Weekend recap: The Three C’s

Obviously by the three C’s I mean corgis, Costco, and conditioning. Duh.

Last week I turned 32, which seems pretty impossible. I constantly wonder how it’s even feasible that I’m considered an adult, much less a REAL adult. Like… confirmed. Like… solidly into my 30’s now. I’m pretty sure I like unicorns too much to be a full fledged adult… I feel like I need to call a time out while we get this sorted because surely there was a mistake somewhere.

My immaturity was evidenced in full force by our Costco trip on Friday night. (Ok I know what you’re thinking – going to Costco on a Friday night seems like a pretty grown-up thing to do. It was Rob’s idea. He’s an actual adult.) Rob is over there putting spinach and Tillamook and socks into the cart, and my two contributions were Poptarts and Black Beauty. Because who can resist 48 Poptarts for $6? And you have to admit this edition of Black Beauty is pretty awesome… the cover is a kind of rubbery texture with engraved lettering.

In other news, I’m happy to report that Quinn is settling in really well. I think he’s figured out that we’re his people now and he’s gotten pretty snuggly and sweet. Except for when you bathe him. It’s hard to accurately describe what it’s like to wrestle this furball into the tub, but my best comparison would be that it’s something akin to trying to dip a miniature grizzly bear in battery acid.

who, me??? But I’m so cute and cuddly.
RWAR just kidding, grizzly bear mode!

Poor Quinn has had some stomach issues the past couple weeks that have been driving me (and subsequently my poor vet friend) pretty crazy. After some experimentation with his food we seem to finally have it under control. Remember those days when you used to exchange sweet, or even romantic text messages with your significant other? Insert a miniature grizzly bear with sporadic liquid shits into the equation and those text messages end up looking more like this:

 This is the life, y’all. Does that count as adulting?

I also spent some time at my parents house this weekend with family, and went through some old stuff. My dad found a ring that my Grandpa made for me just before he died 15 years ago. It’s gorgeous and miraculously (albeit barely) fits. I’ll have to figure out what the gemstone is… it’s deep green kinda like an emerald but there’s a very definite blue hue to it. Almost like a super dark teal.

I did ride Henry both days this weekend, one of which was a fairly awful dressage ride and the other of which was a fairly good long conditioning ride. I’ve been focusing a lot more on conditioning and fitness lately, and a new goal that I’ve made for next year makes it even more important, so I spent some time writing down a plan going forward. I’m going to talk more about both later this week so there’s not much Henry to be had in this post except for his opinion of hot summer days.

And in case anyone was wondering, Merlin is still a terrorist. Poor Sadie. I have photos from their RPSI inspection that I need to post at some point… he’s such a good looking colt, when he’s not kicking his mother in the head.

The Sparkliest Contest Ever

Put on your rainbow thinking caps and grab your glittery cameras, it’s time for a contest!

In honor of AEC/ATC I’m giving away a prize pack of unicorn paraphernalia and other cool prizes to one majestic reader. Let’s start with the fun part:

What you win

  • THE glittery star whip used by Bobby at AEC/ATC, autographed by the man himself
  • A Riding Warehouse hat
  • A jar of Uncle Jimmy’s Squeezy Buns
  • A “Got Balls?” Uncle Jimmy’s T-shirt (size L)
  • a pack of 5 bumper stickers with such lovely phrases as “Got Balls?”, “Lick This”, “I’m Haulin Balls”, “Size Matters”, and “Squeeze My Buns”
  • A Unicorns are Jerks coloring book
  • an official “Always be a Unicorn” team bracelet
  • two unicorn and rainbow elastic no-crease hairbands
  • a glittery foil unicorn temporary tattoo
  • a packet of unicorn food (aka Skittles)
  • a pair of rainbow sunglasses
  • Gypsy Tails tail extensions
  • One MYSTERY PRIZE to be purchased, found, or stolen at AEC by myself and Bobby. Lord only knows what that might be, but you know you can’t wait to find out.

