Foal Friday: The full WTW Class of 2020

Since all the 2020 foals are finally here, the Foal Friday posts can now be all-inclusive! Right now they’re turned out in pairs – the two older ones Remi and Oakley, and the two younger ones Ollie and Ellie. As you can imagine, the latter pair is somewhat comical, with Ollie so little and Ellie so big. They’ve only been turned out together for a couple days and their dams are still being a bit overprotective, so they haven’t interacted much yet, but Ollie is a spitfire and Ellie is a gentle giant, so I think it’ll work out. So what have they all been up to this week?

When he’s not zooming around the pasture like he was born with a rocket booster implanted in his bum…

3weeksgallop

Ollie’s been spending some time climbing the round bale like it’s his own personal jungle gym.

3weeksjunglegym
I feel like Stormie’s face says “I’ve given up telling him to get down from there”

Right now he’s definitely the most boisterous and exuberant one. They all like to gallop and play of course, but Oakley and Remi have settled down a bit as they explore things like eating grass, and Ellie, while she’s unfolded a lot, still has a whole lot of leg to manage.

2weekslegs1
I mean look at these stilts
2weekslegs2
LOOK AT THEM

She manages them pretty well though, and remains super balanced, as she’s been from the very beginning.

2weekscanter

She’s been doing some running and bucking herself, but isn’t quite as zoomie as little pocket rocket Ollie.

2weekskick
showing that round bale who’s boss (this round bale takes a lot of abuse for some reason)

As I mentioned, Ellie and Ollie just recently got turned out together, so while they aren’t quite interacting yet, they’re getting pretty darn close. They’re definitely curious about each other, and with foals it usually never takes long for them to start playing once the curiosity wins out.

2weeksolliestalk

The mares just aren’t quite having it yet, both still a little overprotective and territorial. They’ll relax and give up on trying to keep the babies apart soon, and I bet by next week we’ll have some pics of Ellie and Ollie playing. I kind of can’t wait to see that.

2weekssasdie
Mare 1 – not having it yet
3weekstrot
Mare 2 – packing up her baby and exiting stage left

As for Remi and Oakley, they’ve had an exciting week too. Well, mostly Oakley. It’s been very hot here in Texas (triple digits) and Oakley had a super thick fuzzy coat, so she was sweating to death. Remi and Oakley are both starting their foal shed, but still mostly just on their faces/legs, so Michelle took pity on Oakley and clipped her a bit. Not only is she much happier, we can get a really good look at her color and the dun markings that were under all that fuzz!

clipped

I think she’s going to be one of those bay duns that remains pretty light, more buckskin looking, and her leg bars/dorsal stripe/black-tipped ears are quite a strong contrast. Her head and legs remain unclipped (this was a clip job for practicality, not for beauty) but they’re shedding out nice and dark. She’s going to be a pretty color.

Oakley has also caught up a bit closer to Remi in size, their butts are only about a hand different in height at the moment. If I was a gambling woman I’d say she’s going to end closer to the 15.2 end of the spectrum, but we’ll see.

Remifriends3

Remifriends2
wuv you, Oakwee

Remifriends

As you can see, she still very much owns Remi. He is 110% obsessed with her and she’s got more of the Regina George “why are you so obsessed with me?” response. Remi is still a complete super model, but Oakley doesn’t seem wooed by his good looks and charm.

supermodel

These two both lead really well and have good manners, and of course Oakley now bathes and body clips too. They’re well on their way to being solid baby citizens.

While the babies will remain in their paired groups for a while, they do share a fence line and have gotten themselves acquainted over the fence a little bit.

RemiOlliefence
The biggest with the littlest 

As their personalities and herd dynamics continue to evolve, there’s one thing for sure: they’re all still ridiculously cute.

2months

3weeksstormie

2monthsfencelook

2weeksface
tell me she doesn’t have the sweetest, kindest eyes

Happy Friday, everyone! Who’s your favorite foal from the 2020 class?

Chasing My Tail

Small update to the situation I posted about on Tuesday about theHORSElet/UPS shipping fee drama. UPS finally got back to me and just kind of threw up their hands and told me I was on my own. They said that clearly I had already paid the seller for shipping, they could see that from my receipts, but since no one had paid UPS for shipping yet, they couldn’t (read: wouldn’t) help me. They said I would need to get in contact with the seller and try to have them work it out on their end. That’s about the level of helpfulness I expected from UPS, and the fact that it took 3 days and 6 different people to end up being a completely useless waste of time in the end is also no surprise.

Ups delivery packages GIF - Find on GIFER
No. No you cannot.

