What’s the Point(s)?

I admit that I have a bit of a hard time caring about year end awards. Back in the day (gosh, maybe 15 years ago now) when I was caught up in the oh so competitive world of our local h/j circuit, I definitely cared. Gotta show in the same divisions all year so you can get more points, definitely always do the under saddle even if you only get a low ribbon because every point counts, look through the points the second they’re posted online, and so on and so on and so on. It only took a couple years of that for me to realize how absolutely idiotic it was. If you went to every single horse show you’d end up racking up enough points to get a year end award pretty much default, and what did that really prove? You’re good at filling out a show entry?

This feels like a completely different lifetime ago now

You’d also see people entering tons of classes, trying to rack up rider points. There’s a time at which you cross the line into excessive and I’ll go out on a limb here and say that 20+ classes in a weekend is well beyond that. Sometimes it was just… ridiculous. I’ve seen people make some seriously bad decisions for themselves and their horse just in the sake of trying to rack up as many points as they can get, and it left a sour taste. When I really thought about it the whole thing just didn’t sit right with me, and I’ve never chased points since.

And while I definitely don’t think you see this situation as much in eventing – after all, you only have one opportunity for points per show – I have seen people enter more shows than they otherwise might in order to try to get more points. The whole “quantity” method of point tabulation has never seemed like the best way. It feels like we’re rewarding the wrong thing. I felt like I’d always rather see some kind of average, or a different way of doing the math that didn’t just go for sheer quantity.

It seems I’m not the only one that thought that way, because this week USEA announced that they’ll be changing the way they tabulate points, going from a basic quantity method to a “quality” method. It’s a bit complicated and intricate (details here if you want to read) but basically it calculates only the rider’s top 6 results, and they have to be MER’s in order to be counted.

so the 2nd place we got at Henry’s very first event when just about everyone died would not have counted for points because it wasn’t an MER. I’m totally ok with that.
or the 6th we eked out at Chatt when pretty much the whole division ran into trouble – that wasn’t an MER either, so no points

I definitely like this method better, although I still think it doesn’t really dissuade the folks who want to show their horses’ legs off in order to get more points. They could still just go to tons of shows in a quest for getting the best “top 6 results” they possibly can. Then again, I think (hope?) those types of people are few and far between in this sport. It does, however, kind of even up the playing field a bit for the people who can’t afford to show as much, if their performances are good. If you only show a handful of times a year but hit it out of the park every time, you now actually stand a chance in the year end points against people who are showing every other weekend. This points method isn’t foolproof or perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement, IMO. It seems more fair all around.

It’s interesting to think about how this method might work in the h/j world though… would it? Theirs is far more complicated, given all the classes and the fact that they have no such thing as MER’s. And at the end of the day would it even really change anything with the true pointchasers? Meh… I’m not sold on that one.

I won’t even pretend to understand how the dressage world does its awards, I feel like they’ve got special prizes and awards for literally every scenario. Ride a one-eyed Bashkir Curly that never scores over 50%? There’s probably an award for that, and it likely includes a wine glass. (Joking, dressage people, don’t get mad at me. Ok I’m not really joking, y’all seriously love your awards. And wine.)

What do you think of the new changes? If you’re not an eventer, do you think something similar could apply to your discipline, and do you think it would be better or worse?

JompJomp Pony

I swear this kid spends most of his time thinking I’m a ridiculous human. Which is ironic because I spend a lot of my time thinking he’s a ridiculous horse. Honestly, we’re both right.

He looks a lot less feral with his mane and forelock brushed. (Please ignore his 9000 bite marks)

But anyway, on Saturday this big kid did a thing… his very first “formal” jumping session! He’s hopped over a couple logs before and I pointed him at a few jumps when we went on our last off property outing, but this was his first actual structured at-home jump school.

Last week I set up a very basic grid (a trot-in one stride) with just poles on the ground and trotted him through that a few times on one of his hack days. Since the SO was here this past Saturday and he actually wasn’t in a hurry for once, I asked him to be my groundperson so I could ride Presto through the grid and have SO build the elements for us as we went along. Kind of an essential step that is a real PITA to do while you’re alone and without a groundperson, unless you like getting on and off a billion times. I do not.

