Show part 2: Henry does more dressage, and other weird things

This post is part 2 of our weekend show adventure. In yesterday’s part 1 I covered our eventing derby. Originally I had entered both the BN eventing derby and the hunter derby. I really considered the hunter derby my back up plan, in case the eventing derby was a disaster or if I just felt like he needed to get in the ring again. However on Friday a friend of mine from the barn, Kristina, decided along with our trainer that her horse wasn’t quite ready to go to the show. She had only signed up for an Intro dressage test, so I offered to let her ride Henry for it instead if she wanted to. Her horse is kind of tough and I know she has felt frustrated lately. I think most of us can understand how demoralizing tough/green horses can be sometimes, and I figured she deserved to still be able to horse show and have a good time. So she hopped on Henry on Friday evening to see if he would work for her and they seemed to get along just fine. As long as you’re light with your hands and leg he’s a pretty simple horse, and I trusted him to be well behaved enough for her.

So I scratched the hunter derby and we switched her dressage entry over to my horse. About half an hour before her test we tacked him up with her dressage saddle, tossed her on, and off she went. She too opted for a very basic short warm up since space was so limited, and she mainly just walked around with a little bit of trotting until it was time for her test.


I don’t have pictures but I did take video… however not sure if she’d be comfortable with me sharing it here so you get stills instead. They went in and she did a really good job, especially considering she’d only ridden him once before and for about 10 minutes! He was a little bit too keen after the first halt and picked up a canter step, but once she got a couple movements into the test they both seemed to take a deep breath and settle in. They ended up with a 61% which was good enough for 3rd! She seemed very happy with him and said she had a blast, so I was delighted. I get a lot of joy out of seeing my horse bring someone else a little bit of happiness. I offered to let her take lessons on him sometimes and take him to more dressage shows at Intro and Training level if she wants to. I think he’s a great horse to get her confidence built back up and have a little bit of fun on, to offer some relief from her tougher greener horse. And it’s good for him to be ridden by someone else sometimes anyway.

LOPEKristina2 LOPEKristina3

After we were done and back at the trailer (and Henry’d had about two dozen cookies) some other mutual friends of ours, a husband and wife, came up to chat. In addition to riding, the husband has a real penchant for in-hand work and the little versatility trail course that was set up at the show was too much for him to resist. I handed Henry over and let them go play around over the trail obstacles. By this point Henry was giving me the eye like “What is this, musical pony?” but he gamely went through the weave poles, the tightly stacked hay bales, the cross of poles on the ground, the curtain of garden hoses, the teeter totter, and the pool noodles. This horse is just too much.

the noodles

By the time he was back at the trailer again Henry was feeling like he was tired of amusing us and ready to go home for his nap, so we settled our bills, grabbed our ribbons, and headed home. He was just such a superstar from start to finish and did every single thing we asked of him, no matter how silly. He might not be super fancy or super athletic or super flashy but this boy is worth his weight in gold. You just can’t beat that brain.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the thing I bought on Saturday night, and all the other little things I’ve subsequently had to buy because of it…

Henry’s first eventing derby!

This will be post 1 of 2 about this show, since there’s a lot to say. Today we’ll cover my part of the show, the eventing derby! (all the pretty, non-grainy, non-cell phone pictures in this post are courtesy of Lauren at She Moved to Texas)

You could say it went really well. This was a lot of firsts for Henry… first time going to a show by himself, first time showing him without a trainer present, first time showing out of the trailer, first time showing over jumps he hadn’t schooled over first, first time in a dressage ring, etc. Shoot, we’ve had ONE dressage lesson ever and ONE cross country school ever. I was a little nervous about how it’d go since I was asking a lot of him all at once. I slept very little on Friday night, going over everything in my head.

When we got there and started getting him ready I was a little concerned someone was going to think we’d drugged him. He was chewing his hay with his eyes closed while other horses lunged nearby. I had to jump up and down and wave my arms at him to get this picture.