How you win

  • Send me a picture that you think best represents our team’s theme of “Always be a Unicorn”. It can be extremely literal, it can be subtle, it can be anything you can possibly think of, as long as it represents that theme.
  • The picture must include either you and/or your horse, or have been taken by you. No stock photos. Don’t be a lame unicorn.
  • The photo may be edited however you choose.
  • You can either send me a link to the photo via the ‘Contact Me’ page here, or you can message it to me directly via my facebook page. Make sure you send me your email address so I can contact you if you win.

The Fine Print (aka the important stuff)

  • Entries are due by September 21, 2015. You have plenty of time to be amazing.
  • You may submit up to THREE photos per person.
  • The contest will be judged by myself and Bobby, we will pick a winner together.
  • Please understand that by sending me the photo you are giving me permission to post it here on the blog.
  • A winner will be chosen by September 28, 2015.

So go forth, be amazing, get creative, and remember…

Bobby Tells All: Volume 2

Calm down ladies, the second installment in the Bobby series is finally here. Several of you expressed a desire to hear things from Bobby’s perspective, and well – be careful what you wish for, because here you go. Behold Bobby’s second guest blog post, and remember: you did this to yourselves. If you really wish to relive the hurt, go back and peruse Volume 1.


When Harry Met Sally
by Bobby B-Dubs

After much begging, nagging, pleading and a final threat of not sharing the Skittles with me (thank you Lori, my most favorite candy EVER), I caved and wrote this post for my adoring fans. Mostly because I cannot possibly be around Skittles for that long without making them rain on myself.  Plus I know the only reason anyone reads this blog is for the occasional mention of me. So for Volume 2 in this gripping series, I give you the story of how I met Amanda:

Let’s flashback to November of last year.  I went to Meadow Creek by myself to compete in the last HT of the season.  There I am, getting myself all situated when a trailer pulls up and this kinda pasty white girl pops out of the truck and starts unloading her cute bay gelding.  She seemed really nice and I was happy to have a show friend… “it’s Snow White and she’s stabled right next to me!”


        I was wrong AF… remember her spirit animal from my last post?? But more on that later

I usually attempt to see the good in people and eventers are, in general, very friendly and supportive of each other.  We immediately began talking and cracking jokes pretty much right off the bat.  I knew I liked her when she suggested what I was thinking: to commandeer the empty stall next to us and make it our tack stall. Great minds think alike – free tack stall!  (EDITORS NOTE FROM AMANDA: I have no idea what he’s talking about, I would never do such a thing. Lies.)

bobbypostDDWe have frequent titty twister wars, I always win because Amanda has boobs and I do not.

I watched her warm-up on Friday and saw that she actually could ride, too.  A new eventing friend that is funny, likes free tack stalls and can ride!  I did what everyone else would do and gave a her a good luck/friendship rubber band to wear all weekend (aka a braiding band that I blessed with good luck).  She kept it on her finger all weekend even though it turned a blackish purple by Sunday afternoon.  Boo has loved me since day 1, obvi.

It’s how she feels about me despite the high frequency at which I see her middle finger.

Side note: One observation I made (which wouldn’t make full sense to me until I knew Amanda longer) was that her horse Henry would come over to the stall door just to pin his ears at my horse Halo.  Halo, like myself, is pretty nice and easy going so he didn’t really care or pay attention.  The funny part was that if I took Halo away, Henry would get upset and call for him. But as SOON as I brought Halo back, Henry’s ears were FLAT back against his head and he would make ugly faces. You know the saying that animals take after their owners?  BEYOND true.  Draw your own conclusions there.


Amanda summed up in one photo.

