So, uh, it’s possible that I procrastinated a little bit with this one. I would like to say that it won’t happen again but we all know that’s probably a lie. A lot of little milestones happened in those two months, though… the beginning is always a little bit more exciting because everything is new and seems to happen quickly. We started April at ride #5 and finished May at ride #12, plus he ventured outside of the arena for the first time. Obviously since I’m riding him so infrequently the progress is slow, but… I think you can see it?
The good news is, this one’s not as long as the other two! I’m slowly figuring out this vlog thing… hopefully now with the Pivo I’ll actually have decent video for the next one.
Let me know if there are any questions you want me to answer in June’s vlog or if there’s anything else you want to see!
There seems to be something about airing ones frustrations to the world that somehow makes a difference. As you already know, my Pivo finally came last week, but so did everything else I’d been waiting on.
So the PSoS/Horselet fiasco, which has consumed far too much of my time and probably done terrible things to my blood pressure, is finally resolved. I think so, anyway. After the Swedish UPS rep telling me last week that the package had been delivered to me (it hadn’t, it was delivered to a UPS warehouse in Kansas City) he completely ghosted me and never responded again. But PSoS did get back to me and when I showed them what had happened, they just gave up on getting UPS to fix this and sent me a whole new package. Two days later I had my quarter sheet from Sweden, no problems at all, and they tossed in some leather cleaner as an apology for all the trouble (and, to be fair, they were quite apologetic via email too).
As for the original package… who knows. Guess it’s just gonna be lost in a warehouse in Kansas City forever? That makes me sad to think about. Maybe someday they’ll figure it out. I was concerned that since that original package hadn’t really been resolved that UPS would somehow still try to keep me on the hook for the freight fees associated with it, but as of right now nothing is showing as due on my account anymore. I will probably lose my last shred of sanity if UPS tries to collect from me again.
So the summary of that story? PSoS/Horselet made an honest mistake, kinda took a long time to figure it out, UPS was absolutely useless in helping resolve it which made it take even longer, but PSoS made it right in the end. Knowing what happened and that they’ve fixed it, I would order from Horselet again in the future. UPS, however, stays on my shit list.
The Smartpak box also arrived, so now the only outstanding thing I have left is the mega-super-backordered bitless bridle that I ordered 3 months ago and have no idea when I’ll actually get it. That’s a supply chain issue with the manufacturer, so it’s not as frustrating to me as one that’s trapped in shipping purgatory or something that’s marked as in stock taking over a week to leave the warehouse.
I also wanted to update and say that I’ve FINALLY found some tights that I love, thanks to y’all. After many tries (like… eight?) and several that were aaaalmost right but not quite it, I took the recommendation of a few readers who recommended the Ariat Eos tights on my last post. I was a little grumpy about spending that much on tights, but… damn y’all were right these are perfect. Perfect fit, perfect fabric, lots of pockets, love the waistband, so comfortable, they’re exactly what I was looking for.
The only bummer is that the colors are kind of limited, and RW only carries two of the colors. I opted for gray since I don’t really like the red stitching on the navy “team” color. I emailed them a couple days ago to see if they could special order the black camo ones for me, because those are straight fire, but haven’t heard back yet. Fingers crossed. I’d like to get one or two more pair of those and sell all the rest of the tights I tried and didn’t love. The search is over. Ariat please make these in more colors (like hunter green and burgundy specifically? K thanks.).
It’s kind of a nice feeling to not have any packages in weird shipping limbo for the first time in a while. First world problems, I know. All’s well that ends well? Now that I’m officially out of distractions and excuses maybe I can finally finish Presto’s April/May vlog today…
Yay, FINALLY four weeks after ordering it, my Pivo arrived! The plus side of it having taken a while to get here is that I had a lot of time to peruse the Pivo facebook group, which helped me learn a lot about how it works and gave me some good tips in advance. If you have a Pivo or are thinking about purchasing one, join this group and spend some time looking at other people’s videos and troubleshooting. I would not have had nearly as much success with mine right off the bat if I hadn’t. Knowing how the technology works is SO IMPORTANT.
