AETA bound and Omeprazole chronicles day 15-21

I’m on my way to freezing cold Philly this morning for AETA! Yes I packed every long sleeve shirt and jacket that I own, which juuuust fits in a carry on, puffy jacket and vest included. I fear I am woefully unprepared. Oh well, we’ll call it an arctic adventure and keep the heat cranked in the hotel.

I wish I could say I had super detailed info on the daily omeprazole like I did with last weeks update, but basically it rained buckets last Fri/Sat, then we moved barns on Sun, then I didn’t go the barn Mon/Tues. So… I’ll just write what I can. He is super easy to dose and has been all along so I won’t even bother saying how we was for that part anymore. It must not taste that bad because he takes it willingly enough and swallows it on his own now.

Day 15 – Groomed

Really I just scrubbed the bird poop off his head (seriously), picked his feet, gave him his omeprazole, and left. He was pretty cheerful.

Day 16 – Groomed

Again “groom” is probably not quite accurate, I knocked the dust off with a towel (he didn’t protest, but he was also preoccupied with his rice bran) and gave him his omeprazole.

Day 17 – Moving day

He very happily and enthusiastically grazed for a while before we loaded up. He settled in really well but I still gave him a little bit extra of his meds that day, especially since it was still too wet for them to go out. Plus we did go on Walkabout and he chomped like hell on his bit for the first half, so although he didn’t express it beyond that, it did stress him out a little.

Day 18 – No barn

He still got his meds (YAY, a BO who can be trusted to give a horse it’s meds!)

Day 19 – No barn

He still got his meds (YAY, a BO who can be trusted to give a horse it’s meds!). It was also dry enough for them to be turned out. According to BO he ran a few mighty impressive laps around his turnout and then settled down into the round bale, which is pretty much where he’s been ever since.

Day 20 – Groomed and rode

What? I ride? Sometimes. He was good for grooming and tacking up, but I wore spurs which was a mistake. If he’s kinda fresh and you wear spurs, he just gets SUPER oversensitive and tight and backwards. That was my stupid mistake. Halfway through I ditched the spurs and he got better, but still never really felt that relaxed.

Day 21 – Groomed and rode

I think he has readjusted to life as a horse with lots of turnout, a round bale, and a buddy, because when I went to bring him in for dinner he was pretty much passed out asleep in the sun. I was slightly alarmed for a second because normally he comes to me in the pasture, but once I went and got him and he realized I had cookies he perked right up. I rode him in his sidepull and decided to jump him, since the day before he just kind of caved in on himself mentally, and the sidepull + jumping is his favorite thing. He was really fantastic in the flatwork and jumped everything in the ring without a second glance, including the skinny off a tight turn and a vertical on a pretty sharp angle. He was happy, he was bright, and didn’t even so much as flick an ear when I groomed him. He would like to petition USEA to allow bitless dressage, please.


Summary of week 3: he definitely remains better to groom and has started to put some bloom back on. Sometimes I think I definitely feel a difference under saddle, other days not. One more week on the 4x treatment dose, then 2 more weeks on the 2x.

All about that lace

I have noticed a definite trend lately in the collections from many equestrian apparel companies: lace.

Aztec Diamond has it on breeches

and a shirt


Valentine Equine clearly loves lace and has several shirts with it, ranging from more basic



to much more bold


while Fior da Liso‘s Lacie shirt is more subtle.

Even bigger companies like Equine Couture




and Cavallo have items with lace.

Cavallo Delina Ladies Show Shirt - White

There are also lace stock ties, ranging from a whole lot of lace like this one from Dameron

to just a hint of lace like this one from ShowChic

Pink Lace & Pearl Detail Stock Tie


How about a show coat with lace on the collar like this one from Kentucky?

or lace boot socks, like these from Ariat

who also has a lace vest

You can even get a lace HELMET from KEP!

What do you think of the lace trend… would you wear any of these items? Personally I’m a huge fan of lace in general and would definitely like to have some of these things, but others are a bit too much even for me. I’d love to see more companies play around with lace on breeches… maybe just a little touch of it on the pockets? Especially if it was combined with leather – maybe lace backing on the pocket area and leather piping on the pocket edge? Someone get me a sewing machine. And fabric. And a person that can sew. And a designer.

