Monday, December 30, 2013

Goals review

This year I made some goals on May 27. Here they are:
  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.
And here's how I landed: 

1. Successfully show 2' hunters by end of season. CHECK
2. School 2' 3". CHECK
    Successfully showed 2'3" and won the LS Division!

3. Jump in bareback pad at any height. CHECK
19" bareback

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. CHECK
They are tight, but now they zip up and by season start in March, I should be fine if I stay on track.
Lost 14lbs since August.

5. Break in my tall boots all the way so I can actually show in them. CHECK
Switched boots mid-way and am loving these Mountain Horse Richmonds.
That's horse dust at the back of the boot from riding!

I think this is the first time in my life where I've set goals, revisited them and achieved them. So proud! Now to think about next year's goals. Stay tuned. :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Horse-sized Haul

I had a lovely Christmas with my family and some friends. I got a lot of special gifts and I wanted to share the horse-related ones.

From my husband, M. I opened this with such awe and surprise that he took the time to get me a custom Breyer, for it is truly marked as my Samoa Star with star and two left socks. I ran over and gave him a hugs right away. So thoughtful.

What I learned after was that he went to the local farm store and picked out a stablemate that was in the position of what Sam does and with a white face and left socks. I think this horse was originally a shade of brown. He cut open the back, removed the horse and used a black sharpie to color it. Then he put it back and taped the back. The horse looks so super shiny and new in the package, and now I know why! hehe. It's so awesome. He said it's good from far and far from good and that I might want to keep it in the package, haha.

I'm going to keep him in the package cuz it's just so cool to have a 'store-bought' custom :)

From my youngest daughter, N. From my wish list, my daughter commissioned a custom crocheted pony. It's so cute and even stands on it's own. I totally plan to bring it in my tack trunk at shows as a little mascot. <3

There's little white socks between the cream colored hooves and black legs!

And this handmade card holder from etsy designer, Beatrice B Smith. She also made that fabulous cuff I got for my birthday. I plan to use this especially at shows and times when I just bring my credit card, ins card and driver's license with me.

The leather is so so soft and fabulous

From my eldest daughter, C. Also from my wish list, a handmade horseshoe in rose gold filled with sterling silver chain from easy designer, Natasha Grasso. It's so pretty and unique.

16" chain was just the right length to hang at my collarbone

From my good friend, Heather, who also is my cheerleader at shows. A jump RIBBON HOLDER!! In my COLORS!! After looking online and not loving the quality she found, she decided to make her own. OMG, it's awesome!

Hand painted royal blue and white with little tiny blue dots around the finials. You hang the ribbons from the poles!

From my barn buddy, Amy. This super cute 8oz glass with horse and rider on one side and dog and 'Good Job' on the other. Plus, not pictured, a polka-dot insulated lunch tote so I could bring my lunch to the barn more often because we like to lunch after we ride while watching lessons or other riders. And I always forget to put one together. ;)

And from Santa. Tough-1 riding crop with bright red and metallic silver ribbon striping. Poked out of my stocking, just like a candy cane. :D

Way more stylish in person

I love my family and friends. They are so awesome and make me feel so special.
I recommend all the items listed. They are all very well made and as awesome as they look.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!
Hope you had a great Christmas like I did!
don't tell anyone the photo is from 2012

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A progressive year

In the WAY WAY Beginning
This is our first video from June 2011. I'd had Sam for about 3 weeks and this was my 3rd time "jumping" with him ... which was also my 3rd time jumping ever, if you don't count the 8 week camp in 5th grade. I'd had almost 2 solid years of 3x/wk riding up to this point, all dressage and on a previous horse. (if you click the little HD, bottom right, then it's much clearer)

I have to laugh at my stirrups in the first ten seconds, hehe. Then I play it again and watch how high I post or how wide my hands are. Hehe. Or my dressage-y canter halfway through. And then I just keep laughing. Love how Sam fake jumps for me, which he stopped doing earlier this year if we trot anything less then 2' - he just trots right on over the baby stuff (with an eyeroll, I'm sure).

Earlier this Year
Our season this year started in March. It was a jumpers schooling show and you'll see how we are definitely not a jumper team. Slow pace, no leads, and chipping everywhere were commonplace.

Our Best Ride
October 2013 was our best round to date, so 2 years and 4months after the first video and 7 months after the jumper class above. The class was Low Working Hunter Open 2'-2'3" and is the highest we've competed together. There were 13 entries, we placed 2nd (against kids too!). Great pace and all the correct leads (miracle!).

I could definitely comment about my less then stellar equitation (new saddle seems to be helping that) or the tiny chip coming out of the 2nd line.

But this is about how far I've come. And I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's Saturday!

Great lesson today. Worked on getting a nice, collected, bouncy canter to the jumps. Both uphill and downhill. It was hard! Sam was glad when we were done because it was pretty warm today at nearly 50 degrees.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


So cute. Let me walk all the way to him. I then haltered him. Wiggled the lead. Still sleepy. Started waving my arms in the air (I had a lesson to get to!) and then he got the idea, rolled back and forth a few times and finally got up and shook himself off. Love this horse.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I was contact by Sam's original owner right after I got him 2.5yrs ago. It was a brief email exchange.

Today, she reached out again (mom of the daughter rider) and also sent me some pictures. They purchased Sam from the breeder. I know they owned him for several years and apparently his start was in dressage.

The day they brought him home
His mane was always wispy!

