It’s in the Blood: East Coast YEH Championships

I had every intention of doing my full write-up of the YEH championships divisions for you guys but the past week has just been absolutely insane and now I’m in Ocala with another jam-packed day ahead, so it’s obvious at this point that a lengthy post isn’t going to happen.

I do have the spreadsheets though, so I put the file into Dropbox and made it public. Feel free to poke through it and form your own conclusions or do your own further digging. There’s a tab for the YEH4 and a tab for the YEH5, all the 4yo Futurity horses are noted, and whichever ones that I could confirm for sure were bred in the US are also marked as such. If you’ll be there and want a paper copy I’ll have some extras with me, just find the two ladies in the Willow Tree Warmbloods apparel!

YEH pedigree spreadsheet

Headed to Maryland 5*? Let’s Play a Game!

If you’re heading to Maryland this week, Michelle and I would love to meet you! We’d also love to hand out some WTW swag while we’re at it, so we decided to make a game of it.

Michelle and I will be decked out in some kind of WTW stuff at all times – hat, jacket, shirt, something that identifies us – and posting pics on our Instagram stories of where we are throughout the day for each day of the show. If you spot us, come say hi and pick out some WTW swag to take home with you! We’ve got towels, bags, decals, hats – all kinds of fun stuff.

is that holo? yes.
glitter? indeed.

We’ll be posting updates on my instagram stories (breedridevent) as well as the willowtreewarmbloods instagram stories. Play a little game of where’s WTW and get a reward – easy peasy.

Hope to see you there!

Foal Friday: Patrick’s Glamour Shots

Continuing on with our Glamour Shots series that started last week with Teddy, this week it’s Patrick’s turn!

Patticakes, oh, Patticakes. This big dude is turning into one seriously handsome young man, even when he goes through some awkward growthy phases. He’s good-looking, smart, and bold… what more could you want? Well, maybe he could have taken a little longer to gray out so much – he wasted no time turning into a steel gray. He’ll look a lot like his handsome dad soon, though! Patrick has been a fan favorite this year for sure, and it’s easy to see why.

did I mention he’s a big dude?
So dignified. Much noble.
Just kidding
WHEEEEEE

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s Time

The voting for Fan Favorite for the 2021 US Event Horse Futurity is officially open! Presto would love to have your vote, if he’s your favorite. All you have to do is comment his name on their facebook post, easy peasy. One voter from the winning Fan Favorite horse will also win a Futurity hat, and who doesn’t like free hats?

As usual, comments and shares are considered entries for my Presto’s Favorite Things contest. I’m also working on putting together something as a small token of thank you to all of you guys that have supported his journey in the Futurity this year (and all along throughout his whole life, really). More on that when I get all the details ironed out!

I’m also working on putting together an In the Blood post for both the YEH horses and the Maryland 5* horses, to run next week while I’m away, as requested. I don’t even want to tell you how many hours I spent finding all the info on the YEH horses. It’s fun to look through though, we’ve really got some nicely bred, quality youngsters in the pipeline.

As for the Noodle, he arrived in California yesterday but earlier this week he banged his foot pretty good in turnout so we’re not sure yet if he’ll actually get to run this weekend at Woodside or not. Fingers crossed he’s looking better today!

Breechgate Update

I’ve spent a lot of time bitching about breeches over the past few months but I think I’ve finally got things mostly ironed out, so I figured I’d update on which ones I’ve landed on and how they’re working out. I also have a white breeches version of this coming up soon (Luxe EQ to the rescue with that particular conundrum), but for today I’m sticking with the everyday schooling ones.

I’ve got the collection back up to 5 pairs, which seems to be about the right amount. Not excessive, but enough to where I can cover a range of colors and styles. They also range in price, when purchased new anyway, from $40 to $380. So I’m gonna go through and rank them, compare them, and totally play favorites. They might not end up how you think. Here are the players:

  • Equiline Boston
  • Horze Aubrey
  • Montar Megan
  • Quur Cardie
  • Baleaf… uh… “riding pants”?