I did finally get ahold of the seller though. Emailing PSoS directly seemed to do the trick – they answered me, and then a few hours later I finally got a response from theHORSElet (on my Instagram DM that I had sent the day before, not to the email I sent via their website 4 days before). They apologized and said they would fix it, and they had already been in contact with UPS to get everything straightened out. That was Tuesday.

In the meantime, my package arrived. Or tried to arrive, anyway. I did not accept delivery, because by signing for the package I could end up getting stuck with those charges. They tried again to deliver it yesterday, but the fees were still showing on my account, so again I didn’t accept delivery. It was then marked as “final attempt” so I had no choice but to have the package rerouted to the only store option it gave me (which is about 25 minutes away and I pass approximately 9,025 other UPS stores to get there). They will only hold it through next Tuesday before they return it to the sender.

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As of this morning the charges are still showing on my account, so now it’s a stand-off. Will the charges be cleared before the package gets booted back to Sweden? It’s anyone’s guess. I’ve kept in contact with a few other people that ordered around the same time I did and also had this happen, and their charges have yet to be removed either. I know from prior experience that UPS red tape tends to move at a freaking glacial pace. I did email the rep I’d been in contact with before to ask if he could at least confirm that there was a case ongoing about this, but surprise – crickets.

So that disaster is unfolding however it will, I suppose. I appreciate that PSoS/theHORSElet finally got back to me and says that they’re trying to make it right, and it does seem like a genuine mistake. I will remain wary until it’s actually fixed though, because we’re definitely nowhere near that point yet. If it ends up booted back to Sweden… lord only knows wtf will happen then.

Since apparently that wasn’t enough, I also decided to frustrate myself even further this week by scouring all of Texas for those big plastic corner feeders.

CF-40: Corner Feeder, 40" – High Country Plastics
like this

I think I’ve called at least two dozen stores and emailed/messaged another dozen. You can order the feeders online but the freight almost doubles the cost, so I was trying to find a store within a couple hours of me that carries them. I found places that USED to carry them. I found places that normally carry them but sold out and have no idea when they’ll have more and would not let me pre-order/get on a wait list. I found a bunch of farm supply store workers who didn’t understand wtf I was asking about and kept trying to suggest a metal cattle feeder. And I found a bunch of places that carry them according to the manufacturer but in actuality definitely DO NOT carry them. I just know there has to be some random little feed store in the middle of podunk nowhere that has these, but so far I just can’t find them. For now I’ve given up, though. I’ve had all the frustration I can take for one week. I spent a ton of time chasing my tail on all this stuff with nothing to show for it yet.

But the good news is that I have a 4 day weekend coming up, and tomorrow is Foal Friday, and Riding Warehouse is having a Memorial Day sale! Well ok I’m not really sure if that last one is good news or dangerous news, but seems like a good time to stock up on fly spray and such (this is always how it starts, me just “stocking up” on something…).

Hopefully this weekend I’ll be able to get Henry over to the giant property across the street so he can go for a gallop (please lord, let us be able to go gallop, I’m getting tired of finding myself at the rodeo every day even if I do keep winning the bronc riding) and get Presto out for another little hack. The forecast starts looking pretty crap on Sunday though, because clearly the 6″ of rain we got last week wasn’t enough. Sigh.

Why do you horse show?

With USEF releasing their new horse show covid guidelines, there has been a bit of a stir across the interwebs. Some people seem ready and willing to get back to horse showing no matter how different it looks, but other people don’t want to participate until the guidelines are able to be loosened.

AECdressageprep

I admit that when it comes to the latter group at first I was kinda like “damn, y’all have spent months whining about not horse showing, and now you’re whining about not wanting to have to horse show like that“. But as I read their explanations a bit more and understood where they were coming from, their reasons made more sense.

To me, horse showing is not a social experience. I mean… it is, by it’s very nature, being a large gathering of like-minded people, but it’s not the reason why I horse show. I tend to be the reclusive one that disappears somewhere by myself for hours and rarely goes to a competitor party. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing all my friends (except Bobby, he’s a loser) but it’s not what draws me the most. For me, the biggest perk of horse shows is being able to spend focused one-on-one time alone with my horse, taking care of him myself, doing what we love to do, while enjoying time in our little bubble away from the real world. My favorite non-riding part of showing is getting up early and having some quiet time in the barn or hand-walking my horse in the quiet calm before the storm. None of the new covid restrictions would change that.