TOA Blog Hop: Worth 1k words




Worth 1k Words.
Let’s share our favorite photos of our stud muffins.  No limit.


I’m gonna have to limit it to 10 per horse, otherwise we’ll be here all day. Ain’t nobody got time for my pony worship. Henry first!




The winner of the “best Henry face of 2014” poll!









And Sadiebug:













On walkabout

On Sunday after we finished moving the boys and unpacking/arranging all of our stuff at the new place, the BO invited us to go on “walkabout” with her and another boarder. The barn is off in the back county roads where there isn’t really much traffic, so they often go on rides down the road. When I was a working student at an eventing barn on the east coast most of the horses regularly did road work at least twice a week (by “work”, I mean we would walk through the neighborhood next door for half an hour or so). The science is that a little bit of conditioning work on hard surfaces helps build bone density and strengthen tendons and ligaments. It seems more common in Europe than here, and among eventers. Maybe if everyone just agreed to call it “walkabout” more people would be into it. Road work sounds like something you would do in a hard hat with a jackhammer. Walkabout sounds like a grand adventure.


I’ve never ridden Henry on the roads and he’d had a few days off, plus just moved to a new place, but there were 4 of us in the group and he is generally a cool-headed dude anyway, so I tacked up and off we went. I couldn’t resist the appeal of getting some Vitamin D on a beautiful 75 degree January day while on walkabout with my pony. (best sentence ever)

All four of us – that’s Auto on the right


Riding up toward New Sweden Church, built in 1921.


ADE, CWD and Ogilvy out on the open road


riding back up to the barn

He gave the herd of baby and momma cows a good hearty “What in the holy hell???” jiggy sideways stare, and flinched at a couple cars that passed a little too close for his comfort, but otherwise he was great. About halfway through he settled and ambled the rest of the way on a long rein.

I’m excited to be able to add a little bit of road work (er, sorry, WALKABOUT) to our repertoire. Plus the new barn is only about a mile up the road from a good friend’s place, so I can literally ride my horse to her house!


Weekend Recap: moving onward and upward

It was moving weekend! But that didn’t happen til Sunday, we have two other days to cover first. Friday was a wet and yucky day (a few random snowflakes actually came from the sky at one point. Tuesday it was 80, Friday it snowed, Sunday it was 75. Seriously Texas?) so no riding happened. I did have happy hour with some horse friends though, one of which was Karen of Bay with Chrome, who wrote an AWESOME post about why horse friends are better than normal people friends. She gets it.

Saturday morning was spin class followed by a swim. In light of Tracy’s post last week about fitness goals I decided to start keeping a calendar of my activities so I can track it better. She did it as “Weigh-in Wednesday” but I figured I’ll just post it every Monday in my weekend recap so it’s less intrusive, and I’m not tracking my weight, just my activities for fitness purposes. You’ll probably have to click on the picture to make it easy enough to read, I couldn’t find a way to make the text bigger. But at least if I post it here weekly I have hundreds of eyewitnesses to reprimand me if I start slacking off. Go ahead, shame away. I didn’t bother to try to remember things well enough to go further back and fill it in, but everything starting from the 18th will be logged going forward.


After the gym Brandy and I went to a tack sale where I scored all this awesome loot for a total of $3!!! Not gonna lie, I’m very excited about my $1 bottle of Microtek shampoo. I love that stuff and it’s normally $20+ a bottle. And Quick Braid is $10! And my little Loopa bath mitt still has the $8.95 price tag on it! And there’s always a need for a baggie of black rubber bands. Total score, I wish I’d had more cash with me so I could have bought more. I want to go to a tack sale every weekend.

I spent the afternoon cleaning all my stuff and packing, figuring out how the heck to condense two giant lockers full of stuff into just a tack trunk and a couple of racks in the new tack room. For the record – I figured it out, but it took a lot of creative maneuvering. Basically I have a lot of stuff.

all mine. #sorrynotsorry

Then I rushed home to make a sopapilla cheesecake for a cycling club party that night. By this point I was so tired I might have just been sleepwalking, but at least the cheesecake was a hit. I mean… anything with cream cheese, sugar and cinnamon as the main ingredients is guaranteed to be a success.

So many noms.

