Scenes from Spoga

Today I have to run some last minute errands before we leave for Europe tomorrow, and of course since I wake up obscenely early even when I don’t have to, it left me with lots of time to kill before any businesses opened. Naturally I fell face first into Instagram, especially since Spoga Horse is going on right now over in Germany. What is Spoga Horse? THE big international trade fair for equestrian products. Someday I will get to go, but I do also love stalking Spoga on social media. You get to see all kinds of crazy things, and new things, and see brands I maybe haven’t heard of before. My favorite part are the runway shows where the models dance to terrible european club music while wearing equestrian fashions. That mostly happens at the spring Spoga, where the focus is on fashion and clothing, and it is a spectacle to behold. None of those videos have been posted yet for the fall Spoga, but there have definitely been some interesting things floating through the feed nonetheless.

Crazy boots

 

Bling for days

 

And all kinds of other bold helmets

 

Buttonless jackets and holey shirts (I’m waiting for someone to market this as being more aerodynamic)

 

Bits and stirrups

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Day two at #spogahorse

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And of course… horse goggles.

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How cool is your horse? #spogahorse

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See anything you like? Anyone else following the #spogahorse and #spogahorse2019 hashtags? I like it a lot more than I probably should.

Memories

I think that facebook’s memories feature is both the best and worst thing on social media. Sometimes it brings up fun stuff that I forgot about, or hadn’t thought about in a while, and then other times it brings up things that aren’t so fondly remembered, or reminds me of good times with people/friends/animals that are no longer with us. I don’t often linger long on the memories page, but today’s definitely stopped me in my tracks a bit with all the different events that happened on this day over the years.

Last year on this day Presto’s little half brother Manny was sold to his new owner, someone that I know. It’s been fun still getting to see pictures of him as he grows and develops, and see how he compares to Presto. In that they really compare very little, they’re so different. Each of them is a lot like their sire.

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remember this chonk?

As I’m gearing up for our next big horsey Europe trip next week (I’m on my last half day of work before we leave!) it’s fun to see pics of our last big horsey Europe trip two years ago.

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The view from our hotel room in Bruges
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I improved the view by adding waffle + gelato

That one was a whirlwind trip, with Bundeschampionate and lots of stallion viewing, and this trip is shaping up to be even MORE of a whirlwind, if that’s even possible. I’m so excited. I can’t decide if I’m more excited for Burghley or more excited for farm tours and stallions. What a hardship.

Four years ago was Henry’s second Novice, at Corona del Sol, which he finished on his dressage score for 4th. This was just after my mom had passed away, so I wore lots of purple (her favorite color) in her memory.

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Wow, that’s… interesting. #manesniffer

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While I did not adopt purple as a permanent part of my colors (it’s too much for my navy-loving heart) I do still usually have SOMETHING purple on or with me somewhere. This particular show was the first one where I drove home wishing I could call my mom and tell her how it went – something that I’ve experienced after every single show since. Those are the times when I miss her the most.

Back then Novice still looked really big and hard, I remember quaking in my boots about a down bank on this course that I was pretty sure I was gonna die at. I was so proud of Henry when he jumped right down with no hesitation. If only I knew then just how proud of him I would still continue to be, like I can barely fit anymore pride in my heart without it bursting. That horse. How lucky I’ve been.

On a sadder note, that venue, Corona del Sol, doesn’t exist anymore… another Area V venue that’s been lost in the past few years. Sigh.

Ten years ago I bought my first set of body clippers and taught myself how to clip by using Sadie (who was then just a 2yo, like her son Presto is now) as a guinea pig.

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first clip!

That was the beginning of something I turned into a bit of a business, my first real money-making side gig. Side gigs are still my jam, even if it does take a lot of bribery to get me to body clip other people’s horses anymore. I still do it sometimes, but I don’t advertise it or seek it out. I’ve had enough horse hair in my eyeballs to last a lifetime, so you really gotta make it worth my while or I have to like you a lot.

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stallion Cartier R after his first body clip

It was a great gig though, and paid for many many many a vet bill and horse show. Lots of reminiscing for a Friday morning.

I’m still trying to decide how to handle the blog while I’m traveling. On past trips I’ve always kept blogging as I can from the road, but I know the formatting gets all kinds of wonky and the posting time is a bit unreliable. Plus I’m often deliriously tired and have no idea wtf I’m even saying… which… might be more entertaining, I don’t know. So – would y’all rather I wait and do recaps when I get back and hope I remember everything that happened, or would you rather get the less organized but up-to-date daily (or every other day) posts while we’re there?