Winner winner chicken dinner goes to the Quur Cardie, which you probably haven’t even heard of.

that one time I had a big mirror at a hotel

Yeah I’m surprised too. I tossed these in my Epplejeck cart on a whim, mostly because I wanted a pair of burgundy breeches and these were the best looking option of the cheaper ones. Regular price is around $100 once VAT is removed, but I got them during a sale for around $85. They call the color “purple” on their website but it’s definitely merlot, which is what I was going for. They also advise that these run a little small, so I was a bit scared about that, but I threw my regular size in anyway (US 28 = Euro 40) and just crossed my fingers. Quur is a brand that as far as I can tell exists only through Epplejeck so I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

Right out of the bag you could tell that they were styled after Equiline, specifically (IMO) the Equiline Ash. They have some of the same finish details, like the little black triangle on the thigh and the metal square branding above one front pocket. I also have a hunch that this is why they run a little small – Equiline do as well. There are some key differences though, especially with the fabric (the Quur are a stretchier tech fabric that almost has a slight compression feel to it) and the fact that these are actually silicone full seat. I was also hesitant of that but there’s not much grip to the silicone so they definitely don’t make me feel stuck.

I think they’re pretty flattering

They’re super comfortable, I love the cut, they fit pretty much perfectly (I’m on the smaller side of a regular 28 so that makes sense), and the waistband doesn’t gap when I’m riding. There’s also silicone inside the waistband to help keep tucked-in shirts in place, and four real pockets (I mean they aren’t deep but they’re real). I could take or leave the rose gold detailing but it does make them look a little more expensive. Really though, these could cost twice as much and I’d still like them a lot. My only complaint is that there aren’t more color options that I want.

My second favorite is a bit of a toss-up but would probably be the Horze Aubrey.

Like all Horze breeches these run big, so I sized down to 26. The fabric on these is thinner, a good summer weight, and the pockets are so deep I could pack a lunch in there. There are pros and cons to that though… I can easily and securely fit my phone, but the thin fabric plus big pocket means that there’s a pretty massive lumpy pocket outline on your leg. It bothers me a little, but not a lot. Your annoyance at that may vary. These are a bit higher waisted than the Quur Cardie, which I do like when I’m just walking around, but it makes the waistband gap at the top when I’m in the saddle unless I cinch a belt tight AF, which drives me batty. Again, your annoyance at that may vary.

Still though, they’re stretchy and comfy and I like the silver piping, so the pros outweigh the cons. The color options on these suck too, but the price is good. Normally they’re $110 but I’ve seen them on sale a few places, and RW has them for $90 in some sizes.

Next, but very very close in rank to the Aubrey, I’d put up the Montar Megan, which are actually really similar to the Horze, hence why they rank pretty much even for me.

These run true to size, so I got a EU 40, although the fabric is REALLY stretchy so if you’re in between sizes I would go down. When I sat the Horze 26 on top of these, the waists were pretty much the same size, but the Montar had a bit more room in the hip/thigh. The fabric is a bit thicker than the very lightweight Horze (and thus perhaps a bit more flattering), but otherwise they are very similar. The pockets are a more normal depth – deep enough for a phone but not a lunch – and it has the same higher waisted cut in the back. Which… also gaps on me when I’m in the tack, even with a belt. The only reason I put these slightly below the Horze is because I do wish these fit just a little bit smaller and more snug in the waist on me.

These are also silicone full seat, but like the Quur it’s not got much grip to it so I don’t notice it. They’re a little bit pricier at $115ish but I paid about $90 on sale from Epplejeck. Montar does have a nice range of color options with these, which is nice.

The next two pairs are a bit interchangeable for me as far as how much I like them, which is kind of ironic considering they’re the cheapest and the most expensive of the bunch.

