Henry’s in love…

With the farrier. As in, now he recognizes him on sight and stares at him lovingly with stars in his eyes the entire time he’s there.

Why, you ask? Cookies. I counted and he got no less than EIGHT cookies off the farrier by making his super irresistable “You give me cookie now, yes???” face. Farrier also talks to him, fly sprays him, rubs him, and tells him how fabulous he is. I guess I can’t blame him for being in love. But really, when Henry started licking the back of Farrier’s neck and laying his head on his back with his eyes close in pure bliss (while Farrier said “Umm… buddy…”), I came undone in hysterical fits of laughter. He loves him a lot like this:


Want to see what that looks like? Well, minus the laying his head on his back part, because I was laughing too hard to take pictures of that.

Dis is my Farrier’s bum
I love him
Hey down there, did you hear me? I LOVE YOU!
I stand here and make cute face so I’m ready when he looks at me again
Gotta be still, the Treat Dispenser is in the danger zone
Oh hai, other side. Cookie now?
Mom haaaalp, I haven’t had a cookie in at least 60 seconds!
I has the sads.
Oh god, oh god, he’s going to his truck!!! *flappy lips*
I seeeee yoooouuuu
Mmmm cookie so deliciouuusss. <3 Farrier 4Ever
Mmmm cookie so deliciouuusss. ❤ Farrier 4Ever!


On a more exciting note, my Aztec Diamond stuff arrived yesterday! Will do a full review next week after I’ve gotten a few rides and a wash or two in.





I’m sure everyone has seen this goofy video by now about what your helmet choice says about you.


Look… I love my Speed Air, I really do.

And I know this is supposed to be a joke.

But I dunno y’all…

I just don’t get it.

I don’t understand what she’s trying to say about me.





Preventive maintenance

Warning: this is a kinda lengthy diatribe comprised of a lot of personal opinion.


Like everyone else, I’m a big fan of keeping horses sound and happy for as long as possible. My first horse was purchased as an older, been-there-done-that jumper. Being a teenager I really didn’t know a whole lot yet about how to keep a horse sound long term, so it took until he was starting to come up pretty sore in the hind end before the vet was called. He flexed quite lame in both hocks… it was past the point of prevention and now to the point of treatment. Hock injections were the only option. The first injections lasted him a year, the next lasted 6 months, then after that they were wearing off in just a few months. That was when I decided to retire him.

I learned a lot from that horse about how I want to manage my future horses, especially the young ones, to help ensure future soundness. I will admit that sticking a needle in a joint scares the absolute crap out of me and I think our sport in general is way too blasé about it, thus I’m a big believer in doing everything possible before it gets to that point. Over the years with lots of horses and lots of different experiences I’ve narrowed it down to my 4 big things:

Feet, footing, turnout, joint support.


Feet have to be well balanced and maintained meticulously. If that means a 4-5 week shoeing cycle, so be it. If that means some kind of special shoeing to help support a conformational or gait abnormality, lets do it. I just can’t/won’t deal with bad farrier work.


Footing… I really believe that bad footing is the worst thing for a horse’s long term soundness. It’s so imperative that it be even, the right depth, well maintained, and of proper material. Years of working in bad footing or even just sub-par footing can have really detrimental effects on a horse’s long term soundness, whether it be too much concussion on the front feet, too much strain on the hocks, repeated micro-tears in soft tissue, etc. I won’t board at a barn with bad footing and I won’t go to a horse show with bad footing. That’s made me the subject of ridicule at times and I know I’m a nut about it, but footing. All horse people should try to educate themselves on what makes the difference between good footing and bad footing, and reading this article is a good start. It’s amazing how many people just don’t know the difference. And IMO the good footing rule extends to turnout as well. I’d rather mine stay inside for a day than be turned out in slick mud. Overprotective mom? Maybe.


As far as joint support, I’ve never been a big fan of oral supplements. I really think that they pee/poop most of it out, and that stuff is not cheap. With the past couple show horses I’ve had I developed a great love for Pentosan, which is an IM injection. Watch this video. The basic gist is that it can help both prevent and repair damage in the joint. The best thing is that if you can get a prescription for it you can order it from Wedgewood for only about $14 a dose. Much cheaper than oral supplements, you know the horse is actually getting it, and IM injections are easy. Pretty much all of my horses over the age of 6-7 that are in work go on Pentosan.