But not everyone is like me, obviously. There are a lot of people that really really love the social aspect of horse shows. Spending time with their friends, going to the parties, talking about horses 24/7, having their family come watch, etc. I am not a social person so that’s not me, but can still totally understand it. Especially those who don’t get a lot of “horse time” or “horse friend time” in their regular day to day lives. For them these new covid restrictions, while absolutely 110% valid and necessary and the right thing to do given what’s going on in the world right now, put a big damper on all the things they love so much about showing, so they’re opting to stay sidelined until things relax a bit.

MeHennyPH

There isn’t actually choice here for me to make anyway, about whether or not I want to start showing again. It’s summer now, already nearing triple digit temps in Texas, and my heat intolerant horse is unlikely to do much of anything until fall. Maybe a very local jumper show or a day trip for XC schooling, but definitely not any real horse showing. Our season was done before it started when he bruised his foot so badly in November, so this really isn’t even a debate for me personally. Seeing both sides of the fence though, I can see a lot of different reasons why someone would or wouldn’t want to get back to it – health reasons, economic reasons, social reasons, horse-specific reasons, you name it. It’s a strange new sea we’re living in, and not everyone is in the same boat.

I admit that I’m a little surprised USEA still says AEC (Championships) are a “go” for August in Kentucky, though. That seems like a Bad Idea to me for myriad reasons, but I sure won’t be judging anyone who wants to go as long as USEA is willing to make it available. Again, it’s not even on the table for me anyway due to the whole “August in Kentucky” part so it’s easy for me to not feel tempted.

I’m curious though, now that I’ve spent some time way overthinking all of this: why do you horse show? What are those little moments that keep you coming back for more? Are you eager to get back out there no matter what kind of covid restrictions are in place, or are you going to wait until things ease up a bit?

Shipping Drama

Considering how many things I order from overseas, I’ve had surprisingly few issues over the years. The odd thing stuck in customs forever, but nothing too crazy or dramatic. Guess my time was due.

I mentioned last week how I ordered a quarter sheet from PS of Sweden’s new outlet site, theHORSElet. I paid for it, including shipping charges, and two days later I got a shipping confirmation. All was going normally. And then, the next day, I get an email from UPS saying I owe $263 in import charges.

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So off I go to investigate. First – was the email legit? I logged into my UPS account on their website and yep, there it was, a notice about owing import fees on the Sweden package. I have had to pay import fees here and there on some things I’ve ordered from overseas, so ok sure, but the rate is generally 9-20% of the value. $263 was… waaaaay off. Like, closer to 500%. So then I pulled up the UPS invoice itself to take a closer look. Turns out that actually none of that charge was import fees or duty fees or taxes – it was all freight charges.

At work my department is under the same organizational umbrella as Shipping, and indeed my best work friend was the head of Shipping for almost 10 years. And we use UPS, including for international shipping. I sent the invoice to him and he immediately said “They forgot to check the box”. On international shipping paperwork there’s a box where the shipper designates responsibility for the UPS shipping/export charges. If they don’t check that, then all the freight gets charged to the recipient. He told me that if I had already paid theHORSElet/PSoS for shipping as part of my purchase, I could dispute it.

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So I started calling UPS. Five transfers later (including one VERY FREAKIN RUDE lady) I finally got assigned a case rep, who seemed very confused about the whole situation. I told him that I had already paid the company for shipping, and it looked like they messed up their paperwork. He asked me to send him any invoices/receipts I had from the purchase and he would look into it and call me back. That was Friday morning.

I had also emailed theHORSElet to let them know of the mistake. At this point I am still willing to assume it’s a mistake, anyway. I got an auto-response from PSoS saying they would get back to me ASAP, and since it was Friday I was fine to wait until Monday.

Yesterday came and went with nothing from them. I could see both of their accounts active on Instagram, so I contacted them there as well, telling them the whole situation, what was happening, and saying I had sent them an email about it but not heard anything back. While I was waiting for a response I heard from someone else who also ordered from them last week and ALSO got a big invoice from UPS. It looks like my issue was not unique. I know that last week was the first time theHORSElet offered international shipping, so I’m still inclined to believe this is a mistake made by their shipping department on the paperwork. However, it clearly wasn’t an isolated incident. They need to fix this.

Doctors We Can Fix It GIF by New Amsterdam - Find & Share on GIPHY

They messaged me back on Insta, but only addressing the part where I said I had emailed and not gotten a response – they just asked me when I emailed them. That’s now as far as we’ve gotten. Hopefully they will actually be helpful in getting this resolved. If they aren’t, I definitely will not be happy.

I also have another email in to the UPS rep, asking for an update. This is a mess, start to finish. There is some added complication in that the receipt I have is of course from theHORSElet, but they shipped it under their PSoS company name. That could cause some problems when it comes to proving that I’ve already paid them a shipping fee.

