Weekend recap: basking in sunlight

Finally! FINALLLLYYY!!! Our true Texas winter has returned. Temperatures in the low 70’s and not a cloud in sight. This is why we endure scorching summers. I hope that cold crap is gone for good.

Even my mood seems vastly improved… at one point yesterday I just sat in a parking lot with my sunroof open, basking in the sun. The stresses of life seem to just melt away on really beautiful days like that. Also – I got to ride my horse again! After almost two weeks I’d pretty much forgotten what that was like.



HenryJan18 from amanda chance on Vimeo.

It was also my first chance to ride, or really even groom, since starting Henry on the omeprazole. He’s now been on it for 10 days, and maybe it’s just purely coincidental but I’m seeing a few subtle changes. First, when I groomed him he did not go to Grump Town when I brushed his right side. Normally as soon as I get over there with a curry, brush, or towel he gives me The Face and sometimes would even pick up his back leg to threaten me away. Yesterday I curried, brushed, AND toweled and got only a single tail swish. Coincidence? Maybe. He also seemed less “jumpy” to my leg under saddle… he’s always been a sensitive horse and I imagine always will be, but I wasn’t getting that quick jerky overreaction like I sometimes do. Of course, that was just based off of one ride so we’ll see if that continues. I also thought he was marching more forward and free in his walk than is normal for him, but that could have been the I-haven’t-been-ridden-in-two-weeks coming out. We’ll see as time goes on, although I’m fairly encouraged to see any changes at all. And glad, because I’ve got omeprazole tubes coming out of my ears. Seriously, my locker looks like a pharmacy. Henry also got his teeth done and sheath cleaned last week while I was off barnsitting. Big thanks to Auntie Brandy for giving him his meds and looking after him while I was away from the barn. And for taking this glorious picture.

The place I was barnsitting is basically my dream property in every way, I had a great time there. I even made SO make the drive on Friday night so I could show him everything and point out why it was a good design, the soil, the footing, the layout, the fencing, blah blah blah. I think his eyes glazed over, but he said he liked it too.

awesome dressage arena

He also spectated while I groomed the Traks and cleaned the barn. As in… spectated from the porch with a cup of coffee while I cleaned and spectated from a safe distance while I groomed. He did actually hold Toni’s lead rope for a few minutes, although he set it down and backed up a step when I told him Toni was a stallion. Toni was not impressed with either of us, but he appreciated having the now-abandoned lead rope to chew on. Whoa there, wild stallion.

All in all it was a nice fun WARM weekend with lots of time spent outside. The next few days look to be equally as lovely, too… I love it.

TOABH: Wish We Could

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog hop, and I still haven’t ridden my horse since last week, so why the heck not?

Beka (my blog wife) over at The Owls Approve asked:

Let’s pretend that financial restrictions don’t exist and logistics isn’t a nightmare.  If you could do anything with your Ponykins, what would you do?

Four things immediately come to mind:

1) AEC’s. I know, I know, I talk about it a lot, but it’s my main goal of 2015. Not gonna lie – if we don’t make it I’ll be really disappointed.

2) a Novice 3-day event. Because jog-ups, and roads and tracks, and steeplechase! I’m still a die-hard fan of the long format of eventing so this would be cool in so many ways. Plus I will probably never ever have the cojones to want to jump around any actual FEI level event, so this is a good way to play dress up and do the fun stuff without actually trying to kill myself on a giant solid XC jump. In my dreams I would love to do a N3DE next year, but a) I just dunno about that b) it would depend on if the one that used to happen in Texas ever actually happens again. Fun as it would absolutely for sure definitely be, I can’t see me hauling several states away for something like that.

What do you mean I’m way overdressed for Novice? This is mini-Rolex!


roads and tracks!


Henry would be like: WEEEE STEEPLECHAAAASE!

3) Foxhunting. And while I totally would settle for Texas foxhunting (should have put that on my 2015 goals…) in my fantasyland I mean Virginia foxhunting. Not Ireland, because those people are a hair too drunk/crazy, but I’m game for VA style. That seems like a happy medium.

Like this:

We can jump this


and this


Hey girl, cute hedge

But not:

WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL?? NOOO!!! I don’t even bend that way!


4) Ride on the beach. I’ve done this a couple times before in my life but not on my own terms, so it’d be fun to tak Hens for a little gallop by the water.

In my mind it looks exactly like this


Time to vote! Best Henry face of 2014.