While at the party, chit-chatting with people about plans for the year, the subject turned to my upcoming visit to Philly this weekend. There was a joke made about the weather, at which point I realized I hadn’t yet looked at the forecast. So into my Weather Channel app I went, and lets just say this Texan was HORRIFIED. I immediately took a screen cap and sent it to my friend Megan, who I’m going to Philly with. In case you Northerners have ever wondered what would happen if a couple of Southerners were faced with a real winter (or really, the mere suggestion of a real winter), I present to you:



Today it looks like the snow chances have gone down a bit for the weekend so maybe there’s hope I’ll live through the experience after all. Of course, by the sound of the forecast today and tomorrow there will likely be a foot of snow on the ground when I’m there. I’ve never seen more than a few inches at a time, so this is a new one for me. My Chicago native SO had to explain it all to me last night. I didn’t know you could drive on it. Huh. Fascinating.

On Sunday I was up and at the barn early to get all of my stuff loaded into Brandy’s truck and get the boys ready to move. She and Auto moved with us, so luckily Henry gets to keep his BFF.

Into the trailer they went…

and just a short drive to the new place. They were welcomed with a stall full of hay and some cookies waiting for them in their feed bucket (the barn owner bought all blue buckets for Henry’s stall since all of our stuff is blue… how adorable is that? And a nameplate to match, too!). Henry of course instantly approved, and after a short look around settled right into his main business of hoovering hay.

I have to say, for the first time in months I feel like I can finally breathe. I don’t have to tailor my life around getting to the barn at feeding time every day anymore so I can throw him more hay, and I know that he always has plenty of clean water and someone keeping a close eye on him all the time. I know the new barn owners well, and they’re so diligent and take such fantastic care of the horses. Really it’s a huge weight off my shoulders to have him there. Just in the few hours I was out yesterday he’d already gotten more hay than he would have had in an entire day at the old place. Now that he will always have something in his belly hopefully between that and the ulcer meds he’ll be back to 110% soon. He’s already put a little bit of weight on just in the last few weeks from me tossing him a couple extra flakes a night, so fingers crossed that he gets his bloom back quickly now with proper food and nutrition. Plus I got a text message last night saying that the boys were both eating, drinking and pooping normally. So nice to have updates, especially unprompted ones!

After we got the boys settled in we went on a Walkabout, but we’ll save those pictures for tomorrow…

OH – and for those who asked, here’s a better picture of Henry’s butt heart!


Chris Bartle: Let’s be besties

I had a couple facebook friends at the ICP symposium a few days ago in Ocala, and as they posted more videos I became more and more wrapped up in catching every word Chris Bartle said. Unfortunately I can’t post those videos here because facebook is annoying, but here’s a link to a podcast talking about the ICP symposium.

Hey there, new BFF

Sometimes you come across trainers that just “speak to you”, and for me he’s one. So much of what he said was really applicable to me, and he worded it in ways that made a lot of sense to me too. I grabbed all the quotes that USEA posted on their facebook, found a few more on my own, watched every video I could dig up, and tossed all the knowledge nuggets together in a document. Because it’s totally normal to keep several documents of notes and tidbits from clinics and lessons. So in case you’re interested, wisdom from Chris Bartle:

Dressage –

“You can’t have impulsion without connection.”

“If your horse is strong turn his head to the outside and use a strong, active inside leg. Use your gears not just the brakes.”

“If you have a tense, excitable horse then move your seat to the back of the saddle and the horse will lengthen his neck and lower his head to compensate for the change in balance.”

“Your ‘position statement’ is your seat and legs. If your horse does not respond your position statement is not strong enough.”

“My goal is to ride a dressage test with the reins in one hand. That means I am steering my horse with my ‘position statement’ not my hands and reins.”

“Avoid pressure on both sides of the mouth at the same time. Soften inside rein as pressure is applied to outside rein.”

“Your elbows belong to your body, your hands belong to your horse.” 

“The rise phase of the trot is the motivating phase.”

“I like to see the rider staying relaxed in the hip, moving with the horse, not getting too tight in thigh contact with saddle, allowing the horse to breathe. Everything in the canter should be done in a breathing rhythm, pushing every second stride.”

“If the horse is short in the neck – keep your elbows in front of you, keep more horse in front of you.”

