Needs more Henry

I feel like this place has been a little lacking in Henry content lately, since I rarely have anyone around to video and take pictures anymore. Let’s rectify that today with a general Henry update and picture extravaganza.


We’ve slowly been coming back to a normal schedule now that the weather has stopped being stupid, and Henry is starting to gain back some of the muscle and weight that he lost over the winter. The weight has been really slow going and kind of frustrating to me because I’m impatient, but I’m finally seeing the beginnings of him filling out.


We did a little jump school on Saturday by ourselves, keeping the jumps small. I’ve been working a lot on trying to get more power in his canter and finding the deeper distance out of a more forward pace. I wish I could say I was succeeding on both counts, and while his canter to the jump is improving, that whole going-forward-to-the-base distance is so elusive to me. I’m trying, but my success rate isn’t really any better than 60/40. It’s always been a struggle for me to find the deep one without pulling all the way down to it, and with a lot of work I had it down pretty pat for a while, but then I stopped trying so hard and away it went. If anyone needs me I’ll be cantering poles ad nauseum trying to get my eye back.


one ear on Da Lady, one ear on Da Jump

Henry of course remains unphased by my general lack of talent and continues to put up with my crap with few complaints. The boy can take a joke. He also jumped his first little corner jump, which he didn’t actually notice until the last second, then he randomly launched from half a stride away and dove left, which made him have to jump way wider than if we’d stuck to the trajectory up the middle. Oops. That was my bad, I didn’t help him at all.


After that I decided I should probably like… I dunno… sit up and steer or something? He jumped it well, although it took several tries to really get him jumping straight across it. Once he did it was old news and he was no longer impressed.



In general, good saintly pony remains good saintly pony, and his life is full of cookies and pats. Oh yeah and food. He eats lots of food, and likes to make “smoothies” in his water by depositing his grain in it and then slurping it all up in a gross mushy mess of brown water. Hey, at least he’s eating it… Triple Crown Complete isn’t cheap.



Weekend recap: shows, shopping, and sunshine

If it sounds like I hit the weekend trifecta with shows, shopping, and sunshine, it’s because I did.

Saturday morning I headed out to the barn early to ride. Picture taking friend Amy came out (yay picture taking friend Amy) to get some general Henry pictures and nice pictures of some items I have in the queue for review. I’ll save those pictures for other posts minus this one because I love it. Brace yourselves, you’ll see it again soon.

After my ride, Brandy and I headed out to a big h/j show in Houston to do some shopping and watch the evening Grand Prix. Most of the shopping centered around my friend’s mobile trailer Luxe Eq… I picked up my new Ogilvy and Asmar stuff that I had ordered from her, plus a few extra things. Ok I might have a hat collection problem. A girl can’t have too many awesome hats.

We walked around and poked through all the vendors, looked at some new stuff we hadn’t seen yet, and dreamed about being rich enough to buy All The Things.

Animo. So much Animo.
The EquiFit D-Teq line samples! Lots of pretty options.

I also scored my absolute favorite thing in the entire Houston metro area… a Mango smoothie from the little coffee/smoothie/snack vendor at the show. They’re ridiculously good, I used to live on these things when I showed here. They’re almost enough to convince me to swing back into h/j again. Almost.

The Grand Prix was a 1.50m class and we nabbed great seats, not to mention the weather was perfect, so it was a lot of fun to sit by the ring for a couple hours and watch a lot of nice horses and good riders. We had fun looking up the pedigrees of all the horses we liked, and the announcer actually said the name of several horses’ sires! They don’t often do that, and I’m always thrilled when they do. It’s a start. My favorite horse of the class was a Cassini son, no surprise since he’s my favorite stallion of all time. Of course I did a terrible job of taking pictures or video… all I got was a short video of the little hackney that was part of the pre-prix festivities, and this gem, which proves that even the pros miss sometimes. Oopsy.

We didn’t get home until almost 11, which is the only explanation I have for the pit stop we made on the way home for late night driving sustenance. I regret nothing.

Sunday was the first day that SO and I have had off together where we’re both actually HOME (my bad) in over a month, so we decided to spend some time together and take advantage of the amazing Austin weather. We took the kids (the 4 legged and fuzzy variety) down to Town Lake so they could run around, then we headed over to have some Indian food and drinks on an outdoor patio. Low 80’s and not a cloud in the sky – it does wonders for the soul, both human and canine.

My old man might be 10yo this year but he’s still ridiculously adorable.

And because I’m a sucker for a 24 hour sale, the C4 buy one get one suckered me in for sure. Two belts (one for Brandy, and mine will be a neck strap) and a sticker for $30!