This post was going to be my top 5 favorite Henry faces of 2014, but once I started looking through pictures I realized I couldn’t narrow it down to 5. So instead I pulled out all of my favorites… mostly silly faces but a few more “normal” ones too. Please scroll down through them all then vote for your favorite at the end!



#2 – Laughing at me behind my back when I tell friends how he almost killed me on XC


#3 – BOOP!


#4 – Just a little nibble..


#5 – ERMAGHERD it’s the FURRIER!


#6 – I derp so hard.


#7 – Feelin so fly like a G6


#8A (because I can’t count and messed it up the first time)  You can take away my bit, but you can never take away my TONGUE FREEEEDDOOOOMMMM


#8B – Come closer…


#9 – I is so abused




#11 – Dis is bullshit.


#12 – “Luke, I am your fatherrrrr”


#13 – NOMS!!!


#14 – Cookie, yes???


#15 – a new bridle is NOT my idea of a “fun present”, Mom.


#16 – Cross country is the best thing EVAR!




#18 – America’s Next Top Horse Model. Will work for cookies.


Vote away! I’ve allowed you to choose up to 3 different pictures, in case it’s too hard to pick just one.




Review: PS of Sweden Flying Change bridle

I’ve gotten a bit behind on my PS of Sweden reviews, it seems. I still need to do one on the High Five breastplate, but I want to wait until I have a chance to use it more and give it a thorough test. For the Flying Change bridle, though, the time has come.

I’ve had this bridle for about a month now and used it several times. I’ve conditioned it a couple times and cleaned it once. This is not my first bridle from PS of Sweden, I also have the High Jump in dark brown leather. Like the High Jump, I ordered the Flying Change in a cob size. Henry really measures between their cob and full size, but I prefer how the cob size browband fits. The Flying Change was ordered with the intent of being his dressage bridle, so I chose black.

I have gotten really spoiled by PS’s shipping… two days for something to make it from Sweden to my doorstep (it’s ALWAYS two days!) is pretty amazing considering how long most of my other orders take from other places. Plus the bridles come in a fabric bag to store them in to keep the dust off, and there’s always something “extra” in there from PS – either rein stops or a keychain or whatever. Small details, but nice ones. When I opened the package, the first thing I noticed was the thick soft padding on this bridle. The noseband and crown are super soft and squishy for those delicate faces and polls. There’s also a nice thick pad running under the jaw area of the noseband. I gave a quick condition with Higher Standards balm and it was ready to go.

wide padded anatomic crownpiece that is a standard feature on PS bridles

As with the High Jump (and all of PS’s bridles) the browband snaps on and off to be easily removeable and interchangeable. This is an awesome feature if you happen to also own a sparkly PS of Sweden browband like I do. It literally takes 15 seconds to do a browband change. Yes I timed it.

The other super cool “quick change” feature of this bridle is the flash attachment. The tab connecting the flash to the bridle runs between the top layer of leather and the padding. The tab hooks back on itself via a little rounded metal stud, similar to the studs you see on some models of jumping boots. The stud has smooth rounded edges and just barely sticks up from the surface of the leather when the flash is attached, so I’ve had zero worry about it getting snagged on anything. The stud really makes it very quick and easy to put the flash attachment on or take it off. Again, just a matter of seconds. The first time I took it off and put it back on I didn’t push the leather down firmly enough on the stud and it popped off when I went to fasten the flash on the horse. Once I took care to make sure that it was back on the stud correctly, I’ve never had another problem with it popping off. I absolutely LOVE the fact that when you take the flash off of the bridle, you would never know it was there in the first place. No ugly flash tab, and no dents in your padding!

view of the noseband from the front


and from the top

The reins on this bridle are similar to the High Jump but not quite the same. They are made from the same “softy” leather, which I really adore. It’s super super soft and thin and grippy, which makes it very easy and comfortable to hold. They also have the same leather hand stops spaced evenly down the length of the reins. The only difference is that these are not lined in rubber. For a dressage bridle, these reins are really ideal for me. I love having the hand stops to help make sure my reins are even and to help prevent me from letting them slip through my hands – both bad habits of mine.

The noseband came with a clip on the bottom for easier attachment, and while I do love the ease of it I liked the fit a little bit better without it, so I took it off.  There are rollers on each side of the hardware under the bottom strap of the noseband for easy and fluid tightening/loosening.

The top of the nose has a slightly squared design to it that molds really nicely around the nose and then tapers to thinner leather on each side. IMO this makes it a very flattering bridle for many different head types.

