Thursday, February 27, 2014

TBT: July 2011

This photo is from July 2011. I had Sam about a month. We had just taken our first solo ride in the back seven acre wooded trail with great success. 

Ah, look, dressage tack that never sees the light of day. I do have a different saddle now (BC Eden), the DK Flair panels were not working for his bouncy back and I eventually felt like I was way above my horse. Same everything else sans KK Ultra bit, just a plain oval link snaffle loose ring now.

My puppy dog pony

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Forever Flying Changes

Well, over the last several weeks due to weather and busy family weekends, I've been riding about
Oct 2013
every 4 days, rather then 4 days a week. That doesn't help fix the issues I've been having with Sam, but it's also not really the cause. But I'm sure turnout time cut in half (every winter) does have something to do with it.

Issues:

  1. Giving me flying changes while just cantering around the ring or in 20 meter circles.
  2. After we get going with the canter, heavy bridle leaning and on the forehand.
  3. While jumping, the first two issues become #3 which is flying at the jumps, leaving long and super hopping into flying changes or super-duper leaning counter-canter, oh and blowing out the outside shoulder.
Well, I did say I wanted flying changes on both sides consistently. Well, I have them. And apparently a common side effect is the horse doing them all the time. 

Solutions:
  1. Working on some counter canter. 
  2. Getting a super soft and slow trot. 
  3. Shutting him down with a halt and possible backup when he starts the leaning/speeding up.
He's really good about the shut down. He's all like, 'oh... sorry, I was just getting carried away. I'm still pumped, but I'm actually listening now.'

My sporadic rides have been productive but not fruitful. Combined with barely getting to jump (weather/darkness), I'm losing confidence. 

Yesterday was more of the same and shutting him down seemed to help a bit. Oh, and lateral work. He hates 'dressage' so we definitely trot around shoulders in, haunches in when he's being naughty. We stop when he says uncle. :)

Oct 2013
Today was different. I still got the forward horse (LOVE!) so I was able to trot more then I normally could. We worked on slow slow, western jog all the way up to extended trot. It was good. We were indoors with two other horses too. 

We had excellent canter departs and I pretended I was letting him take me to the fence so we'd have a good pace, and we kept that pace. I was able to push my reins up and he did a decent job of staying balanced. 

And OMG, it was the first time since the new year I was able to ride around the ring and not feel him trying to hop into a lead change - in both directions! I worked really hard on trying to turn my shoulders and not mess with my leg positions/repositions. Just quiet and rhythmic. 

So glad I finally had a really positive ride with some results. More tomorrow, YAY!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Moon

Remember how I said that I retired my Arab mare to my pasture? Well, at some point I decided that getting her a friend that was on the same side of the fence would be useful.

Enter Moon.

Moon was a 21yo registered Appaloosa mare by Nugget Jim. Here's me trying her out in all of about 60' radius of space. Uh... $500? Sold.

The lady said she roached her mane cuz it grew in scraggly - ok, not uncommon for appys.
I went to pick her up the next weekend with my tiny Miley 2 horse straight load with mangers. Yeah... she decided to get herself stuck on the manger right as I got to the bottom of the seller's driveway. I had to run up the hill to get help to get her unstuck. She had ended up cutting her leg and I had a nice vet bill when I got home. Trailer was sold shortly thereafter to a lady with ponies. :)

Does that mane look like it's growing in scraggly to you?
After a while, she went blind in one eye, apparently common in Appys but it didn't seem to bother her at all. When I decided to re-home Tashia, Moon went to a new home too, as a pasture buddy to another horse. I had decided not to keep her because because I never really liked how she moved, I think I rode her like twice - and she actually found a home before Tashia did.

She was bombproof though :)

Wow, I can't believe I let my kid up there with no helmet on an unknown horse (at seller's). Don't judge!
I struggle to remember Moon's registered name, but I remember it was whimsical and had 'moon' in it. And I remember her papers said she was born black. She was the first of the three Appys I would come to own.

My first horses: Solomon | Honey & Patches | Tashia

Friday, February 21, 2014

Saddle Rack Cover

I don't have one of these (yet) but it's a pretty handy idea.

On Esty from Salleigh's Equine Design
The only thing I would want to add to it is some padding (like a Saddle Mattress) in the saddle area, because my saddle doesn't like to stay on the rack all the way open. I actually zip tie the chain on my rack so it can't open all the way or my saddle will kinda fall through ;)

I haven't ordered one because I don't always use my saddle rack at shows. It totally depends on the setup of the show, how long I'm going to be there, etc. Keep in mind, I only do local shows, so I'm not necessarily lugging around a show truck - although I often bring my Stanley trunk - in which case, I don't bring my saddle rack, or vice-versa. 

Stanley trunk and hay bag on wheels. Heaven.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ariats FTW

I told the tale of the fabulous Dubarry Longfords that just weren't designed for me. So I needed something else. The goal was a boot I could wear to shows, around town, whatever. They didn't *have* to be waterproof, but I did need to be able to walk through puddles. I do live in the PacNW regardless of horses. And they had to be black.
Ariat Kempton H2O

So, I turned to my tried and true brand, Ariat. My paddocks have always been Ariats as well as a few other styles by them. They always fit great, in all the right places and are always comfortable to walk in.