I got on for dressage (my division went first and I was second in the order) and immediately knew that I had a little bit of a sluggish horse. There really wasn’t a good place to warm up though, and I figured that a too-quiet test was a lot better than a too-zoomy test, so we just walked and trotted and did a little lateral work. At one point I looked over and noticed that there was a horse that refused to go near the bright red tent that the judge was going to be sitting under. I walked over with Henry and offered her a lead, and Henry (who never even gave the tent so much as a look) led them back and forth past it a few times. After a few more minutes of walking around I wandered back over to the ring, where the judge and scribe were waiting on the first person. I told them that I didn’t think she realized they were ready for her, and they asked me if I was ready to go instead. Um… not totally, but sure why not?

So we trotted in to do our test. The first trip down centerline was great and we got an 8! I remembered my notes from my dressage lesson last week. 😉 The first trot circle was ok, a little blah (he was still a little tight in his back and not really engaged, since we didn’t have much warm up) and the first canter transition was a few steps late. I think he was still sleeping. I knew I’d get nailed on our free walk, that’s by far his weakest thing and we’ve only been working on it for a couple weeks – got a 5 on that. Ouch, but totally fair. When I started my trot circle to the right the judge blew the whistle as if I’d made an error. I was super confused because I knew the test forward and backward, so I walked over and sure enough she said I was wrong. After a few minutes of discussion between me, the judge, and another trainer nearby we realized that the judge had been given the wrong score sheets – she had the 2010 BN Test A, not the 2014. So after a little revision to her sheet she allowed me to start again from the movement where she’d blown the whistle. Of course, the whole time we were talking Henry stood there sleeping, so having to start again in the middle of the test wasn’t super ideal. Still he finished ok, no real bobbles but no real brilliance either. I was definitely playing it safe and just trying to get a good relaxed first dressage test. I thought that her scoring and comments were exactly on par with my impressions as I rode it, so I was satisfied with our score of 35. We survived, and we didn’t do that bad!


Once THAT mess was over (sorry dressage, I still hate you) we tossed on his breastplate, put on his boots, I put on my vest and spurs, and off we went to warm up for the jumping. Again, warm up space was limited so I just hopped him over a couple jumps then galloped him up and back a little space in the field to get him awake and out in front of my leg.


I thought the course looked pretty simple and forgiving. There were 7 jumps in the ring, then we went out the gate and into the field for 7 more XC fences. I knew the jumps in the ring would be fine as long as I sat up and got a good pace, especially since they were set on the low side. Henry’s no longer impressed by little jumps, no matter how bright or flowery. I did have a couple of concerns about XC though… the jumps were plenty small enough, but would he be balky at the first one since we were leaving all the other horses and going straight toward a busy road? There was also a little bank up, with 4 or 5 strides (depending on how you came into it) to a brush box that was on the skinny side. I knew accuracy and straightness were going to be important. After the brush box was a little ditch, and he’s been known to give those a good peek. So I just kept thinking – sit up, get him up and out in front of me, and just keep going forward.

first fences for every level – BN was the tires.
little bank up
to kinda-skinny brush box

Turns out I didn’t need to worry. We went in the ring, he picked up a nice forward uphill canter, and just ATE that course for lunch.

Ma, I’ve got this!
just loping over the little box


Then we left the ring and I pushed him into a bit of a gallop. I figured it was better to override the first one than underride, and then I could gauge how he felt and adjust my ride from there.


He never even blinked at anything. He just kept one ear on me saying “Ok, which one next???” and kept looking for the next jump. When we had to go past a couple of the lower level fences he actually tried to veer TOWARD them. I kind of couldn’t believe how bold and confident and professional he was. Later one of the other riders asked me how long he’d been eventing. Ha! He bopped right over the tires, down the hill to the little upright logs, through the dip to the pile of telephone poles (which was down by the busy road and I think every other horse in our division had at least one stop there). My plan was to trot the up bank but as soon as I turned toward it he locked on and picked up a nice polite canter so I just let him roll. Before we were even all the way up it he locked onto the brush box and took me right to it, then around the corner to the ditch (which he still cleared by many feet, but never hesitated at) and out of the field over the last tire jump. Totally clear with zero issues!

And well, like I said, everyone else had stops so guess what?


What a great first experience for him. This little show was the perfect confidence builder and perfect first intro to eventing – he exceeded all my expectations. Can’t wait for the next one. Hello dark side!