The reins and cheekpieces also have the same heavy duty elastic “cradle” inserts in the ends as the High Jump has… it’s up to you whether you take them out or leave them in. I’ve left them in for now but will take them out before we start showing just in case a steward ever objects.

Overall I’m just as happy, if not more so, with this bridle as I am with the High Jump. The quality is good, the design is both innovative and beautiful, and the horse goes well in it. I sat here for a while trying to think of something negative to say, but honestly I’ve got nothing of note. The only slight negative, depending on how you look at it, is that one of the keepers on the noseband was very tight. To stretch it out a bit I slathered it in conditioner and stuck a Sharpie in it (it was just the right thickness!), twisted it around a little, and left it for a few days. When I took the Sharpie out it was looser, and the keeper held up perfectly to all the twisting and stretching. I’m excited to debut Henry’s fancy new dressage bridle at events this year! Thanks PS of Sweden for another great product.



Breeches: The Ultimate Fit Guide

It seems like I’ve had a lot of people ask me lately about breech sizing, especially in regard to Aztec Diamond. I decided to pull out all of my breeches (sadly my collection has dwindled since last fall, but I still have 11 pairs across several different brands. Caveat – a couple were given to me and either I don’t know the brand or I haven’t really worn or looked closely at them yet, so I did not include those here) to measure, compare, and photograph. I’ve tried to put as much information in here as I can think of regarding each brand, how they fit, how they wear, and main features. If there’s something I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask and I’ll add it in. Hopefully this helps someone out there! I took pictures of one pair of each brand so you can see what they look like on a real person vs a model. It’s very interesting to see pictures next to each other like this… you can really tell which ones are most flattering to me vs which ones are not!



2 pairs of low rise Trophy Hunter front zips, one knee patch euro seat (size 30R) one full seat (size 30L)


Fabric: 73% cotton 20% polyamide 7% lycra

Measurements (knee patch pair):
Waist: 15.5″
Hips: 19″
Rise: 11″
Inseam to bottom: 24″

Compared to 30L Trophy Hunter full seats: the full seats are 1/4″ smaller in the waist, hips 1″ smaller, inseam 2″ longer, rise is the same.

Velcro bottom
Two pockets
Belt loop size – 2 1/8″
no euro seat lining

Stain resistant (on a scale of 1 – 5, with 1 being least resistant and 5 being most resistant): 2
Do they stretch out with wear: Yes
Are they stiff or soft out of the wash: Stiff, I usually toss in the dryer on no or low heat for a minute after they’re dry to soften them back up.
Do they dry quickly: Meh. Average.
Are they thick or thin: on the thinner side but not particularly thin
# of wears (approx): My knee patch pair I bought new last spring and have worn approx once a week since. The full seats I bought used and have worn twice myself.
Is there any fading? Yes. It’s not very noticeable with the tan obviously, but the green have already faded a good bit.
Is there any pilling? Not on the knee patch. There is a little pilling on the full seat material of the tan pair.
How well do they hide thigh cheese: Pretty well.
Any fit issues: The waist is a bit gappy on me, I have to wear a belt or they constantly slide down my hips. Especially since the more I wear them, the more they stretch and the worse they sag. Really a size 28 fits me best in the waist, but then the thighs are obscenely tight, so I buy to fit my thighs and deal with the gappy waist. Also – they always do that weird pointy thing to my butt. Always.



one pair of size I-42 and one pair of size I-44


Somehow I have two different sizes of these. The smaller ones were purchased when I was thinner, and although they’re tight now, they still fit. I know they’re two different models but they’re so old I don’t remember the names of them. If I’m able to find out I’ll come back and update.

Navy size I-42
Fabric: 90% polyamide 10% elastane, Euro seat lining 90% polyester 10% elastane.

Waist: 15″
Hips: 18″
Rise: 10″
Inseam to bottom: 27″
Inseam to start of sock bottom: 21″

Tan size I-44
Fabric: 90% polyamide 10% elastane, Euro seat lining 90% polyester 10% elastane.

Waist: 15.5″
Hips: 19″
Rise: 10″
Inseam to bottom: 27″
Inseam to start of sock bottom: 21″

4 pockets on the navy, 2 pockets on the tan
sock bottoms
lined euro seat for comfort/anti-chafing
belt loop size – 1 3/4″
silicone knee patches

Stain resistant (scale of 1-5): 4
Do they stretch out with wear: No
Do they dry quickly: Fairly quickly
Are they thick or thin: somewhere between average and a little bit thick
# of wears (approx): On the navy pair – a lot. I’ve had those for years and worn the heck out of them. On the tan pair – probably a dozen wears.
Is there any fading? The navy pair has just finally started to get the first beginning signs of fading.
Is there any pilling? At the back of the knee on both pair.
How well do they hide thigh cheese: Pretty well. The navy more than the tan, obviously. The fabric has an almost elastic feel to it that kind of helps to smooth out your more unfortunate areas.
Any fit issues: With the navy pair, no. The tan pair are just a hair big in the waist, so they can slide down a little without a belt. I’m really kind of in between an I-42 and I-44 right now.