Dueling vet bills

I don’t know what is up with my horses lately, but they seem to be taking turns racking up vet bills. I don’t know who told them it’s a competition, or how exactly a “winner” is decided, but I know it wasn’t and isn’t me.

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In the past few months alone I’ve got bills for hock injections (Henry), a tooth float (Henry), two health certificates (Henry and Presto), vaccines (Presto), an allergic reaction (Henry), some kind of light respiratory funk (Presto), a hematoma turned cellulitis (Presto), and now – Presto tried to rip his damn foot off.

I don’t even know how the hell he did it. He was fine yesterday morning at breakfast, and he was out all day by himself in a paddock with hot tape and wood fencing. And it’s a HIND FOOT. It almost looks like he got it stuck in something, but hell if I could find anywhere that might have been possible. Horses. They can try to kill themselves even when given no tools by which to do it.

I texted pics to the vet and he advised that I bring him back home so he could cut the flap of hoof off and address the heel wound. It will need tending and bandaging, and of course it hurts a lot. So I loaded Presto and Henry up and took them both home to the vet’s house last night. I give up. Presto also did this the same day I put his FEH Championships entry in the mail. I do not appreciate his sense of humor.

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I don’t even want to know how much I’ve spent in the past few months. All of you people who keep track of your yearly horse spending, I don’t know how (or why) you do it. I refuse to even try to add it up, because everyone knows you can’t put a price on love. LOLZ. But really though, it’s because you can definitely put a price on insanity and I know for a fact I’m hitting that figure. No need to calculate what we already know to be true.

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I had finally just been feeling like I’d conquered the last round of problems too. It’s been so hot and Henry’s been having such a hard time in the afternoons that he was getting hosed off several times of day to help keep him cool. Which caused him to get rain rot. And then he randomly got hives for a few days. He’s missing a lot of hair on his butt right now. Presto’s hematoma (or as I like to call it – 3rd butt cheek) got a bit of cellulitis, which we’ve been massaging and draining and hosing and medicating. That’s right – one horse has a lumpy ass, one horse has a bald ass. Finally in the last couple days they’ve both started looking a lot better. I was even optimistic that Presto might not have a lumpy butt anymore by Championships. I should have known trouble was afoot (no pun intended).

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Cleaning/hosing/medicating his butt lump a few days ago. I had already managed to get it down to half this size with twice a day treatment.

Shit, I just remembered that we still have to remove Henry’s cracked back molar next week and take Presto’s wolf teeth out at some point soon.

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On the bright side, at least Riding Warehouse’s Labor Day sale starts today so I can stock up on all my med supplies and more Coat Defense powder at a discount? #positivity #cryingontheinside #ilovehorses #sendhelp

Toddlers

Living with my horses this week has been pretty fun. More fun yesterday when it was 90 degrees, rather than the other days when it was 110 degrees, but you know… pretty fun anyway. I love being the one taking care of my boys, and being able to look out and spy on them like a total stalker whenever I want.

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creeping on the boys from the bedroom window, as one does

It has also been… entertaining. Neither Presto or Henry is lacking in personality, and while their dynamic is always really amusing to me, this week it has been Next. Freakin. Level. As I was describing some of their antics to my friend Stacy, who has two little kids, she pointed out that the behavior of my horses was not that dissimilar to that of toddlers.

I don’t have kids, nor do I want them, so I didn’t really see it until she pointed it out, but man, she’s not wrong. How do they resemble toddlers, you might ask? Well, remember Monday’s story about how the whole reason I went and got Presto was so that he could be Henry’s emotional support animal? So like… I got manipulated pretty hardcore there, let’s admit it, by Henry going on hunger strike. He was totally the kid in the toy section at Walmart having a full blown temper tantrum because I won’t buy him a toy. I eventually caved and gave him what he wanted, to stop the tantrum. That was just the beginning. Because by bring Presto in, I really just doubled up on the toddler-like behavior.

When I got home from work on Monday afternoon, Presto (who was in the paddock that Henry’s stall opens out into) had figured out how to work the door latch and oh so kindly let Henry out. He also pulled the halter down off of where I’d hung it and chewed on it/trampled it into the dirt. I mean, ok, so I don’t have direct evidence that Presto did it, but WE ALL KNOW WHO DID IT.

