Hope

I’ve got to make this another short one today, the barn owners are leaving for FL this morning so I’m going to help them load/see them off, then the internet company is coming to set up the diminutive domicile with wifi, then I have to chores, then I have to squeeze 8 hours of work in. I’ll get y’all caught up on the house stuff and the horse stuff over the next few days.

Boy what a ride this last week has been though, huh? I try not to get political here often, but I’m not going to shy away from the subject when it’s on my mind, and it’s REALLY on my mind now. I think I’ve run through the entire gamut of emotions due to politics since last Tuesday.

I’m not crying you’re crying
#girlpower

It’s kind of weird because the deep sense of relief is also balanced with an understanding that we as a country are more divided than we’ve ever been, and there’s so much work to be done. I’m concerned about the damage that’s already been done, and what it could lead to further down the line. For now though, god it was nice to watch that speech on Saturday night and see a leader again. Dignity, respect, compassion, calls for unity, complete sentences… I’ve missed thee. It also majorly brought a tear to my eye to see so many videos of people around the world celebrating. People dancing in the streets in cities across the US, and in the UK, and church bells ringing across Europe. I’d forgotten what that feels like, seeing so much widespread joy. It lifted a little bit of the weight of 2020 off of my soul, even if only for a brief while.

Plus, like, the memes. Y’all know I love memes. We’ve even seen a resurgence of my favorite Obama/Biden memes. It’s giving me life right now.

The results of an election don’t solve all the country’s problems, not by a long shot. It’s a long, uphill slog, made even more complicated by the events of 2020. There is still a lot of work to do, maybe more now than ever. But I hope that this can be the beginning of a reboot. Seeing record numbers of voters felt amazing, especially groups who have historically not turned out to vote (and/or not been ABLE to, for myriad reasons that we as a country seriously have to address), and to have them be the ones who ultimately changed the outcome… I hope we’ve all learned from this. Seeing the true power of the people on display was amazing. And holy shit guys, we’ve FINALLY got a woman in the White House! Is there any greater sound than that of a glass ceiling being shattered?

I also hope that we – meaning all of us, no matter who you voted for – can start finding some middle ground. If we want it to work at all, we have to work together. Not just we the people but the politicians we elected and put in office as well. We as a country have to start listening to each other again, and respecting each other again. I hope we can. But what I do at least have now is hope.

And please for the love of god, stay off of Parler.

Foal Friday: The Magic Box

Yeah I know I know I know, we still need Glamour Shots sessions of Ollie and Ellie. No one has forgotten. It’s just that those require a lot more time + effort + people, which is hard to coordinate. They’ll happen at some point I promise. But we do still have a fun little photo session this week anyway! In preparation for their journey to Tennessee, the babies have been introduced to the trailer. Well, the trailer isn’t a totally new concept for some of them, like Ollie who had to go to the vet for his butt abscess. It’s always preferable to give them lots of time to check it out and get used to it first before they start the formal trailer-loading training or have to go for a ride anywhere, though, so the trailer was backed into their pasture, opened up, and left (with supervision of course) to let them check it out in their own time.

YEP dis is definitely a delivery for ME!

Ollie, being the most experienced of the babies when it comes to the trailer, took it upon himself to introduce it to all the other babies. First he summoned everyone….

Then he explained: DIS, my frenns, is a Magic Box. You gets in dis box, and it goes ZOOMZOOMZOOM and den when it stops you is in ANOTHER WORLD. Come see!

Oooooo…. aaaaahhhhhh….

Ollie: alright, there we go, all aboard! Let me just find the button to start this thing…

Both girls: He doesn’t really know how to work it does he?

Ollie: YES I DO! We just has to stand here and wait. Oakley: I think you’re full of… *poops*

Everyone: maybe dis Magic Box is broken.

Luckily Ollie is never one to be deterred for long.

Ollie: I didn’t wanna say dis before because I don’t wanna brag, but I’m also a mechanic! Let’s take a look under the hood here and see–

Ellie: WHAT IF WE JUST BITE IT?

Ollie: Um, yeah… totally! That’s what I was gonna say! Let’s bite it!

Ollie, whispering quietly to himself: please work Magic Box, I wuv you…

Alas, despite their best efforts, no amount of biting could make the Magic Box work. Luckily even a broken magical box, while incapable of transporting you to other worlds, is still a really fun thing to explore and hang out in. Well, for some anyway.

Ellie: everything the light touches is my kingdom!

Ollie: UM, who put dees windows SO HIGH? Dis a discrimination box!

Ellie: Oh hey, I found a hooman-in-da-box.