We trotted through it once just with poles, then built the second jump to a crossrail (which he just trotted over like he was bored), then progressed to both jumps being crossrails.

Then a crossrail to a little vertical.

Then the vertical became a wee oxer.

Then the oxer got a little bigger and wider.

If anything he was a little over eager most of the time, wanting to take a canter step over the trot pole coming in, which combined with his big gangly stride made the distance short. But for his first attempt at anything like this, I was super pleased with him. He was forward and straight and seemed to understand it right away, like it was easy for him and he enjoyed the game. Next time I’ll modify it a bit, giving him more trot poles coming in to see if we can’t take that little canter step out before the crossrail.

It was also SO’s first time ever setting jumps for me so he got to learn all this fun lingo like crossrail, vertical, ground line, trot pole, oxer, etc. Have to admit, he took to it pretty fast too. We’ve got two quick learners in the house. AND, he hated a couple sets of rickety standards and rusty jump cups so much that he was like “where can I buy you new ones, this is awful”. So ya know… I uh… did him a favor and sent him a link to some standards and cups. I’m a nice person like that.

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I definitely do need some more standards though, I don’t really have enough to make a full course with oxers, and I will certainly never refuse someone who wants to give them to me. I may have also sent him links to some flowerboxes and fillers too. Ya know, just in case he wants to be extra thorough.

I think we might have a jompjomp pony on our hands though, y’all!

Drunk Brontosaurus

Another week with 3 successful Presto rides! Considering I basically never leave the farm, fitting in 2 horses is still harder than it should be. It’s our absolute busiest time of year at work and I find myself drowning under meetings and emails and general extra volume. We’ve had a lot of rain in the forecast too, although pretty much none of it has come to fruition, even on the days with an 80% chance of rain. It all keeps barely missing us. Which is helpful for my productivity with the horses, but not so good for the grass (which is already nowhere near as plentiful as last year). It’s weird to be in January saying we need rain. I won’t complain about the lack of mud though.

Last week for Presto’s arena ride I decided it was time to play around with a baby dressage test. I’ve never tried to string elements together like you would in a test, and I’ve definitely never tried to do things at specific places in the ring. Mostly I’m just trying to get this drunk brontosaurus of a baby horse with all 4 legs traveling in mostly the same direction and in something resembling a rhythm. Still a work in progress, some days. I had taken a look through Intro B and C – the tests for the two HT divisions I’m considering entering him in at the March show. I figured we’d run through most of both of them but there were two things in particular I knew we’d need to work on – halting through the walk (it’s possible that the brakes might be installed a little tight on this horse, he’s real good at trot to halt), and just that one teeny 20m circle of canter. Legit never tried to canter this thing for just one 20m circle. It’s a big strung out baby horse, I wasn’t even sure if we could canter just one 20m circle.

I spent a few minutes warming up then starting diving right into it, mostly just actually stringing movements together with a solid plan of where they needed to happen. We played with a couple turns onto centerline (easier on this creature than Henry – how?), halts through the walk (lol), and trying to make actual 20m circles at specific places (how round does a circle really have to be?). Then I tried the canter circles, which was… as challenging as I thought it would be. The transitions aren’t that terrible but his canter is still a bit all over the place so it’s definitely more like a wiggly unbalanced 23 meter oval. Theoretically it’s sorta close though. Not as bad as it could have been?

We threw some free walk across the diagonal in there too, which is more like a cross of him being like “oh thank god, a break” and “WHAT IS THAT OVER THERE THO? CAN WE GO SEE?”. Lazy sightseeing, maybe? There is a lot of room for improvement all around. BUT, I think we can actually put a test together that at least stays within the confines of the arena and executes the movements we’re supposed to, so there’s that. We finished up with a few baby leg yields and then called it a day after a total of 19 minutes.

His official opinion is “dis dumb”. He’s not sure why we have to do this silly stuff when we could just go hack around the field instead. He’s kind of at a fun point though when things are very slowly starting to click into place, but he’s been looking extra growthy again so I don’t want to push too much. Managing those giraffe limbs can’t be easy when your body is doing… whatever his body is doing.

It’s really funny riding him and then riding Henry, especially back to back. I’m not sure I could have two more opposite horses if I tried. They feel absolutely nothing alike.