We’ll see what happens. For now I would definitely recommend holding off on ordering anything from theHORSElet (or honestly even PSoS) since my situation does not appear to have been a one-off. Hopefully we can get it cleared up quickly and they can fix whatever happened in their shipping process. I’ll update once I get some resolution!

Exploring

I feel like this year so far has been one big Adjusting To Change exercise. Learning the new normal, and then learning the new new normal, and then learning the new new new normal, which just keeps evolving. Really kind of brings home the Heraclitus quote “The only thing that is constant is change”.

img_4743.jpg
his commitment to side eye never changes, though

Working from home from my actual home is definitely a different ball game than working from home from the farm. I’ve changed the structure of my day, although every day looks a bit different depending on what’s going on. It’s not as easy to duck outside for an hour and go ride Henry before it gets hot… now “ducking outside to ride” is a minimum 3-hour thing. I am lucky to have some flexibility though, and indeed my day is actually most productive when I break it into two parts. Sometimes I have a day packed with meetings that makes it more challenging to unshackle myself from my laptop, and it doesn’t give me a whole lot of time at the barn during the week. But in this particular era where everything is temporary, I’m just taking it day by day and making it work as best I can.

Because of that, I don’t really have time for both horses on weekdays. I have to pick one or the other, and of course Henry has priority. This is always the time of year that I dread the most with him, heading into summer, because of his struggle with the heat. I’m trying to get him ridden as consistently as I can before I start having to back off. Despite being a bit of a chonk he does feel really good right now. Maybe a little too good. The sass level is high. Later this week I’m going to try to get him over to the giant field across the street so he can gallop, because he definitely feels like he needs to blow off some steam.

the face of a horse who spooked at 3 different dressage letters in one ride

Presto, on the other hand, has been shelved for the past few weeks. After I bonked my head I thought it was probably a bad idea to ride the baby horse for a little while. Although now that I think about it, Presto is generally the far less spooky one. Hmmm.

But anyway, now I’m healed up and I finally had time for both horses yesterday, so Presto was called back into duty. And how was he after 3 weeks of doing absolutely nothing? Clearly he was quite feral.

Thank god for that shimmable Mattes pad, I am constantly moving shims around right now with how fast he’s changing

Yeah no just kidding he was super quiet. It was as if not a single day has gone by since his last ride, everything was retained and there was no silly behavior. That’s the longest he’s gone between rides since I started him, so I was curious to see if he would backtrack a little or not, but nope. This was ride #9 and I continue to be fairly pleased with how he’s going despite our slow progression. He’s had as many rides in 2 1/2 months as most have in their first 2 1/2 weeks, but our atypical program seems to be working just fine for us.

I always put Presto on the lunge line for a few minutes before I mount up, just to get him focused. We do a lot of transitions to get his brain into “it’s work time, pay attention to me” mode. It also gives me an idea of where his head is at. Sometimes the upward transitions come with sass, other times you can’t even get the whole word “whoa” out before he’s stopped dead. Yesterday was the latter. After a grand total of 3 minutes lunging, I got on.

crazy baby horse on the loose

I did notice on the lunge line that he’s a bit unbalanced in the canter at the moment. He’s definitely growing, as you can see in his picture, and the canter quality and balance tend to come and go during these spurts. Because of that I decided not to ask him to canter this ride, so we just rode around the ring for a few minutes, walking and trotting and doing some circles and figure 8’s and transitions. Then I figured… he’s being so quiet, lets go out to the field.

He perked up a little bit out there, but was still a good boy. After we walked for a little while I decided to see how he felt about trotting out in the open, and it was very anti-climactic. We trotted a lap of the field, I told him he was amazing, and we quit with that.

much perkier ears

I think he’s ready to start riding out in the fields more now. That was my whole goal for the spring – getting him “broke” enough to be able to hack and trail ride this summer, and I think he’s pretty much there. Or at least ready to start small and work our way up. Obviously with 9 rides he isn’t a super quiet broke reliable horse but he’s got an excellent whoa and he’s not particularly spooky or anything, so at this point I feel pretty comfortable riding him out.

We’re still waiting for his tongue-relief bits to arrive (there was Bombers back-order, they’re supposed to ship this week) but Presto seems content enough on a loose rein in the Myler for now. Knowing horses, I will be shocked if he actually likes the fancy expensive bits that I spent hours discussing and agonizing over, because they’re turds and nothing can ever be that easy.  But we’ll see. I have a long weekend coming up so I’m hoping we can do some more exploring.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend!