Flight breeches and Houndstooth Luxe breeches, UK size 12


Fabric: 94% polyester 6% spandex, Euro seat lining 92% polyester 8% spandex

Measurements (the Flight breeches):
Waist 15.25″
Hips 18.5″
Rise 10.5″
Inseam to bottom 25″
Inseam to start of sock bottom 18″

Compared to Houndstooth pair: all identical measurements except Houndstooth are 1/2″ bigger in hips/upper thigh

4 pockets on Houndstooth
3 pockets on Flight
Belt loops: 1 3/4″
sock bottoms
silicone knee patches
lined euro seat for comfort/anti-chafing

Stain resistant (scale of 1-5): 4
Do they stretch out with wear: No
Are they stiff or soft out of the wash: Soft
Do they dry quickly: Very quickly
Are they thick or thin: on the thin side
# of wears (approx): The Houndstooth I got in the summer and have worn a lot since. They’re probably my favorite pair. The Flight I just got and have worn twice.
Is there any fading? No.
Is there any pilling? No.
How well do they hide thigh cheese: Pretty darn well.
Any fit issues: None, honestly. They fit like they were made for me and I find these to be the most comfortable.


2 pair of full seat breeches size 30


Fabric: main body 65% cotton, 30% poly, 5% elastane. Seat – 88% poly, 12% polyurethane.

Measurements (hot pink pair):
Waist: elastic lined. Not stretched – 14″. Stretched – 16″.
Hips: 17″, easily stretch to 19″
Rise: 11″
Inseam to bottom: 25″

Compared to same model in Tardis Blue: waist 1/4″ bigger in the blue pair, hips/rise/inseam identical.

Velcro bottom
2 pockets on one pair (pink), none on other (blue)
Belt loops: 1.5″

Stain resistant (scale of 1-5): 2
Do they stretch out with wear: Yes
Are they stiff or soft out of the wash: a little stiff, I usually toss in the dryer on no or low heat for a minute after they’ve line-dried to soften them back up.
Do they dry quickly: For full seats, decently quickly.
Are they thick or thin: on the thin side
# of wears (approx): Probably about equal on both pairs, around a dozen times each.
Is there any fading? Not yet.
Is there any pilling? Slight pilling behind the knee. A very slight fuzziness to the fabric has started as well.
How well do they hide thigh cheese: Not that well.
Any fit issues: I don’t think they’re very flattering around the tummy area, but they’re comfortable to wear.


one pair of Sit Tight Supreme full seat size Large


We have dubbed these “The Unfortunate Crotch Pants”. Luckily the crotch looks normal when you’re in a riding position, it’s just not so cute when you’re standing around. I was in between the size measurements of a Medium and a Large so I sized up rather than possibly end up with a gross thigh situation. That makes them a bit big for me in the tummy area.

Fabric: body 90% nylon 10% spandex, seat 82% PU 18% poly

Waist: elastic. 14.5″ unstretched, 16.5″ stretched
Hips: 19″ unstretched, 20″ stretched
Rise: 11.5″
Inseam to bottom: 29″

No other pair in this brand for sizing comparison

Neither velcro nor sock bottom – breeches taper to ankle
No pockets
Full seat is lined with Coolmax material
Belt loops: 2.25″

Stain resistant (scale of 1-5): I have not worn them yet so can’t comment on that. Will update after I wear them.
Do they stretch out with wear: see above
Are they stiff or soft out of the wash: see above again
Do they dry quickly: keep seeing above
Are they thick or thin: Thin. Like I don’t think I would wear these without an underlayer , but maybe I’m being paranoid. I’m not wearing an underlayer in the photo.
# of wears (approx): None.
Is there any fading? See first response.
Is there any pilling? Keep seeing it.
How well do they hide thigh cheese: Actually, for a thin white breech – better than you’d think. They are decently flattering on me (aside from the crotch), for what they are. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re actually all-out flattering, but they aren’t bad.
Any fit issues: The big hips/tummy in comparison to thighs. Wish they were a little smaller up top. Also, they’re quite long. I’m 5’6″ and they work ok for me but I’d imagine a short person would have a lot of extra fabric to deal with.