Ollie: Oh good! Excuse me hooman, I need to speak to a manager. Dis Magic Box is BROKEN and also it keeps telling me I’m SHORT. You call dis a chest bar? Dis a THROAT BAR! I’m NOT short, I’M FUN SIZE!!! Dis is a VERY MEAN BOX!!! One star Yelp review!

And where was Remi during all this, you may ask? Hanging out with his emotional support animal, Sadie, of course. He’s no fool.

Remi: haha, suckers! Have fun with your dumb broken box!

Maybe next time the box will be a little more magical. Happy Friday everyone!

Distraction via ponies

I’m gonna just… read the room here this morning and guess that none of us are really up for anything mentally taxing or stressful, right?

do I have any fingernails left? no.

At least, I know I can’t. My brain needs to be distracted by happier, prettier, preferably 4-legged things. And it just so happens that it’s Irish auction season again, and this year they’ve moved to offer online bidding, and thus greatly improved their online catalogues. Not that I could afford to import anything, but ya know. It’s fun to LOOK. Although definitely insert my usual diatribe about please buy American-bred horses whenever possible, because y’all know how I feel about that. But it just so happens that I need a distraction BAD, and there are Irish auctions online with lots of pretty pictures and videos and horses GALORE, and I will window shop my worries away because I’ve been raised in a materialistic society and that’s how we cope with our feelings OKAY?

So here ya go:

Goresbridge

Monart

I’ve made it through all the Goresbridge horses but granted only about 1/3 of Monart. I fell in love before I even made it out of the first row at Goresbridge and nothing else has yet to compare. Anyone who reads this blog and knows of my admitted Tullabeg Fusion stalking obsession will be quick to spot the one I fell for.

TULLABEG APOLLO
Lot 4, please and thank you

She’s definitely not the fanciest horse in the sale, but true to Tullabeg Fusion’s typical style she looks genuine, forward-thinking, and uncomplicated. And she’s a mare. And she’s golden. Check, check, and check. What organs do I not really need and how much are they worth on the black market? Just curious.

Someday I’ll get my golden Tullabeg Fusion filly. Someday.

I’m also drawn to all the Ramiro B’s pretty much without fail, which also isn’t a surprise. My second favorite pick though is one for Michelle, a pretty 3yo filly that could do double duty as a sporthorse and broodmare. Because I’m SUCH A GOOD FRIEND. Granted, she just bought a filly in Germany so this one is definitely not happening, but now we’re both drooling over horses we can’t have. That’s what friends are for.

Ironically her sire Dignified stands at the same farm as Tullabeg Fusion, so I’ve seen a lot of his offspring too on their social media and almost always love them. Not necessarily for me to own and ride, but in general. Clearly if/when we finally make it to Ireland no one should let us within 100 miles of Tullabeg Stud or we might black out and buy a bunch of things we can’t afford. They’d all be pretty though.

What say ye, fellow window shoppers? Which ones would you want to take home? Let’s look at ponies for a while instead of the news.

THT: So Close

Well guys, the compact castle is officially livable! We tied up all the remaining essential to-do’s this past weekend, getting the water hooked up, the gray tank installed, the pump tested, and the Incinolet put in. SO and I also completed our walk-through list of final items for the builder to come address (like the crooked kitchen drawer and the non-working porch fan), checked out all the new appliances, and figured out how the mini-split heat/ac units work. We definitely have fancier technology in the new house, we are officially living in 2020. Turning on the ac/heat and changing the temp with a remote is pretty fun, and there’s a dehumidifier option too. Ok, maybe it doesn’t take much to impress me.

This is by far the fanciest fridge I’ve ever had. First item in it? Carrots for the ponies.

As with all projects, a couple things weren’t quite as straightforward as hoped. There was some particularly annoying PVC that would only allow itself to be cut very slowly by hand, and drilling the hole through the side of the house for the Incinolet was a fun one. It’s a pretty big hole. Getting things to line up perfectly is annoying. But after a few slight changes of plan/approach and a little more time than estimated, it all came together fine. And while the guys were in there working on the toilet (I can say unequivocally that three people DO NOT fit in our bathroom) I put together my fanceh new porch-sittin’ chair.

just add self and book

And of course, while I was putting the chair together I had to stop to take a picture of what was going on directly off the side of my porch.

hello neighbor

So at this point we’ve got:

power – check

water – check

toilet – check

tank – check

functional appliances – check

a/c and heat – check

Finally it’s 100% live-in-able!