Foal Friday and Baby Bets Contest Winner

Since Ellie is the last WTW foal of 2020 I figured she could get this edition of Foal Friday all to herself before we get back to including all the babies. Plus I have like a bazillion pics of her from this first week, and it’s hard for me to pare them down because I am admittedly biased towards Presto’s little sister and her beautiful dam.

Day5withsadie

But first and foremost – the Baby Bets contest winner. This one was a nail-biter right up until the very end. Austen came out swinging, being the only person to guess Remi pretty accurately. That was impressive, because nobody else saw a chromey chestnut colt coming, that’s for sure. Getting the date right was what sealed the deal for her there with the early lead. But then Madelyn guessed Ollie pretty close to spot-on, tying things up. It all came down to Ellie, and even that didn’t break the tie because they both guessed bay filly. For the second year in a row Michelle had to pick a name from a hat, and the winner is Austen! We will start getting your prizes together and be in contact with you shortly. Thank you to everyone who participated, I always think it’s really fun to see who guesses what.

Ok, back to Ellie.

Day2face
her sleepy eyes, I cannot.

Day2canter

Day2neck

It took her a few days to really figure out those crazy long spider legs. As you can see she’s still in the process of unfolding, but she’s managing herself pretty well, getting more and more sure of her stilts by the day.

Day5whee

She’s brave and curious, not scared of things but always wanting to figure them out. That sounds pretty typical of Sadie and her foals. The first day she was turned out in the paddock with the poles Sadie took her over there to let her sniff it and take a look, then made slow deliberate circles over the pole with her, leading the way and showing her how it was done. I told Michelle she owes Sadie a bonus for her training services.

Day5jump1
kid can jump!
Day5jump2
no touchy!

Every time I see Sadie with one of her foals I remember how awesome it is to have a mare that really “mothers” their foals like this, teaching them things calmly and clearly. She’s so intelligent and deliberate about it. Not all mares are like that.

Day5standsadie
my girl with her girl ❤

Day2Sadie3

Both Sadie and Ellie have continued to do well over this first week. Those couple days around the birth might have worried us a bit, but luckily everything has been good. Ellie got plasma as a precaution, and while some foals are a bit backed off from humans after that (running a bag of plasma requires an IV catheter, time, and restraining the foal to keep them still while it runs, so it’s not particularly pleasant) it didn’t seem to phase Ellie at all. She was still just as friendly and kind afterwards as she was before. Sounds like someone else we all know.

Day5confo

As she’s figured out her legs she’s gotten more and more playful, galloping around, leaping over the pole, and even managing some fairly impressive bucking.

Day5alien
those damn aliens, always trying to abduct you when you’re in the middle of something
Day5buck
irrefutable proof that she is indeed a filly
Day5comininhot
COMIN IN HOT

It also looks like she has a registered name now too, although I’m not sure if the spelling/format has been finalized yet, it has been the center of much debate. It’ll either be O’Tembo or Otembo. Tembo is swahili for elephant and O’ kind of combines the english “of” with the swahili “elephant”. Otembo is a creek/wildlife area in the Congo right in the heart of African forest elephant territory. Although just for fun, go google translate “O tembo” from Swahili. Spaces and capitalization change the meaning, and it kind of had me rolling. But anyway, whichever one it ends up being, I think it’s a pretty word, and unique, and kind of makes for a good story. (Also this did lead to me googling the Swahili word for giraffe so I can use it on Presto)

Day5canter

It was a great foaling season for WTW and I’m excited to see how these four kids continue to grow and interact. For those who have asked, Ellie and Remi are sold (to the same person, so maybe we will get to see a continuation of their adventures over time!) but Oakley and Ollie are still available. You can message the WTW facebook page if you’re interested!

Out of curiousity, how long do you guys want me to keep doing Foal Friday? I figured the world needed some weekly cuteness this spring in particular, but how long do you want me to keep it going?

Home Again

The barn owners made it back safely from Florida on Sunday, so I am officially living back at home in the city. It’s necessary of course, but I’m suffering a little bit from horse withdrawal this week. Although the farm is a lot of work, there is so much to be said for having your day bookended by horses. First thing in the morning, feed the horses. Last thing before bed, check on the horses. I am still a pony-loving kid on the inside, so I thought it was awesome.

sneaking outside between Skype meetings to fill the water trough and give Henry an Oatmeal Cream Pie? Don’t mind if I do.