So what is a Pivo? It’s a relatively simple device, really, just a little rotating pod that your phone sets on top of. The pod syncs via Bluetooth to the Pivo App on your phone, and the app and the pod work together to make their magic. The app records the videos on your phone and saves them to your gallery. There are currently two Pivo pod options – the original Red Pivo and the newer Silver Pivo. The only difference is that the Silver can move twice as fast as the Red. It’s a little bit more expensive, but I opted for the Silver and I’m already glad I did. Originally the Pivo didn’t have any zoom capability, only turning, and the Red could keep up with a horse just fine in canter. But as of last week the new software update includes a brand spanking new Auto Zoom feature, and people with Silvers are having fewer problems especially at the canter. Sometimes the Red can’t quite keep up when it’s zooming at speed.
Before I get into my own thoughts on the Pivo’s performance, let’s talk about how the actual software works.
There is no “tag” or tracker that the pod is syncing with in order to follow you, it’s tracking capability is completely software based. The software is looking for two main things in particular: shape and contrast. There are 3 shooting modes for the Pivo: face, body, and horse… obviously the horse mode was designed for horse tracking, and when it’s in this mode it’s basically looking for the rectangular shape of a horse. In order to find and successfully track said rectangular shape, first it needs to be able to clearly see it. This means that you need some contrast. Take into account your arena color, background color, and horse color. If everything is light, you need to add some kind of contrast, maybe a colored or dark pad/boots. If everything is dark, think about adding something bright or light to contrast, like a white pad or white boots (the Pivo also seems to really like high-viz neon pink). Important item #1: the software has to be able to clearly see you in order to track you.
As for the shape, as I said it’s looking for that rectangular horse shape. Because of this, Pivo recommends placing the pod in the center of the arena (ie at X). When the horse is coming directly towards or traveling directly away from the camera, it’s no longer in that rectangular shape that it recognizes as being a horse, and the software is more likely to lose you in those moments, especially if they’re prolonged for more than a few seconds. Same goes for if you get too close – it can lose the shape. In the facebook group some people have had success with placing their Pivo’s at E or B, just outside of the arena, but it’s definitely a little bit more finicky with that placement. There is also some distance limitation here: it will lose you once the horse is less than about 10% of the screen, so it’s really meant for an area more like dressage arena size or maybe up to 60m x 60m square. It’s probably going to struggle to see you beyond that distance.
Also keep in mind that due to how the software works, it will have problems staying locked on you if there are multiple horses in the ring. Sometimes it seems to struggle if you have a lot of jumps in the ring or a lot of varied lighting (lots of shadows/bright spots/trees) as well. If you think of it from the software’s perspective with regards to what it’s looking for – shape and contrast – that makes sense. So, 1) understand the software, 2) keep your environment in mind.
This isn’t a $1,000 SoloShot or Pixio, it’s a $100-140 pod that syncs with your phone and follows you around as best it can. If you’re expecting SoloShot or Pixio performance, you’ll likely be disappointed. But if you want a budget friendly gadget with quick and easy set-up that will help you get some video for training purposes or for social media, your expectations are in the right place.
With all of these things in mind, before I even got my Pivo I knew that I should put some light colored stuff on me/Presto. Our arena footing is fairly light, but in some places the background is bright whereas in other places it’s dark. In the bright areas Presto himself would be good contrast, but in the dark areas I wanted to make sure there was something bright for it to “see”, so I wore a white shirt, put on his white saddle pad, and borrowed Henry’s white cross country boots. I placed the Pivo at X in our dressage arena on a tripod. You can set it on a barrel or a jump standard as well, plenty of people seem to have success with that, but a tripod is what’s recommended due to the height and stability. You can get one on amazon (even with a built-in level if you wanna get fancy) for under $20, so not a big deal to buy one. Pivo recommends that the pod be at the same height as the horse, not too low to the ground. Again, this has to do with the software reading the shape of the horse.
Ok, SO… how did it work? As you saw from yesterdays post, pretty darn well for a first try.
I would recommend actually reading through the app’s initial tutorial (don’t just swipe it away) so you understand how to access all the screens and settings. I also think its a good idea to sync it up and play with it a little bit at home first to familiarize yourself with the settings and how to change them before you’re standing in an arena holding a horse and trying to squint at the screen to figure it out.