I haven’t quite moved in yet though, because on Thursday a house-cleaning service is coming to do a post-construction clean (somehow on Thursday I managed to schedule the farrier, the chiro/acupuncture vet, and the house cleaners, luckily all about 2 hours apart). As you can probably imagine, in the process of towing the house 4 hours across Texas, a lot of construction dust shook loose, plus we’ve now been tracking in and out a lot as we’ve gotten everything hooked up. The cleaners will come and scrub the floors, baseboards, windows, sinks, shower, counter tops, and cabinets, and in an hour they’ll finish a job that would probably take me most of a day. Money well spent. After they’re done I’ll start moving my stuff in, with the bulk of it (and myself) coming on Saturday. Luckily there isn’t really that much to move so I don’t think it’ll be too bad. The bed is the biggest thing by far.

Did already put this particular item of decor over the Turdburner.

For now I still have plenty to do. I’ve been selling furniture on Marketplace like it’s my damn job (and indeed, yesterday I made more selling my old rando furniture than at my actual job) and it’s pretty much all gone now. Except for the stuff that SO needs in order to keep living there as he does the minor renovations/repairs to get the big house ready to rent, anyway. A sofa, tv stand, end table, and coffee table. Oh, and he’ll be taking over the bed in the guest bedroom. Otherwise all the other furniture is gone, two whole rooms entirely cleaned out and partials of two more. The rest will be sold when he’s finished there and ready to move into the compact castle, since the only piece of furniture that’s actually coming with us at all is our bed, which I’m bringing with me this weekend. Everything else… gone. It’s like a massive cleansing. Feels nice.

Aside from selling anything that’s not nailed down, I’ve been starting the next stage of things for the new house too. Like the skirting and back stairs, which I accepted a quote for and am now just waiting for scheduling. I definitely want to get that all sealed up sooner rather than later. And getting the WiFi people out to set us up. And registering all the appliance warranties. And getting insurance finalized. Super fun things like that.

More fun: fire in the hole

I haven’t really started buying much stuff for the new place yet, admittedly. Everything else has taken priority (and all my money) at this point. The sofa will probably be the next thing, followed by a coffee table, so that I have somewhere to sit that isn’t the bed or the egg chair. Minor detail. The few things that I have ordered are probably not that interesting… new towels, bathmats, a couple door mats, a toilet paper holder, hand towel ring, trash can… the boring essentials that I will need in order to fully function in the space. I figured we’d start with that and then try to wrap our heads around everything else once I’m actually there. For now I’ll just be taking over some dishes/silverware/kitchen items from our current collection (which SO likes and I do not, so we’ll see who wins that one in the end) so that I have what I need to start with in the kitchen. Hopefully SO will be done with the big house stuff within a few months and then we’ll both be moved in to the little house (along with all our stuff). There’s a lot to do at the big house though, and he’s gotta do it all in his spare time, so… we’ll see how long that really takes.

By this time next week I’ll be settled in and hopefully able to do another little mini-tour with some actual STUFF in there rather than just empty! We’re so close now…

Juggling

As you may have noticed, things have been a little hectic around here as of late. The barn owners leave for Florida this weekend, so it’s officially crunch time for house stuff, and while the petite palace is officially livable now (we’ll talk more about that tomorrow) there’s still plenty to be done. Including, like… packing and moving. But anyway, all of this is just to say that my blog and social media have obviously been the first things to fall by the wayside as I juggle all of this, but it’s eaten into the horses’ schedules as well.

For Presto it’s really no big deal. I was planning on giving him a month off anyway, and while granted I was thinking more like December or January, now works out fine too. He’s had three weeks off already so I figured we might as well extend it and make it an even four. He’s continued to put on obvious condition with the addition of the Platinum to his diet, and him having some time to himself to fill out and take a break certainly isn’t the worst thing as his body is changing. He’s really looking good right now, that topline is filling in and he’s so shiny (even dirty and with his scruffy winter coat), he looks more and more like a real horse every day.

Granted, while a little vacation is probably the best thing for him right now, he doesn’t seem to really be enjoying it as much as I’d hoped. I bring him into the barn once a week to groom him and pick his feet, and while he’s always very eager to come in, I literally have to DRAG HIM back to his pasture.

No I don’t wanna

Honestly I think he’s mentally ready to start doing a bit more and having a more steady job. The once a week rides and now this time off just don’t seem to be enough to keep his brain happy anymore. He craves stimulation, he always has, and as he gets older he seems to want more and more. And if you don’t provide it he will make it himself, which generally leads to something being broken. Like… his brand new unicorn blanket.