Looking for other brand/size comparisons? Visit these links for more!

If anyone else wants to participate and has other brands or other sizes, please send me the info and I will keep adding to this guide for reference. Hope this helps!

Weekend recap: treating the winter blues

I know that a Texan complaining about winter is a lot like a Canadian complaining about summer, but man… we’re heat-acclimated… cold sucks. It sucks even more when it won’t stop raining.

Indoor and covered arenas aren’t that common in Texas, so when it gets really cold (which for us is 30’s) and wet (it’s never going to stop raining) we’re basically just grounded. I got to ride my horse two whole times last week. In the freezing cold and blistering wind, wearing pretty much every layer I own, and the second day was in drizzly sleet/rain. That was quite enough for both me and Henry I think. Of course, then it rained all weekend so now even though it’s warmed up a bit, it’s too slick and muddy to ride anyway. Whatever, I give up.

The look on his face says it all.

Luckily Friday’s mail day completely saved my otherwise epically grumpy mood. A package from PS of Sweden AND a package from Mango Bay! Plus on Thursday I had gotten my Aztec Diamond shipment from their awesome after Christmas 50% off sale, and Henry’s omeprazole. The PS package contained the blue Metallic Rock browband and a High Five breastplate, which I had to immediately run out to the barn and try on Henry. I’ll cover the details of the breastplate in a separate post once I get to play with it a little more.

So much fun stuff for me to sit inside and stare at lovingly – or in the case of the breastplate, hold up to my face and inhale deeply for a few minutes at a time for some leather aromatherapy. Take that, winter.

Aztec Diamond


It’s perfectly normal to take pictures of your breeches while you’re getting gas.


Omeprazole is exciting for different reasons.


Mango Bay!

And guess what this beautiful bundle is? Since SO was home when it got delivered (not that I’m stalking UPS or anything) I immediately made him open it and send me a picture.


Henry’s seal of approval

The only semi-perk of no real barn time is that there’s plenty of gym time, so I’ve been able to stay on track with the fitness goal pretty well with swimming and spin class. I completed week 1 of 0 to 1650 and started week 2. I used this program a few years ago when I was triathlon training to increase my endurance… it worked great then and is working just as well now. Week 1 Day 1 was hard, but week 2 Day 1 was so easy I skipped some of the rest breaks. The improvement comes so quickly and easily with swimming, I wish riding was like that! Brandy and I braved the “Ice Storm” (there were tiny icicles on my deck furniture) Saturday morning to hit spin class with what is, so far, the only instructor we like. We’re basically stalking him at this point as he travels from gym to gym for classes. At the end of every class he makes sure to tell us to get some protein within the next 30 minutes, so Brandy and I went to brunch after class and this happened. That’s protein, right? My hot chocolate was worth every calorie.

Otherwise the weekend was a lot of hand grazing and hand walking and warm grain mashes for dinner for Henry. He really loves his dinner in mash form, and I really love sneaking in as much water as possible in what is a higher colic risk time. I get a “free” half bucket just from soaking his dinner. Luckily he’s a good drinker anyway but a little more never hurt.

Mmmm mushy dinner

This week looks very un-promising for me riding wise. Today everything is still really wet, and I start barn-sitting tomorrow so I won’t have time to go out to the barn again until Sunday. Luckily Brandy volunteered to be his adopted slavewoman mom for the week and throw him extra hay, give him his Omeprazole, and ride him if it ever dries out.


Small Business Spotlight: Hamer & Clay

It seems like everyone who saw my Christmas gifts to Brandy and Beka went gaga, wanting to know where I got such cute custom ornaments. The answer: Hamer & Clay.

They aren’t just ornaments, they’re art. Completely custom pieces handcrafted to order – with whatever exact details you want – means that these are lifelong keepsakes. Don’t want to reserve them for just Christmas time? Don’t worry, Kelsey will soon be offering magnets too! Your horse could live on your refrigerator year round (I know they’d rather live IN it, but ON it is cool too). She can also do just about any other animal, including dogs and cats. With prices starting at only $16, you might as well order one to represent every animal in your life.