Trying to figure out how to open the farrier’s trailer #nothumbs

I did finally get a response from one of the local saddle fitters, and she does have a few monoflap jump saddles in her demo lineup that I could try. I didn’t ask what brands or models because at this point I’m willing to try just about anything. I think she sells Adam Ellis, Black Country, and Albion though. Still waiting to hear back about an appointment, but hopefully next week. That’s the only development on that front.

Presto did have another exciting day this weekend, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow!

Friday Fun Things

What a week, y’all. What. A. Week. There is a decidedly different feeling in the air though, and I’ve seen more positivity this week on social media than I’ve seen in literal years.

The inauguration was cool and all, but holy crap how mindblowing was Amanda Gorman? I’m sure everyone on earth has already seen the performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb”, but if not there’s video here and a transcript here. I had chills watching her, feeling like I was seeing history being made. What an incredible young woman. I am a bit of a poetry nerd (I have the last two lines of Invictus tattooed on my body, for god’s sake) and there’s been a bit of a void since my all-time favorite Maya Angelou passed away, but Ms. Gorman may have just stepped right in to fill it. I had to pre-order her debut book (direct from publisher here or Amazon here) and absolutely CANNOT WAIT to get it.

The other highlight was Garth Brooks, for sure. I have always been and will always be a Garth fan (quick – rank his top 3 songs! For me: The Red Strokes, Standing Outside the Fire, The River) but I did not know he was going to be there, nor would I have expected it in a thousand years, so it did my heart good to see him. Garth forever.

And then of course, the gift that has kept on giving after Inauguration Day: the Bernie memes. Omg the Bernie memes. They’re all over social media so I won’t post a ton, but I think this has to be my favorite non-horse one:

And my favorite horse one (courtesy of WTW):

Ok, anyway, enough of that stuff. Let’s pivot.

Speaking of WTW, since a lot of y’all are sort of invested in the babies after watching them grow up via the blog and social media, I’m excited to be able to say that Mari has found the perfect new home. She’s been sold to upper level eventer (and U25-er) Megan Sykes, who you can follow here. Megan was familiar with Mari already and liked her, and her team got together to purchase Mari for her as a surprise. The “unveiling” video was pretty cute.

Those two seem like a great match so I’m looking forward to watching what they can do together. And with that there are no more WTW sale horses left. Good thing we’ve got 7 foals coming?

Last but not least, pivoting off the baby event horse thing, the US Event Horse Futurity has officially starting posting the entries for the 2021 Futurity. They kicked it off with a familiar face

and will be posting horses every day until they’re all formally introduced. I think there are 18 or 20 this year so it should be a really good group. After they post everyone’s official intro photo they’ll get started posting the breeding vlogs for each horse in February. I already submitted mine so hopefully it’ll be one of the first posted again.

The Futurity does their own fan prizes throughout the year – for example the person with the most comments, or someone who shares the posts or likes a bunch of them, etc. They reward fan interaction, so please like and comment and share away. Aside from just the draw of winning stuff, any publicity you can help bring to the program is greatly appreciated. The two awesome ladies running the Futurity (who also have lots of other commitments) are working their butts off to help breeders, trainers, and US-bred horses, with no outside assistance or funding or PR from other organizations, so any kind of support really is greatly appreciated. The more we can spotlight our US-bred horses, the more it helps our breeders, which is a benefit to everyone here, not just the pros. And the more we spotlight our good US-based young horse trainers, the more we can help their businesses and get the horses in good hands right from the very start, which can benefit all of us in the long run too.

But Wait Theres More GIFs | Tenor

So with that in mind, I’m going to be offering my own little side prize as well. Each time there is a Presto post on the Futurity page, anyone who likes (or loves… I’m a big fan of those loves…) his post AND leaves a comment will get entered into a pot to win a “Presto’s favorites” prize package, to be given away at the culmination of the Futurity – basically a basket of items that Presto loves and fully endorses. If you SHARE a post, that will get you TWO additional entries for each one you share – just make sure the shared post is set to public on your privacy settings so that I can see you shared it. So that’s up to possible 3 entries for each Presto post. Only caveat to win is that you must be following the US Event Horse Futurity page. I also greatly encourage you to look at and like and comment on ALL the entrants pictures if you can, or if you feel so inclined. Your interactions with the page help bring it more attention and expand the audience, and that’s what we’re after. Plus, let’s give all the entrants some love – each and every one of these horses has been years of blood, sweat, and tears for someone, and they also represent someone’s big hopes and dreams. Sometimes just a simple handful of likes can make someone’s day, so please spread the love if and when you can.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Progress or Lack Thereof

Of all the stuff I’ve mentioned doing on here lately, I’m pretty sure the only thing I’ve actually accomplished is going in circles. Does that count as progress?