“Relax the arm without throwing the contact away.”

Jumping –

“The leg creates the energy and the seat determines the length of stride. Keep the tempo throughout the turn or you will have time penalties. Tuck your seat under you. Keep the rhythm and don’t pick at your horse.”

“If you have impulsion you have options!”

“You don’t need to see a stride. Preparation before the turn and riding the line between fences properly will get you to the fence on the right stride. Keep the horse’s head up and to the outside with a supporting inside leg to “close the horse up” and keep the energy and your horse will choose the right place to take off.”

“If your stirrups are too long you can’t use your core muscles to control the speed.”

“Cross-country saddles should have room for five fingers breadth behind your seat. This allows room for you to slide your seat backwards. This will give you a ‘safe seat’. The ability to do that depends on the length of your stirrup–they must be SHORT.”

“It’s the horse’s job to jump the fence and not the rider’s. The horse must always maintain that forward enthusiasm and his own balance without always relying on the rider.”

“The rider’s responsibility is to keep the horse in line and on line and to approach the fence at the right speed that is relevant to that fence and in a good rhythm.”

“Good training will lead to the horse offering what you want as opposed to the rider having to hold the whole thing together.”

“Very often you’ll have riders who begin to interfere with the horse’s responsibility and start telling the horse how to do his job, when to take off, how to jump the fence and so on and that is where you get confusion where the horse and rider partnership breaks up.”

“Approach the fence in a good balance and keep a good rhythm (in the same stride) then your horse will have the best chance of measuring the fence and jumping it cleanly.”

His book has officially made it’s way onto my wish list.

Training the Sport Horse by Christopher Bartle

The Omeprazole Chronicles, Days 10-14

Since a lot of people have been asking me about the omeprazole and are curious about how it’s working for me, I figured I would start a little series of update posts about it and chronicle what I’m seeing in Henry as we go along.

Days 1-9 of the omeprazole experiment were basically a wash as far as noting any changes. It was too cold and wet to ride and all I really did was go out to give him his paste and handgraze him, so there was no analysis on my part to judge any behavioral differences. So, we’ll start with Day 10, which was the first day I really had a good opportunity to evaluate his behavior on the ground and under saddle. Also worth noting – he got his teeth done and sheath cleaned on day 6. His sheath wasn’t bad but his teeth had some fairly significant issues (as they did last year as well). So, it’s possible that some changes could be due to that… take it for what you will.

Day 10 – Groomed and rode.

Grooming: I noticed that he was much less pissy about his right side. Typically he doesn’t want me to brush that side, sometimes to the point of raising a hoof, but all he really did was swish his tail once. Much less protest than normal.

Riding: While riding I thought that he felt a little bit more free/loose in his walk, although that could be because he hadn’t been ridden in so long. Seemed less “jumpy” to my leg.

Dosing: No problem with him taking and swallowing the paste (which is a beige color), still on the 10mL treatment dose which I tend to do generously, more like 11-12mL.

Day 11 – Groomed, rode, bathed

Grooming: This time while grooming he didn’t even swish his tail – I brushed and toweled him all over with no protest (well, he gave me the stink eye when I wiped all the bedding off his sheath. He says that’s a no-fly zone, lady). Was less grumpy about girthing than normal.

Riding: I switched him back to his french link eggbutt from the nathe, since the dentist recommended a very thin diameter bit due to his mouth conformation and the eggbutt is currently the thinnest I have. He was very chompy but did not do the “I stick my nose up and walk in place” thing when I took up contact. If anything he was going behind the contact too much in the beginning and I had to work him up into my hand. Was very well-behaved under saddle and gave me a real, honest-to-god free walk for what is really the first time ever. He was reactive but not overreactive to my leg.

Bathing: Did not mind the sweat scraper after his bath. Sometimes he used to dislike it, but not always.

Dosing: No problem with him taking and swallowing the paste, still on the 10mL treatment dose.

Derp-sage pony

Day 12 – Groomed, rode, bathed

Grooming: One tail swish while brushing the lower part of his belly. No ugly face accompanied it. Nothing of note while tacking up.