I also purchased a little something on Saturday night when I was basking in a post horse show high and had a couple ciders…

I am NOT for sale and neither is this blog

I know that lately there has been a lot of talk among our equestrian blogging group about advertising, making money off of your blog, product exchanges, etc. In light of an email I was sent yesterday I felt like now was the perfect time to clarify something here for my readers.

I am not for sale

*Before anyone gets upset, I’m not saying that my particular stance on this issue is better than anyone else’s, or that people should see things my way. I totally understand those who don’t. I merely want it to be clear where I in particular stand on this issue, because I feel pretty strongly about it.*

I was contacted yesterday by Horze, with the following email:

“Dear Amanda,

 Horze Equestrian is a European horse company that is now based in the United States and also all around the world.  Our company sells a wide range of equine tack and riding apparel that are great quality products.  You can browse our website [removed link] to see what we offer to customers as an equine company.

We were wondering if we can add a link from your blog towards [removed link].  You can either make a pure text link or use one of these badges:

[removed link]

Once you have added the link to your site, please reach back to me again, and I will verify it and send you compensation coupon for adding our website link to your website.

 If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you! Have a great day!”

First – of course I am flattered to some degree when any company contacts me. But I have to say, and I feel like it’s important for everyone to know, I am not for sale and neither is this blog’s ad space. This was my email response:

“Thank you for your interest. I am very particular about which companies I choose to link on my blog and unfortunately I do not place advertisements for companies that I’m not 100% familiar with and 100% comfortable backing. I have no experience with Horze or it’s products so I cannot in good conscience place an advertisement for you on my blog. I try to maintain a very good reputation for reliability of opinion, so I’m sure you can understand my hesitation to recommend a brand that I am unfamiliar with. If at some point in the future I am able to use some Horze products and find them to be of excellent quality I would possibly re-consider, but at this time that is not the case.

Thank you again,


And their reply

“Hi Amanda,

 Your [sic] very welcome!  Thank you for your response and we understand what you are saying.  Please let us know if you have re-considered our offer.

I’m not trying to be bitchy or preachy or holier-than-thou here, but I want to have a reputation for only representing companies that I can stand behind 100%. My view is that if I choose to put something on my page then I am representing it, and I have to be able to stand behind it – ads included. If you’ll notice, there are only TWO companies linked on this blog’s sidebar, with a third coming soon. These are companies who I feel offer superior products, superior service, are appreciative of/understand just how much bloggers can impact their business, and have proven worthy of the ad space. I quite enjoy the partnerships with these businesses, mostly because I feel 100% confident recommending them to readers. First and foremost, I’m a fan: I was a customer before they ever made it onto my blog, and I remain a customer to this day. You will NEVER find ads from companies that do not meet that criteria on this blog. I will not blindly represent something that I know nothing about. There will never be ad space sold here. All of the reviews that you read are and always will be my uncensored opinion and all recommendations are and always will be without ulterior motive.


I care a lot more about being trustworthy and having people feel like my opinions on products are unswayed by personal benefit or profit. I felt it was important to bring this up both for the sake of the readers and any companies who might consider contacting me in the future. If you really want to team up and I’m not already a customer, lets talk about product reviews or demos of some kind. Sell your company and your products to me, make me believe in them, make me want to recommend them to others… don’t try to buy my ad space with a coupon! But be forewarned: I’m picky and have high expectations. You have to EARN your way onto this blog, you can’t buy it.

Mango Bay F/W collection and ONE HUNDRED!

Today’s blog entry marks my 100th post. I’m not sure if I should apologize to y’all for making you read that much of my endless ranting/whining or get down and kiss everyone’s feet for continuing to come back here day after day and slog through my monotony. Coincidentally, yesterday was also a record setting day with the most views ever to date. I figured the best way to celebrate was with pictures of pretty things and less words from me than usual. Therefore – enjoy the official debut of the Mango Bay F/W 2014 collection!