Corgi on a Merry Go Round - SeƱor GIF - Pronounced GIF or JIF?
corgi gif for extra credit

The first thing is the blog rebranding. Most names I ruled out immediately, and all the others I talked myself into and then subsequently out of. Maybe the problem is that I don’t love any of them. Maybe the problem is that if you let me overthink it too much, I won’t love any of them. I narrowed it down to Chance Events and BreederRiderEventer (or EventerRiderBreeder or RiderBreederEventer or… yeah that’s a rabbit hole I went down for a few days). But then I sat down and wrote out a list of questions for myself.

Does the title alone give the reader a good idea of what the blog might be about?

Chance Events – No / BreederRiderEventer – Yes

Is it generic enough to have longevity, without being too boring?

Chance Events – Yes / BreederRiderEventer – Yes

Is it applicable to ME/what I do?

Chance Events – Yes / BreederRiderEventer – Yes

Could there be any negative connotations?

Chance Events – Not really? / BreederRiderEventer – Maybe

Is the .com domain name available?

Chance Events – No / BreederRiderEventer – Yes

Are the social media handles available?

Chance Events – No / BreederRiderEventer – Yes

If you google it do you get a lot of random unrelated crap?

Chance Events – Yes / BreederRiderEventer – No

Based on those I ended up nixing Chance Events. It DOES sound like an event planner, and indeed there actually is an event planner in the UK and an event planning decor company in the US by that name. The social media handles are taken and lots of random stuff comes up when you google it.

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But it’s not like BreederRiderEventer (or EventerRiderBreeder or RiderBreederEventer?) is particularly flawless either. Based on the questions I asked myself I definitely like it more – no one else is using it, not much comes up when you google, it clearly defines what to expect before you even scroll down. I think my lone sticking point is the word “breeder” for fear that it would garner some unfavorable visits. That word means something else to muggles. Then again, I asked a breeder friend who has a blog with “BREEDER” and “BREEDING” all over it like 9 million times and she said that other than a stray random comment here and there, which she just deletes, she hasn’t had any issue. I already get those randos here anyway, so that wouldn’t be anything new.

I tried about 9000 combinations and ways to make Bloodlines & _________ work, but I never found anything I really liked. For now BRE (or ERB or RBE) is the front runner. Obviously I haven’t actually taken any steps toward making any of the rebranding work happen though, because I can’t even get past the damn name.

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I put that whole thing on the back burner, hoping that if I just let it simmer there for a little while I’ll come to a decision. We’ll see. Instead I’ve spent the last week throwing myself into the “Next Saddle for Presto” quest (Presto Questo? Help me it’s been a long week.).

I came out of the gate running and full of optimism. I emailed a few brand reps, a couple local fitters, and a few fitters from out of the area. While I waited for responses I started looking deeper into the monoflap jump saddles for the different brands they carried, making a list of ones I wanted to try, researching the different options, scouring the internet for them, and being an overall stalker. And then the days started to tick by, one after the next, and NOT A SINGLE PERSON RESPONDED TO ME.

Hello? - Album on Imgur

Until yesterday that is, when one of the brand reps responded with a simple “I don’t have any monoflap demos”. That was it. The entire message, beginning middle and end. No “lets see if we can find one for you to trial” or “here’s someone else you could contact”. Nope. Just an “I don’t have one”. Um, ok. Cool then. Uh… thanks… I guess. I’ll just, um, see myself out?

Yesterday afternoon a fitter from DFW responded and said she’d tentatively be down here in about a month and could put me on her list, although it might be a awhile before she firms up her plans. I said that was fine and asked her to go ahead and pencil me in, since I’m not exactly lining people up to assist me at this point.