The Baleaf breeches (the ones from Amazon) are $40 so you really can’t complain much about that. The fabric is fine, the fit is fine, the comfort is fine, they wash up well… like there is probably no better bargain to be found at that price point. Do I love them as much as the Quur or the Horze or the Montar? No. Which is fair. They don’t have some of the features I like most about those, they’re very basic, and the fabric is obviously cheaper. My only real complaint about them though is that the Small is slightly big on me and they do stretch out as you wear them, so they end up being a little baggy. I’d probably never reach for them for a lesson or anything “public” but I do wear them plenty at home.

The final pair is the Equiline Boston, which I bought at a steep discount from someone on facebook mostly just because I was desperate for green breeches again. If I’d paid the $380 retail price for them I’d be super annoyed, but it was more like $110 so… I don’t hate them. They just don’t make me super happy in any way aside from their color.

First of all the fabric is a bit thicker with more of a cottony feel to it, which isn’t my preference. I’m into the sleeker mega stretchy tech fabrics so this just isn’t my jam. They definitely run SMALL as is normal for Equiline, these are an I-42 and are definitely snug. The little styling details are cute, with the pocket flaps on the back and signature Equiline pocket square and leg triangle thingy, but what kills me with these is the rise. They’re just like… a half inch to an inch shorter than I want them to be, and for some reason they really just want to climb right up into my crotch. Like…. there’s a borderline camel toe situation when I get off the horse. Also the front pockets are too small for me to securely fit my phone into, which is problematic for me.

They’re fine in the way that I’ll probably keep them and wear them occasionally to get my green fix until I find something I actually love in this shade, but would I buy more Equilines? No. I have to be honest, I don’t get the obsession with them. I much prefer the Quur knockoff. A very rare win for my wallet.

Trending Positive

I feel like things are a little bit boring around here lately. Which is fine because next week is set to be busy, and maybe the next month or so really, so it’s like the calm before the storm. The calm is just… kind of boring.

We did get some rain though, which might be the most exciting thing that’s happened in the past week. (this is how you know it’s a bit of a boring time)

We got almost 3″ last week, and despite not getting it for as many days as predicted, things have already started to green up significantly in the past few days. My happiness level goes up in direct correlation with how much green grass there is. We did lose a big beautiful tree though, which was very sad. Luckily it fell in probably the best possible place, missing the trailers or any structures. It did fall on top of the arena drag but thankfully it’s unharmed.

so sad, poor tree

I’ve already got a big tree in the back that fell during the summer that is set to be repurposed as a jump so this one won’t meet the same fate. I hate losing these trees, they’re part of what makes this place so pretty (“oaks” is in the name of the farm for a reason).

With all the rain Henry ended up getting a few days off, which he didn’t seem to mind. He’s working on his winter bod. Yesterday I took him out in the back for a little hack around and he was absolutely WILD, which is always a good thing, IMO. Keeping this horse happy and feeling good is all I really care about when it comes to him.

@breed.ride.event

Go for a nice relaxing hack they said. It’ll be fun they said. #equestrian #horsegirl #horseback #sundayfunday

♬ She’s Out Of Her Mind – blink-182

He’s real borderline with needing to be body clipped but I was really hoping to wait a couple more weeks. We’ll see how he survives the 88-90 degree high temps this week. I might cave sooner.

I really want to get back to exploring all the RideIQ lessons with him (they add more every week and it’s AWESOME, there’s so many on my list to try) but at this point I’ve conceded the fact that it’ll probably have to wait until I get back from Maryland and we return to our regular routine. Unless it wants to rain some more, which I’d be totally fine with. The ground is much improved though with the rain we did get so hopefully I can jump him some this week. I have him entered in a little DerbyCross type thing towards the end of the month that we can maybe – fingers crossed – actually make it to.

Let’s see, what else. Oh, I got more additions for my tack trunk sticker collection, plus some decals (peep the helmet poms on the rider, how’s that for detail?) from HB Equine Designs. Highly recommend.

