I got word last week that Presto’s entry was officially accepted for the 2021 US Event Horse Futurity, and as of yesterday the entry fee is paid, so he’s officially-officially in!
Of course I’ve already said that I highly doubt he’ll be the type that ends up at Championships, but I’m excited for the journey and the process. I’ve already started outlining his first vlog post… it has to be an “intro” one about the horse and it’s breeding, which I already made a similar one last year to post here. I just need to shorten in a bit (ok a lot) because well… y’all know I’m wordy, and I don’t think most people want to watch a 10 minute intro vlog on some rando girl’s rando horse. I’m trying to get it under 5 minutes. We’ll see.
I did start trying to plan some little local show adventures for him too. I was hoping the show facility near us would do their normal monthly winter shows but alas they aren’t starting their series this year until March. I’ve definitely penciled that into the calendar, although I’d been hoping for something in February. We’ll see what else comes up. I do have a tentative plan to have my favorite dressage trainer sit on him a time or two as well, as soon as we get schedules figured out. As of now I’m the only person that’s ever ridden him, and I think some rides from the dressage guy could really help a few things that are right-on-the-edge-of-his-grasp actually click into place.
I also took a tentative peek at the YEH schedule when it was posted. I’m not convinced that Presto will ever actually be ready to make it to a YEH class this year at all, but I wanted to see what was on the calendar anyway just in case. And LOL – there is a grand total of ONE qualifier in Area 5 and it’s in MARCH. Hilarious. We do have a lot more FEH options here if I wanted to take him to the FEH 4yo classes (they w/t/c under saddle and judge confo, plus freejump at Champs) instead of the YEH 4yo (dressage test and jump little sj and xc fences under saddle in more of a derby format), but honestly I’m not sure that I see a ton of value in spending the money on the FEH. Either he’s ready for the YEH or he’s not, and if he’s not I could do a lot of smaller schooling shows that would add more value to his education than FEH would, I think. Maybe my opinion will change as we move forward, but… meh.
I did get him ridden 3 times last week, the first time I’ve actually managed to pull that off. He did a dressage day, a pole work day, and a long (for him – 30 minutes – I’m still only riding him for like 15-20 minutes at a time usually) walk on the hills day. On his dressage day I took him out to the field afterward and practiced “galloping” a lap. He’s still not totally sure of his balance enough yet to get his true gallop going. Right now it’s a little bit like a dressage horse trying to gallop – far too uphill and climbing. I know it’s in there though, I see him gallop flat out ALL THE TIME, he just has to get more comfortable and sure of himself with a rider on his back.
The farrier is coming again this week and I strongly debated having his first pair of shoes put on (fronts only) but I think we’ll wait until next time. That would put us toward the end of February, and March is probably when he’ll start doing more stuff (starting his formal o/f training and going to some shows). I’d rather he stay barefoot as long as possible, naturally, and his feet are pretty good, but it’s really difficult for a horse to stay barefoot on the ground we’ve got down here. Rocks and coarse sand are tough once they actually start working and putting more wear on the feet (indeed, he already chips them up a lot since he gallops around like a maniac constantly). I fully expect that he’ll need a full set by summer once it’s dry as hell and everything is hard as concrete, but we’ll start with the fronts.
He’ll be a real horse soon, y’all! Can you believe it?
When the weather folks first started murmuring last week about a Winter Storm heading to Texas, I didn’t pay it much heed. The Northern half of the state seems to inevitably get snow at least once every winter, but it’s not that common for any kind of real frozen precip to make far enough south to effect us. Especially not down where I am now, Southeast of Austin. You might get some snow every few years, usually a light dusting, and it may or may not actually accumulate at all. They didn’t seem sure of how south the system would go, and it had been in the 60’s all week leading up to Sunday, so… call me skeptical. But I’ll be damned y’all… it snowed. Like… SNOWED.
It started out as just rain for a few hours, and then slowly turned to a mix of sleet and snow before going all the way into big fat wet flakes. It was still 34 degrees and the ground was soaked so I wasn’t sure anything would actually stick, but sure enough it finally started to accumulate. It snowed pretty much all afternoon, and we ended up with about an inch of accumulation. Which probably sounds absolutely comical to you Northerners, but for down here it’s A LOT.