I’ve gone so far as to friend request these people on FB since I’m not getting responses from their websites or business pages. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being really annoying.

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fun fact, Gerard Butler is my celebrity crush

I do have a few more people on my list to contact, the second tier choices, if I don’t hear back from the first ones. I suppose I’ll give it another week before I roll to plan B.

So, ya know… basically I’ve accomplished nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But, um, it’s not for lack of trying I guess?

Blog Hop: Clothes Horse

This one was really Stacie‘s idea so she gets the credit, but I’m always fascinated (and ok mildly obsessed) with horse wardrobes. Show me what you’ve got for your horses! Bonus points if you point out your favorites or why you like/dislike certain ones. Everybody’s always looking for feedback on horse clothes, right? Mostly I’m glad that in the past year or two I’ve given away almost 10 blankets/quarter sheets/coolers or otherwise this would be extra embarrassing. It’s also probably a good thing we live in a place with mild winters, because I can’t imagine what this list might look like if it actually got cold here. ANYWAY, here’s the boys’ collection:

Turnout Sheets

Presto’s Pony-O unicorn 0g sheet- Pony-O has the best patterns, I’m kind of obsessed. They fit Presto nicely too, and they’re holding up pretty well to his terrible abuse (he ripped the front velcro flap off the unicorn sheet but otherwise that’s all he’s done, which is pretty impressive considering how terrible he is).

Riding Warehouse waterproof rain sheets – I have two of these, identical color and size. They’re deep in the body which is nice for a rain sheet, I’ve been pleased with them so far especially considering how cheap they are, and there are nice details like the belly straps having elastic inserts. The navy is definitely more french blue though.

Hug Abrazo turnout sheet – I have two of these also, the one Henry wears and then a smaller 72 that was Presto’s when he was a yearling. I should probably give that one away. Sigh. Hugs are really the only blankets Henry can wear on a regular basis and not get rubs… I went through 7 different brands before I figured that out. They’re getting hard to find, which is a bummer. I’m not sure why more people don’t use these, they’re great, and def much easier than dealing with blanket rubs or bibs.

Another Hug – this was Henry’s original Hug before I bought him navy ones. These got passed down to Presto to wear last year, and he managed to tear the lining and two spots on the outside. Technically it’s still useable though so I keep it as a spare.

Turnout blankets (Texas heavy aka everyone else’s medium weight)

Pony-O – THE BEST BLANKET EVER MADE. For real though, this thing makes me smile every time I put it on. Look at it.

Hug Abrazo turnout blanket – The same as Henry’s turnout sheet but with fill.

Hug Abrazo turnout blanket – Henry’s old Hug, just like the sheet, which is now a spare.

Turnout accessories

All the neck covers. I love that every Pony-O rug comes with a matching neck cover (and I especially love how easy they are to take on and off, the Hug one is annoying in that regard).

Stable rugs

Horsegear Lodix – this is one of the new ones I just got, sort of a knock off of the Kentucky rugs but significantly cheaper.

Back on Track mesh sheet – Henry has definitely worn this a lot at winter shows.

Some rando Dover brand cotton sheet. I got this as a super lightweight option or something for traveling. I think Henry’s worn it once.

Coolers

Curvon custom cooler – I happened to find this on consignment for cheap in Henry’s colors and size, so I snatched it up. It’s a nice lightweight fabric, which makes it useful for our climate.

Saratoga awards cooler – this is the one Henry won at AEC’s, which he used to wear a lot but now Presto has been using it since it’s his color. I like the fabric on these a lot, it can do double duty as a dress sheet or a light cooler.

Horsegear Allure cooler – the other new acquisition, and the only fleece item in my arsenal. I’m still grumbly about fleece but this is a nice weight and really cute so it gets a pass.

Other miscellaneous clothing

Triple Crown custom scrim – I’m sad Triple Crown is no more, but I do love this scrim sheet. I got it a couple years ago on Black Friday for Presto and as of yet he’s never worn it, but SOON, dammit… SOON.

PS of Sweden quarter sheet – after all the drama of getting this thing from their clearance site it has yet to be a cold enough day to actually use it, but at least I’m prepared right?

Jammies super hero outfit – or hood, I guess, if you want to call it that. Only used to protect braids overnight at shows but it’s served us well. I like the Jammies brand with the zipper.