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Things that have PRESTO written all over them

They were both just looking at me like “oh hello… you’re home early…” when I pulled in the driveway. Turds. Henry, in true jerk-hole Big Brother form, had pinned Presto down in the corner and wouldn’t let him leave (cue me yelling: “I BROUGHT HIM HERE FOR YOU, WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS!”). I removed Henry from his guardpost and hosed him off, since he was boiling alive from standing out in the sun like a grade A idiot, and put him back in his stall. Then proceeded to watch him just stand there sulking, not eating his hay, because clearly I had ruined his life.

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I have gotten wise to their mind games, so I decided to try an experiment. I moved his hay net from safely tucked inside of his stall, and hung it on the front wall where Presto could reach it. Henry immediately changed his stance on the hay situation. I don’t think he wanted it, but he definitely didn’t want Presto to have it, and started eating with gusto.

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Wait… he wants it?
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CANNOT HAS

He’s been eating his hay ever since I hung it there. Finally, a point for me.

I left them yesterday morning feeling pretty smug. I’d acquired a snap for the stall door, so Presto couldn’t open it again, and hanging the hay in that spot continued to work well. Pret-ty proud of myself.

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And then I got home.

Keep in mind, I had left each horse with the shared hay net, and then each of them had their own hay on their respective sides of the stall wall. Henry had two full water buckets, and Presto had a big water tub. So NATURALLY, guess who’s food and water Presto consumed?

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“I want what he’s eating” “It’s the same as yours” “No it’s not” “Yes it is” “NO IT’S NOT”
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“His water tastes better than mine.”

So when I got home Presto still had his pile of hay and totally full water tub, but Henry’s buckets were empty and he barely had any hay left. Honestly. Why. Thus began some artful re-arranging to try to keep that damn giraffe out of Henry’s food/water. I will be 0% surprised if I get home today to find that Presto has just climbed over the wall into Henry’s stall. I’m pretty sure he could if he wanted to.

After I finished re-arranging their area, I decided to go ahead and ride Henry, since the weather wasn’t so bad. And what did Presto do? Well… he helped.

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He helped me tack up
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He helped Henry consume some pre-ride forage
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He helped me hose Henry down afterward
He helped me dry and medicate Henry’s skin funk

After I was done he helped me clean the stall by turning over the completely full manure bucket while my back was turned. Henry didn’t even have the decency to hide his amusement. They were mentally high-fiving each other as I was cursing them both. They might be frienemies most of the time, but when it comes to pulling pranks on me they are 100% on the same team.

Those rare peaceful moments, when they share politely and look relatively civilized. 

We’ll see what new things they’ve come up with by the time I get home today. Lord only knows…

Recent Additions and Space Boots

It’s been a bit of a boring summer as far as purchases go. First I was saving for Coconino, then I was saving for Burghley. The purse strings have stayed pretty tight around here. I didn’t even buy myself anything nice for my birthday, and usually I get myself the best birthday presents. But my front porch hasn’t remained totally barren, as I’ve picked up a few “actually needed it” items lately.

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First: new bell boots. The pretty navy blue fake leather Horze ones that I bought in Ocala in February died pretty quickly. At the previous barn we were riding in tall grass every day, and it just totally wore away the outer fabric and tore them to shreds. The exposed inner fabric grabbed onto every single burr and sticker, so after a while those boots basically turned into weapons. This time I opted for something a little heavier-duty and went with the LeMieux leather bell boots. I like how the leather ones look, and they can take a pretty good whack without ripping or tearing or coming off.

So far so good, they’re nicely made and rugged and seem like they’ll take some abuse. Definitely way nicer than the Horze ones. I’ve been using the LeMieux for about a month and they still look new.

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In the same order I picked up a “real” girth for Presto. His first girth was a very basic $15 ugly synthetic straight-cut type of thing, perfect for holding a saddle on but not much else. That one is getting a little small, and Presto is definitely shaped a little weird – like a horse that needs something anatomically shaped. Plus if I’m going to actually ride him a few times over the winter (even if it’s just 10mins of w/t) I’d like for him to have a comfortable girth. Kind of important. Henry’s are still a bit too big, so I scooped up a FlexRider anatomic girth on sale. It’s cheap, it’s shaped nicely to give elbow clearance, it’s got elastic, it’s got roller buckles and the lining is comfortable. What else do you need in a starter girth? I grabbed a 22″, which fits Presto great (for now), and he’s seemed happy in it the two times he’s worn it. I think it’ll serve our purposes just fine.

I already did a preliminary “preview” of the Premier Equine pads that I picked up for Princess Henry, but I just want to update and say that I really love these pads. The rubbing issues are gone, and Henry seems to really like them. I love how they sit on him, the cut is pretty perfect. I will definitely be picking up some white ones at some point to use as show pads. I do wish PE would make more color combos that aren’t quite so… uh… garish?