I hope everyone else had an equally lovely Vitamin D and retail therapy filled weekend.


I like how everyone is talking about their horse having the Spring Sillies and being wild, and I’m over here like “I’m gonna need bigger spurs”.

Cannot horse today, I have the sleepies. Side note: look who’s finally gaining some weight back!

Now that we’ve crossed over into the 80’s for a few days, Henry is in hardcore “OMG it’s too hot to work, I can’t possibly.” mode. Whoa there 8yo OTTB eventer. Whoa there. It won’t be long until it’s in the 90’s and 100’s and he’ll pass into “For real though, I can’t breathe GTF off me.” mode. Yay. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I’ve been riding around all week with my sunroof open and windows down (which is how I ended up with a wasp in my car when I was on the highway). This weather is fantastic if you’re asking me. Henry just doesn’t agree. He liked his rain-induced winter vacation where he got ridden once a week.


On Wednesday I had to do a billion trot to canter transitions just to get him semi-awake. I’m not gonna admit publicly that getting him to canter on that first attempt took a legit pony club kick. I’m also not gonna admit that it was his first ride after 5 days off which makes it extra sad. Maybe it’s time to revisit the idea of carrying a whip.

Yesterday there was a cold front, I suppose you could say… this was the weather when I got to the barn for my dressage lesson. Note the wind. And that wasn’t the gusts, just the steady wind.

Henry was slightly more awake, as in I could actually get him to canter. Meanwhile, I almost got blown right off of him a couple times. But the second dressage lesson of the year is in the books, with only two more weeks before our first HT. I sent off my entry for the second one yesterday so everyone say buh-bye money.

Which is really sad, because this weekend there’s the Dover tent sale (which I’ll probably skip because I hate Dover), the new tack shop by my house is having a big sale/event, and I’m making a day trip to a show in Houston to check out all the new stuff in the Luxe EQ mobile. Danger, danger! I must try to exercise some restraint. I mean… at least a little restraint…

But I need one!


The Mane Event

Having been “raised” in an A show level h/j barn, I’ve known how to properly pull a mane since the very beginning. I earned extra money in high school pulling manes and clipping noses/ears/legs for people in the barn. In those days everything’s mane was pulled, and if the horse didn’t like to have it’s mane pulled then it got a little sleepy juice and a twitch and we pulled it anyway. That’s just how it was done. Putting a pair of scissors anywhere near a mane was basically a crime. Every horse I’ve ever owned has had it’s mane pulled, in the traditional way. That is, until the horse came along that WOULD NOT STAND FOR IT and changed my mind.


Sadie, from the word go (and the first time I tried pulling her mane was as a yearling, so no exaggeration here), would flip her lid the second I started backcombing. And she’s not such a pleasant creature when she’s angry. Attach a twitch to her and pretty much all you’ve done is armed her with a deadly weapon and pissed her off even more.

Lies. All lies. I is always pleasant.

She forced me to find a new way to do manes, because a) I like being alive b) I can’t stand an unkempt mane, but drugging her to the gills every 4-6 weeks to pull it seemed a mite excessive. I tried a few different methods before I settle on one I liked. Sadie became my mane-non-pulling guinea pig (I also learned to body clip on her too, poor little baby horse). I tried a SoloComb, which was just not good. Way too choppy.


I tried the flip it over and scissor it at little 45 degree angles method, which, well… lets not talk about it. Don’t do that. The internet lies.


I liked the clipper blade method, where you back comb and then just use a clipper blade to “cut” the hair you would normally pull. That worked decently looks-wise but she still objected to the back combing and it was a little tricky to get everything even.

Why does she keep telling so many lies about me in this post? I’m an angel.

Finally I settled on the scissoring method where you make tiny cuts straight up into the mane. For her and Kai it worked great, although their manes were thick so sometimes I would go through and thin them a bit with a clipper blade.

Ok this isn’t Sadie but I scissored Kai’s mane the same way.

These days when I get a new horse or find myself with the task of cleaning up someone else’s horse, I always give a half-hearted attempt at the traditional pulling method. If I get any objection at all, I just go straight to scissors. The key obviously is in how you angle them. Cutting straight across is nothing short of terrifying unless you’re into that blunt look (I’m not). Even a 45 degree angle leaves it too choppy IMO. It’s got to be straight up into the hair, little pieces, and fast chopping. Henry’s mane is really perfect for this method because it’s pretty thin. I can do his in about 10 minutes.

halfway there

Every time I whip my scissors out to do a mane I’m a little sheepish about it, but it seems like more and more people “pull” manes the same way these days. I’m not the only one… right?