Since H&C had to close 2014 orders early due to high demand, right now Kelsey is running a 15% off coupon on Hamer & Clay’s Etsy page for all orders over $20.  The code is SORRY2014, and is redeemable until March 1, 2015. She is also in the midst of rolling out a brand new website at http://hamerandclay.com so keep an eye on that! If you want to look through tons and tons of pictures of her work, follow Hamer & Clay on facebook. Kelsey runs periodic giveaways through her facebook page as well! If you want to order some as Christmas presents, the sooner the better – she books up earlier and earlier every year. And it’s no wonder, with such beautiful and affordable pieces. Her detail work is just incredible.

Kelsey was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about herself and Hamer & Clay!

1)When did you start this business?
November 15, 2011.

2) How many employees are there in your company?
So far it’s just me. Since everything is hand sculpted, it would be hard
to hire employees. I could outsource shipping and my website, but so far
this very much a part time side project endeavour. Sometimes I’ll enlist
the help of my other half to mix a colour for me while I work on something
else. I just give him the clay colours, and tell him to mix. He’s great at

3) Where did the idea for the business come from?
When I was a young adult and teenager, I’d make things out of polymer clay
to sell at the local farmers market during the summer. It started out as
wizards, and gnomes and stuff, and I would sell them for a few dollars
each. I made them for fun for the most part. It wasn’t really about the
money. Somehow those little figurines morphed into one sided horses with
riders when I was about fourteen. My aunt commissioned me to create the
year end awards for the local saddle club and that is where these one side
ornaments really started. I took a long hiatus from polymer clay as I
entered my late teens to early twenties.One November day in 2011, I got the unmistakable urge to play with clay again, and thought; hmm I should revisit those old trophies I used to do. That was it, the ball got rolling and it’s been rolling slowly and steadily from then on.

4) What is your background in horses and art?
I have been creating stuff ever since I can remember, clay and
3-D things has always been my favourite, I’d always go over the
top with dioramas, and things like that in school. My mother
wouldn’t buy my twin brother and I colouring books, so we had to
draw our own, and use our own imaginations. We drew all of the
time, and I think her ideology really helped cultivate our
creativity. Drawing and creating things always came naturally to
me, so I pursued those interests’ right up to the university
level, obtaining a Bachelors Degree from Emily Carr University.
I majored in “Visual Arts”, technically but it was a mix between
painting and ceramics. I’m all over the place with my interests;
it was easy to bounce around from one subject to the other in
art school, to flip flop between craft and art, and craft as
art. I wasn’t exactly encouraged to make ”horse art” in school,
and I had to be creative about how I chose to use the horse as a
subject matter. Horses have always been my go to, they are
comforting, doodling and drawing horses kept me focused in
lectures and history classes.

I was one of those kids lucky enough to have a horse as early
as I can remember. I had fantastic Aunts who would take me out
riding when my mother couldn’t, and I was exposed to a lot of
horses, and a lot of trails as a youngster. It wasn’t until I
was older and finished university that I was able to afford
and prioritize lessons, and to start to dabble in competitive
riding. I am very much an adult amateur, but thoroughly enjoy
both dressage and jumping, and make it my hobby and passion to
play at low level eventing and local shows. In addition to my
full time job, and the ornament company I also work as a barn
hand. Things can get pretty hectic for me in the early winter
months when all three jobs really pick up.

5) Any interesting notes about yourself, your business or your products that you would like for people to know?
Remarkably, I had to close the shop early this year, and ended up turning
away a lot of potential customers and orders. The 15% off sale is a way of
saying both sorry and thank you at the same time. The code is SORRY2014
and is active in our etsy shop.There are a few new products in the works for 2015, including fridge magnets and a special edition limited run of 10-20 for the 2015 holiday season.

As a nod to my love of drawing and creating as a kid, I’ll also be
offering one free ornament a month for children who submit their dream
horse in the way of a drawing to the Facebook page. The winners will be
drawn at random, and I will recreate their drawing into a 3-D ornament. I
remember what it was like to fantasize as a little kid, and to draw my
dream horse over and over again. I also remember thinking it would be
amazing for this horse to come to life. Hopefully these ornaments inspire
that just a little.
There will also be a small price increase in 2015 for all ornaments, after
the sale. I have found that some ornaments are just taking longer and
longer to make with the more details I add. I am a junkie for the
challenge, and small details. I love I absolutely love the challenge, but
I also need to be realistic about what I am charging and how many hours I
spend on an ornament.

So order early, order many, enjoy your discount and pack your tree with all your favorite faces next Christmas! Thanks Kelsey for being so easy to work with… I ordered 7 ornaments and was beyond picky and specific about really tiny details. Not only was she very accommodating, she completely nailed it with every single one. Each one arrived beautifully packaged and they were such a joy to give to friends.