And in thinking about it, I realized that Presto has never really seen snow. No more than a dusting anyway, and from inside his stall at the boarding barn. So, while the horses were safely and snugly tucked into their stalls yesterday, I had to go get Presto out to see what he thought of the white stuff when the fat flakes started to fall.
He really thought he wanted to play in it. He really really did. And then he actually got out in it and the snow started hitting him in the face and he wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic.
After laughing at him for a few minutes I put him up and went back inside, and it just kept on snowing. For hours. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it snow that long here. Towards the end of the afternoon when there was more accumulation I got Presto out again. Maybe he’d change his mind when there was more of it on the ground and less of it hitting him in the face?
Okay maybe not. I had to take advantage of the ultra-rare opportunity to get pictures of him in the snow though. I mean, how often to we get that chance?
He just really couldn’t figure out what to make of it. Very weird cold stuff that isn’t even fun to eat. I don’t think he was impressed with this winter thing. Makes sense though, since he’s a giraffe. Summer is more his jam.
Henry, being from Arkansas, isn’t nearly such a stranger to the snow. He wasn’t impressed by it and seemed content to ride out the Texas blizzard from the comfort of his stall. I did get him out for pictures too though, because what kind of crazy mom would I be if I didn’t. This is the first time in the 7 years I’ve owned him that I’ve been able to get pictures of him in snow.
And naturally Henry is a professional. He knows how to pose for photos so he can go the hell back to his stall.
The snow started melting pretty much as soon as it stopped falling, and this morning it’s almost gone. Which, to be honest, is my preferred way to experience winter. The snow is fun and novel and all that, but one day of it was enough. Thanks for letting us borrow it, but you Northerners can keep the rest. We’ll be back up to 60 by tomorrow, as if nothing ever happened.
Well that was an interesting first week of 2021. So far it’s definitely starting to feel more like 2020 The Sequel.
I have zero brain power left at this point, so instead of trying to pull a post out of my butt that won’t make any of us happy, I wanted to repost an article I saw this week that I thought was extra worthy of sharing.
It’s rare that I agree with an entire article on a subject like this, but this one managed to do it. I had a lot of YES happening while I was reading it.
Certainly a million times better than the article a couple weeks ago that I refuse to link to that said (at least before someone went back and edited, which was after I got screenshots) that all horses should be started over fences with: a standing martingale so that they can’t hit you in the face when (when, not if) they resist, a “firm”-fitting flash noseband (because drop nosebands “can’t control the jaw” and a simple cavesson “isn’t enough noseband for a horse that gallops across the countryside”, and rubber reins (of which women need thinner ones for their small lady hands – clearly he hasn’t met me, I wear a size 8.5 glove). I’m still hardcore glitching over that one. Not over it. Utter load of complete garbage. I hope no one actually took advice from it, JFC.
But the article I’ve linked to above is actually a really good one IMO – it’s solid advice and good info for anyone with a young horse or a re-start, really, no matter the age or discipline.
Also have to give a shout out to Practical Horseman magazine. It’s been YEARS since I got any print magazines (well except the magazines that come with USEA and USEF memberships) and even longer since I’ve read a Practical Horseman. PH was one of the first print publications to come out with a strong stance in favor of increasing diversity in the equestrian world, and dedicating themselves to do better to further said cause. Because some folks are garbage, that statement brought PH a lot of heat and people declaring that they wouldn’t be renewing. I wanted to support their efforts and counteract some of the negative backlash so I bought a year subscription (it was only $15, why not), and while I’m only two issues in, so far I’m relatively impressed with the content. There are at least a few articles in each that have been worth the read. Now we just have to see how/if they stick to their diversity pledge.
Read anything this week that deserves a shout? Drop a link in a comment. We could all use a little distraction I think.