The reason I’m rambling about all this is because it’s been on my mind a lot lately as I’ve made a few choices for Henry. He’s been great, soundness wise, knock on wood, but I want to keep him that way. So I got vet and farrier to team up to figure out some shoeing changes that will help support him a bit better (bar shoes for the crooked legged, very naturally low-heeled creature) and his Pentosan injections start today. Let’s face it, even though he’s only 7 and he didn’t race, he spent a lot of time in race training and now he’s a jumper… neither of those are easy lifestyles. If doing a few little things now to go the extra mile will give him better quality of life well into and past his prime, it’s totally worth it to me. I’d rather prevent problems now than treat problems later.

This is not to hate on people who do IA injections on their horses… not at all. I absolutely believe in doing what needs to be done to help the horse, and if Henry really needed it I’d do it in a heartbeat (and probably then make some changes to his lifestyle/program as a result). This is geared toward no one in particular but really just horse sports in general. I obviously had way too much time to stand there and think while the farrier was doing his thing last night. 😉 My stance is merely one of trying to get people to pause and assess their program, asking themselves “what else?” or “what can I do now?”, thinking of it in terms of preventing problems instead of reacting to them after the damage is already done. I wish someone had asked me that 15 years ago.

Soapbox dismount.



True Confessions: equestrian edition

Alright, I’ll admit it. There’s one really random thing about horses that grosses me out.


First, to appropriately understand my level of tolerance, I have experienced all of the following and rarely so much as batted an eye:

– Been elbows deep in horse placenta.

– Stepped on a horse turd barefoot (never do night checks barefoot, people, even if it’s just a matter of down the stairs and into the aisle. An errant turd will find you.)

– Had mare pee splashed all over me.

– Wiped off foal scours with my bare hand.

– Cleaned a sheath without gloves.

– Been nailed all over the back of the head by dirty stall pickings when I got a little overenthusiastic with my speed while pulling a manure spreader (several times, because I just don’t learn).

– Had puss shoot ALL OVER MY FACE when cleaning a really gross shoulder/neck wound on a lesson horse.

– Been bled all over. A couple times. By both people and horses.

– Had horse hair in literally every single crevice and orifice of my person after days of body clipping several horses.

– Been sneezed on. With my mouth open.

– Had a staple from a bag of shavings go right through my finger

So really, I’d like to think I’m pretty hard to phase. What’s my kryptonite?




Blech. Nasty. I cannot pick/trim these things to save my life without wanting to gag. Usually I ask someone else to do it, because in addition to not being able to trim them myself, I definitely can’t stand to even look at overgrown ones. Shudder.

Now that I’ve fessed up – anyone else out there with weird “gross out” things when it comes to the ponies?


Weekend recap: OUCH and YAY!

First the YAY… guess who gets to go to Georgia to visit her favorite squishable at Rising Star Farm in a few weeks? Valentino, I’m coming for you!!! I’ll also be there for the sBs (Belgian Sporthorse) inspection. Pretty excited, should be a fun few days.

my favorite Squishy!

There’s really nothing else noteworthy from my weekend. Henry’s feet are looking pretty long and overgrown so I decided to just take it easy until the farrier comes on Tuesday. We went for a long trail ride on Saturday morning but that’s the only riding I did.

So where’d the OUCH come from you might ask? Cyclocross practice. Rear tire slid out on dead grass, I went down hard on the left hip and wrist. Yesterday the wrist hurt the most, today my entire body hurts the most. As long as I don’t move or breathe it’s ok. Seriously, why do my ribs hurt on the right side? What the hell? I’m starting to feel like I no longer bounce the way I did when I was younger.

Before I ate shit. Please note the awesome pink duct tape on the front fork that's holding my cabling in place.
Before I ate shit. Please note the awesome pink duct tape on the front fork that’s holding my cabling in place.

The only other particularly fun thing that happened this weekend: fuchsia hair. We won’t even talk about how long it took my OCD self to do that. Oh yeah, and the new season of Doctor Who was pretty exciting too.

sorry bout the awkward selfie, it’s hard to take hair pictures

Also a big smoochy thank you to Hillary for the birthday present! How awesome is this new belt from Mango Bay? I’m in love, the pattern is gorgeous.



In which we pretend we’re eventers

Some of the super cool eventer folk at my barn started making a few cross country jumps around the property (I hereby volunteer to help make more!) and I of course can’t resist anything that looks like it might be fun to jump over. So last night I dug out my old XC vest and took The Beast out for an adventure.