Realistically, Ariat has three choices this season. I was drawn to the Stantons, but thought the straps/buckles around the ankle could get gunked up with mud, etc. Don't like 'scrunch' boots, so that left the Kempton H2Os. They do have that little silver stirrup on the side, but I figured it would hose clean easily. I ordered my normal Ariat size from Zappos.

From the start, they were soft, supple and classy. The footbed is what you expect from Ariat - comfort. I thought maybe the toe would present the same issue as the Longford, since the Kempton seems to have a slimmer profile.

Longford left, Kempton right
But what I found was the Longford makes a sharp angle right where my pinkie toe is, to begin the taper. The Kempton is more gradual, leaving more room at my pinkie toe before angling. 

Having had the tall Longford, I do wish the Kempton was taller. I did enjoy the length. But for my already short legs, the Kempton has room to add really cute sock toppers like lace and buttons, whereas I had hardly any room leftover at the top of the Longfords.

Longford left, Kempton right
pull on vs. zipper
top buckle detail vs. bottom stirrup detail

 bonus cute plaid interior
Style-wise, I do prefer the Longfords, but for 1/2 the price, I got twice the comfort and a style that's still slick enough. I probably can't stand in a water trough of water in the Kemptons and stay dry (maybe one day I'll try), but it suits my needs and saves on pinkie toe squeezing ;)

My Dubarrys sold over the weekend and the new owner LOVES them. :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tashia

This is Tashia (Tasha), a 14.2hh Arabian mare that I owned for a few years. 


She was originally bought for my oldest daughter to ride after the ponies that didn't work out and to keep my OTTB company. 


She was 18yo when I got her. She went english and western, neck reined, knew all her gaits by command. I wasn't into jumping at the time, so don't know if she would. I do know she had at least one filly. 

But my daughter was more interested in telling people she rode then actually riding. It's ok, she ended up being an awesome gymnast.

Not long after we got Tashia, I had to put my OTTB down and since no one was riding her, she became my mount. I rode her around our yard, but it was only useable seasonally and I eventually boarded for the first time up the road (not where I am now). She was a stubborn mare and I did have someone come out and help me after she tried to bite me from the end of the lunge line.


How did I ride without half chaps?!

But the boarding only lasted a few months because she had arthritis in her ankles and wouldn't keep the trot. Trotted on her own just fine, but not ridden. I decided not to inject, because she was already old and I didn't feel that was fair and retired her at my house. But, she wouldn't load in the trailer for the 2 mile ride home, so after about an hour of trying, I lead her down the country road with my husband and children following us in the family car, haha. 


I think I had her about 5 years. She pretty much ignored me, preferring to live at the back fence line of our 5 acres where two other mares lived on the other side. She wouldn't come up to eat the hay I put out, just the pasture around her (which was plenty, but not really nutritious in the winter). And I got tired of my dogs rolling in manure. I decided to rehome her with a pair of sisters who had a handicapped child who would take walk rides on her. And she'd be with about 4 other horses. I expect she lived out her days there, and maybe she's still alive today (she is a hearty arab), she'd be 33 this year.

"Let me out, my friends are waiting for me" (you can see them above her neck)

My first horses: Solomon | Honey & Patches

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bargain Hay!

No time for a real post today. Have to prep for a job interview today with a sweet job I was coveting in January.

In texting my non-horsey high school BFF who lives across the country about the interview, she replied via text, "Sam won't have to eat the bargain hay!" Which totally made me laugh.


Is this the bargain hay you speak of!?  (aug 2011)
To be clear, Sam's diet and routine (other then A LOT less lessons) has not been changed in any way even though I am currently jobless. But hopefully, I can maintain the status quo by actually getting a job before my unemployment runs out ;)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dubarry Longford story

So, late last year when I still had a job, I splurged. When Dubarry came out with their Longfords, I was in love. I am a sucker for stripes, buckets and leather, ding ding ding!


I ordered them from SmartPak so I could return them if I needed to since I wasn't sure they would fit my wider calf and short (16") leg. After a few times on and off to break them in, I was comfortable with the calf width and height. They definitely go almost all the way to my knee. 

However, standing in them I could instantly feel pressure on my pinkie toes. I have fairly narrow heels but a little more then standard width across the balls of my feet. Think triangle with pudgy toes at the end. I did inquire online if people thought they would stretch out a little. I have some Ariat Windemeres that did widen across the balls of my feet (though they never had pressure there, just got a little wider). 

I decided to give them a try and wore them walking around shopping for about 3 hours. OMG, my feet hurt so much. Some people find Dubarrys super comfy, and others say that have to put orthopedics in them. I've never needed orthos but I went and got some. I got only the heel kind that tapers down towards the toes - disappearing in the arch area. I sure didn't need to add extra padding by the balls of my feet, ie. pinkie toes. And my arches never like too much arch in any shoe.