It’ll be breeding season (MY FAVORITE SEASON) again before we know it. Stallions are already being picked, semen is already being purchased, and plans are already being solidified. Last year I had a lot of people ask me to write out some terminology, since those who are not involved in the breeding world might not have heard some of the terms or abbreviations used. I tend to forget that when I’m writing. So here’s a basic explanation of some of the breeding terminology or abbreviations that you might see, and hopefully we can use this as reference later on. If you think of anything basic that I missed please let me know and I’ll add it!
“by” vs “out of“
You will often see this written as Foal by Stallion out of Mare, although a common blunder is for people to use the “out of” part in reference to the stallion. Trust me, foals do not come out of stallions. Physics would not allow it. So “by” = the sire, “out of” equals the dam. E.g., Presto is by Mighty Magic out of Westbound.
stud vs stallion
This one can be a little cultural. In Europe and in sporthorse breeding in general, a “stud” is a farm where stallions live and breed. Western culture and general societal slang has kind of taken the word stud and used it in place of the word stallion. In the sporthorse world though, you would always refer to the stallion as “stallion”, not “stud”, since stud denotes a place. E.g,Hyperion Stud.
In the horse breeding world, the term “half sibling” only applies to horses out of the same dam but by different sires. Horses by the same sire but out of different dams aren’t generally referred to as being related, or if they are they’re called “paternal half siblings” (or as I like to call it, “brother from another mother”). E.g. Presto and Manny are half siblings.
ET, in the breeding world anyway, stands for embryo transfer. In this procedure Mare A (known as the donor mare) is bred to Stallion, and the resulting embryo is harvested from Mare A and transplanted into Mare B (known as a recipient mare) to carry to term and foal out/raise. Although it incurs a lot of additional expense, there are several reasons that people might choose this procedure. Perhaps they have a performance mare that they don’t want to take out of sport for a year and a half to have a foal. Perhaps they want to get more than one foal from a mare per year. Perhaps the mare is unable to safely carry to term, or the owner doesn’t want to risk her during foaling. Some people even freeze harvested embryos from exceptional mares and offer them for sale. E.g. We are expecting two full siblings in 2021, by Faustino de Tili out of Chanel, one of which is an ET. (note: even if the biological dam of the offspring did not actually carry and foal the offspring herself, you would still say “out of” as the proper vernacular when referencing the biological dam).
I try to explain this a little every year in the Baby Bets contest, but horses don’t actually have due dates the way humans do. The average gestation for a healthy foal can be anywhere from 320 days to 380 days. Viable foals can still be born earlier or later than that range, but that is the range that’s considered typical. The average gestation per a study in Northern Europe was 340 days, so that’s what has been widely accepted and used to calculate a loose “due date” (which isn’t really a due date at all) for horses. Obviously though, this can vary by weeks or even months. I know someone who had a healthy foal born at 309 days of gestation, and I know someone who had a healthy foal born at 396 days gestation. E.g. Y’all see why breeders have come up with things like milk testing to help predict foaling rather than just relying on averages to calculate due dates?
Foals are born with a fluffy foal coat that they generally start shedding around 3 months of age. With many horses the coat that shows through underneath after this first “foal shed” will be darker (sometimes much darker) than the eventual adult coat. This is especially true of a lot of chestnuts – often they will look very dark, even liver chestnut, during and after their foal shed. You always see a rash of “LOOK AT MY LIVER CHESTNUT FOAL” posts on social media in the summer time, from people who don’t understand this. Dark brown can sometimes look black in this shed, too. The foal shed can be misleading when it comes to showing the horse’s adult color. Eg. don’t publicly declare liver chestnut until you’re well beyond the foal shed, lest you look like a dingus.