While we’re on the subject of manes, I’ve been thinking about letting Henry’s grow out until our next event in May and doing dutch/cobra braids on him. I really don’t like looking at a “long” mane on a day to day basis, but it’s impossible to do those kind of braids with a mane as short as I like.

He’s pretty cute in buttons


But I dunno… I think he’d be handsome in dutch. What do you think? Worth the annoyance of a longer mane?

Button Braids




Review: The Herbal Horse fungus salve

I first heard of The Herbal Horse on Instagram, but to be honest I didn’t pay them much mind at first. With all of the “natural” junk that’s out there these days that never works I have a big healthy dose of skepticism aimed at most of it. When Beka at The Owls Approve posted about some of their products it piqued my interest again but I still didn’t bite. Finally THH offered to make up some small samples of a few things for me to try and I decided to bite the bullet.

I got the Heal Quick, the Saddle Butter, and some Fungus Among Us salve. I’ll be reviewing them one at time as I use them and come to solid conclusions on how I feel about each product. First up – the Fungus Among Us.

Henry has had these two funky little spots behind his ears since last summer, one on each side. I’ve tried fungus shampoo, fungus spray, you name it. Nothing has really made much difference in the scaly flaky spots. To be honest, I really did not expect this to work either.

THH’s etsy listing lists the ingredients of Fungus Among Us as: essential oils, organic EVOO, organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, Vitamin E oil. The scent of it is really nice… earthy but not super pungent. I wasn’t very good at following the directions, which say to apply it once or twice a day to the affected area. I applied it once then went to Belgium, applied it again one time 10 days later, then forgot about it for a couple days, applied it once a day for two days in a row, skipped another couple days, then applied it again. So that’s five applications now and already I feel confident enough to give a verdict. I’ll be damned… this stuff is actually working.

To keep a “control group” I only used it on one side and left the other side untreated. Here’s what the untreated side looks like… this is what both sides looked like to start with. The spot is a couple inches wide and a couple inches tall with lots of flaking and crustiness all around.

Here’s what the treated side looked like after two applications

And here’s what it looks like now after just 4 applications

This is the best it’s looked since this crap first started so many months ago. Now that I’m confident it’s definitely working, I’ll start treating the other side too.

The consistency of the salve varies a little bit depending on temperature. When I first got it we were in the low 50’s and it was pretty solid. I used my fingernail to help scrape up a pea sized amount and just smeared it on. Now that we’re in the 80’s it’s easy to just get a little on my finger.

I love that The Herbal Horse is a small business (shocking to all of my readers I’m sure) and that all of their products are organic and natural. Of course, I love even more that it actually does what it says it’ll do. I almost can’t wait for Cannon Funk Season so I can try it out on that awful stuff! If you’ve got a horse prone to fungal or bacterial skin funk, I think Fungus Among Us is worth a try. The 1 oz tin is $8, the 2 oz tin is $12 and the 4oz tin (which would last you quite a while I think) is $23. Even better, you can use it on yourself or your dogs too.

Next victim, the Saddle Butter…

Professionals as role models

Something I saw last week on Instagram bothered me a little. Lainey Ashker posted a pic of her before dressage at the Carolina CIC3* and she was wearing a top hat. Normally when I see this I just roll my eyes and think the person is an idiot (natural selection at it’s finest!), but I guess this one bothered me a little more because so many of LA’s almost 5,000 Instagram followers, and fans in general, are kids. You don’t see William Fox-Pitt with a super active Insta and Facebook, creating a bit of a “relationship” with us commoners, even though his wearing of a top hat does trigger the same eye rolling from me. But Lainey is a social media butterfly, and as such her following has the demographic that you’d expect: young and impressionable. There’s a lot of worship going on in the comments of most of her Instagram photos. I think that’s what bothers me slightly more about this one than WFP.


I’m all for people having the right to do what they choose, even if that choice is stupid. But I guess at some point that line is blurred for me when the person in question is what could be considered a role model and public figure. At what point do you think the pros/upper level riders should care more about setting a good example than their own personal fashion sense?

I personally think she looked so much better, and so much smarter, in this picture from showing dressage in Wellington:


When USEventing posted a pic of LA at Carolina on their Instagram account someone made a remark about the top hat. LA’s mom was quick to jump to her defense with this comment:


I have to admit, here’s where my eye rolling intensified to such a grandiose level my eyeballs almost fell out. You’re joking, right? Woo, go ‘Murica! Woo, head injuries are my god-given right! If you make me put a helmet on, you’re anti-America! Everybody wave your American flags!