As for actual usage, it was very quick and easy to set up. Put the tripod at X, put the Pivo on top, turn it on, pair the app to the Pivo, select my settings, put the phone in the pod, and voila. It took all of a minute, which is a big selling point to me with a young distractable wiggly horse. I did make a couple of mistakes out of the box, though. 1. I underestimated how tall Presto and I are together. I had the tripod at about stirrup height, but in reality I think it would be better at saddle pad height. The Pivo doesn’t have an “up/down” tilt or pivot ability, only left/right. Having it a bit too low put me in the very top of the shot the entire time, so it’s something I need to be more aware of next time and raise it probably 6″ or so. 2. I also need to make sure the tripod itself is totally level. Admittedly I didn’t check this, and I think that’s also contributing to my framing issue.
Otherwise I didn’t really have any major problems. At no point did the Pivo lose me completely, I was never totally out of the frame during the entire 20 minute ride. There were times when I changed directions or circled and Presto ended up “head on” or “butt on” with the camera and it lost the rectangular shape for a few seconds, but it always recognized him again as soon as we got more parallel and before we left the frame.
As I mentioned, the auto zoom is a totally new feature in it’s first release, and I think it needs a little bit more tweaking. I’m REALLY excited to have it at all, it’s already a huge improvement from before with no automatic zooming capability, but it does seem a bit slow to zoom back out once it’s zoomed all the way in. I think they already know this and are working on it.
I’m pretty excited about this little gadget and think it will be invaluable in getting footage of Presto both for my own purposes and for his vlogs. That’s what I wanted it for and my first impression is that it’ll suit that purpose just fine One ride in and I’ve already got GIF’s and screenshots for the blog and sent some video to my trainer.
So overall, here’s what I would say so far if you’re thinking about buying:
Have realistic expectations. Know what the Pivo can do and what it can’t do. Figure out if it will suit your needs.
If you order one, I definitely recommend the Silver. The Red seems to do just fine, but with some of the updates they have planned I think the Silver is going to perform better overall in the long run.
Please for the love of all that is holy, join the facebook group. I can’t stress this enough. There are a lot of people on there with great advice that have already been using theirs for a while, you can learn from other people’s trials and tribulations. There’s even an actual Pivo rep in there helping with troubleshooting. If you have any issues you can upload a video of the problem and they’ll help. This is some of the best support I’ve seen for ANY gadget. There are also a lot of good videos on youtube that talk about the different settings so you can see what other people are using.
Take some time to learn how the software works and how it “sees”. This will set you up for success instead of frustration.
Right now I would say that if you’re looking for something that can reliably shoot an entire dressage test from C for virtual shows, this is not your tool. You probably need a SoloShot. Pivo is working towards that goal in the future, but it’s not there yet. It might work somehow for lessons, I know they’ve added a Live Stream feature recently but I haven’t paid much attention to that. I would check the group for more details on if/how well that works if it’s a need for you. If you want something to record a full jump course, I also don’t think this is your tool yet either. People have had success recording a couple of fences (with the horse traveling parallel to the Pivo, so like if you just jumped in a circle or oval it would probably be fine) but it’s just not realistic to expect it to shoot a full jump course the way a human being does. However, if you’re someone who is often riding alone and wants something that can be your “eyes on the ground” and provide social media content… the Pivo could definitely suit your needs.
The big benefit of the Pivo being software based is that it means with every release you get the latest and greatest updates, you don’t have to go buy a newer fancier unit to get newer fancier functionality. Pivo also seems actively dedicated to improving the performance of the pod specifically for equestrian use, releasing new features pretty regularly. They are listening to the feedback.
I took some clips from Sunday’s ride and kind of talked through how the software was working in a few different places and with different things. Keep in mind these are mostly the more “problematic” areas of the entire video, so you’re seeing the worst things it did and why I think they happened based on what I’ve learned so far.
As you can see, even with a few little issues (and my own setup mistakes) it still did a really good job. 20 minutes of footage with my horse easily visible in the frame is a hell of an improvement from what we had before without the Pivo. Next time I’ll raise and fix my tripod and hopefully that’ll make it even better. First impression though? Really positive! The reviews and experiences in the facebook group are pretty mixed, so admittedly my expectations were not that of perfection. The software can definitely be a little particular and how you need to use it can vary depending on your own particular circumstances or even different conditions from day to day. But if you’re willing to do a little bit of learning and keep your expectations appropriate for the price point, I think it could be a great tool to have in your toolbox. I’m pretty excited about it!