The “color” gray
Since we’re already the topic of color, let’s go one step further, because gray is especially weird when it comes to foals. First you have to understand that gray isn’t actually a color, it’s a depigmentation. Therefore, no horse that ends up gray is actually born gray (this is also why gray horses continue to lose pigment and get whiter over time). The gray gene is a modifier that, when present, expresses on top of whatever color genes the horse already has. So a horse can be born literally any color, but if it has the gray gene it will eventually depigment and turn gray. The gray gene is also dominant, so if the horse has the gene, it WILL gray out. The gray gene cannot “hide” and then show up again further down the line in other generations. A gray horse will always have at least one gray parent. A horse with only one copy of the gray gene (heterozygous) has a 50% chance of passing it to an offspring. A horse with two copies of the gray gene (homozygous) has a 100% chance of passing it to the offspring. Another interesting note: foals that will eventually turn gray tend to be born hyperpigmented, or darker than foals that will not eventually turn gray. Eg. Ollie was a good example of all these things – he is grulla with a gray gene on top so will depigment over time from grulla to gray, and he was born hyperpigmented (which was the first clue that he got the gray gene).
I looooove color genetics, I could go on all day about that, but I’ll stop here. I wanted to hit the gray gene since we have a lot of foals coming next year by a gray stallion. Let’s get to the more complicated bits!
registries vs breeds
In the warmblood/sporthorse breeding world, there really isn’t such a thing as true breeds (except maybe Trakehner, and I’ll explain why in a second). If someone asks your favorite breed and you say Dutch Warmblood or Hanoverian or something like that, it sounds a little bit silly. Why? Because almost all of those European registries have “open” books – meaning they will allow stallions and mares for breeding within their own regstry that originated from another. This has become especially true within the last few decades with the prevalence and availability of shipped semen. Your Dutch Warmblood might actually come from Holsteiner, Selle Francais, and Hanoverian bloodlines. Your Oldenburg might have a lot of Hanoverian roots. Your Holsteiner might actually be largely thoroughbred (Mighty Magic is registered Holsteiner but is actually by a full TB stallion and out of a mare that also had a full TB sire). All of these different European-based registries, which are regional, end up intermingling, albeit some more than others. While technically still an open studbook, Holsteiner is typically less accepting of outside blood than a lot of other registries, for example.
All these different warmbloods aren’t breeds the way a Haflinger or a Friesian are – they are more of a TYPE (sporthorse, or warmblood) that contains different regional registries within said type. This is why, when it comes to sporthorses, it’s much more important to look at the actual names on the pedigree rather than the registry at the top of the page. The registry only tells you which studbook the horse is registered with, it doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about it’s actual lineage. The only major registry with a “closed” studbook is Trakehner, in that they have only allowed Trakehner, Arabian, and Thoroughbred horses to be used within their registry. E.g. Presto is registered Belgian Sporthorse (the studbook of the southern French-speaking region of Belgium, not to be confused with Belgian Warmblood which is the studbook of the northern Flemish region of Belgium) but he is by a stallion that himself was registered Holsteiner despite being mostly TB, and out of a mare who is registered RPSI but is actually by a Hanoverian stallion out of a TB mare. And of course, he’s never been to Belgium in his life, nor are either of his parents from Belgium. It’s a lot to unpack, but you can see why they aren’t really breeds.
approved vs registered
If that last one wasn’t enough to hurt your brain, I have one more super confusing but often misunderstood topic: the difference between approved vs registered. As I said above, these European-based warmblood registries tend to all intermingle. This is helped along largely by the fact that a single horse can be approved for breeding by multiple registries. In the world of sporthorses (with a few complicated exceptions), breeding stock must be inspected and approved in order to be used for breeding – you can’t just take one rando horse, breed it to another rando horse, and then get papers for it. The inspection and approval process provides a level of quality control, as every horse that is used for breeding within every registry has to meet a minimum standard of conformation, pedigree, and quality in order to be allowed to produce papered offspring. And while a horse can only have one set of papers – ie it can only be registered with one registry – it can be approved for breeding with as many as you like. This means a horse could produce offspring for any registry it meets approval for.
To use our same example, Mighty Magic (registered Holsteiner) is approved for breeding with: Selle Francais, Anglo-Arab, Holsteiner, Hanoverian, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, Rhineland, Westfalian, Swedish Warmblood, and Zangersheide. Additionally, many registries (like Presto’s – Belgian Sporthorse) will also accept foals by known stallions with multiple approvals, even if they haven’t specifically obtained approval within their own. That means Mighty Magic can produce foals for any of those registries. He only has ONE set of registration papers, and he will never be anything but Holsteiner since that is his birth registry, but he can produce registered offspring for just about any other registry.