Back to Meadow Creek. How does that saying go… something about how if you survive a natural disaster together you become closely bonded?? Blah blah, something like that but y’all know what I am talking about.  On the 2nd night of the show it started to rain, and by rain I mean pour, and by pour I mean it was like a hurricane, and by hurricane I mean like a mega typhoon.  There was literally a river going in front of Halo and Henry’s stalls AND a river going through our commandeered tack stall (F.U. karma!!!)!  We had to band together to save our tack, our hay, and anything else that doesn’t repel water – which was everything.  I want to say Amanda actually did a kind gesture and pulled Halo’s halter out of the river before being washed away or something like that, but I am still suffering from PTSD so I can’t remember (EDITORS NOTE FROM AMANDA: I would never pull his janky-ass halter out of a river, washing it away would do us all a favor). We did luck out with our stalls as the interior of the barn and those stalls were flooding BAD and the river was flowing through the aisle way. After a couple hours of diverting water and digging ditches, it did finally stop raining, and the water subsided from the barn pretty quick.  We proceeded to get a little tipsy and then called it a night, rejoicing that Halo and Henry didn’t have to become Chincoteague ponies.

My FAVORITE book growing up!

The next day it was very wet, but the footing was still ok.  Halo is an angel about everything but is PETRIFIED of culverts. Throw in a torrent of water running through said culvert that makes Niagara Falls look like a faucet and you get a Halo on XC who comes to a complete stop and won’t cross said culvert.  4.8 time penalties later we finish XC with no jump penalties.  Remember the Snow White from up above… well this is when the mask was finally removed and the taunting ensued.  “You’re not supposed to stop at the culvert to watch the water Bobby!”  “How does knowing you blew 2nd place feel, Bobby??”. Yes. You can guess what adorable Disney princess’ mouth that was coming out of…  That same princess who had a refusal and still got 2nd in her division. (EDITORS NOTE FROM AMANDA: you don’t have to NOT be a shitshow, you just have to be less of a shitshow than other people. Write that down, kids. Advice to live by.)


 Proof that I can’t make this stuff up!!!



Snow White if she were Amanda.

To add insult to injury, when we went up to get our ribbons (I know, I know… I am shocked I was still talking to her by this point too!) the lady gave me my third place ribbon and is like, oh, I almost forgot your prize!  She turned around behind her, rummaged through a box, and dramatically produced… A BRACELET. A rubber bracelet.  Amanda collects her 2nd place ribbon and her prize is rummaged from the box… a BRAND NEW BRIDLE.


Admit it, you ALL feel the same way. 

Now, take a good look at that picture of Amanda and I.  Look closely at her left hand.  Look even more closely at her left pinkie finger.  What do you see? You see my good luck/friendship rubber band that I gave her on day 1.  So, just like her big Novice move-up, her success at this show was all due to me!  A REFUSAL and you move up to 2nd??  What kind of voodoo is this, goth Snow White? You’re welcome, Amanda. SO very welcome. Once again, I kept your shit show of a self together and made you succeed.  Come to think of it… that rubber bracelet was indeed a rainbow colored bracelet…  and y’all wonder where she got the unicorn theme… Seriously, Amanda, would you even exist without me?


The oh so rare photo of Amanda and I being civil.

The Grassroots Competitor

Last week when I made my bi-weekly trek down to the mailbox to check the mail (sorry mailman, I’m lazy), I was surprised to find a big envelope from USEA in there. Not having a clue what it could be, I excitedly ripped it open and found this inside:
  A Certificate of Achievement! I have been so wrapped up in AEC all year that I totally forgot about all the cool little awards USEA does. Of particular interest to the lower level competitor (like me) they have:

The USEA Medal program for BN-Prelim

The Blue Ribbon Award program for all levels, BN through Advanced

The Certificate of Horse and Rider Achievement program for BN only

Hate on USEA if you want, but they do a good job of making the lower level rider feel included and encouraged. I certainly never got anything similar from USHJA, a world where it feels like you really don’t exist until you’re competing in a nationally rated division. I sure don’t see them mailing out certificates to 2’6″ riders, which is really too bad when you think about it… the grassroots levels are, after all, a huge source of funding. Over 75% of USEA members compete at Training level or below, according to USEA themselves. 75% at the lower levels!!! I know it’s the same at h/j shows and I have to assume it’s true for dressage as well.