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I need someone to explain this to me

I dunno who I have to bribe to get a hunter green/natural or a hunter green/navy, but I’m willing to do that. Even a nice charcoal/navy would be really nice, and no one’s eyes would be bleeding. Although maybe I should be glad that I find most of the colors to be offensive, since it prevents me from buying tons of them.

The company really loves this teal/orange combination, tons of stuff comes in this combo. I have so many questions.

But anyway, thank goodness that they do have boring navy and boring white (and boring black, if for some strange reason you prefer that to navy, which I would find confusing but ok) for people like me. They really are super nice pads for the price, I continue to be super impressed. They do 20% off sales on different items every day, and these pads seem to come up at least once a week, so that makes them an even better deal.

On a similar note, while I was scrolling through RW getting links for this post, I happened upon these space boots.

Ok they’re ice/compression boots, but they look like space boots. In the coolest possible way. Like… NASA horse. I kind of love them, and I’m really intrigued by them considering that I’m in the market for just this exact type of thing. Anyone seen or tried these boots yet? I have always been a Majyk Equipe fan…

Emotional Support Horse

I’m barnsitting this week, and this time I brought Henry along to “camp” with me. A couple days after I wrap up this gig, I get on a plane to head to Europe, so I figured if I want to actually ride him at all before I leave, he needed to come with me. The property has a nice empty pasture in the front that has it’s own little barn, so I thought it would be perfect. Henry can go there and stay separated from the resident herd, and I can ride him in the evenings when I’m done with chores… easy peasy right?

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Off we go on a field trip!

Yeah no. Henry was great when we got there… he was chill, he met the other horses over the fence and seemed 100% disinterested. He sniffed noses with them, declared them to be idiots (as he does), and then walked away to go graze by himself, ignoring them completely. It was a relatively pleasant morning by Texas summer standards (like… only 90 degrees at 10am) so I left him out to graze for a few more hours before I brought everyone in for the afternoon. The herd of Trakehners went to their barn, and Henry went to his.

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As soon as I brought him in he decided that he did, in fact, love the other horses, and that he was, in fact, going to die of loneliness over there in the front barn by himself. He never really got frantic or upset, he just… stopped eating. Wouldn’t touch his hay, just stood there looking like clearly I had brought him here specifically for psychological torture. Even though 5 minutes before that, he didn’t even like the other horses. Details. I did get him to eat a flake of alfalfa, to make sure he wasn’t legit dying, but otherwise he just moped around like a real sad sack of horse, staring out the window. I figured he’d get over it. But no, all afternoon he just stood there, hay completely untouched.

I rode him that evening, taking him out to the back pasture for a hack. He was great, and didn’t care about being alone even though we had to pass the other horses to get there. Totally normal and happy Henry. He ate his dinner, I turned him out, and I figured he’d have it figured out by the next day.

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It’s a little dry here y’all.

Yeah no. We just had a repeat of the first, except this time with screaming. As soon as everybody went in their respective stalls, he just stood there refusing to eat. He even left a few scraps of his breakfast in his tub, which… if you know Henry, that’s relatively apocalyptic. This horse lives and breathes for meal times and never leaves food behind anywhere. Again, he wasn’t spinning or frantic, he was just very clearly unhappy about being segregated and his hunger strike was really worrying me. It’s super hot, the last thing I need is for him to stop eating and drinking. There aren’t anymore open stalls in the other barn, so I couldn’t move him over there, and I figured I was definitely asking for trouble if I moved one of those horses over to where he was. They’re a pretty established herd, so I thought that would have just ended with 6 frantic horses. Henry spent all day fretting over his life, I spent all day fretting over Henry… it was great.

Finally by late afternoon I couldn’t take it anymore, so I threw a hail mary and opted to bring in reinforcements. Yep… I went and got Presto.

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Field trip, round 2

And I’m not joking y’all, within 60 freaking seconds of me backing that baby horse down the ramp, Henry was digging into his hay like he was starving. Clearly his hunger strike worked and I played right into his clever plan by bringing his brother to him. The whole time I was driving to get Presto and driving back I was like “This is so ridiculous. What an idiot. I’m literally driving an hour and a half round trip to go pick up a fucking emotional support animal for my horse because he’s sad. Ilovehorses, Ilovehorses, Ilovehorses, Ilovehorses…”

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As long as Henry’s happy, right?

