet by blood he’s mostly TB with some Hanoverian and Holsteiner thrown in. And actually he’s Belgian Sporthorse (sBs) not Belgian Warmblood (BWP) but USEA didn’t have that option in their dropdown.  It’s always fun to try to explain to people how any of this warmblood stuff works (clearly it is mass chaos).

First Sunburn of the Season

I mean, mid-February is basically spring in Texas, so it makes sense. I volunteered at an event yesterday from 7:30-4:30, and only remembered to slap on a little sunscreen at noon when I turned in the materials for one job and picked up the materials for the next. Thank goodness for sunshirts, but the left side of my face and both of my hands are pretty pink today. Awkward sunburns are a basic part of equestrian life, right?

It was a gorgeous day though!

I was originally going to enter this show, but… um… totally forgot to send my entry in until a couple weeks before. By that point there was a wait list a mile long so I didn’t even bother, and instead emailed the volunteer coordinator and offered myself up for the day. Then of course last week there was a chance of rain in the forecast and a ton of people scratched at the last minute (we need to talk, Texas eventers, I mean come on…) so I actually WOULD have gotten in. But oh well. And all of that was completely for nothing, really, because the weather was absolutely perfect and the footing held up really well.

Originally I was supposed to work Bit Check in the morning and then XC jump judge in the afternoon, but then they needed someone to fill in as a Warmup Steward for dressage and I got plugged into that hole. I used to get the little morning jobs that were un-eff-up-able (like scoresheet runner) but this one was like… legit responsibility. I got stuck in some traffic just a few minutes away from the venue and took the opportunity to review the job description again.

That’s a lot of bullet points

Pine Hill has the absolute best volunteer program. They have videos about each job, as  well as in-depth written instructions. You know your assignments at least a couple days in advance, so you can review all of the materials before you get there and show up feeling a little more educated and confident about what you need to do. Plus there’s a nifty rewards program for their volunteers where you earn various little pieces of  “Pine Hill” gear as you accumulate hours. In my previous years as an eventer I’d done pretty much the bare minimum of volunteering, and mainly just as an XC jump judge (because that’s the easiest and most fun job if you’re an eventer). I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in volunteering over the last year though, and I’ve definitely developed a greater appreciation of and respect for all of the people that are necessary to make an event happen. We are a sport that relies very heavily on a large force of volunteers, it’s really so important.

my rad C4 keychain… I’m only like half an hour away from a hat!

I survived the morning as Warmup Steward without any real issues, thanks to riders being on point and paying attention. We wrapped up about 10 minutes early, which gave me ample time to hike back up the hill, pee, grab my chair, and go pick up my stuff for jump judging. I’ve pretty much never been at a jump that had many problems before, so when I saw that I had the water I was like “oh boy”. And there were definitely a few issues there throughout the day, a couple falls and some refusals, but all things considered it went pretty well. It’s extra fun to watch the water at a show that has a lot of green horses or less experienced riders… there were tons of very excited GOOD BOY’s and GOOD GIRL’s and celebrations when riders were proud of how their mount handled it. I’ve been there and know how that feels, so it’s cute to watch.

Trainer on her baby OTTB in his first BN… even the pros were smiling!

It was a long day, leaving my house at 5:30am and getting home at 6:30pm. I was tiiiiiiiiiiiired when I got home… like… more tired than if I had actually shown. It was worth it though. You can’t ask for much more than a beautiful day spent amongst friends and horses, even if I am a little bit pink (in patches) today.

Where are they now: Boot Edition

Before we get into today’s post, don’t forget that Riding Warehouse is having their 15% off President’s Day sale and Luxe Eq is having a sale on white shirts and breeches! Buy yourself something nice and call it a belated Valentine’s Day present.


Alright, time to get down to business. I’ve had my Ego7 boots in heavy use for almost 6 months now, and the Tucci’s in less regular use for closer to a year. A lot of people have been asking how they’re holding up, especially the Ego7’s, and I think we’re far enough in at this point to where I can give a good assessment. First up, the Ego7 (I have the brown Orion).