But, everything already got pushed back a month thanks to covid, so it’s time to get the ball rolling again. The SO started his new job on Monday THANK GOODNESS, so the timing was pretty perfect on that. He’s a mechanic at a luxury dealership (Bentley, Maserati, Lotus, Rolls Royce, and Aston Martin – and apparently they get paid more hourly for working on the Maserati’s for some reason? who knew.) pretty close by. He was originally a mechanic by trade but got burnt out on the business a while ago and went a different route. He was hesitant to go back, but the money is good and so far he seems to like this particular dealership. It definitely looks and feels like a high end shop, and they prefer quality of work vs just pushing things through as fast as possible. Plus it’s naturally a solo job, they all have their own tools, are spread out, and they’re cleaning things/wearing masks and gloves, so his risk of exposure is quite low.

I’m still working from home for as long as my company will possibly let me… I know they plan to start bringing certain groups/people back in starting June 1 but I don’t know yet where I’ll fall within that plan. I’m thinking of trying to see if they’ll let me work from home at least a couple days a week permanently. My company has been very against that in the past, but I think we’ve proven it’s totally do-able. Productivity has actually increased, if you look at the metrics. We’ll see. It would make things a lot easier for me, especially in the summer when it’s too hot to ride in the afternoon.

Someone who is not interested in making things easier for me

I did miss Grem though. I hadn’t really realized how much I love that cat until now. And the corgi, of course, who is really starting to struggle with his DM (I don’t think I ever talked about that, but yeah he’s got DM). I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be with us, so it’s nice to get more time with him now. Plus there’s also a new cat in the house since I was last living here, the black cat that SO got during Black Friday. I’m a total stranger to him, but he seems to be warming up to me.

Naturally, as Texas likes to do in the spring, it rained absolute buckets on Tuesday. Like 5″. With some tornadoes peppered in for good measure. One passed pretty close to the farm but luckily no damage was done, just lots and lots and lots of rain. And there’s supposed to be more rain coming this weekend. Figures, since I’m now pretty much recovered from my tumble and ready to get back to my regular riding schedule. Presto is going on 3 weeks now since his last ride and his Pest level has been steadily increasing along with his boredom. He needs to get back to his “job”. And Henry is looking an awful lot like the retired broodmare, physique wise. His dad bod is legit.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve discovered just how much he loves Oatmeal Cream Pies and now cannot stop supplying them because food = love

Which is mostly fine I guess. Yes USEF/USEA is starting horse shows again on June 1 but that’s not happening for me. The summer is way too hot for Henry, and at this point we haven’t shown since last July anyway. Plus I’m just… not convinced that starting horse shows again is the right move just yet. The smaller one day shows where everyone can work out of their trailer? Yeah, sure, that’s doable. But multi-day horse shows with shared bathrooms and stabling and travel and hotels and restaurants? I don’t think that’s a good idea yet. Especially not in places that are starting to see a rise in covid cases again (which is a lot of places right now). If some very local shows happen I’m not opposed to taking Presto for the day, but otherwise I just can’t see us doing anything until at least the fall. And I’m totally fine with that. It just needs to not rain buckets so I can get more rides on that punkass baby horse.

Speaking of which, since we have had a big gap in his schedule, I decided to forego Presto’s training vlog this month and do a combined April/May edition at the beginning of next month. The idea of making the vlog was too much for my concussed head at the beginning of this month, and honestly there wasn’t a ton to cover anyway. Hopefully we can get a little bit done in the second half of this month and be a little more interesting.

Today I’ll finish tallying up the results of the Baby Bets contest to publish with tomorrow’s Foal Friday post! May the odds be ever in your favor.

Necessities-ish

Since I went timbeerrrr out of the tack room and broke my helmet a couple weeks ago, it obviously meant that I needed a replacement. The one I broke was the navy Traumavoid, and they do have a replacement policy, but due to the age of the helmet it would have only been 25% discount. Plus I would have had to send the helmet in, which adds some cost. I was willing to do that, but first I wanted to see what other MIPS options were out there, especially with all the sales and discounts happening right now. When I bought the Traumavoid it was the only MIPS helmet on the market, so it was an easy choice. Now there are many.

Hello MIPS

The one that had really caught my eye was the Charles Owen My PS. Charles Owen and Champion are my two favorite, most trusted helmet brands (I have the Champion SNELL skull cap for XC), so trying the new MIPS options from those two was my first preference. I liked that the My PS had a slightly wider, lower brim… since I was looking to replace my “daily driver” helmet, having a little more sun protection for summer was appealing. The My PS does come in an even bigger, wider brim version too, which was admittedly a bit much for me (it’s massive). I wanted just a little extra, not A LOT. It also comes in navy, which is important. I had a 15% off code for Riding Warehouse which made it about the same as what I would have spent on the Traumavoid, so I decided to bite the bullet and try the CO. Worst case scenario it didn’t fit, and RW has free returns so if it didn’t work out I could just send it back and go to plan B – the Traumavoid replacement.