I have to give Presto major props here, too, because he was such a freaking good boy. I got to the barn, loaded him up alone, and he walked right into the trailer with a very happy “OH WOW THIS SEEMS REALLY FUN, WHERE WE GO?” attitude. He rode perfectly well with his face buried in his haynet, and backed very professionally off the trailer at the new place. He looked left, he looked right, and then rudely tried to drag me to the grass. I tossed him into the paddock in front of Henry’s stall, they tried to bite each other, and then Presto settled right down to grazing. The 2yo wins the good behavior gold star for the weekend. I can’t decide if I should be proud of that or embarrassed by it.

As soon as Presto showed up Henry went right back to his normal “I’m so cool I don’t like/need/want any friends” attitude. If Presto got anywhere near Henry’s stall he lunged at him. I don’t even have enough eyerolls in me for that horse. But I rode him again last night and he was good, and he cleaned up his dinner with gusto, and ate lots of hay. I turned them out in the big field at dusk and they ran off together bucking and farting like a couple of real morons.

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Presto supervising the ride

The moral of this story is that Henry is a rotten animal. I can’t believe he made me go get him his little brother. His 16.1h 2yo emotional support horse. And I can’t believe I DID IT. Who’s the real idiot here?

This one will do

I will forever believe that you have to be one part masochist and one part batshit in order to want to breed and raise your own horse. I feel like I can say this for certain, having done it more than once. I definitely wonder what’s wrong with me (the possibilities are endless) on a pretty regular basis. BUT, I also have to admit that watching a horse grow and develop – even if it feels like it’s happening at a glacial pace – is also really fun. Well, maybe less fun when they’re hideous, which is like 80% of the time. But when they hit those good phases, which are albeit short-lived, and you see glimpses of the horse they’re going to be when they’re mature… those moments are pretty great. You remember why you’re doing this.

Yep, this one will do

I think the first two years are the worst. You know what’s hideous? A weanling. You know what else is hideous? A yearling. There’s nothing quite so horrifying as when it looks like someone’s put their neck on upside down. The 2yo year is still not great, but I think the attractive phases start to last a bit longer at least. Especially as you get closer to 3 and further away from 2. Presto officially crossed the 2.5 mark a week ago, and he’s looking more and more like a real horse every day.

I had left him loose to graze in front of the turnouts and he kept eyeballing Tillie but wasn’t brave enough to go up and investigate until the barn owner came out to fill waters. Clearly humans can protect you from MooDemons. He thanked her for her bodyguard services by standing on the hose.

We’ve been on a mission to get him as attractive as possible before Championships. I mean, there’s nothing you can do about what phase of growth they decide to be in on the day, but you can make some effort to pretty them up a bit. Presto grows so much and so constantly that he can put away hay like nothing I’ve ever seen but still be the scrawniest horse on the farm. It’s like that 6′ tall teenage kid that eats an entire pizza every day for lunch and still weighs a buck ten soaking wet. So he’s been getting pretty much all the hay he can eat (which is a lot), and we started giving him some Amplify, which has actually succeeded in filling him out a little bit.

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Well, ok, not from this angle

I’ve also been ponying him again, and doing little bits of walk and trot up the little hill in the back pasture. He’s always been pretty balanced by nature, but like any horse he definitely does move and look better when he’s a bit stronger. But he’s also a baby, so I’m not willing to do any real “work” with him. We keep it fun and short and light, a couple days a week either ponying on the hill or lunging with lots of transitions for 15 or so minutes, and even just that little bit has been enough to add some topline and butt. If we had real hills and giant pastures here I probably wouldn’t have to do anything at all, but alas… Texas. Raising horses here is a bit different.

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stretching is his favorite
casual Presto
This horse’s transitions are already more balanced and uphill than my 12yo Prelim horse

I’m really pleased with how he handles heat, too. Having one horse that is an absolute puddle of sadness in the heat (poor Henry) has made me acutely aware of just how opposite Presto is. It takes a lot to make that horse hot, and he has no trouble “working” in the heat at all. He actually seems to like it. Which is good, considering where he lives.

At this 2.5yr mark I remain pretty pleased with how Presto is developing (aside from the fact that he’s 16.1h already, which I am choosing to ignore). His right front still turns out a little bit and he’s still got a small roach back, but both of those things have continued to improve over time and I don’t think either will ultimately matter. He’s not a 4* or 5* type of horse (thank god, I don’t need one of those) but from what I’m seeing so far I think there’s more than enough natural talent for what I could ever possibly want to do. He’s an athlete, for sure, certainly better designed for the job than Henry is. I’m so excited to start riding him a little bit next year and start peeling back more layers to figure out what else we’ve got. The ability is there… will the brain and the heart be there too? Time will tell.