Time for me to order some of my own horses!

Belgium, here I come! And Philly…

I’m off to a good start with personal goal #4 for 2015. Yesterday we figured out our itinerary for our Belgium/Paris trip in March and booked our flights. I never squeal with excitement about anything but I’m squealing myself senseless on the inside right now.

A couple days/nights in Paris, a day and a couple nights in Brussels, 3 days and 2 nights in Gesves. At least one tack shop trip planned, a few farm tours (Nabab de Reve, anyone?), and the sBs Selection Show. That’s basically as good as any horsey vacation can get, and even better to be doing it with a couple of good friends. Many eternal thanks to Rising Star Farm for the opportunity… it’s once in a lifetime. Of course, I really really hate flying so I might need a whole suitcase full of Xanax, but it’s worth it. Especially for the food, and I think my friend and fellow traveler Michelle agrees…


This is why we’re friends.

Looks like I’ll also be in Philadelphia at the end of January for the AETA trade show/market. My friend Megan, owner of Luxe EQ, asked me to come along to help scout new product lines and check out all the new products coming out from her current suppliers. I am very flattered that she trusts my opinion and thinks I have good enough taste to want to bring me along. Three days roaming around a giant room full of cool horse stuff? Um… yes. Yes times a million. It’s both extremely awesome and extremely dangerous, especially when you check out the companies that will be in attendance. I have a feeling I’m going to look a lot like this the entire time:

I’m sure I will take a few thousand pictures and find at least a couple dozen things that I NEED. Brace yourselves, blog land.

On a different note, thanks everyone for all the supportive comments and messages from yesterday’s post. Henry got a nice big serving of hay last night and both blankets, since we got a ridiculous cold front. He’s warm and toasty with plenty to munch on.

I don’t play around.

Henry also says thanks to auntie SprinklerBandit for selling his mom some new dressage boots. He loffs them. Well, I loff them, which means he’s required to love them too.

Oooo, aaahhhh


Time to move along

It sucks to be writing this so soon after the new year with all those ambitious goals, but I’m at an impasse with my horse’s current facility. I’ve had several care issues in the past few months (mainly centered around how much hay has been fed lately) and unfortunately it has gotten to the point where I can’t keep waiting it out and giving chances in the hope that it will improve. The health and well-being of the horse comes first, so it’s time to pack our things and go.

I am the most important thing, and the most important thing is ME. And cookies.

On one hand it will remove me from current trainer’s “umbrella”, which isn’t ideal considering our goals for the year. But I will still have some access to her at the new facility, plus a really good dressage trainer. The care at the new place is EXCELLENT (basically exactly what I would do if I was taking care of my own horse), and it’s a really small place with several other eventers. I know a few of them already and we get along great. The facilities are not quite as vast, obviously, as the big barn I’m at now, but they’re absolutely more than adequate and the footing is good. Getting to shows could potentially be more difficult but hopefully I’ll be able to work it out. The drive is a little further, but the board is lower. There are some trade offs but I think we’ll both be really happy there so I’m excited for the change.

My once chubby horse is chubby no longer, so he will have to gain some weight back. I’m sad and extremely disappointed by the turn things took in the past few months, and to be frank I feel like I waited a month longer than I should have… I’m definitely carrying guilt about it. I was really hoping to find a way through this and resolve the problem but in retrospect that was pretty futile and naive. To be clear: he’s fine. He’s certainly not starving or anything, I’ve had him on rice bran for a month and I’ve been giving him as much extra hay as I can possibly sneak, but despite that he’s gotten thin and his coat looks dull and he doesn’t seem as happy in general as he did a few months ago. There are really several care issues I’ve had but the main one is that there is very little hay being fed, and that does not work for this horse. When the vet was out a couple weeks ago I asked him what he thought and he half-frowned and said “I liked him better with more weight”. Sigh. Me too, man. Me too. I really really don’t like my horse losing condition, physically or mentally.

I don’t care how many times you tell me this much hay twice a day is enough… it’s NOT.


This is extremely upsetting to me.