My favorite thing about baby horses is that there’s never a dull moment. That’s especially true of Presto, who certainly isn’t lacking in personality or opinions.
We’ve been continuing our Wednesday/Saturday lunge and Sunday ride routine. I’ve been really pleased with how he’s started to figure out the balancing reins the past few weeks, I think they’re definitely helping make things click a little bit for him. Both of his weekly lunge sessions with them are generally very short, maybe 10 minutes if that. Partly because on Wednesdays I’m rushing to get back to my computer, and partly because I just don’t think he needs to go any longer than that to get the message.
But he’s a baby horse, so sometimes he chooses an evil path and his fate changes. On Wednesday I went out with his stuff to lunge him out in his field. I’ve lunged him in there before several times, no problem. I tossed his equipment on and walked out to flat clear space and sent him out. He trotted a few circles before he decided to give in to Satan’s demands and he just BOLTED. Luckily he’s never subtle when he’s naughty so I saw it coming and braced myself. He hit the end of the lunge line and flopped around like an angry fish before we repeated that over and over for the next 20 minutes. I never even got the chance to put the balancing reins on, that was an aborted mission. Instead I waited until he could give me some polite w/t and listen to the voice commands for a few minutes without being a turd, and then put him away. Some days they’re just dumbabies and that’s fine.
On Saturday we tried again.
He was back to normal, totally workmanlike and listening. He wasn’t super thrilled when it started raining on him, or when all the other horses bolted for cover, but he wasn’t naughty at all. And in fact I was quite pleased with how he’s continuing to show improvement in his carriage. He’s not fighting the bit anymore, his mouth is a little less fussy, and he has moments where he’s really coming from behind really nicely. He’s even starting to show a little bit of a desire to stretch.
It’s pretty quick progress, all things considered. I think he really just needed to figure it out on his own terms. He’s still very inconsistent of course, but the good moments are getting longer and more frequent. I also think he’s starting to get a bit stronger in his hind end and topline, which obviously helps too.
Our Pivo finally arrived on Saturday, just in the nick of time for me to use it for Sunday’s ride. I’ll talk more in depth about my initial impressions of it tomorrow.
As I was setting up the Pivo and the tripod a little group of deer decided that was the perfect time to hang out in the woods at the far end of the arena just behind C. Great. Super. Presto spotted them too and reaaaaaaaaaaaally wanted to stare. I thought I might have a real problem on my hands but decided to just carry on as if they weren’t there and see if he would settle. They stayed up there the whole ride but other than causing him some distraction at that end (ok at times it was more than “some”) and one little spook it wasn’t a problem. I was proud of him for that. Henry probably would have lost his mind. I did find myself wishing I had remembered my whip a couple times though, when he got a little too focused on looking for the deer and forgot I was there. While distractions like deer can seem really annoying at the time, I’m also really glad for them. Learning how to handle things like that are all part of the process.
Despite all that he was overall quite well-behaved. Right now these once a week rides are really fun because I can get on every week and feel a clear improvement from the ride before. Now that he’s stopped wanting to fight the bit, everything is obviously a lot easier. I can actually ride him. He’s in that phase where he hasn’t quite figured out this contact thing yet, so he bounces back and forth from a little heavy/braced to a little bit BTV, with some correct steps in between. I’m trying to really reward him when he gets it right and just keep asking him to come forward with a steady rhythm the rest of the time. He’ll figure out the middle ground eventually.
He naturally wants to be uphill, even at this awkward age, and the feeling he has in those moments when he does get it right are pretty exciting. We had a few moments in particular yesterday (of maybe 5-6 steps each) where he really stepped up with that hind leg and swung through his back and I was like DIS HORSE OMG. It’s REALLY fun to see the natural aptitude come through. I love Henry to death, of course, he’s my best boy and tries really hard, but in 6 years of work I don’t think he’s ever been as uphill as this horse is on ride 15. If Presto can be as good as Henry about the XC I’ll be mega-thrilled.
Next weekend we’re going to try to go on another adventure, this time to an XC schooling venue to just hang out and walk around and see the sights. And tomorrow we’ll talk more about the Pivo!