Henry on high alert vs Presto on high alert. They’re the same height. Neck set makes a big difference.

I’m pretty freaking exciting that we’ve managed to secure an appointment at his sire’s farm in France while we’re over there in a couple weeks. I reaaaaally want to see Mighty Magic in person to see how he and Presto compare. Many props to my French friend (and Presto’s spirit animal) Mimi for helping us make all these farm appointments around the Normandy region. Between Burghley’s stallion parade and just day one of the France leg, we’ve already got lots of stallions to see, including but not limited to: Leprince des Bois, Grafenstolz, Jaguar Mail, Quite Easy, Future GravitasUlgar Mail, Namelus RCassitano, and Utrillo. I’ve even made plans to kidnap Mimi for the first day we’re in France so she can babysit come with us.

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his eyes at the cow LOL

Presto’s Championships entry will go in the mail next week, and then it’ll be a game of trying to keep him looking as nice as we can until the end of September. Hopefully that’s possible…

DIY interchangeable helmet pompoms

This will probably come as a surprise to precisely zero of you, but y’all had talked me into a pompom within like an hour of me posting about them last week. However, if there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that I have a real problem with commitment. So instead of buying a new cover with a pompom, or buying one pompom and sewing it onto my existing cover, I planned a way to make them interchangeable, and I marched right over to Etsy and bought five in various colors and sizes.

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Navy, dark green, yellow, rainbow, and a navy/white mix. Originally I had 7 in my cart, so give me a little credit?

Luckily Hillary had ordered the Shire’s Switch It helmet cover when she bought her new skull cap, so I was able to see what method they used for attachment. Changing out pompoms is apparently a popular thing with beanies, but I didn’t trust those attachment methods very much since most involved tying. That didn’t seem particularly stable. But the Switch It cover used metal snaps, which I thought was brilliant. They’re really stable, and easy to attach. So I popped over to Amazon and bought some black (because that’s closest to navy) metal 1″ snaps, which for some reason a pack of 20 was the same price as a pack of 5, so… sold.

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When I was researching pompoms and attachment methods, I did find several tutorials for making your own pompoms, if you’re into that. I am not, considering that I paid $4 per pom. It’s worth $4 to me to not have to deal with that part. Still though, it’s an option if you’re extra crafty. There are also plenty of other attachment methods out there if you don’t like snaps, I just thought this one was the easiest and most streamlined way to change the poms without having to remove the cover. Feel free to pick a different attachment method if you so choose.

$20 worth of pompoms and $5 worth of snaps later, I brought my helmet home, dug out my sewing kit, and planned my method of attack.

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First things first: figuring out which side of the snap I wanted to attach to the helmet cover and which side of the snap I wanted to attach to the poms. I used the helmet cover I already have, mostly because I really love it. I have vents in my skull cap that I like to keep open, so my cover has mesh along the middle to allow for better airflow. It’s also just the right shade of navy to match the rest of my navy, and any navy lover knows how crucial that is. Buying a new cover was not something I wanted to do. After playing around with each way to do the snaps, I decided that I wanted the “outie” of the snap on the helmet. That side sat more flush to the slightly curving surface of the helmet, which seemed to make it more stable, and it was easy to sew onto the mesh. The Switch It helmet cover has the snaps the opposite way, with the “outie” on the pom, but I don’t know that it actually matters… whichever way seems easiest or most stable to you.

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One side of the snap, sewn on the cover.

If you’re very anti-sewing, you could probably use a sturdy craft glue instead. I myself HATE sewing, my mother was really into it and forced me to learn as a kid. While I appreciate her effort to give me life skills, I have never liked it or found it remotely enjoyable. However, even I – someone who sucks at crafting and hates sewing – would say this project is stupid easy. If you can sew on a button, you can do this.

If you’re worried about what the snap looks like if you chose to go without a pom, it’s REALLY hard to see. From 10′ away it would look like a button. But if it really bothers you, you could easily sew some fabric on the top side of a snap and make a removable fabric “button” for when you go pom-less. I was originally going to do that, but the snap is so hard to see that I think it’s not worth my effort.

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I just don’t think anyone is going to notice the snap

Once you get one side of the snap on the cover, all that’s left to do is get the other side of the snap onto the poms. Please be smarter than me and figure out which side of the snap needs to face out on the pompom. I sewed mine on upside down TWICE and had to remove them and flip it over and sew again, cursing myself each time. (I told you I’m not good at crafting)

Pretty much any pom you buy will have strings or yarn on the bottom side. A lot of people use those strings for attaching them to beanies, but since I was sewing a snap onto the bottom, I just cut them off.

