Off Kilter

I am admittedly not really myself this week. Monday was the 5th anniversary of my mom’s passing, and the week between that date and her birthday (the 25th) is generally never my favorite. It’s honestly gotten harder every year, not easier. Grief is weird. Normally I’m the type to just shove feelings down and bottle them up so deep that I’m not even sure Jacques Cousteau could find them, but I’ve come to give myself the week to withdraw a bit and indulge in missing her. At some point I’ll crack and have my annual cry in the car, I’m sure, but it hasn’t made its way to the surface yet. I don’t really like to talk about it. But if you notice a decrease in activity on my social media or a weird undercurrent on the blog – that’s why. I’m off kilter.

I’ve distracted myself a bit by working longer hours and – my favorite coping mechanism for anything – disappearing into books. I’ve perfected that particular technique in my 37 years on this planet. But I have also managed to fall into a couple other rabbit holes as well.

I don’t even remember how I found my way to Jump 4 Joy’s page, but I did. Originally I was really eyeballing the giraffe standards (I want these bad)

but then I ambled over to their XC jump page. I’ve seen their jumps at big events before but never really paid them any mind, knowing they’re expensive. And they are expensive, but some of them weren’t nearly as bad as I thought. I was originally eyeballing this super skinny arrowhead

Which, the price of $488 didn’t seem that awful considering it comes with:

  • 2x Telescopic Cross Country Stands
    (75cm-105cm).
  • 1x Arrowhead Filler – Skinny
    (1.25mtr wide x 1.35mtr)
  • 2x Safety Cups.
  • 2x Cross Country Flags (with clips)

But then I noticed this one:

At $725 it’s obviously quite a bit more, but it’s also 3 options in one. You’ve got the ladder pieces that could be used as fill, the arrowhead top piece which could be used as a skinny, or all of it put together makes a corner. Plus three of their telescoping standards, which I like (they could also be used for lunging o/f). It’s kind of smart. More bang for your buck. Or I could try to make something similar I’m sure. I’m just… not a builder. I’ve been intending to make a skinny arrowhead panel for like 3 years. Shit, I’ve been intending on buying some brush to make brush rails for at least a year and that’s literally one of the easiest things you can do. I’m clearly quite shit at projects like that. I also have zero jump fillers right now… I should probably acquire at least a brush box or a wall or something before Presto starts jumping.

I dunno. Something to think about the next time I’m in a Treat Yo-self position. I.e. not when we’ve just bought a tiny house.

The other thing I’ve been obsessing about is Presto’s feet. He does great barefoot 9 months of the year, so I don’t want to jump the gun and put shoes on him yet, but the extremely dry weather and hard rocky ground of summer are starting to take a toll. They run and play so much out there, he’s breaking chunks off left and right. It’s really difficult to keep barefoot horses here if they’re super active like that. Henry, who isn’t even active at all in comparison, had beautiful bare feet when he arrived in Texas and they were destroyed within a week. Luckily Presto hasn’t done any major damage yet, he’s a hard-knock kid, but he’s making me nervous. I’ve been putting Henry’s sparkly Cavallo boots on when I ride him, just as a precaution, and they’re working fine, but those are their low-end boots which I got to just be a “lost a shoe, need something to wear in the pasture for a few days” type thing. I feel like a different style would probably be better for riding.

But also if he’s only wearing them for an hour a week for the next month or so until we start getting some rain again and the ground softens a little, it seems a bit ridiculous to drop $150-200 on yet another pair of boots. I was kind of tempted to have him wear them 24/7 but I have a feeling he’d destroy any boot I put on him, plus I don’t want his feet to get softened up by being inside a boot all the time if it’s not 100% necessary. I’m probably overthinking all of this. I just mega-cringe every time I see a new chipped piece of hoof right now, or when I see him gallop off across the pasture. The farrier is coming tomorrow, so I’ll get his take on things. I was planning on putting at least front shoes on Presto next year when his work load increases but… I’d really rather not do that until it’s necessary.

Texas, rain please. Some rain would be great. Plus it would match my mood.

19 thoughts on “Off Kilter

  1. Im sure you know this but the double dose farriers formula has done wonders for my grey mare who basically wouldn’t grow a foot for 6 months and kept having abscess after abscess. She went from a trim every 4 months to a trim every 4 weeks and now her feet are a lot stronger. She was also super under weight so that probably didn’t help.

    Also, Jump 4 Joy jumps are amazing and they can even do custom ones for you. My goal is to own a full showjump course to use when I host shows! Buy them all!

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    1. Presto grows a TON of foot, even with getting trimmed every 5 weeks there always plenty to trim. He does great when the ground is decent, but the dead of summer is a challenge. His feed does have many of the same ingredients added to it that FF does… I could def supplement him with more in the future but unfortunately that wouldn’t help me much in the short term.

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  2. I’m going to find something purple to wear today for you and your mom. I’ve been thinking about building one of those skinny things. I can build you one too. It’s too hot to put my recovery ponies back to work so I’ve been trying to decide what other projects to catch up on. You want those dimensions?