I debated about just how much to say about this here, but I feel like it’s important to speak my mind and tell the whole story. It makes me angry, if I’m being totally honest. It makes me even more angry when I present my concerns and they are brushed aside. But ultimately the deepest feeling is of extreme disappointment. As horse owners we put A LOT of trust into the people that care for our animals. They are the ones that see them all day every day. They are the ones in charge of their general well-being. When I sign that board contract and give you my board check every month, it’s me saying “I trust you to take care of something that is very very important to me. Irreplaceable even. Please take that as seriously as I do.”. And when that trust is violated, it really sucks. Because at the end of the day those horses rely on us – the people around it – to care for it properly, and when we don’t, the horses are the ones that suffer. That’s a very serious thing, and if you can’t care for them properly you shouldn’t offer to do it at all.

bareback noms – his favorite perk of the hackamore

There are a lot of things I like about the current barn, and I really appreciate the opportunities I have had there, but my horse’s health is a non-negotiable. I also ordered him a course of Omeprazole because I’m pretty suspicious of ulcers, especially with how little turnout and hay he’s gotten lately, and it sure can’t hurt. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes anything or not. He’s naturally kind of a tight tense creature so maybe he’s long overdue for some ulcer treatment anyway. I’ll ride him just enough to keep him loose and keep some condition, but for the most part he’s getting a really light next month or two until everything gets sorted out.

Counting down the days to a new beginning and a happier Henry, and looking forward to new opportunities with a great new group of people.

Stories from Spin Class

As you have probably already read, barn/blogger friend Brandy of Auf der Autobahn and I joined the gym in December and have been hitting spin class hot and heavy. I used to spin all the time but haven’t in a year or so, and as I get back into it I’m starting to remember all the fun experiences you only get by partaking in spin. And since it’s the beginning of January, aka Gym Season, I figured now is the time to publicly explore all that spin has to offer.

The people:

If you can talk, you aren’t pedaling hard enough. SHUT UP.


That guy who shows up dressed like he’s ready for the Tour de France

Or even worse, the instructor who thinks he’s in the Tour de France. “C’mon team, who wants that yellow jersey? Let’s go get it!”. You have got to be freaking kidding me right? “Hill climb! The Alps are beautiful!”. I’m sure they are. Unfortunately we’re in a tiny stinky room in a semi-decrepit old gym in the middle of Austin. And no I do not want to high five you after class, I’m never coming back here again because you’re obviously a complete nutjob.

spinning cycling stereotypes rateyourburn types guy having the best time of his life
the Way Too Perky people. I really hate these people and want to punch them right in the face. Nothing ruins my workout more than a bunch of WOOOOO’s coming from some perky chick. Sweat in miserable silence like the rest of us fatties.

We had a lady in last Saturday’s class who looked like she walked straight out of an 80’s Jazzercize video… short hair with the sweatband around her head pushing the hair up, big bright white sneakers and a super colorful top. I think she considered herself Queen of Spin, because she WOOHOO’d just about every two minutes. At 10:00am. On a Saturday. I spent the entire class daydreaming about choking her out with that damn sweatband.

That guy who spends three hours lifting weights then comes into spin halfway through class and tries to get his cardio in. They’re too big to pedal normally, it’s fantastic to watch. Like a gorilla on a tricycle.


The ones who breathe loudly, complain audibly, and are waaaay overdramatic. HTFU (google it) people, and have some dignity. I don’t need to hear the details of your impeding death, I’ll get the message loud and clear when your body hits the floor.


The experience:

Don’t worry, the pain in your butt will mostly go away in 2 or 3 days. Mostly.


If you don’t suffer from Overactive Boob Sweat syndrome, consider yourselves lucky. I can make puddles.

Right before your heart explodes, when you’re on death’s doorstep, motivational exercise quotes start flashing before your eyes in rapid succession.

YEAH! I’m a champion! I need a medic! But I’m a champion!


You can’t break me, spin instructor. I’ll quit when I’m dead. Which will be very soon.


But I swear I saw another inspirational quote about how nothing is forever…


and wasn’t there also a quote about never say never? What the hell, now I’m just confused.

This is also when you think, “I’m not sure which is stupider – me or spin class. What a bunch of idiots we all are…”

The aftermath:

First you go home and whine about it. Bonus points if you also whine on facebook.

For real… it’s a near death experience every single time.

But the fun really begins when you wake up the next day

The sentence “I broke my whole body” comes out of your mouth on a regular basis.


God be with you if you happen to develop a chafing problem.


Don’t worry, the pain in the rest of your body will mostly distract you from the pain in your lady bits. See, that’s me having a positive outlook. You’re welcome.

and you’re not so steady on your feet.

as long as you don’t have to lower yourself onto a toilet seat or walk up stairs, you’re golden.

But hey… you can burn 400-800 calories in an hour long spin class. So get your butt to spin and have a few more donuts, it’ll all equal out in the end. And if you eat them right before class you’ll probably puke them up anyway.