I don’t even think that thing made it 24 hours before he ripped the front velcro panel off. Luckily that panel isn’t necessary for the blanket to function, but still. If he could NOT destroy his cute expensive clothes IMMEDIATELY, that would be great. At least give it a month or something. Humor me, kid.

that one time it was totally intact and clean

He’s about to get his wish though, because once the other horses leave for Florida it’ll just be him, Henry, and Quinnie (the bossmare) left, and they’ll all 3 be in the barn at night and turned out during the day together. It will be interesting to see what Presto does without his fellow baby friend JB to be silly with him (although I have to be honest, I think poor JB might actually enjoy his respite from Presto). Henry will play and be goofy a little bit, but he definitely has his limits. Either Presto will have to grow up some or he’ll spend the winter really really missing JB. Maybe both. He seems to enjoy being a barn horse though. He might enjoy it less when he learns it comes with a bath and a bodyclip, but no one tell him.

Henry hasn’t been totally off work, but he’s definitely missed some rides here and there. That’s also coincided with some cooler weather, which has made for a pretty fresh and sassy Henry. This is what he looked like on Thursday AFTER his canter sets.

let’s do it again!

It was meant to be slow canter sets but mostly it was a lot of crowhopping punctuated with bursts of racehorse speed as he spooked at a bush, bird, leaf, grass, my jacket, and whatever other things he made up as valid reasons. After a long hot summer it’s finally HENNY season again and he’s delighted. I’m always happy to see him feeling good, so no complaints from me. He’s, uh… still kinda chubby though.

Where his blanket straps were last year compared to where his blanket straps are this year…

I think (hope? knock on wood…) by this time next week things will have settled down some and we’ll be finding our new normal. At least I’ll be moved on site at the barn and won’t have a big commute to deal with, which should make it easier. The only real perk of the 2020 dumpster fire is the work from home part. Sign me up for that permanently please. The boys also have a farrier appointment this week and a chiro/acupuncture appointment this week (Presto’s first time for bodywork) and I signed Henry up for a couple jumper classes at a charity show in 2 weeks. I’m going to try to get Presto legged back up in time to film an entry for an online horsemanship class, but that might be too ambitious. We’ll see. More exciting things are coming, I promise!

Foal Friday: Hoarding Weaners

Taking a quick pause on the Glamour Shots posts (I know, I know, I still owe you Ollie’s and Ellie’s) because there’s been quite a newsworthy and entertaining development in Babyland this week. We officially have 3 weanlings! Since Ellie was born latest she’s getting a little more time with her dam, and to help ease the other babies into weaning, Michelle decided to try putting the remaining babies out with Sadie and Ellie. They’re all used to each other of course, all the mares and foals have been turned out together all along, the only difference is that the older 3 foals are now without their dams.

Since the foals for the most part have been pretty independent of their mothers for a while now, not much really changed. It was a largely peaceful transition, perhaps more akin to going off with your friends and having their mom be in charge. Ollie, as is typical, didn’t really care much. He’s lived a YOLO type of life up to now anyway, so nothing has changed much as far as he’s concerned.

I DO WHAT I WANT

Oakley had some brief periods of wondering why her mother abandoned her, but generally only when she wants a snack.

WHERE IS MY MILK WAGON
I’M GONNA STARVE TO DEATH

Remi has struggled with it the most (I mean, he DID have a helicopter mom so that shouldn’t be such a shock) and has been clinging closer to Sadie, but he hasn’t been too terribly upset.

And how does Sadie feel about all this? Absolutely freakin’ delighted. When they were all turned out together, mares and foals, she seemed pretty indifferent about the other babies. She wasn’t mean or aggressive, but she also wasn’t afraid to put one in it’s place or send it back to it’s mother if it crossed the line (“the line” usually being that they were trying to eat her hay). Now, however, with all the babies entrusted into her care… it’s like her wildest dream has come true. Finally, all the babies are HERS!

DEES ALL FOR ME
feeling quite pleased with herself as she supervises her brood

Ellie isn’t quite sure what happened. Her friends all the sudden think her mom is REALLY COOL, and she can’t decide how she feels about her mom being so nice to her friends either. She’s far too polite to get upset about it, though. For the most part she seems pretty content to chill with her friends, and has found herself to be much more popular with the other foals than she used to be. True to form, all the other foals think Sadie is much cooler than Ellie does.

Ollie: your mom is SO awesome Ellie: I mean, yeah she’s cool sometimes I guess…

She does think that perhaps Remi is a little too clingy with her mother though.

um, bro, that’s MY mom
no sorry, this is my new emotional support animal and she’s mine now

Don’t worry, Ellie and Sadie still get some private time together too, which seems to be enough to keep Ellie happy.