Ego7

I wanted these boots for a few main reasons:

1) I really love my Tucci’s, and Ego7 is designed by the same guy.

2) I wanted a darker chocolate brown boot this time, since I didn’t really like the way that my lighter brown boots had worn over time.

3) They had a ton of size options. Most of the other “off the rack” brown boots are way too short for me.

I bought these while we were over in Germany. No one here had the brown ones yet, and it was cheaper to buy them over there. Not knowing how their sizing ran, I probably would not have just bought them online from overseas, but since we were there I took advantage of the opportunity.

they totally match the Devoucoux

Overall I’m really happy with how these are holding up. I wear them daily (and sometimes on XC at shows), don’t take very good care of them, and they still look really good. They were so damn tight for the first few weeks that I’m honestly kind of shocked the zippers and elastic gusset held up to that. They really shouldn’t have. I have no freaking idea how that German guy at the tack shop got those things zipped up over my jeans the day that I bought them, because Jesus H it was a struggle in the beginning just for me to get them zipped over breeches. It kind of defied the laws of physics there for a while.

Ultimately I do think I needed a size bigger in the calf, and a smidge taller height (I like my boots really tall, so these are fine but… could be taller). They’ve stretched now and I can zip them without too much effort, but the left ankle remains a little bit tighter than I prefer, and I can’t get them zipped over my thicker winter breeches. If you fall in between calf sizes according to the chart, I’d recommend sizing up.

The inner E-Tex panel

They’re comfortable boots though, and while the leather isn’t what I would consider top end, it’s appropriate for the price range. The design on these boots is pretty great, from the three-level spur rest to the full lining to the comfort tongue inside the back of the ankle. The dark chocolate brown color is definitely easier to maintain than my old lighter brown boots used to be. The color is still perfectly uniform, no rubs or fading anywhere, and I’ve been especially impressed with how durable the E-Tex inner calf panel is holding up. I was a little skeptical of that feature since it’s a synthetic material, but it’s got literally ZERO wear. None. It’s not even worn smooth, the grain is still perfectly intact. I dunno what that shit is… Teflon coated with unicorn poop or something, but I feel pretty confident saying that these things are going to wear like iron. For a mid-range boot, they’ve definitely been a solid buy for me so far.

tucciMCP

As for the Tucci’s, well… they’re everything good about the Ego7 but take the comfort up a notch, increase the leather quality, and add a whole bunch of ridiculously amazing Italian decadence. The Ego7’s are solid boots but the Tucci’s somehow manage to take rugged durability and combine it with pure luxury. Sure, they took a little longer to break in than something like a Parlanti, but they also won’t fall apart in a year either. I can wear them all day at a horse show with no complaints – hell, I’ve even walked XC in them and not even realized it. They are absolutely beautiful, impeccably made, really comfortable, extremely durable, and the fit is perfect. I wore them daily for a few months after I got them, before I got the Ego7, and then set them aside to save for shows (although sometimes I wear them for lessons or on cold days with my winter breeches since the Ego7 don’t fit over them).

You can customize the Tucci’s a few different ways with different colors or finishes… I got the Marilyn model with a navy plain leather top, and while it seems like a lot of detail, it’s actually quite subtle. You can’t see all the punch/wingtip detailing or the navy until you’re up close. They’re definitely “wild” by hunter ring standards, but for the rest of the world they’re kind of the perfect mix between fun and conservative. I get compliments on these things all the time.

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Yeah sure, all the punch detailing is a little more work to keep clean. I added a toothbrush to my boot cleaning/polishing kit and it’s worked just fine. Totally worth the 2% of extra effort for me, but if you don’t like that there is a regular field boot or regular dress boot model that are both just as nice. I love these boots so much that it’s a little ridiculous, and I’m especially impressed by how well they’re holding up. My favorite feature is the snap system that holds the zipper in place at the top. It’s genius, it’s easy, and it works. If I could afford it I would get the brown Marilyn’s too and call it a complete collection. They are head and shoulders above my previous Ariat Monocos, without a doubt. Worth every penny. If you’re looking for a solid, high end boot that is beautiful and comfortable yet also rugged enough to last a long time, definitely look at Tucci.