The mare glare sticker is on point for Henny

In non-horse related stuff, I went into a store this weekend with the SO to get some Halloween shit I wanted (it’s my favorite holiday, leave me alone), and I stumbled on the coolest faux leather jacket for a ridiculously good price. I couldn’t pass it up, it just spoke to me. Except I don’t really know how to dress, much less style anything, so I don’t have a clue how I’m going to wear it. Shoes, shirt underneath, jeans… I dunno. Hurts my brain just thinking about it. I’ve done some googling for ideas because that’s the level I’m at. The jacket is rad though, no matter what. Surely it can carry whatever bad outfit I put with it?

Last but not least, I completed two more Airrosti appointments last week and go for my very last one tomorrow. I have to say, my back pain has been slim to none since I started, and when I have had little flare-ups, doing the specific things they showed me has always helped resolve it. I’ve also learned a lot about how my different parts work together, how to isolate certain muscles, and have really worked on targeting the weak areas. I see improvement for sure and have a new awareness of how all these parts work together (for better or worse). My hamstrings are still shit, and we’ve worked on those the past couple sessions, but overall it’s better.

Once my Airrosti experience is wrapped up and I get a couple weeks on the other side of things just trying to maintain it on my own, I’ll have to do a full write up of my thoughts and opinions. It’s too early to say at this point really if it’ll make a difference long-term, but it’s trending positive.

Fair warning, I’ll be away all next week so the blog will be on hiatus. I’m not dead, I’m just flying to Florida next Monday and then up to Maryland on Wednesday through the following Monday. Ample notice. I don’t have many post ideas for this week though, honestly, so if there’s something you want me to write about, drop it in the comments and I’ll try to put something together.

Happy Monday, maybe?

Foal Friday: Teddy’s Glamour Shots

Well guys, it’s officially fall, which means we’re edging closer and closer to weaning time. The foals are getting big and their moms are looking ready for a break. Usually foal inspections would be happening around this time, but once again due to covid restrictions sBs decided to cancel their US inspection tour. We figured though that we may as well do a little mock inspection, braid the foals up, and get some nice photos of them anyway. They’re only this little once, after all.

For the next several weeks each of the 2021 foals will get their own little spotlight post so we can get a good look at them all, one at a time, all dressed up. Some of them are in kind of an awkward growth phase or butthigh but they’re baby horses so they’re cute anyway by default. And I figured we should come out of the gate strong with the sportpony, because I mean come on… baby pony. SASSY baby pony. What could be cuter than that?

Pheodora WTW – “Teddy”

“there’s nothing cuter than me” – Teddy, probably
was hoping these were edible

And of course, any photo session of her wouldn’t be complete without a super sassy filly stare (along with a matching one from her mother… I wonder where she got it from…)

Happy Friday!

The clean-out continues

Welcome to the next iteration of my “None of my clothes fit me anymore and my house is tiny (literally) so I have to sell things before I can buy new ones” liquidation! Shipping isn’t included in prices. I can take Venmo or Paypal. Be forewarned, it can take me a few days to get the Post Office due to their hours and my schedule so please be patient with me. You can email me via the contact form or hit me up through DM on Instagram or FB.

Shirts

Shirts:

San Soleil blue plaid sunshirt – SOLD

Dover show shirt Medium, olive green sides with white front, magnet collar – $30

Smartpak navy and white striped sunshirt – SOLD

Equine Couture Erna sunshirt, black with full mesh sleeves size Medium – $20

Equine Couture Erna sunshirt, navy with full mesh sleeves size Medium, has more wear to the mesh than the black one but no holes or anything – $15

Black and white short sleeve polo size Medium, embroidered with the Willow Tree Warmbloods logo on the chest and the sBs logo on the arm. Worn twice. – $15

Navy short sleeve polo size Medium, embroidered with the Willow Tree Warmbloods logo on the chest. Worn maybe 3 times while showing Presto in hand. – $15

Burgundy long sleeve tech shirt size Medium with the WTW logo on the chest. – $15

Breeches:

Horze Grand Prix brown knee patch breeches size 30 – $50

Tredstep Symphony tan knee patch breeches size 30, only worn a few times – $50

BALEAF silicone full seat breeches size small (fits like 28) These are the Amazon breeches that I like so much and while I wear the black ones a lot, these are more of a deep teal than navy, and it’s just… not my color. I tried. I’ve worn them twice. $30