Although Sadie is weirdly delighted to have been given 3 more babies, she won’t get to keep them for long. This was just an intermediary step to start the weaning process, and soon the four babies will be off on their own (or maybe with schoolmarm Hanna, who rules with an iron hoof) before they head east to their new owners. No one tell Sadie though, she’s hoarding weanlings like her wildest dreams have finally come true.


One more thing today! A reader contacted me about a fundraiser they’ve got going, trying to raise money to start up an equine-assisted therapy program. Please check it out and consider donating if you’re able!

It’s in the Blood: Pau 2020

Being the only 5* of 2020, Pau was particularly good this year. The field was absolutely stacked with quality (as evidenced by the fact that the top 21 horses after dressage all had scores under 30), there were some question marks about how the event was going to go down, given how unconventional the year has been. Lots of tried and true 5* veterans were in attendance, and right alongside them was a healthy helping of 5* first timers. Add in a sprinkle of course designer Pierre Michelet – known as Michelet the Menace – and it had a real anything can happen vibe.

Anyone familiar with Laura Collett‘s story, or at least has seen some of the roller coaster moments of her past few years or her relationship with long-time mount Mr Bass, had to have been pleased with her win. Laura and her young gun, London 52, were the buzz of the pre-Pau discussion, mostly with the “can he or can’t he?” question lingering in the air. London has had some up and down moments as he’s gone up the levels, and while he has all the talent in the world, the real question was whether or not he had enough heart for 5*. He answered that question unequivocally on Saturday, and it was really fun to watch. This quote from Laura in Eventing Nation‘s post-Pau recap admittedly had me a little choked up.

there’s a big of a Henry/Presto parallel here

Anyway, moving on to pedigrees!

We’ve done these breakdowns enough by now to where some things aren’t much of a surprise anymore. Would it even be an eventing competition if we didn’t have multiple horses with Contender in their pedigrees? Of course not, and this field is no exception with Contender showing up within the first 3 generations of 4 different horses (3 times on the sire’s side, once on the dam’s side). We also see other familiar names with multiple representations, such as Cavalier Royale (4 representations, all on the dam’s side), What do Contender and Cavalier Royale have in common? The legendary Cor de la Bryere – Cavalier Royale’s sire and Contender’s grandsire. Again this isn’t news, we see A TON of Corde in upper level event horses, and indeed if you go further back in the pedigree he is represented in many more horses throughout the field (20 to be exact) via various sons and daughters.

Two thoroughbred stallions have multiple representations within the first few generations – Laudanum xx is the sire’s sire of two horses and Ben Faerie xx is the dam’s damsire of two (half siblings!). We also see some other familiar thoroughbred stallion names throughout the field, such as Mytens xx, Shaab xx, Ghareeb xx, Exorbitant xx, I’m a Star xx, and Sky Boy xx. There are no full TB’s in the field but 8 horses have a full TB parent (7 as the sire, 1 as the dam) and an additional 8 horses have a full TB within the first two generations. There are also two horses with a full French Anglo Arab parent (both as the dam).

Laudanum | The Horse Magazine
Laudanum xx

The average blood percentage of this field is slightly higher than we’re used to seeing for a European 5* (likely because of the high number of British and French entries, which tend to have more blood) at 59%. If you average the blood percentage of the horses that managed double clear XC rounds, the average drops slightly to 55%, partly due to 5* first timer Charly van ter Heiden, who managed a phenomenal XC performance despite a blood percentage of only 24%. When you average the blood percentage of horses who managed to showjump clear on the final day, the percentage goes back up again a bit, to 57%. The average blood percentage of the top 10 finishers is 54%.

One entrant, the aforementioned Mr Bass, is sired by a stallion who now stands in the US after a successful carreer in Europe – Carrico. Carrico has enjoyed success in the jumper ring, the hunter ring, and also as a sire across several disciplines. While Mr Bass (out of a mare by Exorbitant xx – definitely eventing blood) is his most successful eventer offspring so far, he’s not the only one, with several others creeping up the FEI levels behind him.

Carrico - Redfield Farm
US-based stallion Carrico, the sire of Mr Bass

Not for the first time, we’ve got the half-sibling duo of Xavier Faer and Faerie Dianimo in the same field (we talked about those two and their incredible dam in last year’s Burghley coverage, another time where they competed at a 5* together). In this field we also saw one of the half-siblings we mentioned a couple weeks ago in the Mondial du Lion coverage – Colorado Blue (by Jaguar Mail) is out of the same dam as Hush a Bye Baby. This was Colorado Blue’s first 5* attempt, and while he impressed with a courageous double clear XC, he sadly was one of 7 horses who didn’t make it past the second horse inspection. (I know I should try not to be biased but I am a fan and will be keeping an eye on this one for the future!)