Art in Any Form

It’s no secret that I love my boys. We all love our ponies, right? And our dogs, and cats, and donkeys, and goats, and whatever else may be in a horse person’s menagerie. I’ve noticed that we tend to collect animals. We also tend to collect art of our favorite animals. Everything from the more typical paintings and drawings, to the more “creative” like, um… crochet ponies or glassware or socks or jewelry or belts. Yes, I think those things totally count as art too.

Crochet Presto in his place of honor on the shelf above my computer at work. I remain obsessed.

Throughout the years I have accumulated all of those things, related to one horse or another (and, somehow, lots of stuff featuring the corgi). If you can put my horse or my horse’s name on it, I probably want it. In my world there is no such thing as too many ponies. Henry and Presto wallpaper? Let’s do it, the whole house. The SO might disagree on that one though. Party pooper.

Currently I’ve really got most of my horse-related art on the walls in the guest room. Most of my paintings from Michelle are in there, with some of Henry’s ribbons. Another bedroom (that we currently use as storage) has a charcoal drawing of one of my old horses, and my favorite photo of Sadie hangs in the hallway between the entryway and our bedroom.

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always my girl ❤

I’ve also got a couple of glasses that Michelle painted, featuring Presto and Henry. Having a friend that likes to paint for fun (and is super good at it!!!) is a huge perk. If I lived alone I would probably ask her to paint a life-size canvas of both boys for every room in the house and just call it a day. I’m kidding. Probably. (no I’m not)

There are also the Hamer & Clay ornaments, of which I have a decent collection going.

HCHenny

The one thing I don’t have is tattoos of my horses, mostly because a) if I started putting all my horses on my body I would run out of space, b) I haven’t come across an artist that I trust enough to really capture them accurately. I do have a tattoo of A horse, but it’s Fledge, the first flying horse of Narnia. Because if the rest of this post hasn’t convinced you that I am a nerd, the quarter sleeve devoted to literature (actually all but one of my tattoos are devoted to some kind of literature…) will surely do it.

tattoohorse
somehow the only pic I have on my computer is the horse’s ass… so… that’s appropriate. Reepicheep on point though. 

Do socks count as art? I say yes. My Henry XC-face socks (officially my “cross country day” socks for 2018) remain, in my opinion, one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Yes, put my pony’s picture on items of apparel, please and thank you. The best part of these bad boys is the reaction people have when they first notice them.

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“is that… Henry… on your socks??? OMG.”

Last month Because Pony had a sale on her digital drawings, and once I saw how cute Hillary‘s turned out, I had to commission two of my own. I mean… who wouldn’t want little cartoon interpretations of their horses? Okay fine, maybe I’m a child. But when you have horses as, um, expressive as my two nerds, it’s kind of fitting. And I have to say, she absolutely nailed both of them.

There’s screaming Presto:

And derping Henry:

Now I’m trying to decide what to do with the files. I could have them printed and framed, I just don’t know where exactly I’d put them. I did already order a nice vinyl sticker of each of them, to put on my Stanley trunk. They definitely make great stickers. These are so cute though, I feel like they need more physical representation than that. So…what to do, what to do?

What kind of art do you guys have of your ponies? Any fun new “outside the box” stuff out there that I definitely NEED?

What Henny Got for his Birfday

So, I kind of accidentally set up a vet appointment for Henry’s SI injections ON his birthday. When I was on the phone with the receptionist I didn’t actually look at the date when she said “next Tuesday”, I just jumped at the chance to a) get a farm call, b) be the first one of the day. So, oops. My bad. Umm… happy birthday Henny?

most majestic 11yo I’ve ever seen

But all was not lost. Just because he got two sharp stabs in the back (sorry bro) doesn’t mean it was all bad. In fact, if you ask Henry I bet he would say he had a great birfday. Let’s break it down “by the numbers” style. All total, he got:

14 – NickerMakers, his most favorite of the “cheap” treats, and one German Horse Muffin. Honestly this isn’t too many more than he gets on any normal day, because rotten.