The same goes for mares. A mare can potentially be approved by as many registries as you want to take her to for inspection. It’s not uncommon at all for mares to have breeding approval from multiple registries. This is why she could also produce offspring for different registries. E.g. Sadie, for example, is registered RPSI but approved RPSI and Belgian Sporthorse, and has produced foals that have been registered both RPSI and Belgian Sporthorse (RPSI actually got absorbed into Westfalen a few years ago, to make it even MORE COMPLICATED but I won’t go down that rabbit trail). Theoretically, she could even produce full siblings that ended up registered differently. As with stallions, a mare will only ever have ONE registration, but she can have multiple breeding approvals and produce offspring for multiple registries. It’s important to note that registration also does not equal automatic approval – every horse of breeding age must be presented and pass inspection in order to be approved as breeding stock. Just because they are registered with said registry doesn’t mean they will be approved for breeding with said registry. Clear as mud?
Hopefully that helps a little bit… although maybe I just made it more confusing. It’s a super complicated world and we could go on about this forever, but I tried to just hit the main most important things. Is there anything I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t cover here? Or did all of this just stir up more questions (probably)? Drop it in the comments and I’ll address it!
I feel like we really haven’t had enough Blog Hops in the past couple years. They’re fun, they usually offer a little bit of levity or good discussion points and it gives us bloggers some material, thus I think for 2021 we should have more of them. Except I’m kind of shit at coming up with topics, so… tag, someone else is it for the next one.
I did find myself musing about one particular relatively silly topic the other day though when I was cleaning stalls and listening to podcasts. They’re always brought to you buy some company or another, sometimes really random things that don’t even make logical sense with the theme of the podcast. But it got me thinking… if each of my horses had one big sponsor, which company could they best represent? Picture like NASCAR style branding. EVERYTHING covered with massive logos, casually whip out said item during post-show interviews (cuz, ya know, those are common…), be in commercials, etc etc. What product could each of them sell FOR SURE? What are they both super enthusiastic about?
Honestly, this was an easy one for me, they both popped in my mind instantly.
For Henry, without a doubt, it’s Little Debbie. Or more specifically, Oatmeal Creme Pies.
I buy a few boxes of these a month just to keep him in his pie habit. He LOVES them, and he demolishes them in a really satisfying way. I mean, the video of him ravaging a creme pie last year won us a dang bridle in an Instagram contest (ok, it technically won Presto a bridle which honestly sounds super jacked up now that I say it out loud). Lots of his online friends have gone out and bought creme pies to see if their horses like them too, so I have to think that surely Little Debbie has seen a sales bump over the last year. Henry is the perfect spokeshorse for the brand, if you ask me.
A runner up could be Pop-Tarts, he eats those the same way. In any case, his would definitely be some kind of sugary junk food. He doesn’t have enthusiasm for many things, but the boy loves snacks.
Presto’s should be relatively obvious by now too. I’m pretty sure that I’m currently this company’s number one customer, and the reason why this product among the top most popular products on Corro’s website.
I really wish I knew how many of these he’s sold by now. It’s gotta be dozens, at least. He’s a walking sales boom, not just because he makes these balls look so damn fun, but because he also destroys his own on the regular. He would def need that sponsorship. Lifetime supply of balls, please (which at this rate would be about one a week). Like Henry, Presto too is savage AF, but damn if he isn’t also hella entertaining in the process of completely disrespecting my hard-earned dollars. Show me a better salesman and representative than this (ok maybe it would be better if he didn’t so readily destroy them, but you definitely can’t say he lacks enthusiasm).
Plus, like, how funny would it be for all of his stuff to be branded with JOLLY MEGA BALLS all over it. Apropos. The audacity of that kid is off the charts.
So what say you friends? What products or brands could your horses definitely sell and represent to the fullest? Like… big huge logo printed all over your trailer and everything. What would their (not yours, theirs) dream sponsorship be?
For real tho Little Debbie, hit me up. Henry looks good in a hat.