Riding: Since it was 80 degrees and I was riding in the ring instead of the field, I really should have grabbed my spurs. I had a less forward horse than Day 11, and he was a bit dead to my right leg (not unusual for him). Otherwise pretty good, stayed pretty relaxed and did offer some good free walk again. Two different people said he looked really good, for whatever that’s worth.

Bathing: Did not mind the sweat scraper after his bath.

Dosing: No problem with him taking and swallowing the paste, still on the 10mL treatment dose.

Mad wet pony

Day 13 – Groomed and rode

Grooming: Some tail swishing when I was brushing the bottom of his belly.

Riding: Let’s just say that I should never ride Henry in the rain without a bonnet to prevent water from going in his precious ears. Oh my guh, the angst.

Dosing: No problem with him taking and swallowing the paste, still on the 10mL treatment dose.

butt decorations!

Day 14 – clipped

Clipping: He’s not really a fan of clipping but always tries to be tolerant. He behaved pretty much like he usually does, although he had a few minutes of dancing when it was feeding time because OMG I’M GONNA STARVE TO DEATH. I let him eat before doing the other side.

Dosing: Very good. I gave him a little extra tonight since it rained 3″ and he’s gonna end up spending probably at least 3-4 days in his stall. He’s gotten to where I can just dose him and he swallows it himself with no fuss and no complaints.


I also think he’s put a little bit of weight back on since he’s consistently been getting “extra” hay. We move to the new barn on Sunday, so I’m hoping once he gets into a normal hay ration it’ll start coming back quickly.

To be continued next week!

Still unimpressed with Smartpak

I’ve tried really hard to like SmartPak, I swear I have. I’ve actually had SmartPak’s themselves at a couple points in time for different horses, I’ve placed orders for random items through them on occasion, and I tried like hell to convince myself I liked their Piper breeches. At this point in my horse life there is zero to entice me to use actual SmartPak’s… if there’s a supplement I need a) they usually don’t have it, or b) it’s considerably more expensive. That said, my horse isn’t on any feed through supplements anyway. There were a couple of times years ago when I emailed requests for certain products (not supplements) and never heard back, but I wasn’t really surprised by that from a big company. To give them credit, they have good customer service from what I’ve personally experienced. Returning the greatly disappointing Piper’s was pretty painless and I got my money back in a timely manner.

you broke my heart, merlot Pipers

I guess I’m just super spoiled by my favorite “big time” online retailer Riding Warehouse. They offer free shipping on all orders over $50, plus their prices are some of the lowest already, plus there’s almost always a $10 off coupon code or a 20% sale going on, plus I get things crazy fast. Like two or three days after I order it. Often it’s boxed up and on it’s way the same day I order, even though I didn’t pay a dime for shipping. I emailed once to ask if they could order an item for me in a color they didn’t offer online and they were on it immediately, made it happen for me, and I still got my free shipping and coupon code. So for me personally, RW has Smartpak beat on every count. Even PS of Sweden, who are located in SWEDEN, have always gotten my orders to me in a week or less (it’s usually on it’s way within a day or two and at my house 3 days later) and they’ve been great with communication.

That’s really far, plus they’re 7 hours ahead of us.

Still, I decided to order a nameplate for Henry with a SmartPak gift card I had, and barn buddy Brandy got in on the order to get herself some spurs and a nameplate for her horse too. Luckily with all 3 things combined we eeked over the $75 minimum for free shipping. It’s cool that USEF members get 5% off, but since I’m a low level eventer I only have to be a USEA member, not a USEF member (thank god) so that helps me none.

I knew that since we ordered nameplates it could take a while to ship, so I placed the order on 1/6 and promptly forgot about it. When I got a shipping notification on 1/10 I was like “awesome, 4 days is a great turnaround time for plates”. Sadly when the package arrived via USPS (started out as UPS then transferred to USPS)  on 1/15 I realized it was only the spurs that had shipped. Nine days to get some spurs? Four days of which were processing? That’s a bit excessive IMO. To make matters more mediocre, the spurs obviously looked like a return of some sort. They were no longer attached to the cardboard backing, but instead were in a plastic baggie with the cardboard backing and the cut zip ties that had originally held the spurs to said backing. They were still in new condition, but that was cheesy. At least zip tie them back on so we never know the difference.

My free RW hat (add it to your cart if your order is over $100) is my favorite hat.
My free RW hat (add it to your cart if your order is over $100) is my favorite hat.