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you don’t need these

But the strings are useful to help you find the middle of the bottom, where you need to sew the snap. I put the snap directly over where the strings came out, so I knew I was in the right spot.

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Snap goes here

Once I got the snap situated, I grabbed my needle and thread and went to work. There’s nothing particularly tricky about sewing these on, just make sure that you’re going through the actual fabric of the pom and not just the fur. It’s easy to feel the difference as you’re sewing, since it’s harder to push the needle through the fabric. I also took care as I was pulling each stitch tight to make sure there wasn’t any fur trapped in the loop of the stitch. If there is, you can just comb through the fur with the needle and it’ll come out.

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not the prettiest sewing job but it’s really sturdy!

I only did about 5 stitches per hole of the snap and that was enough to get those suckers attached really well. I pulled on the snaps quite hard and they didn’t budge, so I figure that was sufficient. Feel free to do more than that, but have I mentioned how much I hate sewing? And who really cares how the sewing looks, its the bottom of the pom, so just get it on there tight and be done with it.

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The first two!

Once I got the learning curve down, sewing the snaps on went really fast. It was taking me about 6 minutes per pom. Really easy, y’all. Nothing to it. I loved this project, because it’s about as close to instant gratification as you can get.

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All total, if you started the clock when I was gathering all my supplies and kept it running all the way to the very end when I was taking pictures, I dedicated about an hour and half to this project. And that includes the two that I sewed on backwards the first time, and when I had to stop and chase down the cat to retrieve the navy pompom. So little time (and only about $25) invested, and now I have six possible “looks” for my helmet – no pom, rainbow pom,  navy and white pom, yellow pom, green pom, or navy pom. And uh… I might already be on etsy looking at a couple more. A girl can never have too many poms right?

The best part? THE VIDEO MONTAGE! LOOK AT THEM ALL!

Not saying this is the best DIY I’ve ever attempted, but… it totally is. So easy, and yet so gratifying. I have no regrets about my new snap-on pom life. Pom Club – I have arrived.

12 Tough Questions

Texas situational update: still effin hot. Ground still like concrete. It’s like living in a kiln, so basically… it’s a typical August in Texas. It’s a shitty time to be here. 0/10 I do not recommend. But anyway, things are boring. Well that’s not totally true, my pompoms will be here today and then things will be getting exciting for at least 10 minutes. But until then, we have blog hops to save us. This one is from a Canadian, Alberta Equest, who I am super jealous of right now because I highly doubt it’s 103 degrees there.

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Take that, Canada

Q1:  What hobbies do you have outside of riding?

I read a lot. Like… a lot. I’m already at around 70 books for the year. Thank god for Kindle Unlimited. When the weather isn’t scorching I like riding my bike, too, although usually I only have time for that on weekends.

 

Q2: What is your boarding situation?  Are you happy with it?

I currently board at my vet’s house! So yeah, been pretty happy with that. No boarding situation is ever perfect, but the care here is top-notch and that’s by far the most important thing. It’s also very convenient for vet-related things (perhaps a little too convenient, I’ve had a lot of vet bills in the last few months…). Our boarding situation will be changing again in the fall, which I’m also really excited about.

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Q3:  What’s on your horsey-related wish list?

How long have we got? I want a new breastplate for Henry. I’m really liking the Premier Equine merino wool pads that I bought him, so I want some in white for shows. Presto is dangerously close to outgrowing his bridle. My brown gloves are dying. I kinda want some Ice Vibes for Henry. Presto needs shipping boots. A Back on Track quarter sheet would be nice for winter, even if I can’t even fathom it right now.

 

Q4: What is your most expensive horsey-related item?

The trailer. Hands down. It was almost 10x as much as the horse.

 

Q5: What was the hardest horsey-related decision you’ve had to make lately?

In the spring, trying to figure out what to do when we got a month’s notice that our previous barn was closing. That was stressful to the max.

 

Q6:  What’s something you feel you can’t live without in your routine?

This time of year, Henry’s various array of skin care products. He is a walking mixture of allergies, fungus, and itching. I’ve also become creepily obsessed with his Neue Schule bit, I’m 100% certain they’re crafted at Hogwarts by wizards.

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Q7: What’s on your horsey-related calendar for the rest of the summer?

LOLZ. Survival. That’s all you can do with a Texas summer.