Ah yes, the hairy beast… and it seems to be summer considering the rider's attire

I know he was then sold to a lady who also did dressage with him. Next to a trainer who evented with him. Then to the lady I bought him from who did hunters with him. So if you count the breeder, I'm his 6th and last owner. ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013


Photo-op with Rich Feller's Flexible. :)


I am totally not into super star goo-gooing, but we arrived early while prior session was going, so barn was empty. I missed seeing him last year, so this year I couldn't resist a photo-op. Totally felt like a star-struck teenager while posing. hehe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12 degrees

Off to see George Morris and riders like Rich Fellers today. In 12 degree weather. Pretty sure I'm crazy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Loxley by Bliss, welcome home

It was a cold and blustery day with new snow on the ground.
Our first snow of the season - we usually get less then 10 days a year.
Today the new fitter came. She assessed my BC Ricochet and she thought the tree was a hair narrow and she could widen it on the spot (not have to send out like other fitter) but said it would still need to be shimmed to fit my horse as there was too much pressure in the rear panels and some bridging. Part of the problem is my saddle is T stamped in that it was made off a template for a specific horse. So it's not a standard M or MW and was specifically shaped for another horse which she suspected had a flatter back and less/no rise like mine.

I told her how this was my forever horse and I'd rather not have to shim and try to make it fit and maybe mess it up myself. That he should have a saddle that fits and it was worth getting. So we talked about the Loxley by Bliss saddles and ordering one. I tried a saddle she had in my seat size though it had a hoop tree that my horse wouldn't need. The seat was comfy, but my knees were pretty far away from the flap and it was too far forward.

We talked some more.

And then she remembered that she had a saddle that might be perfect. It was also my seat size and the classic tree shape which wouldn't have such a wide twist. Bonus…. it was chocolate brown.

We put it on and it fit him almost perfectly. Just a little flocking adjustment, and bam! Insta-saddle.

Sitting in it, my seat bones were home. It was like it was made for me. Perfect balance, comfortable seat, easy two-point. Flaps were even short enough and not too far forward, but forward enough that it fit my knee better then my last saddle which was getting a little short at the knee because my stirrups have been shortening over the last year (as jumps get higher).

Sam moved lovely (he usually does anyway) and we popped over a little X in the indoor a few times and I felt great and solid. We even had an awkward long distance and I was solid still. Perfect. I'll take it.

And that was that.

Here's some pics of my new (literally only sat in twice before) Loxley Jump LX, 17.5" MW.
Love the molded flap - worked well with my leg

Those extra straps are like placeholders for billets to add or move. All the saddles come with them :)

Love the stitching color - subtle contrasting. Plus I got descrete bling with the red welting.
Will get some in saddle pics soon. :)  I'm super excited and relieved it's a done deal.

Next problem: Which saddle to sell?

Turns out my dressage saddle fits him well, but I barely use it. And obviously my jump doesn't - but fits me (flap could be more perfect, but it's fine) and I just love it. First world problems.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A little saddle Bliss

My saddle fitter came out on Saturday. She's an Albion rep and I had her reflock my Black Country Ricochet in May. It was time again and this time she not only repeated a needed to widen my tree, but this time she said it HAD to happen. Between having more panel room to stuff (esp in the front to get it off his shoulder) and also widening it, this saddle just wasn't cutting it.

Here are my options and keep in mind I'm not a huge truster of people being able to make/adjust things to my exact specifications.

1. Send my saddle to NY to get widened by Albion. 
I would still need to use the fleece and loose front shims I'm using now. But it wouldn't be so much pressure at the tree.

2. Buy a new saddle.
Well, I love my saddle. I love everything about it, other then it's not fitting my horse anymore. Finding saddles for both of us isn't easy. I can't have forward flaps or long flaps (13-13.5" is ideal) because I have short legs - and a 17.5 seat to go with it. And it has to be dark brown (not havana). And it sounds like I have to get a MW tree, which is like the most uncommon size to find. And wool flocked, of course. Yeah, not so fun. So buying used is like a needle in a haystack - I've actually been looking for my saddle in a MW since May. :/
Albion K2

Here's the new saddle options:

  • I could buy an new custom Albion K2. It comes in the color range I want. But the flap leather is really really thick - not sure about wanting that. I can't sit in one until Jan. And everyone online says they are super uncomfy for flatting and ONLY good for actually jumping and not sitting the canter. Doesn't sound very friendly. 
  • I could buy a new custom Black Country. YAY! Perfect plan! Get wider tree, different panel set-up, get all the fit and color for me in leather I love. 
I decide to stick with what I know and try to stay with Black Country. So I track down a rep 2.5 hours from me. She responds to my email right away and calls. She and my Albion fitter know and respect each other, so I'm not too worried about clashing. However, she says while she can still order me a Black Country saddle, she's not really rep'ing them anymore, and instead is rep'ing Bliss of London. 

Who!? A super high end saddle company (prices start around 5k) started by a former employee of Black Country and using the original and more awesome then current tree maker from Black Country. And they have a lower more affordable in the Albion and Black Country price range called Loxley of Bliss.

Let's oogle for a moment.

Paramour Jump - who wouldn't want to sit in that?!

That would be crocodile. New hunter style, no?!

Yay! New shapes!

And that's just their jump line.
But, I'm probably going to go in the sub 3k range with Loxley by Bliss:

The color I seek!

What little girl wouldn't love that?! I do and I'm not even a fan of pink.

So, the new fitter comes on Friday. I'm actually really excited.