The babies got introduced to the ball for the first time this past week, and honestly I think Ollie’s name really should have been Skee-Lo (“I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her”… there’s your very obscure 90’s reference for the week). It should be of absolutely no surprise to anyone that he took to the ball immediately and absolutely loves it. He might be the littlest in height, but he’s definitely got a huge personality.
The babies always get to see the ball outside of the fence first, so it’s not as scary. Naturally Ollie, being the super curious and mischievous one, was the first to come over and investigate. Once they all got to see that it was there and they didn’t care about it, the ball got chucked into the pasture.
The other babies were much less impressed with the ball. It took a little while for Remi’s mom to let him go check it out, and when he finally did he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do with it.
Oakley was interested in it a little, and gave a half-hearted attempt.
Ellie couldn’t even be bothered to pause from her incessant sassing long enough to notice it’s presence.
But ya know… I think Ollie is totally fine with having it to himself.
If you want to see some video, you’re in luck. This event was well documented.
Happy Friday, everyone! Hope your weekend is as fun as Ollie’s is shaping up to be.
You know how on Facebook if you interact with a certain page a lot they’ll be like “You’re a TOP FAN, here’s your badge!”?
I dunno about y’all, but for me personally when Facebook tries to tell me I’m a “top fan” of a certain page it really means either “top person who really just doesn’t know when to shut up” (look, I got real frustrated on COTH’s page during all that SafeSport/GM nonsense) or “top mega creeper stalker” (whaaaaaat? meeeeee? noooooo…). Facebook ain’t playing when it calls me out with that Top Fan badge.
OK YOU CAUGHT ME I’m a real creeper about certain pages. Particularly the above farm who stands a stallion that I really love that of course is only available for breeding in Ireland. I have talked about him a little bit on here before because he’s the sire of my favorite 5* horse Tullabeg Flamenco, among others. As the kids would say, I’m a major stan.
And see, since this stallion isn’t available outside of Ireland, it’s possible that I may have developed a wee little fantasy about someday trying to buy a filly by him to import/ride/breed. (note: by wee little fantasy I mean major obsession because I don’t really do much of anything “wee little” let’s be honest, it’s all or nothing)
Therefore, naturally, I stalk the farm’s page like it’s my damn job. Particularly during foaling season. I like all the foal pictures, I comment sometimes, heck I’ll even friend request Irish people who breed to him (note: y’all shouldn’t accept my friend request, I’m a lunatic. but also please accept my friend request so I can stalk at a more in depth level.). It’s a compulsion and I can’t stop. Ok I don’t want to stop.
Like… is this the true motivation behind the Ireland trip I wanted to take this year? YES. OK? YES IT IS. I wanted to see Tullabeg Fusion and some of his foals in person. But then ‘rona ruined that idea so I just turned into an even more epic online stalker instead. If there is a Tullabeg Fusion filly listed for sale publicly in Ireland, I guarantee I have seen her (note: I’m probably also stalking the owner and/or farm on facebook. please don’t tell anyone). It’s also possible that one day I got really side tracked because one sale website also listed Irish farms for sale and I was like “Ooooh yeah, this seems like a reasonable possibility”. (note: moving to Ireland is not reasonable) (subnote: it did not stop me from casually perusing real estate for an hour)
It’s also possible that I may have roped Michelle into being an accomplice to this scheme. I mean… a filly with top Irish bloodlines? Makes total sense for a breeder. (note: I can rationalize anything) (subnote: this is why it’s dangerous to be my friend) I mean, think about it… the filly could even stay in Ireland until she was 3, get bred to another stallion that’s only available in Ireland, of which there are many, and then be imported. It’s cheap to raise them there. Or ya know, if you import under the age of 2 it’s not that terribly expensive. (note: see above note about how I can rationalize anything)
Clearly it has to be a buckskin or palomino though, because this is my wee little fantasy and I said so. Preferably buckskin. We’ve talked about my secret obsession with this color before, don’t clutch your pearls. And if I can get it in a super sporty package… no judging.
So ya know, it’s possible that every time the farm posts a new buckskin foal I come screeching in out of nowhere like “hI iZ tHiS oNe A fIlLy AnD iF sO iS sHe FoR sAlE???”
I’m creepy, I know. But geez Facebook, why you gotta call me out? I feel attacked.
(note: did that stop me from accepting the Top Fan badge and displaying it proudly? no it did not. fly that freak flag high.)