Well that long holiday weekend where I had envisioned lots of riding didn’t quite go to plan.
Really it started on the 30th. It rained for a solid 24 hours, and while we definitely needed it, it did mean that everything was too wet to ride for a couple days. Presto was absolutely climbing the walls from being stuck inside for a day, and when I turned them back out he was BANANAS. Henry made the mistake of trying to keep up with him which lasted about 5 minutes before Henry wrenched a shoe off and flung it into the next county. One of the front ones, of course. Luckily I have a deep collection of boots, so I texted the farrier (Happy New Year…. my horse lost a shoe…) and slapped a boot on it. On Saturday when the ring was dry enough I did hop on him for a few minutes with the boot, mostly just to stretch him out a bit. I thought about riding Presto on Saturday too, but given that he’d spent all morning galloping and bucking and spinning and squealing and leaping I thought maybe he needed another day to get all of his sillies out, and planned on riding them both on Sunday instead.
Instead I spent 8 hours at the small animal emergency vet clinic on Sunday.
On Saturday Stewie had a few brief moments where he kinda curled up into a ball and whined for a few minutes. He’s coming up on 16 years old, and he’s a mega anxious dog (he whines a lot), so behaviors like that aren’t necessarily super unusual for him. Aside from those brief moments he was still acting normal, still eating and drinking, and still happily trotting around the barn. But throughout the night it happened a few more times, and by lunchtime on Sunday he was pretty much just staying curled up in a ball. He also was having trouble lifting his head. Something definitely wasn’t right. I hopped online to find whatever emergency vets might be open, mapped the closest one, filled out their online request form, then called to get their official covid procedure speech. I loaded Stewie up, drove down there, called to let them know we’d arrived and what parking spot we were in, and proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. An emergency vet in a big city on a holiday weekend is a busy place. It took almost two hours for them to come out and get him. Stewie hates car rides, he hates the vet, and he hates being separated from me, so poor dude was absolutely beside himself when they took him away.
After about another hour the vet called and said that she thought he had herniated a disc in his neck, and ran through all the diagnostics she recommended and how much they cost. I approved all of them (yes to the full blood panel before we prescribe him any meds, yes to whatever x-rays you want to do, and yes to any and all meds you think he needs) and she said she’d go ahead and do everything and get back to me in about an hour. By this point it was getting close to feeding time so I drove back out to the farm, brought the horses in, fed them, and drove back to the vet. She called me when I was about halfway back there and said that she didn’t see any evidence of tumors or anything in the neck/spine, but he did have reduced disc space and some beginning signs of Intervertebral Disk Disease in his neck, not super surprising since he’s got a little dachshund in him. It’s not particularly severe yet but it does make him prone to things like this. We’ll circle back to that with our regular vet once we get this herniated disc healed up a bit. His bloodwork looked good – very slightly elevated liver enzymes but nothing outside of the realm of normal for his age. She recommended an additional medication to help protect his liver from the other meds, which of course I also approved (can I just say that I think it’s fun how the small animal vets get permission even for all this little stuff – $30 – and quote prices up front? Horse vets are like beepbopboopwavemagicwandforfiveminutes “okay here’s your $2500 bill, want me to just use the card we have on file?” LOL).
She’d gone ahead and given him a dose of gaba as soon as I approved it, because apparently he was in full-on meltdown mode in the clinic by that point. That seemed to help chill him out and by the time they finished all his diagnostics he was much less anxious. She said he was ready to go home, so I got back to the clinic, parked, and called to let them know I was there for pick-up. The receptionist said that two very critical patients had just come in so it might be a little while before a tech was available, which was no problem. So I waited. And waited. And waited. It was two full hours before I saw a single person emerge from the building at all, and that was just to come grab another new arrival. It ended up being 3 1/2 hours before anyone was able to get to me, at which point it was well past my bedtime and I was almost asleep in my car. But finally Stewie did come out, and he definitely seemed much better than he had when I’d dropped him off. Of course, he trembled the entire way home anyway because he hates car rides, but once we got home he pretty much went straight to sleep.