If we examine the dams of the horse’s in this Pau field, only a few of them had sport careers themselves. Two of the French entrants as well as GB entrant Zenshera had dams that competed through 1.30m showjumping and 1.35m showjumping, and of course we know about Faerie Dazzler. Otherwise, we see a lot of career broodmares amongst the dams of these entrants. We talked about Colorado Blue’s dam and MHS King Joules’ dam in the Mondial du Lion post, but there are even more who have produced a string of good foals, which means a lot of half-siblings that have been successful in sport, mostly in the jumper ring. Just to name a few of the more notable ones – Scuderia 1918 A Best Friend has a half sibling showjumping at 1.50m level, Zenshera has a half sibling showjumping at 1.60m level, Carneyhaugh Rua has a half sibling currently competing at 3* eventing, and Trompe L’oeil D’emery has 4 half siblings showjumping, one through 1.60m level.

Paulina Koza & Banjo Boy fot. Oliwia Chmielewska
Zenshera’s talented half-brother, Banjo Boy

As you can see, jumper breeding with a heavy dose of blood once again dominated another 5* field, with a couple entrants having some dressage breeding (Dimaggio and Flemmingh being the closest in the pedigree) but none being completely dressage bred.

My last In The Blood post for 2020 will be in a couple weeks, with the 4*L field for Tryon! I don’t have the time required to dig into this year’s FEH/YEH field (which always takes FOREVER to find and build the pedigrees of those young horses because without fail they’re either not entered anywhere or only partially entered) but USEA has done a pretty good job of covering it, so check out their coverage if you want to see more info on the babies!

Safety vs Tradition

Can y’all believe we’re still debating helmet usage in 2020? I thought we’d moved past the aversion to helmets thing in the past decade or so, but then I saw the article on Dressage News about all the top level dressage riders who had signed a petition in response to FEI’s upcoming 2021 rule requiring helmets for all disciplines. The petition was these riders’ attempt to get the FEI to continue allowing them to wear top hats in competition if they so choose.

My first response was an eyeroll. The h/j world went through something similar almost 20 years ago when they started requiring helmets instead of hunt caps. Things were a lot different then in regards to helmets and how widely-used they were. Back in those days a lot of us wore those hunt caps with the snap-on harnesses, and as a junior it was kind of a right of passage to finally be able to unsnap that harness and show without it (juniors had to have a harness on their ridiculous hat). The approved helmet rule went into effect the year I moved into Adults, and I definitely remember how salty everyone was about it at first, myself included, even though I can look back now and say that it was 110% the right thing to do and I’m glad they did it. Within a couple years pretty much everyone had quit their bitching and look at how far that world (and eventing) has come in regards to their views on rider safety. Honestly I don’t think it would have evolved on it’s own nearly as much if people had the option. Plenty of folks would STILL be out there wearing those silly hunt caps. How many people have been saved from injury by now because of that rule?

That hunt cap with a clear plastic harness. I thought I was so cool. I was not. I looked stupid.

Still though, I didn’t get much past my initial eyeroll until I clicked into the article and read the actual petition.

“There has never been a serious accident at an international dressage competition, and the riders believe there is no reason to change that for senior competitors at CDI4*/5*, Games and championships on Grand Prix level.”

Huh. This is an interesting argument. We know of several big time dressage folks that have been seriously injured at home in very silly accidents, but I guess since it hasn’t happened YET on the world stage with everyone watching and bearing witness, it’s fine. I have not yet been in a car accident serious enough to deploy my airbags, thus there’s no real need to put them in the car. Sorry but “not yet” is a ridiculous argument.

“The top hat is an essential part of the identity of dressage.”

I feel like Charlotte Dujardin managed to nail down the “identity of dressage” just fine without it? If an essential part of your identity as a sport is based on a hat that makes you look like a butler from the 1800’s, it miiiight be time to re-assess priorities.

“It should be noted that there are other disciplines that are not required to wear helmets, and we feel that this inequality is not warranted”

Ah yes, the classic “but THEY don’t have to, it’s not FAIR!” argument. Good one. Although the only sport that will be exempt from the new helmet rule is vaulting, so…

We believe it is the right of each individual rider to choose between the use of a top hat or protective headgear. This right cannot be revoked.