We started small with a teeny little ramp, which he was not so very impressed about. Then we moved on to the bigger pile of rail road ties. He wasn’t that impressed with those either, but it did inflate his ego enough to where the last time over it he did a gleeful gallop away then promptly spooked at a pole sitting by the arena fence. Sadly there isn’t video of that part but trust me it was funny. It was kind of a “I am HENRY, conqueror of all things! Ahhhhh, horse eating pole, run away!” type of moment.

HenryXC1 from amanda chance on Vimeo.

Then we walked over to the skinny log jump. It’s hard to tell on the video but the approach makes for a pretty narrow jump, with a tree trunk on one side and lots of bushy weedy stuff on the other. Henry marched over towards it feeling more and more excited with himself. I let him walk past it a couple times to get a good look at the takeoff and landing (there was little room for error in either direction due to the width). When I cantered to it I could feel him just light up. And the more he jumped it, the more proud of himself he got.

HenryXC2 from amanda chance on Vimeo.

By the time we were done he STRUTTED back to the barn like he just won Rolex. I couldn’t help but laugh at him, Henry rarely looks excited about anything that isn’t edible. Pretty sure he told all his horse friends that William Fox-Pitt was coming to pick him up tomorrow and take him to WEG.

He’ll be available for autograph signing this weekend, cuz he’s a pretty big deal y’all. Those three little XC jumps feel totally conquered by the great and powerful Henry.

Maybe there will be a few baby events in his future to add a little levity to our jumper lifestyle?

Yup, I’m obsessed

I will have you
Yes, I will have you
I will find a way and I will have you
You are an obsession
You’re my obsession

That’s enough 80’s music for one morning. You’re all welcome for having that song stuck in your head the rest of the day.

Last month the obsession was PS of Sweden’s gorgeous bridles. I did end up ordering one although they’re backordered til September. Sad face.

This month’s obsession is Aztec Diamond Equestrian. I’ve mentioned them on here before, briefly touching on their super cute breeches with a unicorn on the butt (everyone needs more butticorns in their life). I’d been planning on checking them out eventually, mostly because they’re styled very similarly to my beloved Animo breeches but with a MUCH more reasonable price tag. Then they posted this picture on Facebook and boom it was done. Insert intense grabby hands times a million.


Those are their black tone on tone Houndstooth Luxe breeches. Of course being black they won’t go with my brown boots, but I will happily wear my black ones sometimes just so I can rock this beautiful creatures. GET IN MY CLOSET.


Wanna know the best part? Here’s the great thing about ordering from overseas when you live in the US… usually the prices you see on their websites include VAT. VAT is 20%. We’re exempt from VAT. Know what that means? They’re instantly 20% off! Logic, I has it. These beautiful creatures come in at only around $138, and these are their second most expensive model! The Butticorn and adorable blue birdie ones are only around $110. Of course shipping is a little more than we’d pay here, but it’s not that bad especially if you can sucker someone into splitting an order with you.

Since I was already ordering the breeches I decided to throw in some socks too. I always need good socks. They’re not nylon, they’re cute, and they’re $8. Yup, in the cart they go.


I’m so excited. Fingers (and toes) crossed that I like the breeches and the fit works. I’m in love with the styling and would be absolutely thrilled to find something I like as much as Animo but for a lot less money. If I like them it’ll be buh-bye TS, hello closet full of ADE!

DIY helmet makeovers, take 2

Some of you might remember my first helmet makeover experiment from a couple months ago. It went so well and looks so good, I decided to finally take the plunge and do my GPA.

I bought my GPA on clearance and got a ridiculously good deal (like less than half price) on it, mainly because it was a “weird” model that had very faint dark gray stars in the middle part. They were so hard to see that I just didn’t care enough to pass up a deal that good. However what had bothered me more and more was the silver vents. I really like the all black look, it’s just more subtle. So since it’s been a couple months since I did the first one and I was now very confident that I could do it and it would turn out well, I painted it a solid matte black.

The GPA is still in really good shape, so all I did to prep it was wipe it down with alcohol, tape over the front logo and back harness (no I still don’t have painter’s tape so leave my hot pink duct tape alone!) and stuff the inside with paper towels to catch the spray that goes through the vents. I used the same brand of paint as the other helmet – Rust-Oleum Universal which is intended for plastics – in Flat Black.



Say goodbye, stars! I have to admit, they’d really grown on me…

After the first coat, still wet.