The instructions are to keep him as immobile as possible, which is a sick joke with a JRT mix, no matter how old. If I crate him he goes absolutely ballistic, so I’ve mostly just barricaded a small area around his bed so that he doesn’t feel trapped but also can’t really go anywhere. The gaba is keeping him pretty quiet. I carry him in and out to go to the bathroom, and he’s not allowed back at the barn for a few weeks. He’s not thrilled. The meds are helping though, he feels better already, so hopefully he can get back to “normal” before too long.
Off to a good start, 2021. (insert heavy sarcasm here)
The farrier was able to come put Henry’s shoe back on yesterday morning, and yesterday afternoon I was able to sneak out long enough to get Presto ridden. It’s been over a month since I rode him in the arena, so we went in there to check in on how he’s feeling in a more proper environment.
I think the time out on the hills and in the fields is starting to help, he’s getting a bit steadier and stronger. Still a long way to go for sure, but there’s solid improvement. He’s really growthy again right now (stooooooppppp ittttttt) which always makes his parts a little less coordinated, but I’m pleased with how much more “broke” he feels in the ring. Like you can actually ride him a bit more. We’ll continue working mostly in the hills and fields for now, and add in some pole work days. I keep having every intention of riding him 3 days of week but I think that has yet to actually happen, for various reasons. In the past two weeks he’s only been ridden twice. I’d really like to up that so we can focus on building his hind end a bit more; I want him to be stronger by the time we start his jump training in a couple months. If life could stop getting in the way of me riding my horses, that would be great. It doesn’t help that this is our busiest time of year at work.
Today it’s Henry’s turn to get back to work. I dunno why he keeps insisting that he’s retired. He might look like a fat old broodmare but I swear he isn’t. Definitely has the right amount of sass for that job title though. Hopefully the first few days of 2021 weren’t foreshadowing of what’s to come…
There were A LOT of suggestions rolling in last week for a new blog title – lots more than I expected, so many thanks to y’all for putting on your thinking caps and helping me out.
I’ve narrowed it down to 5, an official “short list” if you will, and from here I’d like to whittle it down to 2 before we do a final vote. I’m in that place where I like all 5, don’t really LOVE one in particular more than the others, so I’d like input and opinions that might help sway me. They all have some pros and cons. Anyway, top 5, in no particular order:
Bloodlines, Bascules, and Bridles
Bloodlines and Bascules (or Bloodlines and Bridles?)
Please feel free to let me know which one like most, and/or if there’s one in particular that you really hate (and why! There might be a problem you see that I haven’t though of yet). I’ve tried to consider them from every possible angle but maybe I’m missing something. I’m probably overanalyzing this to the nth degree, but I want to make sure I really think about it before I just pick something and then end up hating it later.
And of course, thanks again for your continued assistance. I am bad at decisions.
Some of y’all are out here with some BOLD New Year’s posts. Like…. y’all are making goals and plans and resolutions. I wish I had that level of bravado, but truth be told I’m still worried that 2021 is just going to be 2020: The Sequel. I’ll be skipping all that goal-setting and plan-making stuff this year, lest I anger the beast that is 2021. I mean, my 2020 Plans post was mostly about all the traveling I planned to do. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ha. ha. *sobbing*
So, yeah… I’m just gonna welcome 2021 with caution and try not to do anything to spook it. I did take some pics of the boys in some festive headwear though, because why not. Let’s just say, though, I hope ’21 behaves better than the horse who was wearing the 21 headband…
So… Happy New Year I guess? Maybe Cautiously Optimisic New Year?
I usually pick one item every year to win my own personal “MVP” award, whether it be as simple as an awesome hoofpick (look, anyone who’s kept horses on black clay soil knows how important those are) or as complicated as a helmet camera. 2020 was a challenging year to say the least, the ripple effect of the pandemic making for a pretty quiet and solitary year on the horse front. For an active blogger the lack of horse shows, lessons, xc schoolings, and general “fun” outings made it difficult to come up with content sometimes. And when you’re like me and ride alone 99.9% of the time, the lack of outings or social events also meant that it would be super challenging to get any of kind of pictures or video. No one wants to read blog posts with no pictures or video, right? Enter: Pivo.
