Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Got Rice?

Why yes, that is my over-oiled bridle in a tub of rice.

After repeatedly spraying the bridle with diluted dishwashing soap it did get somewhat less oily. But the reins were being difficult and still had too much oil for riding with. So even if I was coming around about the color, they weren't safe to ride in yet.

I already did the reins over night and they are definitely dryer and a little browner (yay). I'll do the noseband after the rest of the bridle that's in there now sits overnight.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Goals, revisited

I was looking through some old posts and found the Goals post I made in Jan 2012. Let's see how I did.

  1. No & yes. I'm actually a tad heavier and definitely wider through the hips and tummy. Though my cardio and muscling has improved lately and I can last longer without taking a break - so fitness is better.
  2. Yes, I totally did this AND kicked butt doing it. See my post with those results: Pies and Jars
  3. Nada last year, and only a few times this year, so very late in starting this one.
  4. Not at all in 2012, but have been doing that over the last month and can w/t/c bareback, YAY!
  5. BAWAHAAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. I over-estimated, WAY over-estimated how awesome I am. I'm just this month consistently schooling 2', which last month was still scary. 
  6. Yes, I did go and do this and decided it's not for me. Not right now. Too scary. I like hunter pace.

Not too shabby, many came this year instead of last year. I'm still ok with that.

So this weekend will be the 1/2 way into the year mark. A pretty good time to set some goals for the rest of the year.

Goals, 2nd half 2013

  1. Successfully show 2' hunters by end of season. (not counting the 2' show earlier this year when I fell off)
  2. School 2' 3".
  3. Jump in bareback pad at any height.
  4. Lose inches off my hips and tummy - enough to nicely fit back into my size L FITS Bekas that were too tight this time last year. Still wearing the XL Bekas I bought after I saw photos of me in the larges o0.
  5. Break in my tall boots all the way so I can actually show in them.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

In which I gain confidence

This week I've been consistently jumping 2'. YAY! And at mostly cantering instead of trotting in, cantering out. I would do red (22") to yellow (2'), shown left to right and then a nice left rollback to the black (2') to brown gate (22"), shown at right from the back to foreground. The more I did them, the less scary they were. I was riding with Amy for two days doing these, and that helped me get the courage to try :)

Today in my lesson I specifically worked on bending lines like black to red and vice-versa, etc. Though the red was an X today. But I also did the white jump in the foreground with a rail on top making it 2' to the yellow, also 2' and vice-versa. I was so busy with getting my turns timed nicely, etc, that I didn't have time to think about jump height. :)

Deciding if I show at 18" or 2' for the show on June 8. I really want to do 2' and the venue has a nice big arena, unlike many we go to which are tiny. But talking with my trainer it sounds like if the sh*t hits the fan - and at shows sometimes it does, I should stick with 18" so I have a good experience and shoot for 2' at the end of the summer when I've had more time to work on skills at the new height.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lettia before Laundry

Are you the kind of person that washes your horse's apparel

My all Lettia AP pad collection
before your own?

I am. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pies and Jars

I have 2 followers at this point (my kid doesn't count for #3). One of the bloggers of Viva Carlos, posted some lovely pie charts and graphs of all her ribbons and earnings the month before. Today, the other blogger of She Moved To Texas followed suit.

I admit, after Viva Carlos posted hers, I opened up Excel and proceeded to type in all my winnings per show. And since I have under 3 years worth and had written on the back of all my ribbons which are all right at my desk, it was a pretty quick and easy process. Plus, I've only shown with one horse.

Here's my 2012 results, my first full season. No fancy pie charts, just a collection of events, results and a color coded ribbon section.
2012 show season results

But then, She Moved to Texas also posted and added fancy pie charts. I've never made pie charts. So I looked them up and it took a bit of clicking to figure out how to get the pie to render, but in less then 30mins I had a simple chart to oogle.

53 ribbons won since 2011
Another topic discussed was what to do with all the ribbons. Do you make them into a quilt, a belt, a pillow? I got my glass jar idea from a horse forum I participate in. I've posted about my ribbons before and showed a photo of my display area above my desk.

Here's some closeups. I got the jars from TJ Maxx which was the cheapest place but have also seen them in craft stores. I keep 4th place + on in the tallest jar that has my champion ribbons hanging from it - that jar sits on top of a plastic container so that I got the perfect height. The silver plate uses a velcro hanger where one side sticks to wall and other to plate (non-damaging) with thick velcro binding the pieces to each other.

Time for taller or more jars soon. Would love if they all had lids. 
Top view of how I put them in. These two are pretty short so I couldn't do a double layer like my blue ribbons.
Trophy area and a Breyer that I etched the socks to match Sam's. The star was already there and is a close match.
Eventually I will run out of space and then I'm not sure what the plan is. I want to restrict it to this area of my house only. I could add another shelf above this one which is part of my desk. Or I could hang a string across the wall and hang from there (might do that with champion ribbons eventually). Or perhaps the trophies will have to go in a box to make more room for more ribbon jars.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Over-oiling: a dark, dark lesson

Apparently there is such a thing as over oiling tack.

Bought a new show bridle (as if I needed one) and it come a medium brown. It's an Arc De Triomphe Gazelle. Apparently it's their lower quality line. I have an Imperial and would agree the Gazelle is lesser, but it's still really freakin' nice.

ADT Gazelle - brown
I hand oiled it with a cloth and it turned a lovely dark brown. Perfect. I then used it about 2 times to start breaking it in, but decided it wasn't as supple as I thought it should be. Seemed a little dry. So I brought it home, took it apart, poured some non-darkening Hydrophane in a container, and proceeded to run every inch of the bridle through a tiny pool of oil. I pulled off excess with my hands - and did a bit of rubbing in while I was at it. (ruh-roh). Then I let it air dry.