But ah well, whatever. The next day I got another shipping notification and I thought “Oh good, there’s the plates!”. This time the package was carried all the way by UPS and arrived on 1/19. Alas – it was only one plate. Okaaaaay then. I went back to the SmartPak website (which to their credit is very easy to use), and realized the other nameplate shipped on 1/13 via UPS then was transferred to USPS. It was finally delivered yesterday. Weird.

I get that SmartPak is outsourcing the nameplates from elsewhere but that was such a weird shipping/delivery process. Now I see why their prices are higher – they must spend a boatload on shipping! Each thing came packaged in a box, so it definitely could not have been super cheap for 3 boxes.

and I have this sticker, which was 25 cents. Because I’m a fan girl, and because RW are marketing geniuses for putting their logo on really cheap gear. I don’t want your $20 hat, SmartPak!


There’s no actual complaint here and SmartPak definitely didn’t do anything wrong, they just yet again haven’t done anything to wow me. They do say that they price match (although I’ve heard someone say they didn’t have luck with that with Tailored Sportsmans) and they have free returns (but so does Riding Warehouse). The turnaround time on the plates was decent, although IMO the spurs were really slow. I guess I just assumed it would all ship together so I didn’t think twice about the spurs taking so long to ship until they actually arrived. Also annoying – the emails. Especially the one I got this morning titled “Amanda – You’re About To Have An Ah-Ha Moment” in which they tried to give me the hard sell on SmartPaks. The only emails I get from Riding Warehouse are about sales and giveaways I think Riding Warehouse will be keeping my business whenever possible. Sorry SmartPak. I tried, I promise. But Riding Warehouse has set the bar way too high! Tell me, SmartPak lovers – what am I missing, because I just don’t get it?

Not only do they have regular giveaway items, but when you enter the giveaway you get a coupon code!


TOABH: Sugar Momma

Yup, this one is definitely up my alley.

Let’s continue pretending that horse poop magically transforms into money instead of the other way.  So money doesn’t matter.  If you could buy anything for your horse, what would you buy? 

1) A truck and trailer. Specifically a 2 horse gooseneck straightload, extra-large, with a ramp and a dressing room that I could throw a mattress and an AC unit into. Although really at this point I’d take anything he’d fit into that was safe. My life would be infinitely easier if I had my own truck and trailer. Independence is a priceless thing and not having your own wheels really sucks.

Hawk Trailers

2) a custom french dressage saddle. Because once you’re used to custom and french, it’s really hard to love anything else, and Henry seems to agree. So I’ll take one Devoucoux Milady, please and thank you.

3) More PS of Sweden. Duh. The hackamore bridle needs to join my fleet because the hack I have now just does not fit well and drives me (and thus Henry) bonkers.

Hackamore Sport Revolution

4) His own personal masseuse and chiropractor to come out at least twice a month.

5) A lifetime supply of Stud Muffins. Really these would be #1 on his list.

Otherwise, I feel like he’s got pretty much everything he needs and wants, because he’s kind of spoiled rotten.

His butt is my canvas

Since Thursday is supposed to be rainy, I’ve picked it as the day for Henry’s third and final body clip of the season. All along I’ve had every intention of clipping something into his butt, but I have absolutely no idea what so I just haven’t done it. It seems like all the best ones have something to with the horse’s name:


Or an official brand or breed logo

Of course, Henry’s name is a “people” name, and his show name is Happenstance. I don’t really know of any shapes that immediately come to mind to reflect either of those. Not to mention that I don’t have super mad clipping skills or the little bitty clippers (or the patience) required for intricate designs.

Here’s where I need help – what’s a good, fairly simple design to put on his bum? I love stars but SB has already won the star game with C-rage, so anything I do will be second rate at best. I thought about a lightning bolt, only because a) it seems simple and b) it makes me giggle. It doesn’t really tie into his names at all though.

His registered name is He’salmostsweet because he was born the day before Valentine’s, but I fear that putting a heart on his bum will make me look like a 10yo ponykid who just loves her SNOOKUMS, like OMG. This is a pretty rad heart though:

I also thought about maybe a horseshoe, since Happenstance is kinda like luck? Help me out here, creative people! What do I clip into Henry’s bum?