1 – Quick trip to Drunktown via his favorite recreational drug, xylazene.

high as a kite

50 – ml’s of Adequan ordered, because why not just get the big bottle, am I right? 🙄 For real, that shit is expensive enough to make my stomach hurt a little so enjoy the golden joint lube, horse. Jk you’re a unicorn and I love you, you can have anything you need.

2 – ultrasound-guided SI injections, left and right. Yes they count as a gift. Okay, maybe it’s a gift for both of us.

BARF

3 – new fan club members (the vet and his two assistants) who got 0% of his wrath (for some reason he doesn’t seem to mind the giant disgusting horrifying needle of the SI injections) and 100% of his begging-for-cookies faces. The entire time. Even through the drugs he can still beg. He’s a professional.

24 – blissful hours of total R&R complete with room service. He has to stay in his stall for a day after the injections, but the weather was super cold and rainy and gross so he would have been stuck inside anyway. However since he had a “procedure”, he got some special treatment.

90 – seconds of quick turnout for a nice roll in the sandy arena before the vet showed up

yoga?

1000 – lbs of hay consumed. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating, but he had a big thick flake of alfalfa and three flakes of coastal for breakfast alone. Oinker.

So, ya know… maybe he could have done without the stabby parts, but it wasn’t all bad?

Eleven

Y’all. Guess who’s ELEVEN today?

Oh, and it’s his 11th birthday too.

I’m not typically the type to randomly dress horses in costume, but he is without a doubt the Strangest Thing I know and I couldn’t resist this perfectly timed opportunity. Of course, if you’re not a fan of the show Stranger Things then none of this makes sense. Get thee to Netflix, STAT.

Also please note that I got the Thick and Fluffy waffles, because Henry is both thick and fluffy.

But back to the birthday thing… can we please stop the forward progression of time? I mean… eleven? How did this happen so fast?

He’s so mature these days in a lot of ways, but he still likes to spook at the most boring of inanimate objects and crowhop around the field on brisk days. For example, after our little photo shoot I got on him bareback in his sidepull and we did a quick w/t/c ride complete with half pass, shoulder in, 10m circles, and lengthenings. He was a champ. Then we took a walk down the road and he had a grand time pretending to be terrified of a tree. I couldn’t help but chuckle. He knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s not, and he definitely makes the most of the “not”.

He remains super weird and full of that trademark goofy personality, pretty much always begging for cookies. Fairly confident that none of those things will ever change, thank goodness. He is totally 100% rotten but it’s okay, he deserves it. Cheeky little shit. I’ve never had a horse quite like him and he puts a smile on my face, without fail, every single day.

Also, for the record, he seemed to enjoy wearing the wig. Gotta admit, he’s pretty cute as a blonde.

Happy Birthday, Henny! Here’s to many more.

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Plan C

My original plan for this past weekend was another Prelim CT at our favorite little schooling venue. Then I realized that Trainer was XC schooling at Pine Hill the same day, so I scratched the CT and made plans for XC schooling instead. Sure, our dressage and stadium need a lot more work, but I will never say no to XC. It’s not in me. That’s like… “Hey do you want to go do hours of advanced calculus and chemistry or would you rather eat cake and win the lottery and take a nap?”. Like duh.

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How Henry and I feel about XC

But then it rained a crapton at Pine Hill the day before, effectively shutting down our plans for all things fun, and it was too late to re-enter the CT. Trainer is quick on her feet though and quickly came up with a plan for stadium lessons at a private barn just an hour south of me. Only having to drive an hour each way for a lesson is like a win in and of itself. Plus… let’s be honest… we need stadium lessons. Lots of them. LOTS OF THEM.