Apparently the universe is just pushing me for funsies, because once I absolutely lost my mind with frustration Monday/Tuesday (and yelled at a Swede. sorry? no I’m not), everything finally started to move.
PSoS has given up on UPS resolving the shipping mistake, so today they sent me a whole new package. It makes me sad to think of the original sitting abandoned in a warehouse in Kansas City (what do they do with all the stuff that ends up there, anyway?) but I’m pleased to finally have some resolution. Hopefully. Maybe. If UPS tries to send me another bill it won’t be pretty. PSoS has been really apologetic about how this whole thing went down. Every UPS rep I’ve talked to in all this, which would be 6 including the Swedish one, has been 0% helpful. Absolutely the damn worst. The Swedish one tried to tell me that they delivered the package to me on Monday – I responded and said no they didn’t, they delivered it to “UPS OVERGOODS” in Kansas City, you can see that right there on the tracking page – and I haven’t heard a peep from him since. Useless. Just as useless as all the US-based UPS reps that just shrugged and said I should talk to the sender.
The Pivo package also finally showed some movement and made it into Texas as of yesterday. Maybe I’ll get it within the next couple days? I’m feeling more hopeful anyway, especially seeing it heading in the correct direction that would indicate that the second tracking number they gave me is actually the right one. It would be nice to have it in time for Presto’s weekly ride.
And my Smartpak order shipped! it’s as if everyone’s ears were burning yesterday now that my blood pressure finally went through the roof. Thank goodness I have horses to “talk me down off the ledge” so to speak, because omg I was irritated.
Between the annoying UPS people and some work BS I had steam rolling out of my ears yesterday as I headed to the barn. It was really humid and already getting hot/gross even at 9:30… Henry was contently grazing but already starting to sweat. Humidity is his kryptonite. I figured with my mood and him already pre-melting, we would just keep it light and fun. We went out to the back pasture where we have our little gallop path/hills for just a light w/t/c.
Well that’s what I intended anyway. For a horse that can’t really get any oxygen when it’s humid, someone was real full of himself.
I used a hair tie to secure my phone to a tree (while cursing Pivo the entire time) and had originally just planned to get a couple passes of us trotting and cantering past it. Cuz, ya know… need something for the ‘gram. But as soon as we’d made one lap of the track at a trot and I turned around to trot the other way, Henry decided he was done trotting. Jig, yes. Canter in place, yes. Walk, yes. Gallop, yes. Those were my options apparently. Trotting iz stoopid. So we galloped a lap each way, with him dolphining most of the second lap (he likes to give himself a warmup lap or two before he starts yeehawing, it’s his thing).
As usual, I was cackling at him the whole way. He knows how to be just ridiculous enough to make me laugh. Cheeky little shit. But he 110% fixed my mood, that’s for sure. All of my ire was magically gone by the time I rode back up the barn and dismounted. What do people without horses even DO with their emotions?
Also Presto was the last horse I’d ridden, and when I slid off Henry I did that thing where I misjudged how close the ground was. Henry’s withers are really the only thing giving him any height, his back itself is probably a hand lower than Presto’s. I guess my body forgot, because WHAM feet into the ground. That was still kind of entertaining because hey… that means I’m getting used to riding Presto.
By the time I got back to my computer I was in a much better mood than when I had left, that’s for sure. Thanks dolphin boy.
I’m starting to think that there’s something about me that makes packages want to avoid me like the plague. I’m kind of getting offended.
I seem to be a magnet for shipping problems lately. First it was the PSoS/Horselet situation where they shipped the package as “freight on delivery” and thus I got a bill for $263 dollars before they would deliver my package. Lol. No. It’s been a month since this all started and there’s still no resolution. It took a while to get an original response to their mistake and for them to get a handle on just how many packages were affected (lots) but on May 26 they sent an email saying they were taking care of it and all packages would be delivered within 1-4 days with no charges due.
But, like… I’m pretty patient. I know with covid and all this other stuff going on across the world, things can be delayed. I waited two weeks before I emailed again. The response was a little huffy “you can see it’s still on hold, so we’re taking care of it”. Bro, I’m not the one that said 1-4 business days two weeks ago. But ok, if it’s still on hold then fine… I’ll give you more time. In the meantime I got a bill in the mail from UPS and two harassing phone calls from them trying to get me to pay. I explained the situation, and UPS seemed totally uninterested in anything I had to say.