It did not lighten. It was dark. Very dark. I happened to have some black stirrups at home, hanging. I assembled the bridle and hung it next to the stirrups. Same color, same shade. AHHHHHHH!!!

Totally made me sick to my stomach for like 3 days.
Seriously oiled bridle
It is very oily to touch. I looked everywhere online for a solution but everyone pretty much said, "You're screwed!" It's suggested I use it and slightly abuse it and it will *someday* lighten a bit - Maybe. Grr. I did wrap it in some tissue paper which took some oil. I left it outside in the wind for a day. I do plan on buying a big huge back of rice and putting it in that for about a week.

Sorry for the blur, we were moving
In the meantime, I thought I'd bring it to the barn and (ab)use it. I usually ride without gloves and while the bridle is super soft and supple now (yay!) I was definitely riding with oily hands. Fortunately, Sam was very, very good yesterday and I didn't have to use any force with my reins. Bridle is now home awaiting rice, since it's probably not safe to ride with slick reins. :)

I grabbed a few shots of the bridle on Sam. It actually looks pretty good on him, though I wish it had a hint of brown to it still. It does exactly match the center pommel/seat and panels of my saddle which are pretty darn near black (but still brown). 

What do you think?

Cute photo of Sam (preview of totally cute new baby pad!)
Weird angle unflattering body shot
Interestingly enough, in many of my show photos which are all of my other show bridle (Courbette) it often looks black. It is very dark, but does have a slight havana tint to it. It's more obvious in brighter lighting, but even the picture of my last post, it looks black.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rub your face in fleece

I had a saddle fitter come out two weekends ago to reflock my saddle because it was slipping back all the time. She said it needed to also get off my horse's shoulders (esp his left which sits further back then his bulging but forward right shoulder). She ended up adding a TON of wool throughout. And she said I should use a half pad as well. In the future - like during non-show season, I should probably send it out to have the tree widened a smidge but it would be almost perfect for now.

I definitely feel higher above my horse, but wow, does he move more freely. Bad mom. We fitted using
my show pad so I ordered in new ones for schooling use. I show without a rolled rear, it makes it look very tidy on a dark horse with dark tack, especially since it's already a half pad and it's all I use. I would use a full shaped pad, but haven't found one to fit my rather square flaps - everything is too long.

Fleecworks FXK halfpad for shows

So, I decided to use rolled rear for schooling, as it probably keeps the pad in place better instead of shifting out from under the panels. Since my show one *just* fits the rear of my saddle and it's a regular size, I ordered large and regular with the rolls. My saddle is a Black Country Ricochet 17.5".

Here's pics of the pads:

Fleecworks FXK - Large size
Fleeceworks FXK - Regular size

So while I had a little bit more room from front to back with the large, it wasn't enough to justify the excess on the sides and in front of the pommel. You can't really see in the photo, but it's all kinds of mashed up in there - just too much material. So I went with the regular:

My new Fleeceworks pad with rear roll
Shown w/ black Lettia coolmax babypad w/ wither relief
I love Fleeceworks pads. They are sooooo soft. At the local tack store the classic ones (no FXK) have fleece more like the texture of Thinline and Mattes (both of which I've owned). But the FXK ones and the shaped pad I used to own are so stuffed animal, rub your face all over it, soft. And that's why I picked it. Plus the pile isn't obnoxiously thick. NetEquestrian.com has the best prices, which is where I got mine.

Best part of the day was that I rode bareback just before this, w/t/c and then tacked up to try the pad size and Sam moved exactly the same way as bareback... freely :D  It was a pretty cool comparison - totally unplanned.

More about baby pads in my next post :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Today I cantered bareback for the first time. The End.  :D

Fall 2011

Monday, May 6, 2013


Yesterday I rode in the 80 degree weather with my friend, Amy. Someone had set up this gymnastic with an extra 2 jumps then we normally have - well, and they were all verticals. So I just made them Xs so they weren't too intimidating. 

It was SO fun and scary at the same time, kinda how a roller coaster makes you feel. I had to just let Sam do his thing under me without holding him so we didn't mess up. I just looked up and we went. We went faster then we normally go, as least it felt that way, but we didn't really gain speed. 

I did it twice. It was awesome both times. Had a huge grin on my face. I could tell right away what a confidence builder it is. No wonder people do gymnastics all the time. We really haven't done any since I first got Sam. So many other issues to work on, but I can totally see that this is a place I need to go to.  

And, I convinced Amy to do it once too even though the poles on the ground in-between are her least favorite thing ever. I think she liked it too...



Sunday, May 5, 2013

In Reserve

Yesterday I went to another small schooling show. The very best part was that I was able to load Sam each time ALL BY MYSELF! If I hadn't mentioned it before, it was an very annoying game that only he liked to play which included ripping the rope out of my hands after backing immediately off and finding the nearest grass. But we've finally got it sorted out with the help of our friend the stud chain and probably 3 weeks in a row of shows. :D

The show was fine. I learned that I look down more when I'm in a small indoor and that doesn't help when we have some serious U turns in the course. But I was able to manage the issues and was pleased about how quick all my recoveries were. 

We didn't place as well as I wanted, but we did get Reserve Champion.

Reserve ribbon not pictured - 1st was for Hunter U/S, which highlights Sam, who of course is a winner.

I also learned how to properly wrap no bows and standing wraps. Prior to this I was using Equifit's wraps with the velcro and I decided to switch to the old standard. Plus I figured I should learn how to do this anyway.

Pictured after he had a lovely nap in them. They started out clean.