Turkish belts: $28


Wide belt lovers, your wishes have been granted. These new 2″ belts fit perfectly into the wider loops of Trophy Hunters and the patterns are just beautiful. I have two of these already (the french blue “Denim Tapestry” in the middle and the black “Fall Blossoms” toward the right) and absolutely love them. Pretty sure the pink “Geranium Blossom” is a NEED too. They’re backed with webbing to add more strength and have a keeper on the flap end to prevent the excess from flapping around. These are just so pretty, pictures don’t even do them justice.

my Fall Blossom belt paired with Black Forest TS

Paisley fabric belts – $28

Spiced Paisley – great name!
Moss Paisley
Blue Linen Paisley

Also a new design for Mango Bay this season is the fabric belt. This style is 1 3/4″ wide so should work with a variety of belt loop sizes, and comes in three colors. There are lots of fabric belts on the market now but the unique part of the Mango Bay design is that the core is webbing, which helps them maintain their shape well and be more durable.

Canvas belts (new width!) – $19


And of course – new patterns for their classic canvas belts! These too are a little bit wider than previous designs, on 1.5″ canvas. At only $19 you can’t beat the price on these guys… they’re so versatile and you can wear them with just about anything.

Belt buckles – $20-28


Besides awesome new belts Mango Bay is now offering belt buckles. There’s something here for everyone, from super simple to super ornate. Definitely a must have item.

Hope you guys like the new collection as much as I do. Don’t forget that Christmas is just around the corner and these make fantastic presents at a great value. And thanks again for sticking with me through the first 100! Here’s to many more.

I dressaged and lived to tell the tale

Last night was my first dressage lesson in about 10 years. My feelings toward it have not changed but it’s something that has to be done. So, I sucked it up with only a minimal (for me) amount of whining.

After a little warmup we started by trotting on a circle over a fan of groundpoles in both directions. That really helped give me and Henry the feeling of lifting and pushing with the inside hind. Similar to this diagram but a little tighter spaced and another pole or two. Great exercise. I need this in my life all the time.


Then we got to work. First I rode my test through once (for Saturday it’s BN Test A, which I didn’t actually bother to fully learn before my lesson because pfffft preperation smesheration. Sorry Lisa.) then we talked about things to improve and I rode it through again. It was much better the second time but there were still a few movements (mostly the medium walk-free walk-medium walk, the trot to canter transition and canter circle to the right, and the last turn up centerline) that needed a lot of work. We spent some time on just those specific movements, with much improvement. Putting it together is still pretty difficult and I definitely have my work cut out for me on Saturday. It’s amazing how much harder it is to do things in a 20m x 40m space. I feel much better prepared though and have tons of things to work on over the next few months. The good moments were enough to give me hope for both of us.

I have no pictures from last night sooooo here's an old one.
I have no pictures from last night sooooo here’s an old one.

My brain was super fried when I was done, so as soon as I got off I jotted down some notes in my phone lest I forget. These were the main points that stuck with me.

– Don’t be afraid to be bold when coming down centerline. Make an entrance.
– Half halt. No really: half halt.
– Tempo tempo tempo. Even and calm, don’t rush.
– On the 20m trot circles think “leg yield”. It helps shape his body around the circle.
– Light easy aids into canter, don’t be in a hurry.
– Always be thinking one movement ahead and BE ACCURATE.
– Make sure to have an obvious change of rein length from medium walk to free walk and back to medium.
– Trust the free walk, open hips and thighs to follow the motion and breathe.
– To the right when he falls heavy on his inside shoulder, lift the inside hand and my own shoulder (we both lean this way).
– Horse needs more shoulder fore work in general.
– Make sure to give plenty of outside rein when making turns onto centerline to allow him to really bend through the turn.
– Halt at X. Hey idiot self, X was back there! Every… damn… time. They really should mark that with spray paint or something. Just sayin. A big red X would help me a lot. Or maybe just a stop sign?

Not a bad collection of notes for a little over half an hour of lesson. Obviously we have work to do!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be sitting in the corner rocking back and forth in fetal position until my brain recovers, which quite honestly could be never.


SFTS Blog Hop: Why do you do what you do?

Stories from the Saddle‘s first blog hop topic is a good one: Why do you do what you do?