That’s it! Not too bad right? I’m kind of glad I don’t have a reason to need heavier blankets and coolers, I dunno where I’d store all these clothes.

Show me what your horses have and what you like!

Nooooo, Pivo!

Well, it finally happened. My Pivo finally glitched and ate my video footage. I always read about people having random issues here and there – it’s technology after all, and susceptible to app glitches – but I’ve never had an issue with mine before. I guess I was overdue. SUPER bummed though, because the footage it lost was probably the best flatwork I’ve ever gotten from Presto, as well as his first attempts at trotting through a little grid (with everything set down to just poles on the ground) and cantering some single poles.

He’s always so judgy

Luckily I didn’t lose totally everything. I had the first 10 minutes of warmup, after which I realized I’d forgotten to put my phone in airplane mode, so I went over to the Pivo and stopped the first video, closed everything, put my phone in airplane mode, and started a new video again. I didn’t want it to drop the video, which it can do if you get a phone call or tons of notifications while videoing, hence airplane mode. Trying to be careful ultimately bit me in the ass though, because when I went back over after we were done and hit stop, the whole app crashed and it didn’t save. Boo. Granted it’s the first real issue I’ve had since I got the thing last spring, so I guess I can’t complain too much. I’m mostly just sad that it lost the footage it did. Pivo, I thought we were friends.

Since I have no actual proof of anything besides warmup, you’ll just have to take my word for it that any of these things happened. Media fail.

Presto is at that really fun point where he feels more and more “broke” with every ride. Buttons are quickly getting installed, and brick by brick a real horse is starting to form. He’s still mega unfocused and goofy but he’s a quick learner and things are definitely getting easier as he gets stronger. It was the first time I’d ridden him in the jump field in a while, which can be kind of a challenging space for a baby since it’s 1) on a bit of a slope 2) got a lot of trees in it that require relatively exact steering lest you hit one. He’s moving off the leg pretty well now, and the straightness is much improved, so I no longer feel like I might end up decapitated if I ride him in there.

his legs still look ridiculously long

I set up what will eventually become his “learner” grid – a really simple trot in canter out one stride. I like starting them in a grid with placement poles to help them figure out their feet and straightness and get them making a good shape in the air without the rider having to interfere much. For now I left it at poles so he can trot through and work on being straight and rhythmical, but eventually I’ll start building it up to crossrail to vertical and then crossrail to oxer. We’ve also been cantering single poles, so he can start to sort out what to do with his feet from a variety of distances (he’s got the long one down pat but the legs tend to go every direction when we get to a short one – compressing the step is still hard).

he “helped” me set up the grid

I think I’ve decided that we’ll aim for March being his first actual horse trial. The local farm that has little schooling shows caters to the very low levels, starting from literally poles on the ground and going up through BN. I think he’d easily be able to do the Green as Grass division, which is like 2′ with really basic little XC and does Intro Test C. The dressage might be super drunk and the whole thing might be very distracted, but he could go do it easily and a really small show like that is the perfect first event to dip his toe into this eventing thing. It’s close, so he doesn’t have to spend half the day in the trailer or stay overnight somewhere, and if we have any problems they’re super friendly about giving you the time you need to work it out and end on a good note. So that’s officially penciled in on our calendar… we’ve got a month and a half to prepare.

He’s always SO THIRSTY THAT HE MIGHT DIE as soon as I get off, so he has to have a few chugs from his water bucket while I untack

Sometime in the next few weeks I want to take him back over there to school again so he can get in their dressage ring and practice going out on the XC course by himself with no buddy to hold his hand. That combined with his 2 second attention span will probably be the biggest challenge. The jumps themselves will be the easy part I think, its everything in between that I’ll have to manage.

In the meantime I have heard precisely zip zilch zero and nada from any of the brand reps or saddle fitters I’ve messaged and emailed in the past week. Literally crickets from all of them. Big. Heavy. Sigh. I want to give you money, people! Take my money!

I’ve Been Slacking

It occurred to me this weekend that I’ve not done very many product review posts on the blog in the past year. Mostly that’s because review posts take a little more effort and planning, and with everything else going on in my life/the world, things that take effort and planning for the blog have largely fallen by the wayside. This place has been my refuge away from that stuff, for the most part. But I’ve also added a lot of products that I know people wanted me to review, although damned if I can remember them all now.