I asked for the earliest time slot, since the one hour drive does require me to trek directly across Austin itself. If I’m in and out early, traffic is no biggie. No one wants to be stuck in downtown traffic, especially not with a horse trailer. Still though, I didn’t ride til 9:15, which meant I didn’t even have to get up early since it is literally impossible for me to sleep past 6am no matter what day it is. Plus I was the first and only person into the freshly dragged arena. Plan C was looking better and better.

We kept the jumps small and the lesson simple. As usual, I am overthinking and trying to do way too much. Really I just need to focus on my canter and my rhythm and on being straight and omg stop it with the rest. Doing more than that does not work with this horse or with me. It’s funny, when I was in Katy a couple weeks ago working the Luxe EQ trailer, my old trainer from many years ago (before he moved to Houston) was helping me set up the racks on the first day. He’s married to the shop owner… it’s complicated. Anyway, I told him my stadium was real shitty these days and he said “Well, are you overthinking it and doing too much?”. As usual, he’s like a friggin’ oracle. Always has been. Either that or he just knows me really well by now. I nodded and replied “Yes, of course.”. Clearly this is not new behavior for me. He said “And the horse is actually doing what you tell him, isn’t he?”. I just sighed and nodded. He chuckled and raised his eyebrows, “Yeah that’s not good.”, then launched into his patented Horses Only Know Four Things speech that I have heard many times but obviously have not ever actually retained very well.

like, sometimes I can’t even turn right.

My current trainer is in total agreement with The Oracle (as am I), so we really focused on me just sitting and waiting and supporting with my leg, and using my upper body to adjust him. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. Doing LESS has always been really difficult for me. I’ve also always had the tendency to shut him down way too much in the turns, effectively ruining my rhythm, so we did small courses with lots of tight turns that forced me to keep riding him forward. If I pulled, they didn’t work. If I kept my leg on and just used my upper body to rebalance, everything came up perfectly. The beauty of self-correcting exercises.

Really, Plan C worked out perfectly. Especially because we were done and pretty much home and unloaded by the time the gross nasty cold front blew through.

BUT WHY IS RIDING SO HARD?

Second Annual Baby Bets Contest!

Another spring means another crop of foals coming soon to Willow Tree Warmbloods! It’s been fun doing these contests in the past, so let’s just make it an official annual thing. Ready to place your bets on the class of 2018?

PrestoSadie

First, you probably want to know what’s at stake here. The winner of this year’s Baby Bets contest will win a $50 Riding Warehouse gift card (everybody say thanks to Riding Warehouse!) and a super cute hat with the Willow Tree Warmbloods logo. Because everybody needs hats to cover that helmet hair. And swag. Always swag.

contestprizes

There are only two foals coming this season, a Laken x Diarado and a Sadie x Diarado. That should make it pretty simple. We’ll do the rules just like last year, since that seemed to work out well (even if it did cause me to have to make a spreadsheet like an adult). Basically all you have to do is exercise those psychic powers and comment here with your guesses for the following, for each foal:

  • Foaling Date
  • Foaling Time (doesn’t have to be to the minute accurate, just to the hour is fine – ie 2AM. If it happens in the 2AM hour, you get the points.)
  • Gender
  • Color
  • Face Markings
  • Leg Markings (again doesn’t have to be specific – “one sock”, “none”, “four socks”, etc will work)

So your submission should look something like this:

Laken: 3/20 3AM black colt with a stripe and two socks

Sadie: 4/21 8PM brown filly with no face white, one sock

But filled in with your actual guesses, of course.

Everything you guess correctly will earn points. 10 points each for foaling date and time, and then 5 points each for gender, color, face markings, and leg markings… so each foal can potentially net you up to 40 points. So even if you get a few things wrong, there are still ways to rack up some serious points. If there are any ties, I’ll put them all in a hat and get Michelle to pick a winner.

Liam3

Submit your entries via a comment here on this post or you can message them to me on the blog’s facebook page. Just make sure you leave a link or an email address so I can contact you if you win! Easy peasy.

Neither of the mares had fetal sexing done this year, so gender will be a complete surprise. “Due dates” are based on 340 days gestation, but keep in mind that normal gestation can be anywhere from 320ish to 360ish. I’ve included pictures of both combinations below and whatever info is important so you can make your best guesses.