I only did two coats. Everything covered so well and so easily, I didn’t see a need for more than that. So I let it dry for about 15 minutes then took it inside for more pics.


And some closer shots so you can see more detail

GPAafter2 GPAafter3

I’m pretty thrilled with how it came out, it looks even better than the first attempt. You really would never in a million years think it was spray painted, it looks just like a regular finish. And being all black makes it look smaller and more flattering on my head. Pictures of that… someday?

After my successful experiment #2, Auf Der Autobahn’s trainer Lisa (of Austin Eventing) asked me if I’d do her Tipperary schooling helmet. Lisa said she hated the color so much she usually wore her other helmet instead. I still had more than half a can of paint left and I’m getting a little addicted to the helmet makeover thing, so I was totally down with doing another. This one was in rougher shape… it had some pretty decent scratches along the top and a couple of spots where the top layer of finish had been rubbed off. And she wasn’t kidding about the ugly.


I had to do a lot more prep work for this one. First I cleaned it really well with some kitchen cleaner (no residue) then did a very very light sanding to minimize the scratches a little and even out that one spot that was already missing the top layer of finish. It looks like a lot of sanding in the picture but really it’s just a couple swipes with a fine grit sandpaper. Then I wiped it down again with more cleaner to get the dust off.


This helmet also required a lot more taping and covering, because of the harness. The tan part covers a good part of the back of the helmet plus some of the liner fabric is exposed around the ears so I spent a while taping and trimming to get it all just right, then stuffed the inside with paper towels and tucked up the harness underneath. I also took a while to get the front logo taped just right. Lisa said she didn’t care if I painted over it but it’s just not in my little OCD capacity to actually do that, so a-taping I went.

For this one I did three coats. The color was a little harder to cover well and I wanted to make sure it was all even.

This is after the second or third coat, still wet.


And inside later, after it had dried and I removed all the tape.

tippafter1 tippafter2 tippafter3

Hopefully Lisa likes her “new” murdered-out Tipperary! No more weird blue.

And yes, I’m having way too much fun with helmet makeovers.

Weekend recap: ch-ch-ch-changes

Change was the theme of the weekend. Most little, one kinda big. Let’s start small and build from there.

First – Henry got his mane done. I did it with the clipper blade method for the first time to help thin it a bit and it seemed to work better. Of course I totally forgot to take a picture of him post-makeover soooo here’s a picture of him eyeball deep in grass, pre-mane job, because his life is so hard.


Second – I changed his bit again. When I first got him I tried him in a Nathe but it didn’t really go that well. But he’s gotten a lot more responsive to seat and leg since winter, plus a lot more balanced, so I gave it another whirl. He definitely does not get behind the bit in it almost ever. On the flipside when I have to really sit and do a big whoa in a line I don’t have quite as much success. Then again the need for a big whoa is also almost never, and really if I was better with my body/seat it’d be a non-issue totally. For now I’m going to keep him in it and see how it goes.

My odd bridle collection
My odd bridle collection that is about to get even more odd

Side note: I noticed the past week that when Henry gets super sweaty and I get super sweaty, I’m not having as much grip on my reins as I used to. Not sure if the rubber is just getting worn down or what because I’ve never had this problem before. My gloves are still pretty pristine so I don’t think they’re the problem. Waiting to see how I feel about the calfskin reins that come with the PS bridle.

The big change was that Trainer wants me to try riding Henry a different way over fences. Basically he wants me to stay up out of the saddle and let him keep cantering more forward/open after the jump, and not sit again until we’re coming out of the corner toward the next jump. We tried it out a bit yesterday and while it’s always hard to make big changes (successfully) all at once, he did seem to go better with that ride. By nature he’s such a compressed little ball of a horse (basically the opposite of my last several horses) that opening him up gave him more lift in the shoulder and kept him more in front of my leg. Of course, now I’ve got to figure this all out on my end and get used to riding differently, but I think it’s a step in the right direction.

why do they always look so much bigger when you’re cantering down to them than they do when you’re just standing there?

I also had yet another fun time with helmet makeovers, but we’ll talk about those tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy this shot from a pool party we went to on Saturday night. Yup, that’s a movie on a projector screen. Yup, those are glow sticks floating in the pool. Yup, those are also glow sticks around the rims of our cups of vodka/lemonade/punch mixture. Winning times three.

How pool parties are done
How pool parties are done

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the tack swap/sale so far! I have one more thing to toss into the pile – a size 54 brown Tekna Pressure-Eze girth. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll get pictures to you.