I know there were bridles… Henry’s La Cense bridle and Presto’s Halter Ego bridles.

I think the only other tack I added was Presto’s Pro Choice girth and a few bits, unless I’m forgetting things. Oh, and Presto’s Super X Country neck strap. I think that’s it? My tack ho-ing has been at a minimum, I feel like (okay, barring Presto’s saddle which was a necessity and therefore doesn’t count towards tack ho status). Probably because there’s like no tack left in the world for me to get except every bridle ever made (come to me, my pretties).

There are also things like Presto’s Pony-O blankets, the Cambox V4, my Charles Owen MyPS helmet, my Levade tights, and my Mountain Horse Opus High Rider boots. There have probably been tons of things I’ve totally forgotten about by now. Maybe it would just be easier to do a couple “mini reviews” posts and cram a bunch of stuff together? Is there anything in particular you’d like to see included (either that I’ve mentioned or forgotten about)?

Henry’s plaited halter

I’ve gotten a few new things recently too, that I’m not ready to review but could do a “first impressions” type of thing on. My “Kentucky-style without the nauseating pricetag” fluffy cooler and stable rug arrived. Presto looks very Hugh Hefner-esque, they’re very loungewear chic.

the cooler
the stable rug

I’m starting to notice that I collect horse clothes like I collect bridles, but hey, at least the boys are prepared for any and every occasion right? Maybe we need a horse clothes post to cover their extensive wardrobes.

I also managed to win something in the Horse & Style Magazine Christmas giveaway. Well, I actually won TWO of their 12 days of Christmas giveaways, and when I alerted them to the fact that they had chosen me twice they told me I must be extra lucky and let me have both prizes, which was nice of them. The first was a Butet leather care package, which I was pretty excited about because I love leather care products (I currently have Belvoir, PSoS, and Higher Standards products in my tack cleaning drawer) and while it’s been a while since I used anything from Beval, I knew I liked their conditioner when I used it in the past. The full kit is $120 worth of product, so it certainly makes you feel fancy at least.

the kit
the girls after their spa day… maybe a saddle comparison post would be interesting? This was the first time I’d put them side by side and I thought it was interesting looking at the differences between them.

The other thing I won was a package of swag from WEC Ocala, but I haven’t heard anything about that yet so I’m not sure what it entails or if/when it’s coming.

I also might be overdue for some update posts on various items or projects. Like a “how’s that working out” type thing? Granted the only thing I can really think of that I’ve done recently is my spray painted glitter stirrups. There’s probably more that my brain just isn’t recalling. It was a long 2020.

Basically I’m asking what y’all want to see or what you’re curious about. I’ve completely lost track of what people have asked about or what I promised to circle back on, but I want to remedy that now.

I also feel like I’m ready to start jumping back into some more serious topics again, if there’s anything y’all think I should address about my own stuff or harder topics I’ve glossed over/opted out of as of late. I will fully admit that I’ve leaned more toward light and breezy than I typically would or probably ever have done before, and it’s time to get back to my nitty gritty roots. There’s far too much fluff happening around here these days.

So here’s your open call to drop me a comment or a DM on what you want to see, whether it’s as simple as a specific product review or a sticky/controversial subject that I’ve as yet avoided. Hit me!

Friday Randoms

I think I’m gonna keep trying to make Fridays a little more light-hearted for a while. I got used to Fridays being fun with the Foal Friday posts and now my brain just really doesn’t want to accept anything difficult or serious or particularly wordy. Plus, like, I watched waaaaaay to many hours of impeachment proceedings this week and I need something to balance all of that. How about a little bit of randomness?

Comments for the Summer | face shapes 101

First and foremost, my favorite article of the week, which ok is maybe a little heavy and serious, but I loved it anyway and everyone should read it.

What You Say About Your Horse Says More About You

One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing a rider say a horse is being a jerk or an asshole, especially when it’s because the rider thinks the horse did something to them maliciously. Granted I will be the first to admit that I do sometimes jokingly and affectionately say “butthole” or “idiot” (usually when the horses are playing with each other or Henry spooks at himself) but I definitely make an effort to keep words and labels like that out of serious moments. I know I’m not perfect though, and should be more mindful of it. Tik makes the point really eloquently and it’s a good “call to action” to hold ourselves more accountable for both our thoughts and our words, and hence our viewpoints and actions.