Honestly this one kind of just made me crack up when you think of it in regards to rules. They tell you what color boots you can wear, what kind of coat, which tack, what bits, how long your whip can be, how big a logo on your saddle pad can be… but a top hat is THE “right” that cannot be revoked? Of all the absolutely ridiculous and asinine rules that DO exist already, the FEI finally passes one that attempts to increase safety and that’s the one people are petitioning about? The butler hat is really the hill they want to die on (no pun intended)? I also have a problem with the whole “personal choice” argument when the person wearing said top hat isn’t actually the only person that could be affected by their choice. What about all the people close to you, your friends and family, that now have to take care of you and everything else in your life after an accident because you just had to wear a top hat? What good does it do for the sport if you fall off and crack your skull open in the middle of a big event packed with spectators, televised or on a live stream? How does that story circulating in the media help anyone at all?

By the time I made it to the bottom of the petition I was embarrassed for the people that wrote it. It’s bad. It’s cringey. I thought “omg who in their right mind would sign this?”. Turns out, A LOT OF PEOPLE. OMG SO MANY PEOPLE. People I had a lot of respect for. Carl Hester? Kasey Perry-Glass (this one was extra confusing to me, because she’s been pretty pro-helmet)? Many of the 150 people on the list are sponsored by helmet companies, even. Not a good look, y’all. These are the people that our young riders look up to, the people who set an example for others. What kind of message do you want to be putting out into the world at the moment when all eyes are upon you?

I think it’s odd how equestrians are always so desperate to be taken seriously as a sport, especially on the world stage such as the Olympics, but attempts to modernize us a bit or even just make us look more like serious athletes is met with such resistance. I have a hard time imagining other sports being so anti-safety equipment. The football player saying “No, please don’t give me this fancy new helmet with the latest safety technology, I want to wear that weird leather cap thing because tradition!” would never happen. Can you imagine a NASCAR driver writing a letter with “my daddy didn’t run moonshine in a car with a HANS device, I ain’t gonna use one neither!”? In the cycling world (which I have had one foot in for a while) they’re crawling over top of each other to acquire and wear the latest safety technology – MIPS is old news to them, they’ve been utilizing that technology for over a decade. It’s a source of pride any time there’s something new and better, and something the media loves to talk about any time these sports are in the spotlight.

Have we not learned a lot by now? Have we not progressed in our view of the sport as an actual SPORT, one that requires safety measures? Have we really not figured out the importance of helmets by now? There’s a point at which clinging to tradition is detrimental – not just for the safety of the participants but also for the forward progression of the sport itself. I think we’re at that point. Put down the top hat, put it in your display case or something as a memory of a bygone era, and let’s move forward to better things. The loss of one antiquated item of apparel seems a small price to pay for all there is to gain.

(Also, your butler hat looks ridiculous in the modern era. Especially you male eventers with the really really tall ones that make it look like you’re compensating for something. There, I said it.)

THT: Let there be light

As I mentioned last week, we’ll no longer be using the words “t!ny” and “h0use” together in these posts, since it attracts waaaaay too many random hits, comments, and emails. I can’t deal with it. The past week has already been enough to where I’m having dreams about glow in the dark worms crawling into my pores or being chased by Trump around a Sam’s Club with some kind of chemical weapon in a spray paint can and only Chris Christie and the Scooby Doo gang for protection. Clearly I’m stretched to my mental capacity.

But anyway, the house is aaaaalmost ready to be lived in. It got leveled and set and anchored last week (which mostly just made me realize that nothing ever looks level to my eye, even when it absolutely is) and they installed the back porch fan, back screen door, all the other drawers, etc. The next thing to tackle was the electric, which is a very long story that I’m still far too traumatized to re-tell. Short version: it took two days, a lot of bruises, more expletives than even I knew I possessed, a tractor, an electrician (who is himself most of the story), and I learned waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more about electricity than I ever thought I would possibly need or care to know. When those lights finally came on at 11pm on Friday night, I could not possibly have been more relieved (yet also totally dead inside by that point).

and it’s BRIGHT AF in there

On Saturday the SO came out to see it for the first time, and we finished unwrapping the appliances and looking at all the measurements for furniture options. We wanted a sofa with a chaise, but we also want a lift-top coffee table that can do double duty as an eating spot, and the reality is that we just can’t fit both without entirely filling up the room with furniture. So I think we’ll have to forego the chaise. We don’t have one on either of our couches now, so it’s not a huge loss. We also went up to Lowe’s and got a few big stepping-stone pavers to put in front of the stairs so that I stop tracking so much dirt in there on my quick trips in and out. Eventually we’ll put a little pea gravel walkway down, but the pavers were a quick and cheap temporary solution.