SFTS Blog Hop

Before I get into what I do and why, I feel like I should probably recount all the things I’ve done so that you understand more about where I’m coming from. I started riding in a Pony Club barn, but since I didn’t have my own horse I wasn’t actually in Pony Club. Still, it was mainly an eventing barn. I only took lessons once a week for two years before we moved away, so really I was just a beginner kid on lesson horses learning how to ride and jump.


When we moved to Texas I called all the barns in the phone book (ah, the good ol’ days) that said they offered lessons and left a message. Only one of those called me back so tada – that’s where I started riding. It was a h/j barn so that’s what I did. I started in the hunters but moved pretty quickly over to the jumpers, which was definitely my preference.


Then after high school I went to be a working student at an eventing barn (partly because those are the barns with more working student opportunities, and party because I felt ready to learn something new). I came back from that experience with a lot of enthusiasm for my new sport and kept at it for a few years afterward.

more Jezebel

A couple horses later I found myself with a pretty nice young horse off the track who showed an aptitude for hunters, so back I went into that. It only took a couple years though for me to get majorly burned out. That horse was sold and I went as opposite as possible – a little QH with some reining experience. I had a good time with her just learning to ride western and remembering how to have fun again, then eventually sold her and bought another TB. At that time I also had my young mare, who was bred to be a hunter (I bred her in the midst of my hunter phase). But not long after getting her started I remembered that I actually hated the hunters (sorry) and leased a jumper as well. Once I was back in the jumper ring I knew that’s where I was happiest. At one point Sadie was actually for sale. Then we figured out that she too was happier as a jumper so I decided to keep her.


I bought Henry specifically looking for a jumper. I have zero desire to do the hunters (only exception being hunter derbies) ever again. I also have a major hatred for dressage. Tons of respect for it, it’s super hard, but I just find it as dull as humanly possible. It’s really the only thing that keeps eventing from being my perfect sport.

The point of all this rambling is to illustrate that I don’t really have a sport. I’ve always been a wanderer I suppose… I do whatever a) suits the horse b) suits my mood at the time c) looks fun. If you made me claim one it’d definitely be jumpers first and foremost. Mainly because it’s so technical but still fun and so much of it (at least past a certain level) depends on rider skill. Even though you’re competing against other people, in a way it always feels like you’re competing against yourself. Making better decisions, better turns, thinking ahead to where you can save time, always trying to make your round as fast and clean as possible. That appeals to me a lot more than having the fanciest horse who jumps or moves the best and trying to find 8 jumps, and to be honest I’m very bothered by the measures taken to get a lot of top hunters to the ring these days. I just can’t get on board with that.


Eventing would be my second choice. I will say that above a certain level I think it’s just crazy stupid. I have a hell of a lot of respect for fences that don’t fall down and my interest wanes past Training level. But I think of all the horse sports eventers generally tend to have the best sportsmanship, best horsemanship, and best general all around base of knowledge. Sure they’re a little yahoo sometimes and good god someone teach them to use a hairnet properly (jk I love you guys. But really: hairnet) but at the end of the day they’re the crowd I like to hang out with most. Their sport is one of the hardest but also one of the most fun. I mean come on – who doesn’t want to gallop around and jump fences out in a field? Just take that pesky dressage crap out. 😉

Weekend recap and a decision

Considering the massive amount of rain we got last week, I was pretty sure that the weekend was a lost cause for riding. And on Saturday I was right… we spent an hour handwalking (the turnouts have been too wet for over a week) and grazing and grooming, but that was about it. The dogs had quite a fun time hunting mice though.




I also got a pretty awesome haul of new One Horse Designs shirts in the mail on Saturday. Ordered on Wednesday, arrived on Saturday! Can’t beat that. I love them. In fact, I’m wearing one right now (the blue one with the horse head).


By Sunday everything miraculously dried out and the footing was perfect in all the rings and fields. Turnouts are still pretty wet, so Henry hadn’t been turned out in over a week and hadn’t been ridden since our XC school last weekend, but I just got right on. He was exactly the same as he always is… there’s a lot to be said for a horse that can sit for a while and not be a nut. How I got lucky enough to own two of those is anyone’s guess.