Be cool and wave it like Beezie

I’m a little torn here, because LA and her mom are not wrong. It IS totally legal to wear a top hat, and it IS her right to do so. In general I’m a flaming liberal and am all about people being able to make choices for themselves. But I guess the word for how I feel about it is disappointed. I’m disappointed that there are some pro’s out there who, despite having lots of people that look up to them and even borderline worship them, opt for the selfish choice. I’m disappointed that Lainey is only one of many. I’m disappointed that in this day and age where we have seen so many people taken down by head injuries, most of which happen in the “dumbest” of ways, people still choose to go unprotected. I’m disappointed that anyone would choose fashion over safety. I’m disappointed that people are too selfish to protect themselves as much as possible, because if you end up with a TBI you aren’t the only one whose life is forever changed. I’m disappointed that helmets are not mandatory for FEI competition… and yet I’m also disappointed that it’s necessary to force people to wear a helmet. We are smarter than this, aren’t we?

mind your melon t-shirt, available at

How do you feel about it? Should everyone be free to wear whatever they choose without scrutiny? Should pro’s be considered role models and therefore held to higher expectations? What do you think when you see someone come down centerline in a top hat instead of a helmet?

Weekend recap: wrap it up

Saturday morning marked the end of the 9 day stint of barn sitting. I feel like this whole month has been a blur, since for the first three weeks of it I was only home for 2 days. When I got home Saturday afternoon I basically collapsed in a heap and didn’t move the rest of the weekend. I’ve been battling a sinus infection turned bronchitis since I got back from Belgium, laying awake half the night coughing, so I needed the R&R. I also decided it was a good time to go back and watch the first 3 seasons of The Walking Dead (I started watching at season 4) and let me tell you… jamming that much zombie apocalypse into a day and a half messes with your head a little. My dreams have been weird.

Otherwise it’s been a quiet few days. Mostly because of this, which came through on Friday/Saturday.

Sigh. I know we need the rain but does it all have to come at once? Hopefully everything dries out enough to be rideable again by Wednesday. We’re now less than 3 weeks from horse trial #1 of the year and not being able to ride very much isn’t exactly leaving me with warm fuzzies about it.

He is unconcerned.

I also decided to switch Henry’s feed. He’s been very slow to put weight back on (really he hasn’t gained much at all) and I think he needs something that packs a little more punch, so on to Triple Crown Complete he goes. I’ve been really happy with the TC products in the past and I like how good the Complete is for ulcer prone horses, so we’ll see how he does. I’m tired of seeing ribs.

It also occurred to me that I never really shared Barn Kitty Farrah from the place I was barn sitting. I’m not generally a cat fan, but she’s pretty adorable.

Deez your boots? Nope, mine now.
Dis my hay bed. You can’t haz.

Happy Monday everyone! Sometime this week hopefully I’ll have time to finally put together all my stuff that I have for sale. I’d still like to let most of it go in a package deal to minimize my headache, if anyone is interested. It’s mostly dressage tack but I’ll have some breeches to sell separately too I think. I want to clean out most of what I don’t wear before the new ADE collection comes out.

My shirt today. Because Monday.

Hot or Not? Clothing edition

One of my favorite things about the first few months of the year is seeing all the new collections roll out from various clothing brands. Sometimes there’s brilliance and awe, sometimes there are raised eyebrows and gagging. In the spirit of Fun Friday, let’s play a little game of Hot or Not.

Kingsland Anna show coat – pink fuchsia

Fior da Liso Daria show shirt – Hibiscus. Obviously meant for dressage or eventing folk, with the stock tie. And more pink.

Denim anyone? How about about Le Fash’s upcoming light grey denim City breeches?

Asmar is rocking some pink too with their new Punch color, but they also added Sunshine to their City Jacket color options

As long as we’re on the subject of color, Annie’s brought the Papaya for spring.

WordPress seems to have temporarily permanently eaten the poll for this one so you may or may not ever see it here again. I have no idea, I give up. Move along.

Eeeeeverybody’s on board the sticky butt trend, and judging by their Caja Grip breeches, Cavallo apparently likes red this season. They come in yellow and light pink too if you’re feeling particularly Eastery, but I won’t do that to you.

Kastel is going two-toned with their new Charlotte Studio Collection, coming soon…


Horze sees your trend of colored breeches with tan patches and does the reverse. Rebelz.

Equiline’s Gait show coat is is available in Bordeaux

Lotus Romeo goes for the subtle approach to detailing on their new blouses.

Yet another unique coat, Valentine Equine added some lace side panels to their upcoming Hollywood Jacket.