Vests:

Brown Ariat vest with USEA logo, size medium – $35

Jacket:

Hy Equestrian Roka Rose show jacket, navy with rose gold and navy gems on the collar and pockets, new with tags size Large (measures 20” across the bust). Material is pretty stretchy. Has zipper under the buttons. $125

Boots:

Pioneer Atena semi-custom chocolate brown dress boots, size 39 4A. Calf measures 14.5 unstretched (the entire outside panel is elasticated, so there’s a lot of potential stretch factor), height 19.5” from floor to back of knee. The top has an embossed floral design. Not much wear because I was saving them for shows, but jokes on me now. $200

Accessories:

Dainese Balios 3 cross country vest, navy size large – $100

Stockbubble stock tie, white tone on tone print with double piping in navy and hunter green. Never worn, was made custom. I have no idea why I have so many damn stock ties considering I hate them and refuse to wear them until someone makes me. I’ll keep the unicorn one but the rest are just taking up space, so… $25

Stockbubble stock tie, white with silver glitter anchors. Worn twice at most. $18

I also need to actually get serious about selling Henry’s dressage saddle now that Presto’s return isn’t too far away and I’m going to have to buy him a new one. I’ve procrastinated like crazy on this because selling saddles is about as fun as shopping for them (or having your eyeballs scooped out with an electrified serrated spoon), but it’s time.

Devoucoux Loreak black monoflap dressage saddle size 18, on their regular tree with standard D3D pro panels. Regular flap length (16”). In very good shape and is a gorgeous saddle. Comes with the Devoucoux cover. I am happy to do local trials, but I’m not really set up to be shipping it back and forth for people to try. Happy to send whatever pics or videos you may need. Asking $2000

Petrified Hamstrings

Ok, let’s see, what else has been going on aside from the Presto lessons…

Mina’s first hack… one of the few things that successfully tires her out

Texas got hot again (stupid False Fall getting me all excited for no reason) and it’s remained dry dry dry. The grass is crunchy and sad and brown. Today is supposed to be the last hot (mid 90’s) day and then we get to go back down in the 80’s and there’s actually chances of rain over the next few days. Bring it on please. I get sad when the grass is crunchy, it was so green and beautiful for most of the summer and I think we all miss it. All of this to really just say that the ground is hard, so we aren’t jumping much and when we do they’re all set back to a lower height. So… not much of note to report on the Henry front considering all that, and the fact that he enjoyed a nice long weekend off since I was away at the clinic with Presto.

Who, speaking of which, leaves this weekend for his California tour. They’re headed straight from here to Woodside, where Megan’s got one in the 4*S, one in the 2*S (Tenny’s first international!), and Noodle in the Novice.

Then they’ll all head over to Tamie Smith’s place, where they’ll be based out of for the rest of their time in Cali. The plan right now is for him to do the West Coast YEH Championships a few weeks later at Twin Rivers, and then Galway the following weekend, then heading home from there. I tried a lot of different finagling to try to figure out how to make the logistics work for me to be able to come out for YEH Champs and stay through Galway, but I just couldn’t figure out a good way to do it that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. So instead I chose Galway, since that one seems way more fun with a 4*L and all that. YEH Champs are cool and all (I guess) but at the end of the day it’s just a derby and Presto isn’t gonna win. So… more bang for my buck fun-wise to fly out for Galway instead.

Oh and Presto’s latest Futurity vlog was posted last week in case you missed it. This was the last required vlog for the Futurity, although we’ll probably make one more at the end just to wrap things up in a tidy bow. But, this is the last chance to get some final entries for the Presto’s Favorite Things contest, so make sure to get your likes/comments in if you want more chances to win! I’ll pick a winner within a few weeks after Championships. I’m not sure yet when the voting for the Futurity’s Fan Favorite award will start but you can be sure I’ll let y’all know.