I like the darker navy with lighter navy stripes. Technically it could match different navy shades!

But, yay, it does fit, and it’s pretty comfortable. I haven’t had a non-skull cap Charles Owen in quite a while (maybe since my AYR8 10+ years ago?) and I’m impressed with some of the improvements. My biggest complaint about them for years was the non-removeable liners, so it’s great to see them adopt that. I wouldn’t have bought the helmet without it, because Texas = head sweat. The navy is a pretty shade too, nice and dark and not too purpley (my only complaint about the Traumavoid smooth navy was the slightly purpley shade – it didn’t match my other navy stuff very well).

I also got one of the new Equetech XC shirts that Riding Warehouse is carrying now. I got to provide input on which shirt colors/patterns they should stock, and was happy to see some of my ideas in their inventory line-up. They’re a nice relatively lightweight athletic type shirt, I can see myself wearing it a lot. The XC shirts are meant to go under a vest of course, hence the sleeve patterns, but I think they’re cute on their own too. Free round of applause for anyone who can guess which color/pattern I got. 😉

There have been a few other acquisitions lately, most by necessity. I pre-ordered a couple more face masks from Dreamers and Schemers.

fbombmask
I felt like this pretty accurately summed things up

And honestly it looks like face masks are going to be a part of life for a while. They are not a requirement here, but it’s such an easy and simple way to help do your part that I’ll be wearing one in public for the forseeable future. And my company is going to require them once we start coming back into the office, so I’d like to be able to stash some in different places (car, work, purse, etc), plus have extras to rotate through so I can wash them and never be without. If I can buy them from an equestrian small business, even better.

I also spent several days going back and forth on what bit to try next for Presto. From all my experimenting I’m relatively convinced that he doesn’t like tongue pressure, and after talking to reps from Bombers, Neue Schule, and an online bit store, they all agreed based on the description and video. I think part of it is that he’s a fussy mouthed baby who hasn’t figured it out yet, but I also think there’s some discomfort there too. Trying to put his tongue over the bit is a classic tongue pressure evasion. Maybe I’m wrong and I bought him two bits for nothing, but I’d rather explore every avenue than just plow through and tell him to get over it. Having a horse be comfortable and happy in the mouth is obviously really important. I found a UK shop that has really good prices, so I got him a Bombers Happy Tongue and a Trust Innosense. Both have tongue relief but otherwise are quite a bit different, so hopefully he’ll like one of them. Naturally the Bombers is backordered for like ever, because ‘rona.

See the source image See the source image

Speaking of ‘rona problems, remember my Hufglocken Mattes pad that was in shipping purgatory? I ordered it forever ago (December? January?) for Presto and it shipped from Hufglocken’s location in Australia on March 25. It had been sitting at the airport in Sydney waiting to catch a flight since March 31. That’s how backed up stuff is! It finally got a flight on May 7th, after over 5 weeks sitting there at the airport waiting. Totally bonkers. Now it’s sitting in LA waiting to clear customs. We’ll see how long that takes. I’m glad I ordered it well before I could ever possibly need it.

I also did order one slightly less necessary thing… I dunno if anyone has seen The HORSElet yet, but it’s basically an outlet site for PS of Sweden. Mostly it’s past season colors for saddle pads, clothes, polos, etc, and that’s not really my thing so I’ve barely looked at the site, but for some reason yesterday I clicked on the New button. Remember the big deal with me trying to find just the right quarter sheet last fall? I ended up not getting anything, because I couldn’t find what I wanted in my price range, and then Henry ended up hurting himself anyway. But then voila, yesterday I saw the PS of Sweden quarter sheet (which had been one of the top 3 on my list originally) at 60% off. Only $58! I nabbed one for next season, because I doubt I’ll find the style I like for that cheap again anytime soon. We’ll see how long it takes to get here, with the ‘rona. Luckily I won’t need it for like… 6 months anyway. 

On This Day

May 12th has been a relatively historic day for me, full of little landmark moments. Like 13 years ago, when Sadie was born.

sadiebaby

A lot of things have changed in my world because of her, in ways I never could have predicted. Not just because I ended up here with one of her foals, but also because of the connections I’ve made and the things I’ve learned along the way. Horses have a way of doing that, I’ve noticed. Absolutely nothing went according to my plan, but I think everything went the way it was supposed to.