Presto is always keeping an eye on what’s happening in there
and ever so helpful when it comes to getting measurements (and look, the last time you saw his smile it was super snaggle-toothed from all his shed caps. Looks like a normal mouth now!)

On Sunday we finally did a “giveaway day”. By this point I’ve donated 14 big black lawn bags of clothes/shoes/bags/small items over the last few weeks, but there was still a lot of random decor, books, small appliances, christmas stuff, rugs, a couple old rickity rocking chairs, bigger household items (like a couple hampers, an old vacuum, etc), and that kind of stuff left over that I didn’t really want to have to haul away to donate because it would have been several loads in the truck. So instead we put all that stuff in boxes, put up a FREE STUFF ad on Marketplace and Next Door, and let people just have at it. There were some good little gems in there, but nothing was really worth enough on it’s own to bother selling, and it definitely wasn’t worth enough collectively to justify having a garage sale during covid. All the stuff left in the house that IS worth selling (which isn’t much, mostly furniture) can go on Marketplace individually. But anyway, we put everything out with a sign and just left it there, and within 45mins everything was gone. Massively easy, and hopefully people got some stuff that made their day. It definitely made me feel a lot better to just have it all out of the house and off my list of problems.

This wasn’t even all of it

Yesterday I made the 5-hour round trip drive up north to pick up our gray tank (and rolled over 150k miles in my truck in the process). I had to wait an hour at the place for someone to be available to load it, because they were busy loading HUGE tanks onto big trailers. It was a little frustrating because I could literally see my little tank sitting there just on the other side of the fence. But it was fine, once they got to me it took all of one minute to plop it in the back of my truck, I secured it with ratchet straps, and off we went back to the farm to drop it off.

I had measured and re-measured 4 times before ordering to be sure I got something that fit nicely under the back of the house, and it slid right in there like it was made for the space. Thank the lord. Later this week we’ll get everything hooked up to it. The water is hooked up at the house now too, so… I think we’re reeeaaally close to having a livable space. Hook up the tank, install the turdburner toilet…. then I think we’re there. After that stuff is done I’ll need to figure out getting WiFi service and skirting/back stairs, but those things aren’t quite as urgent as everything else, obviously.

The ONLY acceptable decoration to go on the little shelf above the turdburner toilet, and the only decor item I’ve bought yet.

Once the major stuff is settled and done, we’ll move on to acquiring the furniture and decorating. My brain just can’t quite handle that yet. All I really need in order to live there is a bed, which we’re moving from our house, and a few kitchen items, which will probably also move from our house, and towels, which I need to buy. The rest of the stuff can slowly be added as we go. I have some ideas, and a lot of stuff saved in Favorites. There’s not really much to acquire besides the sofa, coffee table, rugs, new bathroom towels, a couple items for the kitchen, and then whatever we decide to put in the reading nook and on the back porch. Ok, confession, I did already buy one of those hanging egg chairs for myself. It was on sale.

I can’t help it, I love the porch so much and I can’t wait to sit in that thing with a book and look out at the ponies. The porch is for sure the best spot to be.

Today I’m taking a quick pause from all things house because I’ve GOT to catch up on all the work I’ve missed over the past several days. I’ve been logging in early and late to get the bare necessities done, but everything else is piling up fast.

Hopefully next week everything will be done and ready to go and we can proceed to talking about move-in and furniture/decor, which I’m sure will probably be more interesting than all of this not-very-fun stuff. And hopefully I stop having insane, anxiety-filled, trippy AF dreams. That would be cool too.

Barn Boot Recs

First off – I know, I know, I missed Foal Friday last week. Many apologies, and no I’m not dead, but truth be told I’m insanely busy right now and sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Unfortunately when that happens the blog is the first thing to go by the wayside. I have some posts half-done, including foal stuff and Pau analysis, but I’ve had zero time to sit down and finish. It’s coming, I promise.

Until then, I have a practical, more pressing issue.

My beloved barn boots have been on their way out for a few months now but the insanity of the past week has been their real coup de grace. They’re falling apart more and more by the hour at this point, and I need new boots like yesterday. I’m not 100% convinced I want to go with Blundstones again though, I feel like these didn’t last me as long as my previous pair. I don’t pay much attention to the paddock boot market so I’m not sure if there’s anything similar out there that I should try this time instead.

Here’s what I want:

  • ankle height
  • pull on with elastic sides
  • brown
  • good tread
  • can take a beating – I muck stalls and dredge through mud in these things
  • not stupidly expensive
  • comfy for all day wear
  • not narrow in the footbed or toe

Give me your recommendations please!

I’m off for another full day, hopefully things will be more normal around here by tomorrow.