And last but not least, Roeckl just wants you to have some really fun hands.

Dressageland? Pffft. Hells no.

Henry and I have now been at the farm I’m barnsitting for since last Friday. It’s a small private barn with lovely Trakehners that the owner does dressage with. Her ring is super nice, a lovely long dressage court with rubber and sand footing.

I’ve had a couple nice dressage rides since we’ve been here, and hacked out in the fields a couple other days. But yesterday I decided we really wanted to jump. A quick perusal found a few standards but no jump cups or poles here in Dressageland. Then as I was out in the ring picking up the letters that the wind had knocked over, it suddenly hit me. Put a bunch of dressage letters together and what do you get?

No, not kvepf. You get a jump, people… you get a jump.

Poor long-suffering Henry has been with me long enough to not be even remotely phased by any of my bullshit or harebrained ideas, so naturally he didn’t bat an eye when I pointed him at it.

spare dressage letters also make good cell phone holders too, btw


I’m pretty sure Henry’s face says “How did I draw the short straw and end up with this dumb human?”

Every time I think I’m being clever about jumps or courses he’s like “whatever lady, you bore me. But I’m cute and I haven’t killed you yet, so give me cookies!”. Touchè, Henrypants… touchè.

This is what happens when you leave a crazy eventer alone at a dressage barn for a week. Next thing you know I’ll be dragging out the patio furniture. I’m kidding! Be reasonable, I can’t lift that stuff over the fence by myself.


Why bloodlines are important

Although I am not a breeder, I have worked for breeders, bred one horse of my own, and been avidly interested/semi-involved in the breeding industry for over a decade. Often when I see a horse at a show that I particularly like, I will approach the owner and ask what it’s bloodlines are. 9 times out of 10 I get a blank stare. Once I even had to tell the person that their horse was registered BWP (according to it’s brand) because they had no idea what that “wagon wheel” was. Serious facepalm moment.

this is not a wagon wheel

I understand that sometimes papers are lost and people just don’t know anything about the horse, but the amount of people who also just don’t care in this country is pretty shocking to me. If you ride sporthorses, and have any interest in riding them in the future, you should care! The breeders are the ones that produce the horses, but the riders are the ones that end up with them. We wonder why Europe outproduces us? Do we just enjoy paying 10k+ on top of purchase price to import their horses?

I think what a lot of people just don’t understand is how heritable many traits are. It’s no coincidence that certain lines are known for producing a certain temperament, or requiring a certain type of ride, or being slow to mature, or jumping over themselves in front. If you ride a horse that was purposefully bred for sport, someone somewhere planned that breeding with an end goal in mind. They picked out both parents and considered traits that they hoped both would bring to the table. The results may vary, but they are no accident. You can often tell a lot about a horse just by looking at the papers.

Even those of us sitting on OTTB’s (or QH’s, or Arabs, or Morgans, or or or) should not consider this a reason to be uninterested in pedigree. In the same way as sporthorses, any breed has lines that have become known as standouts for certain abilities (or lack thereof) in sport. Study well enough and eventually you’ll be able to look at a pedigree and make a guess as to what the horse might be suitable for, even though it was originally bred for something else. Sure, there are exceptions, but you’ll be right most of the time.

Mytens (Spectacular Bid x Hoist the Flag) – producer of upper level eventers, show jumpers, and even some hunters.

Dr. Ludwig Christmann did a really interesting study on heritability with the Hanoverian registry many years ago. Want to know the two things that were found to be MOST heritable? Head and jumping ability. What ranked lowest? Legs and correctness of gaits. If you want to read more about it, go here. Of course, some stallions pass on certain traits more than others (for good or for bad), but those little nuances are the things you learn along the way.

Kannan (Voltaire x Nimmerdor) – #1 sire of show jumpers in 2014

Really I cannot wrap my head around why anyone just plain wouldn’t care about breeding. Even if you say “I don’t need a top level jumper or an amazing mover, I just want something that is enjoyable to ride!”. Guess what else is highly heritable – temperament, character, rideability, and willingness to work. Guess what some of the qualities are that they evaluate at stallion testings – ding ding ding, you got it.

Quando Quando, an Olympic veteran who also scored perfect 10’s on character and willingness to work at his stallion testing.

I know it can be mind boggling at first, but in the internet age where we have so much information at the tip of our fingertips, it’s easy to learn. Be that weirdo that sits in the stands with me at horse shows and looks up bloodlines on USEF, only to be super frustrated when there’s nothing listed. If we want to get better we have to fix this, and it starts with changing people’s minds about how much it matters.