It seemed to be better. Wore them a few more times but for shorter periods of standing/walking time, like out to dinner. And then it had been a few weeks since I had worn them, but put them on to go shopping again last week and I made it a few laps around my house getting ready before the pressure at my pinkies was just too much and I had to take them off. Fine when I sit, but as soon as I take a stride and all the weight is on one foot, OUCH.

I have also considered standing in the bathtub in them and then walking around until they dry to see if that helps, but honestly, I'm not sure I want to endure that when it may not even work. So, they went up for sale and sold within a week on FaceBook to a prior buyer of breeches.

I did get GOBs of compliments on them from both horse and non-horsey peoples. They are stunning, just not for me. :(

Tune in later this week when I unveil their replacement :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Black and White Love Blog Hop

I do love me some black and white. ;)

black horse, white socks - Sam

black and white besties - Aero, River, Diesel

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Top winter wear

I ride fairly hot, but in the winter, I still need coverage. If it's below 50 I wear long sleeve technical shirts. My favorite is the Under Armour coldwear compression because it's a little fuzzy inside for warmth but it has all the technical properties of wicking away sweat, etc. In my collection, I also have Nike and Rebook's versions due to good deals, but mostly for more color choices. I also have the striped Ariat, a Kerrits and random ski brands.

I like options.
I also wear a vest over these shirts because no one wants to see me wearing one tucked into my breeches by themselves. :) Haha, actually, I found it helps to keep my core warm with the vest but let my arms get a bit more air rather then wearing a jacket. It's a perfect balance. My daily vests aren't particularly thick, but have a little quilting. A lot of equestrian brands are very thick/puffy and I don't need that protection except sub 30 degrees which is only a few weeks worth each winter.


My all time favorite vest are the Thinsulate Fitness vest by LL Bean (and they stopped making them last year!) which are the four on the left and the single black on the right. The other vests are by  Ariat, Kerrits and Arista.

So when it is sub 30, I break out the 'these don't normally go to the barn' thicker vests that are part of my normal daily clothes. They are either too nice, too puffy or too expensive to regularly go to the barn. But almost all of the are equestrian brands. ;) 

Sometimes I need a little more warmth
In the mix are three Land's End vests far left, two Goode Rider vests with fuzzy hoods in the center, a lone HorseWare vest on the right and the rest are Ariats. The four far right go to the barn most often as needed. But I still don't ride with a jacket on once I get warmed up. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A snowy first

My very first snow ride! I totally felt like a little girl and a dream come true!
Sam was great, didn't bat an eye. We just walked through the arenas in about 3-4" of snow. We rode inside for the real deal.


Then afterwards, Sam enjoyed his slushie. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

White clouds of dreams

White everywhere but should start melting today.

Dreaming of perfect pony rides.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Higher Standards Contest


Most of the bloggers I read rave about this product. What better way to try it then for free! You can enter to win by visiting Equestrian At Hart's blogpost!

And still not at the barn. In case you're wondering, snow is unusual for where I live.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hunter boot buckles meet super glue

Stock photos of my boots
Because of Viva Carlos' post about the awesomeness that is Hunter boots, I have not one, but two pairs now. They are surprisingly VERY comfortable. I decided to go with 'color block' instead of a solid color. Really happy with my choices.

However, I didn't like how the buckles work which were hard to buckle and also kinda unbuckled themselves so they stuck out.




That 3 tooth grabby center piece is really mean to the rubber and doesn't really hold like it's probably designed to do.

They should look all nice and sleek buckled, but I couldn't get them to behave.

And I also tried the fake buckle look, pulled it tight and it looked nice until I started moving around and then it just started unbuckling itself and I didn't like the flag look. 

So I did some googling and found this lady's video for a different brand boot, but similar buckling system and issue. Which is basically gluing the strap down. She cut off the center part of the buckle and just used the part you can see when buckled for looks, but I left it on mine. 

I just scratched the areas on the strap and the boot that I wanted to super glue to rough them up (used a steak knife and scratched like you would with your nail) and I did before the buckle section as well as the tail part. Added super glue dots to both sides and pressed down. Only took a few mins. They came out great and I'm super pleased :) 

Left boot is brand new, right boot I've used for a month now and you can see the white 'bloom' on it already.

I did only run them through the back part of the buckle because they do stick out pretty far otherwise. If you do it like the video, you could have the whole buckle look, I was just chicken to mess with them too much. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dimacci Bracelet review

Have had a head cold the last 5 days. Been riding last 3 days anyway :P. Today I finally felt a breakthrough.

I recently ordered a Dimacci Bracelet in navy to compliment the belt I have. I have to say, I was even more impressed in person and wouldn't have waited so long to order one had I been able to hold one first.

The leather is SUPER supple and I love how it crosses under the wrist - it's not bulky there at all. I'm a sucker for contrast stitching, so that's a gimme. The only tricky part is fastening it on all by yourself, haha. Took me a few minutes. It's hard to only use one had to get the leather under the keepers - it's a tight fit. It's just perfect.







Here's a view to the tricky part.
The coordinating reversible belt.