We did practice a little dressage test. Why? Because I think I’ve decided I’m gonna go ahead and try to do the eventing derby this weekend. Why the hell not. The hunter derby is a maybe… I probably won’t decide on that one until the day of. I did discover that our ability to dressage is worse than I thought, so I have a dressage lesson tomorrow. My least favorite thing in the world. Yippee. But it has to be done.

After my ride I joined in the group of eventers at the barn to watch Sylvester (one of the very few horse movies I hadn’t seen yet) and talk a little about eventing in general. Let me tell you, there are many worse ways to while away a Sunday afternoon.

Becacuse who DOESN'T go to Rolex as their first horse show?
Because who DOESN’T go to Rolex as their first horse show?

This morning I have jury duty. Ugh.

Hope is alive! But… (poll)

As we all know from my incessant whining, the show last weekend was rained out and rescheduled for this weekend. Due to another deluge of rain it was rained out again and moved to November 8. Score. That works much better for me since the TB benefit show that I wanted to go to was also scheduled for this weekend. That too was rained out but rescheduled for next weekend. Double score.

So now it looks like both shows are once again do-able, of course barring any further rain or other complications (knocking furiously on wood).

Here’s the rub: I now have no idea what to enter at the TB show next weekend. The great thing is, they have a crap ton of options. The bad thing is, well… they have a crap ton of options.


Originally my plan was to enter the little hunter derby and a couple of jumper classes. Now that we’ve gone XC schooling I feel like the eventing derby could also be a viable option. The highest classes at this show are 2’6″ and the biggest eventing derby is Beginner Novice. It’s BN Test A and then a course of 10-14 combined stadium and XC obstacles. Pretty basic. The hunter derby is 2’3″ with 2’6″ options. Also very basic. There are only two 2’6″ jumper classes. They have dressage classes too. So… what the heck to do? I feel like I could do the eventing derby (at BN) and the hunter derby and be ok. Timing wise it would work out fine and he’d definitely have enough left in the tank to hop around a little hunter derby. Or I could do just the eventing derby and leave it at that. Or just the hunter derby and the jumper classes, since I’m not 100% confident he’d get through XC without a stop and we definitely haven’t worked on dressage at all. On the other hand this is very much a tiny schooling show and I wouldn’t be that upset if he did have a greenie moment, and the XC looks to be very straightforward.  Commence new incessant whining: I dunno what to doooooo.

Does Henry want to play eventer pony?


Or hunter derby pony?


Or jumper pony?


Or a combination of those?


We’d probably have a better chance at good ribbons (if I actually rode decently, which is always a big if) in the hunter derby and jumpers, but I don’t really care about ribbons. I just want it to be fun and for my horse to have a positive worthwhile experience. But is it too soon for the eventing derby, with only one XC school under his girth? Hmmm…

The Grand Georgia Adventure

Now that I’m home (yay) and back to work (boo) I finally have time to write about the Georgia trip. As with all road trips and horsey adventures there was plenty of stuff happening to write about, but I’ll try to keep it as short as possible.

Monday: I worked a half day then went straight to airport to make my 2:00 flight. I landed in Altanta around 5 and my friend Michelle (who is leasing my mare Sadie) met me at the airport. She is basically the whole reason I was there… she bought a broodmare and a foal from Rising Star Farm and had driven down there to haul them home to Texas. I had to fly in since I couldn’t miss work on Monday morning, but she didn’t want to make the return trip alone with two horses. So – Michelle picked me up from the airport and off we headed toward Rome to RSF. The super fun part was getting her giant truck and trailer out of the airport parking lot. Pretty sure it was the highlight of all the parking attendants’ day. We arrived at RSF within a couple hours, petted a few ponies, then settled in for the night.