Speaking of Championships (isn’t it nice when things segue like this), while I won’t be able to attend the West Coast one, I will be in attendance at the East Coast one since it’s happening in conjunction with Maryland 5*. It took Michelle and I a little while to commit to a plan and get our airfare sorted, but I did book everything a couple days ago, so Maryland here we come (again).

You’re probably looking at that thinking “you’re on crack, Orlando isn’t in Maryland” – ah yes, we’re making a bit of a pit stop in Ocala for a couple days first to attend to some bidness. I’m not letting that particular cat out of the bag until everything is final, because jinxes are a real thing, but it’s exciting. We’ll fly from there up to Philly on Wednesday night and then head to Maryland, making one big Austin – Ocala – Philly – Austin triangle over the eastern half of the US. I think it should be a fun week. Our priority for Thurs/Fri will be watching the YEH horses, then we can switch focus to the big event. Who else is going to the 5*? I’m really excited to get back to spectating again, I’m an eventing fan first and foremost.

And thanks to the European championships I finally got a win in our little friends league in the Eventing Manager app, which I have become stupidly addicted to despite being really horrendous at it.

I’m putting this here for posterity because I’ve never come close to winning before and probably will never come close to winning again. Let it be known that there was indeed one time when I managed to come out on top. I always pick sentimental favorites because I just can’t help myself, and usually it doesn’t work out that well but hey at least I feel good about my picks. Proof positive that even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while. Kate, I await my trophy.

The only other recent happening is that I had my second Airrosti appointment yesterday. I’ve def seen some noticeable improvement in some areas since my first appointment last week (my back and my glutes at least) and this time there was more focus on my “terrible” hamstrings. Indeed… they’re friggin terrible. You know it’s not good when they’re like “don’t squeal, this will probably hurt”. Indeed it did, once she found the pain point in my left hamstring and went to work on it. She was also able to adjust my sacrum, but that part felt pretty freaking amazing. I was sent home with more new exercises to do this week, including a lot of foam rolling and stretching with resistance bands.

add all these on top of the others from last week

Those hamstring stretches, y’all. I can’t even tell you how bad they are. My god. I’m fairly certain my hamstrings are just petrified blocks of wood because they’re 0% pliable. I was laying on the floor this morning thinking how ironic it’ll be when the thing that finally kills me in all this is the stupid hamstring stretching. Send help.

I think that gets us all caught up on everything else that’s been going on around here… hope y’all are having a good week! Fall is coming…

The Goodest Baby Egg

Guess who I got to ride this weekend???

Megan came down to the area for a clinic weekend and graciously offered to bring Presto along with her so I could get some more lessons on him. The good news is, we had two great rides. The bad news is, I accidentally deleted the entire video from Saturday’s flat lesson while I was attempting to download it from the Pivo gallery. Gah. I was so upset, because I thought we definitely made good progress from the first couple lessons. I’m starting to figure him out and be able to feel the things Megan is talking about, everything was clicking pretty well I think. Would be great to have the video to look back on but nooooo. I can’t believe I did that.

So, uh… here’s your Saturday media of Presto and Hillary’s horse Lex hanging out. They’re two peas in a pod. A very very chaotic and ridiculous pod.

Luckily on Sunday Hillary was able to stick around to get video, so we do have real legit extensive media for that. Except I’m kind of mad at her because while I was tacking up she went and got the measuring stick out of the tack room. Like… do I want to know how big this giraffe is now? No. As far as I was concerned I could just never stick him again and therefore he’d remain 16.3 3/4 forever since there was no actual proof otherwise. But nooooo, she went and did it. And cackled about it. A lot.

it is long and tall and narrow AF

So um yeah, he’s almost 17.1h. The stick said 17.0 3/4 officially, which means he’s grown a full inch since I last sticked him in February before he left for training. What the actual hell, bro. That’s enough. You’re tall enough. He’s now outgrown both parents as well as what he string-tested to finish at. Thank god he’s still super narrow, it at least makes him not feel as big to ride. Size wise at the moment he actually feels pretty perfect for me, I’ve always preferred taller/narrower over shorter/wider. I mean he feels long for sure, especially compared to short and compact Henry, and his stride is friggin massive, but now I’m thinking I don’t actually want him to ever fill out after all. That’s enough in all regards, thanks. Let’s just stay like this, yes?

looks normal under saddle

Anyway, Sunday was kind of a big occasion because it was my first actual jumping lesson on him. Really it was my first time jumping him at all. Yes we trotted over various teeny things last winter, but 1) he’s not the same horse now as he was then, not by a long shot, 2) cantering courses is a lot different from trotting teeny stuff.