Laken

LakenDiarado

Laken is a gray mare with two gray parents, although she has never been tested to see if she is homozygous or not. Her first foal was a filly, born brown and turned gray. Diarado is very dark brown, but does not carry a chestnut gene and therefore cannot sire a chestnut foal with any mare. Color possibilities are bay, brown, black (and then maybe gray on top of any of those base colors). Since we may or may not be able to tell at birth if the foal will go gray, please guess the base color. Laken was born chestnut and had a star with faint stripe and one sock before she grayed out. Her “due date” is 3/24, although last year she foaled at 325 days (which would be 3/8).

Sadie

SadieDiarado

Sadie is a brown mare that has produced one bay offspring and one brown offspring. Her only marking is a right hind sock. Color possibilities are bay, brown, black. “Due date” is 4/22, last year she went 339 days. So far she’s had two colts.


I’ll leave entries open through 2/23, that gives you two weeks to get your guesses in! The contest winner will be revealed after the last foal is born. Obviously I have no idea exactly when that’ll be, sometime mid-late April, so you’ll just have to stay tuned.

No Vacancy

I don’t know how this always happens, but it never fails there are a couple months every spring and every fall where I manage to make plans every single weekend. I realized, as I was entering a Pony Club commitment into my phone’s calendar, that I’ve done it again. My next free weekend is April 14-15. Maybe. So far, anyway.

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It’s a mixture of barn-sitting, horse shows, XC schoolings, lessons, Presto-visiting, and then one pesky wedding that is causing me to miss the first recognized show of the season. Why do people keep getting married? And don’t they know they have to do it in the off season? WTF?

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Some weekends I’m double booked, with something different both days, like XC schooling up north on Saturday and then doing a sporthorse conformation lecture for Pony Club on Sunday. I was really hesitant to agree to the PC thing at first, I don’t really feel qualified for… most things… but those moms can be convincing. And now I’m oddly excited about that weekend because 1) I’m gonna make that huge weldon’s wall my bitch

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photo courtesy of my friend Jeannette’s facebook, because when I walked up to this thing on the course walk I couldn’t even make eye contact with it, much less take a picture

and 2) I get to nerd out about confo with a bunch of kids who are probably gonna think I’m legit crazy. They’re not wrong. Wait til we get to the part about LS gap alignment, my favorite! I’ve already made worksheets, naturally. If I’d had college courses with subject matter like this, I probably would have done a lot better. Or at least shown up on time.

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The other thing I’m extra excited for is the Presto visit. I haven’t seen him in person since his inspection at the end of September, and by the time I see him again he’ll be just a week shy of his first birthday. Can you believe it? He’s almost officially a yearling! I can’t wait to get up there and put my hands on him and string test him and all that fun stuff. I know he’s not in a particularly attractive phase right now but I want to see him in the flesh, with my own eyes, and get a look at how he’s maturing.

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current assessment: yak

Plus Michelle’s first mare is due kinda sorta around that time, so maybe I’ll get lucky and see a baby?

As far as horse shows it looks like the first recognized will be Texas Rose at the end of March, in which I have vowed to jump that stupid Weldon’s instead of playing it safe and going the long route like last time. We have a score to settle, Texas Rose. After that we’ll just see what works out. I definitely want to get to Holly Hill since I missed both shows there last year, but otherwise I’m just gonna see what sounds good and works out timing-wise. Trying to keep it fluid and low-stress.

There’s already an interesting proposal on the docket for the fall too… of course I’m really gunning for getting to attend Mondial du Lion in France (already have price alerts on the flights), but also a friend of mine wants to look at horses in Belgium a couple weekends later. So like… I should just stay in Europe for a couple weeks, right? Between MdL, looking at stallions, a little bit of touristy crap, and other horse shows, I could easily fill up that time. Therefore I feel like yes, let’s just make it a two week stay.

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Surely I’m not the only one who’s already managed to start filling up the year? Anyone else have any fun plans?