And then I check it again and see that the package has been rerouted to… Kansas? To UPS’s lost/damaged/unclaimed packages location. I lost it. Turns out there is an end to my patience and we found it. I messaged the Horselet and they spent 3 paragraphs apologizing but providing no actual assistance before lamely giving me the email of their UPS rep, which made me lose it even more. This isn’t MY problem to fix, y’all did it, y’all fix it. Don’t push me off on your UPS rep. When I emailed my PSoS contact she copied said UPS rep directly on her response to me, which was slightly better but still real irritating. The UPS rep responded within a few hours saying “Ok it’s done, I fixed everything, the package will be delivered to you by Wednesday”. Which… 1) it was that easy? If so why has it taken a month?? 2) I can’t tell if this is true or not because the original tracking number stopped working yesterday when the package got delivered to Kansas. 3) I don’t believe him. At all.
But ok, I’m still a (slightly) reasonable person. I asked for the new tracking number, since the old one is marked as Delivered to Kansas City. I’m waiting for a response. I have a UPS account so I know when there are packages en route to me and right now nothing shows up. I’m trying very hard to tamp down my rage but I’m losing that battle. I don’t NEED what’s in the package immediately, it’s not time sensitive, I understand that shit happens and people are busy and blah blah blah. But… don’t lie to me. THAT is enraging. I don’t know if it’s UPS’s fault or PSoS’s, but I’m over it.
On top of that, there’s been major weirdness with my Pivo package. I ordered on May 22, a Friday afternoon, and got ship notification on May 26, the following Tuesday. All good. That tracking number showed slow but steady progress across China, all the way up the customs/export stage on May 30 when it stopped. Then on June 1 I get a “shipping update” from Pivo with a different tracking number. Huh? So I watch that tracking number for a few days and see it making it’s way across China too. Meanwhile, the original tracking number stalled out and had no new updates.
So I email Pivo to ask them which one was the right tracking number. Either the original shipment was seriously stuck, or they didn’t actually ship anything for over a week after my order date. The customer service person I talked to seemed equally confused, but finally said ok the original tracking number was the right one. Great! Except… that one now showed no updates whatsoever. Not even the ones that had been there originally showing it moving across China. Now it just said “no order information found”.
Emailed Pivo again and this time they said no, the second tracking number was the right one. Sigh. Ok. That one does show that the package is at least in New Jersey (it’s been sitting there since Friday), at it’s latest update. I guess we’ll… go with that? Meanwhile people who ordered their Pivos after I did have already had them for a week. Just like people who ordered from Thehorselet after I did have had no issues getting their stuff. I’m cursed.
It also doesn’t help that I finally caved to a Smartpak clearance item (I try to avoid ordering from them because I’ve had a lot of problems in the past) a week ago and that still hasn’t shipped yet. Things are behind, I get it, but I’m not having any problems with Corro, Riding Warehouse, or even Dover. It’s a sad day when Dover beats you.
Did I mention the bitless bridle I ordered in March is still on indefinite backorder?
Cursed, I tell you.
And speaking of all this covid/everything running behind stuff… Austin is not looking so good.
In the few weeks since everything re-opened, cases have started to sky rocket. Our mayor officially extended the “work from home” order through at least mid-August, which I’m hoping my company follows. I’ve been watching these numbers go up and thinking about how bringing people back into the office in July just seems like not a great idea. They also officially moved the city into Stage 4 risk.
It’s extra frustrating, because I constantly see people out and about with no mask. Drive past the water park or the outlet mall and it’s packed (with very few masks in sight). It’s as if people took precautions for the first week or two, decided they didn’t like that, and everyone just went back to normal. And our local government can’t do anything but make “recommendations” because of the state’s order. This just kind of has SHITSHOW written all over it.
I’ve still been avoiding anything except the barn and my bimonthly grocery store run, aside from Presto’s trail ride which required zero interaction with anyone but Hillary (who is also self-quarantined). There’s nothing out there I particularly need or want and I really don’t want to be part of the problem. The SO still has to go in to work, since it’s kind of impossible to be a work from home mechanic, but their work stations are quite separated and everyone has their own tools and they’re wiping all the car’s surfaces down, so his job seems quite low risk compared to many. I’m hoping my work will update us this week on whether or not their return to work plan is going to change, given these new updates from the mayor.