And boy, my god, is he ever different from Henry over fences. Ok they’re opposites in every way, but especially to jump. The adjustment period is gonna be real. First of all, Presto covers twice as much ground. Stuff comes up really fast even when he’s traveling slowly. He also uses his body completely different – Henry really uses a lot of neck and rounds his front end a ton, but doesn’t really have much follow-through behind. Presto comes off the ground more upright in his neck, fairly minimalist in front, and then really comes all the way through his hind end. Honestly sometimes it feels like his hind end overpowers his front end a little, when he jumps more extravagant. That quality will serve him well later when the jumps get bigger and he’s stronger, but it’s just extremely different than what I’m used to, for sure. I thought I might get jumped right off the front end a couple times.

We started out hopping over a little cavaletti each way, then moving to a bigger vertical. Megan was saying that he’s hard to see a distance on so the best thing to do is just focus on the canter rhythm and keep his front end up so he can jump well no matter where you get him. He’s also still a bit of a different horse on each side – to the left he tends to want to get crooked and go more up and down with that inside hind, so you have to ride him a little differently each way depending on which lead you’re approaching from. Mostly though he wants me to be more active and constantly engaging with him than Henry does – constantly suppling, half-halting, balancing, etc. The last couple strides before the jumps though he needs you to soften the hand, otherwise he’ll fight the contact a bit and want to get hollow at the base. Especially when the jumps are smaller like this and don’t hold him off.

So, ya know… a lot of instructions to take in. Which is great, please give me ALL the info. This is the huge benefit of Megan having brought him along this year, she knows him inside and out and can tell me exactly what he’s gonna do before he even does it, and how to best ride it. But it does feel a little bit like trying to drink from a firehose at first. I was trying to ride him well but also not interfere too badly, and it’s strange jumping another horse after so long with the same one. For the first time jumping him though, I was pretty happy with how it went.

Presto, to all his credit, was really freaking good. We strung some fences together, a few singles and a line, and then did an angled figure 8 exercise over two oxers. A couple times I didn’t keep good enough control of his shoulders through the turn and got him real crooked to the single across the middle of the ring, but he could not have possibly cared less. I got the impression that if I get him remotely in the same zip code of the jump then he’s going, no questions asked. Another time I really bungled the ride down the line and epically fumbled at the oxer out and he just went right on through anyway, like “well that was a choice, human, but whatever I’m still having fun!”. Stopping never even crossed his mind, and he cantered away as if it never even happened. Nothing that happens at the jumps bothers him, he doesn’t get upset, and he really really wants to jump them no matter what. He’s so confident and content in what he’s doing. I’m not sure I could ask for anything more than that, especially from a 4 year old.

I do really need to figure out what I’m gonna do for him for saddles. My jump saddle will never be the right shape for him, and I really didn’t like how it rode on him anyway. I need something smaller and… different. Plus a dressage saddle, because I think the right one will really help me able to sit his canter better. I need me some blocks in the right places instead of the wrong ones. I also need a lot more money to make any of this happen. And a fitter that actually calls me back. Details.

Lookit that kiddo though. Gosh I’m so proud of him. I can’t even describe the feeling he gives you under saddle and to the jumps, like there’s WAY more in the tank waiting to be tapped into once he gets stronger and more developed. It’s really freaking cool. And it’s really a credit to the job Megan has done with him that he can go jump around that well the first time with his bumbling ammy owner. He’s everything I was hoping he’d be and more.