I’ve talked enough about the ins and outs of this thing by now that I won’t bore you with any of that. There are a lot of old posts you can go read if you missed them the first time through.
Look, is Pivo perfect? Hell no. New software releases can be buggy sometimes. It has a lot of limitations. There is a learning curve. It needs a relatively new phone and works better with iPhones than Androids. Pivo is very much still a work in progress, something to be expected from relatively new technology. For me, though, it’s been magical. Without that little pod I would have had very few photos or videos this year at all, and next to no footage of Presto period. Not only has it been a great learning tool, but it’s also captured some really big “firsts” that I’m delighted to have on film. I can watch my rides and see how the horses are looking and pick out things for us to work on. The education value has been super helpful for me. Plus, ya know… the fails. Those are priceless too.
For as cheap as it is ($140 for the Silver) it’s made such a big impact. Not everyone can justify dropping $800+ on a Pixem or a Soloshot, myself included, but a Pivo can be worked into just about any budget and it’s a lot easier to set up for those of us who are lazy or perpetually short on time (or holding a baby horse that has the attention span of a gnat). I still have absolutely no guilt and zero regrets about that particular quarantine splurge, and it’s definitely gotta be my 2020 MVP. It’s provided entertainment, insight, and memories… hard to beat that.
What was your favorite purchase in 2020? Any must-have items that would make your MVP list?
Well guys, apparently Facebook (as so many others that have come before) has decided that my presence is intolerable. Or, more specifically, my blog’s domain name and title. They sent myself and WordPress a trademark violation notice, with that super professional-sounding corporate way of threatening to destroy your life that really just makes your eyes roll around in your head. Sure Facebook, ok. I feel like y’all have bigger fish to fry but whatever.
So I have two options: change the name of the blog and get a new domain name, or ride it out and hope facebook forgets about me and that WordPress doesn’t shut me down.
As tempted as I am to flip them the bird and go with the latter option, truth be told I’ve been considering a re-branding for a while anyway. The only reason I haven’t done it is because 1) I’m lazy. It’s a lot of work to redo all this stuff and buy a new domain name and change all my social media blah blah blah. Ugggggggggh. 2) I have yet to come up with a name I really like.
When I started this blog, almost 6 years ago now, I never actually thought it would go anywhere. It was a very tiny for-fun thing that I did for my own entertainment. I still do it for my own entertainment, but it certainly grew to something much bigger and has lasted a lot longer than I ever expected. If I’d known it then, I probably would have chosen a different name right out of the box. I mean… at that point the story WAS mostly about how and where I got Henry. I’d only had him for about 6 months, it was still very new, we were still in h/j land, and things were very very very different than they are now. IMO I think we outgrew the name a long time ago… the story is so much more than that now. Plus the use of the word “pony” has been very confusing for a lot of people, understandably.
That said, I still have no idea what I want to name it. I know that I don’t want something wildly specific that won’t have any relevance in 5 years (been there done that). I know that I don’t want it to be just my own name, and I don’t really want it to be the current horse’s names. And I really don’t want any part of the current name in the new name at all, to be honest. If I’m going to all the effort of re-branding, I might as well use the opportunity to totally revamp. A lot of my pages and my layout have been long overdue for an update for quite a while anyway (is that weanling Presto on my header photo? maybe….). I don’t mind if I lose followers so it doesn’t have to tie in. I’m coming up totally blank though.
A few suggestions that I haven’t hated: BreederOwnerRiderEventer (or drop the owner part and just BreederRiderEventer), Chance the Eventer (a lot of people know me by my last name), Hennything is Possible… but nothing has really grabbed me yet. I’m struggling to find that balance between generic enough but not too boring. Something that encompasses everything. This is hard. The name is important.
So here I am once again asking the hive mind for some assistance. I know there are people out there much more clever and creative than I am, so if you have any suggestions please please let me know. I’ll even sweeten the deal and say that if I pick a name you suggest, I’ll send you a $20 e-gift card from RW or Corro (your choice)!