Have I ever mentioned that Presto has way too much in common with the “Mayhem” character in the Allstate commercials?
I’m pretty sure he used up all of his Good Boy during the trail ride the weekend before, because last week the Mayhem was turned up particularly high. Like when he got into the feed room and ate all the cookies, destroyed all the feed pans, and tossed a bunch of shit all over the place.
Or like when the farrier came and he was all NAH I DON’T DO DIS and broke one of the crossties (may I remind you that he’s been getting his feet done every 5 weeks for like… ever? and has never done anything like that). If you need something destroyed, he’s your man.
Let’s hope he got all of that out of his system last week because “angsty teen” is not a cute look on a big baby horse. For real his show name should have totally been Mayhem Like Me.
While he’s been an absolute turd for regular life, he’s been pretty good when it comes to his (very part time, very entry level) job. Ever since the complete and utter rejection of his fancy bits a couple weeks ago, I re-routed to a new plan to try to see if we could fix some of his mouth fussiness. I was pretty certain by then that it wasn’t physical discomfort, but more of a “NO I DON’T LIKE IT” thing. So he’s back in the Myler and I’m lunging him twice a week in the balancing reins. He’d worn them a few times before, VERY loosely, but not really “worked” in them and not consistently. I made them a little bit more snug (still loose, but snug enough to where he couldn’t ignore what they were telling him) and used them in more regimented lunge sessions. And from working him those few times on the lunge line, I thought I was starting to see improvements. Moments where he wasn’t bracing or fighting or fussing, and they were getting more frequent.
Of course, it’s not consistent yet by any means. The good moments are sandwiched in between moments like this:
Still… the good moments in between the resistance and the avoidance have gotten longer and more frequent with every session and there haven’t been any real tantrums. I keep it short, maybe 10 minutes, and mostly just encourage him to keep the forward energy. We do some transitions (somewhere in the past couple months he’s gotten really solid with the word “canter”… since he didn’t canter on the lunge line much when he was younger, he hadn’t learned that one yet) between the gaits, but mostly I’m just trying to let him figure it out with himself by stripping it down to it’s most simple form. There’s no rider, just him. The reins are still loose enough to where there isn’t a lot of pressure (ie I’m not forcing his head down), just enough to be a persistent ask. He can figure it out the answer on his own.
Yesterday was the first time putting it to the test under saddle to see if it’s helping. I mean, we had gone on that trail ride last weekend but that was just a loopy rein walk, no contact or “work”. But yesterday I tacked him up and went to the ring to see how/if things were sinking in and translating.
My Pivo hasn’t arrived yet so I don’t have any media, but the ride was actually better than I would have thought. It’s still very rudimentary and inconsistent when you’re talking about actual correct acceptance of the bit, but there’s no more fighting the contact. Not once did he object. Several times both at the walk and the trot we were even able to string together several consecutive steps that were totally proper. And of course, since he’s not actively fighting the contact, other things are better too. Like steering. We made some legit serpentines and half circles, and his leg yield capability is kind of impressive. He is ridiculously in tune with my seat too, considering how freaking green he really is. I can feel the nice horse that’s lurking in there.
Considering it’s only been 4 sessions with the balancing reins I’m pleased with the progress. I really think he just needed a little bit of a lightbulb moment to get him over the hump so he could start to figure out the bit. I’m not asking him to go like a dressage horse yet, by any means, but he does need to at least have an understanding and acceptance of light consistent contact.
I’m not ready to say he’s “there” yet, but I do think we’re definitely on the right track. For sure there has been improvement in the past couple weeks, so we’ll continue down this path and see how it continues to develop. It would probably come along more quickly if I rode him more often or did more ring work versus trail riding or hacking, but… I’m not willing to do that. He’s just a baby and I still want most of his time to be his own. He’s got important baby horse business, ya know?
I’m happy with little tiny bits of progress. He’s already exceeded my expectations for where he’d be by ride… 14?, so no point in getting greedy.
I’m currently planning another trail ride day for him so we can spend more time out and about exploring. I got his hoof boots last week, so he’s officially ready for his next adventure!