Six years ago today, I started this blog. And this has been TRULY unexpected. My plan starting out was to try to post something every other day and see if I could maintain it for at least a few months. I had zero intention of it becoming an actual thing, much less a 5-days-a-week-for-six-years thing that has come to mean a lot to me. And again, this blog has led to so many other things and people and opportunities that were completely unforeseen.

soyouthink
getting articles published in actual magazines def would not have happened without blogging

I’ve made a lot of friends (indeed one of my closest friends Hillary is someone I met completely through blogging) and gotten to do some cool things. Granted, I’ve also gotten myself into a little trouble here and there along the way too, but hey what’s life without a little controversy? Sometimes blogging feels like work but the vast majority of the time it still feels like a fun creative outlet, so… guess I’ll keep going.

Two years ago today Presto went to his first horse show. Remember his in-hand trail debut? It was adorbs. Look how little he was.

I’d only had him home for a little over a month at that point, so it was a real test of what kind of horse I had in his most raw form. Some of those things were a little weird to him but he was smart and willing (and maybe a little cheeky), which has held pretty true as he’s gotten older too.

And then one year ago today was the very first time my butt graced Presto’s back. It was his first time wearing a western saddle and after a little bit of groundwork we did a mounting block lesson. As I was leaning across him I figured “ah, what the heck” and just swung a leg over.

PrestoRide1

We did nothing but stand there, and only for a few minutes, but still it was the moment when I got to be the first one to ever sit on him, and that’s pretty cool. Now a year later he’s 8 rides into his training and starting to look more like a real horse.

I’m not sure that any landmark moments will happen this year (it’s supposed to rain today – boo) but I guess we’ll see. Either way – happy Birthday Sadie! You were the beginning of the May 12th landmark moments.

Presto has a sister!

Ok, first of all:

  1. I have verified with my own eyeballs that there are indeed two holes under the tail, so yes for real this time, it’s a filly for sure.
  2. Technically she’s Presto’s half sister since they have different sires (although both sires have Heraldik as a grandsire so they’re a little more than half-related if you’re really into math)
Day1pompom
her lil’ pom-pom forelock tho

Sadie has been looking like she was going to pop for days. This is her fourth foal, and she’s been pretty textbook with her labor/foaling patterns with the previous three, so when things just seemed to drag on and on and on with this one, we started to get a little concerned. She was restless and pacing and clearly uncomfortable for all of Friday (to the point where it looked like she could lay down and pop it out and any second) and Saturday. Her milk test said “any minute now” on Thursday, and we were all a little bit on edge at how long she was taking when there was still no baby by Saturday morning. Usually once her milk is to that stage she foals within 24 hours. But time just kept dragging on, and she just kept looking more and more uncomfortable. Michelle prepared for the possibility of a red bag/dummy foal, with all sorts of supplies on hand including an oxygen tank, and someone was watching Sadie every second.

But finally, finaaaallly just before midnight on Saturday she laid down and started pushing. Michelle said Sadie seemed surprised at how hard she had to push… she kept looking back like “seriously, it’s not out yet???”. Her others have been pretty easy. This one, not so much. And why might that be?

Because she’s a baby elephant! Seriously this kid is freaking massive for a newborn.

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Michelle for scale

Luckily there was no red bag, and aside from requiring more pushing than usual, everything was ok. Baby was in good shape, no special care required. She was in such good shape, in fact, that she was born at 11:45 and was on her feet completely unassisted at 11:57. Super fast, especially considering she’s a monster.

Day1snuggle

Day1standing
Sadie is 17h and leggy, for reference. How did she even fit in there?

Sadie has definitely been feeling the after effects of such a big baby. So far nothing major, just some lingering pain, so she’s had some banamine. Her milk production was a little bit slow at first, so baby got some plasma yesterday too just as a precaution. Hopefully if all continues to go well they’ll be able to get turned out a little bit today.

Day1nap

Completely unbeknownst to each other Michelle and I had both independently been referring to her as Ellie (as in Ellie-phant). Upper level event rider Alex Green bought both her and Remi, and she seems to like Ellie too so I think it’ll stick as a barn name. Her registered name will be up to Alex, but it has to start with O this year for the sBs registry. She is very much open to name suggestions! It will end with the farm suffix WTW so something relatively short is best, lest it become a mouthful.

Day1tongue
she got the family derp gene

Fingers crossed that baby and mama continue to do well and that poor Sadie’s lady bits recover soon.

WTW does also have two mares confirmed in foal already – Peyton to LePrince des Bois (who completed Badminton and Luhmuhlen, had two top 10 finishes at Burghley, and a top 5 at Pau with Kai Ruder before going on to win the European Junior Championships with a young rider)

and Daisy back to Usandro for a full sibling to Oakley.

I should have a winner of the Baby Bets contest this week, as soon as I tally the results (which admittedly I have not started yet, because reasons)!