My runner-up article of the week is the one about Will Coleman winning a hunter derby at WEC, because it’s fun to see people cross disciplines like that and step outside their comfort zone. I love it!

I don’t know why I can’t stop watching this video of Mari prancing across the pasture and then putting herself into half pass but it has delighted me. I love seeing horses do things at liberty and of their own free will that we ask them to do under saddle. Plus I haven’t seen much footage of Mari in a while and she’s developing into a pretty girl. I think she gets a little bit forgotten sometimes because she was from the same WTW class as Manny, and he definitely stole the spotlight that year. She’s coming 3 now though and developing into a super nice girl (and she’s for sale!). To tie things up into a nice little bow here, she’s also by the same sire as the horse Will Coleman won his hunter derby on.

Last but not least, we need some comedic value these days, right? This came up in an Irish horse sales group that I’m in, and it might be my favorite post ever. The only thing better than a frustrated ranting horse seller is an Irish frustrated ranting horse seller. You have to read it in an Irish accent to get the full effect.

I DON’T NEED FRIENDS! I’VE COPED ALONE!

I’M NOT THE FOOKING SAMARITAN HELPLINE!

IF YA WANT THE FECKING HORSE RING THE GODDAM NUMBER!

It’s just so classically and endlessly quotable. Happy fooking Friday, lads!

Shapeshifter

The joys of baby horses, y’all… they grow so fast, seeming to change shape completely from one week to the next.

Which is why every couple weeks I throw Presto’s saddle up on him sans pads to monitor the fit. Especially now that he’s being ridden more. He’s added a lot of topline in the last few months (he still has a whole hell of a lot more to go) and he’s already starting to outgrow the Mark Todd that I got him in September. Granted, when I bought that I thought to myself “It’s great now, but I give it 6 months to a year…”. And yeah I think that was an accurate assessment. I give it a few more months before he outgrows it completely, and the last thing I want to do is ride a young horse in a saddle that doesn’t fit him. My crystal ball is betting that I’m looking for his next saddle by late spring.

The good news is, the Mark Todd is in BETTER shape now than it was when I bought it

He started out in that saddle with a half pad with shims under it, and within a couple months I had to take the shims out. Now he’s just in his sheepskin pad and things are already getting tight again, and he really hasn’t even begun to bulk up in his body yet.

What he really needs is a decent wool-flocked English made saddle that we can get adjusted every few months. Just the kind I hate. I didn’t really want to jump into something expensive for his very first saddle, knowing how much they change in the first year of work. That’s probably going to be the smartest thing to do for his next one though, no matter how much it makes me cringe.

Of course, I’m not going to drop custom saddle kind of $$ either. No thanks. Especially on a saddle I probably won’t love and will still inevitably be outgrown in a year or two. It’s gotta be within reason, budget wise, whether it’s new or used.

He works out

We have a couple of local saddle fitters here that carry a few different brands. None of which I love, but a few of which I’m willing to try. Granted, I’m only interested in monoflap jump saddles, and given that these fitters mostly do dressage horses, I’m already putting out a tall order by wanting to try only monoflap jump saddles. I’m picky, I know, and living in an area where we have so few reps and fitters makes it even more challenging.

I really wanted to try an Ikonic, which is wool flocked and has an adjustable gullet, but they only have 2 US dealers and the closest is in Ocala. I’ve asked about trialing a monoflap but let’s just say I’m not gonna hold my breath.

I want to try one, somebody find me one to try

Otherwise I’m also considering looking at fitters/reps/shops outside my area that have trial saddles they could send and do fittings via video chat and tracings. I know that’s a thing, especially now in the Rona times, I just have to figure out where to start. On one hand, I dread it and want to just pretend like it’s not happening and put it off til the last minute. On the other hand, I see the writing on the wall and know what’s coming, and I want to be ready with a game plan when the time comes.

Anyone used a remote fitter to try and buy a saddle? If so, drop me your recommendations. I’m already crying just thinking about this.