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    1. I’d say that I would love you forever but I already do. Double forever? I’m guessing those dimensions are fine, I haven’t really looked. Whatever seems standard is fine. Just let me know how much I owe you.

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  3. For Presto, try maybe applying Hoof Armor and smear it up the sides of his feet? I had a boot failure issue at Parrie Haynes during a competition, but I had applied Hoof Armor out of concern for that happening, and not only did my guy stay sound for 2 days of 25 mile rides, he had only tiny chips out of his feet.

    And PH is where rocks go to breed and make more rocks.

    Worth looking at maybe.

    And I understand about grief. Every year around the holidays I withdraw and get hyper-emotional due to some hard losses. Took me years to figure out why I was doing it…now my family recognizes the pattern and knows not to take anything I saw or do personally.

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  4. When I say hugs what I really mean is I’ll make you some cookies, because I know you’re anti touchy and it sounds like you could use some cookies.

    Also, I was worrying to my farrier about Weston’s feet last week and he recommended painting them with pine tar every 3-4 days. He said it’s messy (recommended just putting it on with a glove) but seals moisture in where you want it, and encourages the bottom of the hoof to slough off the dead stuff and grow nicely. I’m going to pick some up next time I’m at the horsey stuff store and try it.

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  5. It’s interesting what you write about grief. I cried harder at the year anniversary of my mom passing than I did in that entire first year. I don’t know why. But, it happened and I have a feeling it will keep happening. So, I’m thinking of you and hope you know you’ve got a good support system and to do whatever you need to help get through the tough times

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  6. Ditto on being bleh. Next week is 14 years since my Dad passed suddenly (ironically he died from complications caused by a horseback riding injury yet I never really think of my hobby as being all that dangerous). Kudos to you for letting yourself grieve. The world so often seems to tell us to buck up and move on.

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  7. Amanda…. my baby brother killed himself when he was 29. Without intention, I wept every three weeks for ten years. I would just purge my grief and let the tears cleanse my sorrow. Miraculously, when I hit the ten year mark, I felt cleansed and now I just have fond and happy thoughts of my dear brother. It was a long process, but it was what I needed mentally to cope with my loss. I hope you will not stuff your grief for your mom. Cry and celebrate your love for her. You will find the day when grief will leave you and love and happiness will replace it. My kind thoughts are with you. Aren’t we lucky to have our wonderful horse’s manes to catch our tears 🙂

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  8. Your words about feeling off-kilter are very understandable and relatable. Anniversaries of big losses can be rough. I also find comfort in diving into books for pretty much anything, including dealing with the various outcomes of grief. And spending time with our horses- what a comfort. I like, too, what Kym says in her comment, “Aren’t we lucky to have our wonderful horse’s manes to catch our tears”.

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  9. Sending some good juju your way for this week. Some things don’t really get easier.
    I fell down that same jump rabbit hole not too long ago. Finally I said to myself, “Self. Close the browser. Step away from the laptop.” But i really do need a few more jumps. All of my wooden ones are gone (except for two standards which are barely hanging on). Maybe for next spring.
    No advice on the feet, I guess just let your farrier guide you there.

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  10. On the anniversary of my dad‘s death for many years I would be physically ill and it was really the only way I could cope. About three years ago I visited his grave which is far away from where I live, and it was like I lost him all over again. Grief is a solitary endeavor for some, for others it is something to share. Stock your truck/car with Kleenex when it hits. Sending you mojo.

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  11. Grief is just weird. I was so angry with my dad for so long after passed away that I didn’t grieve much at first. Now 14 years later, it can hit me out of nowhere like a ton of bricks. I’m learning to just take it how it comes, but some days I work hard at the stuffing down part. My five wing can be *strong*.

    On the jumps, I’ve recently built a course with their online course builder and I was surprised at how sort of reasonable it was. Since I’ve been head down in Vlogs lately, I’d watched Megan Elphick’s trip to the factory where ones like JFJ are made (since JFJ ship from the UK, it may be the same company? I didn’t dig far enough to see) and it was really interesting. She’s @elphick.event.ponies on IG and YT. Some of these are somewhere in my future because my wood standards are 20 years old and need repair and painting and I never set aside time to do it. Some that always looked awesome would be super.

    In Florida, we’ve been much wetter than y’all in Texas and we are still having the same issue with feet falling apart. I wish I had anything helpful to offer but I’m painting on karatex and ordering s pair of boots that might actually fit (the 4s are HUGE. Must have mismeasured!)

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  12. Sorry to hear that you’re having a tough week. Loss sucks.

    My barn has those jumps! Now I know where they came from.

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  13. My brother’s 52nd birthday would’ve been this weekend, so I feel you on that front. I’ll be trying to push through the day by.. horse showing. Probably not smart. Hopefully be too busy to think about it.

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  14. sorry late posting where did this week go? Anyway i know what you are going thru with your mom. My mom died on april 1st and her bday is april 9th so i detest that week every year!! 😦

    AND YOU NEED THOSE JUMPS..all of them…just saying. 🙂

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  15. I had no idea you had lost your mom. Not sure how I missed that very important piece of information. I am so terribly sorry about that. I more than understand and sending you hugs.

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