I got a WELCOME kiss from hunter derby stud muffin Cartier R
And some very enthusiastic dogs

Tuesday: We were down at the barn by mid morning, ready to ride. First I hopped on Encore, an RSF sale horse by Figaro B. He’s a super cool greenie with nice gaits and a huge step. Then I got on Valentino, which y’all already saw pictures of. Pretty much made my day week month. Michelle rode him a bit as well and instantly fell in love too… Valentino definitely gained another member of his fan club. It’s really hard not to love that boy. Then we headed out for lunch and came back to start getting the trailer ready to haul a mare and baby. The configuration made it a bit tough but after a couple hours of tinkering around we finally came up with something that would work.

broodmare Osine with her baby (now Michelle’s baby) Inca

Wednesday: Up and at ’em early, getting things ready for the sBs inspection. The Belgian judges arrived at the farm around 9am to start doing paperwork, then the inspection began around 10. There were a few mares and several babies to inspect. Somehow I got roped into handling all of RSF’s mares, which I did not really have appropriate footwear for. But we got it done, got the babies branded, and had Mare and Baby (should say here – Baby did not belong to Mare so that added a level of difficulty to the whole thing) in the trailer by 2pm. Baby had never been in a trailer before so we were just trying to get going and get on the road ASAP to make it to our layover location in Mississippi before dark. There was no time for lunch so when we stopped for gas in Alabama we loaded up on armfulls of crap and just went to town in the most unhealthy of manners. Side note: when you stop at a random truck stop in Alabama, you see a pretty epic mullet.

our lunch of champions – the oatmeal cookies were for the horses

We ended up missing a turn and it took a while (and a lot of masterful driving skills by Michelle) to get turned around, so we made it to our layover spot just after dark. Luckily the horses were relatively happy and in good shape, so they came off the trailer and settled into their stalls with little fuss. Baby was a bit perturbed at first but came around after a few minutes and was great. Poor thing had a pretty rough day. We fed the horses, cleaned out the trailer, and trudged wearily into the house (thank god for horsey bed and breakfasts, especially adorable ones) to collapse in bed.

Chunky, Mississippi – it’s a real place
And this is probably why it’s so Chunky
Baby Inca settling into her first night as a weanling

Thursday: This was our biggest day of driving, with about 525 miles on the docket. We were a little worried about getting baby back in the trailer but she’s a champion and walked right on with only a little hesitation/bribery. We were on the road by 6:50. Not sure if any of you have ever driven I-20 across MS and LA, but man… those roads are awful. Poor baby probably got her brains rattled out. As soon as we crossed into TX the road smoothed out and we stopped in Tyler around noon to give them water, more hay, and grab lunch. By now it was pretty hot so we also sponged water on them and gave them cookies.

Cookies and water

We didn’t get very far outside of Tyler before the sky got awfully black and then opened up with pretty spectacular force. It was raining so hard that it was difficult to see too far in front of us. We plugged slowly along to Buffalo then stopped for gas and checked on the horses. They seemed pretty content, and the rain let up a bit while we were stopped, so we continued on our way. Again we didn’t get too far before it opened up on us again. The entire rest of the way to Austin was on and off storms with periods of super heavy rain. At one point in the town of Hearne we couldn’t even drive in the right hand lane because it was under so much water. Boating, anyone?

anybody got some oars? At least it wasn’t hot anymore.

There was a brief reprieve for about half an hour, but the closer we got to Austin the darker and more ominous it looked. We were about half an hour away from my barn (their next layover location) when we hit another crazy wall of rain. There was standing water everywhere. Slowly but surely we made our way through it and somehow managed to time it so that we made it to the barn and unloaded the horses before the next wave hit. Baby was a little more upset and wide eyed as the storm came rolling in but again she handled it pretty darn well, all things considered. Mare of course just seemed thrilled to be eyeball deep in hay with lots of cookies and a nice dry stall, so she didn’t much care about the rest of it.

Ummm, that looks ominous
because it WAS

I had to go back to work this morning so Michelle is on her own to make the 6ish hour trek back to where she lives. I think by now Mare and Baby are ready to be home! We had a good time though and she’s got a super nice new broodmare and filly to add to her breeding program. Extra congrats to Baby’s daddy Diabolo D’Esquelmes who has made it into round 3 of the 5yo YJC Midwestern League Finals this weekend in KY with two-for-two clear rounds so far! Go DD go!

Michelle got tons of inspection pictures with her nice camera so hopefully I’ll have lots of pretty mare and baby pictures for y’all sometime next week. Happy Friday!