 

Q8:  What is one thing you would willingly change about your horse?

For Henry, I’d make him more uphill. Or just… less downhill. It makes things challenging. That or I’d roll back the clock and make him 7 again, instead of 12. It feels like time is ticking by way too fast. For Presto, it’s hard to say yet. At this point he looks exactly like what I bred for, but who knows what he will be like under saddle. I guess at this point I would say that I’d straighten his right front, which toes out slightly.

 

Q9:  What is something you most want to improve on with you and your horse?

Our showjumping. Surely I can figure that shit out, right? I mean geez, it’s kind of embarrassing that I’ve spent most of my life in h/j yet that’s our worst phase. I have proven that I’m capable of pulling myself together, just… not on a consistent basis.

 

Q10:  What has been your [current] horses most severe injury?

This question freaks me out and makes me want to knock on every wood surface nearby. Henry’s was his saucer fracture in 2016. Presto’s illnesses weren’t an “injury” per se, but still the worst thing I’ve ever experienced as a horse owner and I never want to repeat it or anything like it.

 

Q11:  What do you feel your biggest downfall is as a rider?

I’m definitely my own worst enemy, which I’ve been working on a lot. My mental game was very weak, which took a long time to realize, but it’s improving with a lot of effort. I think it’s going to be a constant ongoing continuous effort for me… changing how you’re wired is no small task, but having the right mindset is so crucial.

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Q12:  What feeds your motivation?

My love for the game, I suppose. I love the sport, I love how hard it is, and I love the “highs” even though they’re few and far between. I love the relationships that we forge with our horses, and how it really does feel like we’re in it together. But I think what I love most is the day in, day out work, the “brick by brick” process that it takes to get there. It’s hard work, it’s sweaty, it’s dirty… there’s nothing glamorous about any of that. Seeing improvement in my horses over time, though, and continuously trying to mold them into the best partner I’m capable of creating… it’s incredibly addicting and so rewarding for me. I’m more proud of my horses than anything else in my life. I want to be better and do better so that they can be better, too. They’re what drives me want to keep trying and learning and working.

Presto is Buddy the Elf

A few years ago there was a blog hop going around about “your horse as a character” – character being from tv or movies, or whatever. It was very clear to me then, and still is, that Henry is April Ludgate. But Presto didn’t exist yet when that made the rounds, and as I was ponying him yesterday, it hit me: Presto is Buddy the Elf. 100%. To a T.

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I made very brief mention of this before, in a post last fall where I said that Henry was the Walter to Presto’s Buddy.

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Presto
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Henry

But that was a passing mention and I never really thought about it further. For some reason yesterday it popped into my head again, out of the blue. I think it’s because Presto has such a sunny disposition towards literally everything. Everything is fun, every day is the best day ever, every horse he meets is his new bess frenn 5ever. He is completely undeterred by the grumpiness or seriousness of those around him, and while he’s a complete idiot, you can’t help but be amused by him. He’s also ADHD as hell, like he’s riding a sugar high 24 freaking 7. He is busybusybusybusybusy. As the barn owner said to me yesterday “He keeps me entertained, that’s for sure.”

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I told a couple people about the Buddy the Elf comparison via text, and we exchanged gifs until my abs hurt from laughing. There is nothing more suitable than the Presto = Buddy the Elf correlation. So I’m bringing back the “your horse as a character” post so Presto can participate.

How Presto greets anyone, horse or human:

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Telling everyone he meets all about himself, even though they never asked and don’t care and are usually walking away from him with their ears pinned as he’s saying this:

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Sitting in his stall during the heat of the day, planning his evening turnout:

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When he gets to turnout:

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10 minutes into turnout, when all the other horses have had enough of his shit.

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When he thinks the food lady is coming with dinner:

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When you tell him it’s not actually dinner time yet:

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Actual feeding time:

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Trying to graze, because his legs are too long for the rest of him:

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When Henry bites him:

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Lunging:

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When he gets in trouble for trying to lunge like that:

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When I tell him tack is not for eating, literally every day:

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After he spends all day tormenting the minis in the stall next to him:

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Every time he violates someone’s personal space (which is all the time):

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Trotting poles:

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Presto, to himself, all the time:

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When I tell him he doesn’t get treats because he’s too mouthy:

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Him giving me his daily brief every time I show up at the barn:

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Presto with literally ANYTHING HE FINDS ON THE GROUND:

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What I’m imagining it will be like when he finally goes into real work:

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And last but not least, Presto to everyone he meets:

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Except, beware… he gives hugs with his mouth.