IMO it’s a huge mistake to treat the grassroots level riders like second rate citizens. We are the majority, and we represent a lot of income. Some people don’t have aspirations of ever riding beyond the lower levels, whether it’s due to lack of time, lack of funds, or just plain lack of desire. That doesn’t mean they aren’t contributing to (and loving the hell out of) their sport. And it doesn’t mean they matter any less. Quite the contrary… the grassroots competitors are what keep all of these sports alive.

So I filled out the application for Henry’s silver medal award for BN (which I didn’t even realize we’d qualified for until Bobby mentioned it) and decided to also make it a personal goal to get his silver medal for N this year too. Then I decided to send USEA a thank you email. It’s easy to complain, to point fingers, to find fault, and to list a million things that your governing body is doing wrong. But if we’re going to point out the wrong, it only seems fair to also recognize the right.

Cheesy as it may be to some, I’m trying to find a good place to put Henry’s first little award. Sure, it’s just a piece of paper in a pretty blue folder, and it’s just for Beginner Novice, but in a way it represents a pretty big milestone and I’m grateful to have it. Hopefully it’s just the beginning of more great things to come with this little brown horse of mine.

Do you think it’s important for your governing body to recognize the grassroots competitors? How good of a job do you think they do? What things are they doing right? What things are they doing wrong? Do you feel like you’re given good opportunities for awards and recognition?




Opening day is here!

It’s finally opening day for the American Eventing Championships/Adult Team Championships. That means we’re only 6 weeks out from the event – time to wrap up the planning and get everything finalized.

Filling out the entry form and getting it in the mail was pretty fun, I’m not gonna lie. I told the mail lady what it was and she blessed it, so if that’s not a way to guarantee success I dunno what is. I’m not feeling nervous at all, but rather I feel genuinely excited and also super grateful. There has been so much generosity from so many people, helping get our team set up with sweet gear. I have no doubt that Team Always be a Unicorn (or TABU for short) will be the most badass, well-attired, and most fun team there. The pile of stuff that has accumulated in one of our spare guest rooms is astronomically awesome, and this is only about half of it.

Quinn sitting on Bobby’s Riding Warehouse shirt. It’s got the official fluffybutt seal of approval.

We had so many awesome sponsors step up and offer us swag. Big thanks to Riding Warehouse, Uncle Jimmy’s, Mango Bay, Gypsy Tails, and Straight Shot Metal Smashing. I can’t wait to see it all come together, especially on cross country day when we can let our inner unicorns loose.

I also had a couple readers that were so generous to send us things to help accent our unicorniness, including a crapload of Skittles (ie Unicorn food) and some pretty sweet rainbow unicorn coozies (eventers drink? what?).


I’m honestly more excited for the Team Championship than I am for the individual. No matter what happens, it’s going to be a blast, and I’m eternally grateful to everyone that has contributed – not just tangible items but also support. Support means a lot. Thanks for being willing to get a little crazy and go along with the ridiculous unicorn theme.


the back of our trainer’s shirt

It’s possible that I might have gone slightly off the deep end with unicorn paraphernalia. We’ve got bracelets, speakers, hair elastics, shirts, banners, masks, headbands, sunglasses, you name it. It’s just so hard to keep myself under control, I gave up a while ago. So as a thank you to everyone, I’ll be posting info for a contest later this week for a prize pack of cool and semi-random unicorn stuff, plus a few things from our sponsors. Stay tuned.

Weekend recap: Henry, cake, corgi, and a Bobby cameo

The weekend started out with a bang. On Friday night I met Karen and our friend Stacy for happy hour at an awesome Mexican restaurant, where I stuffed my face with queso and brownie. On my way to happy hour I had stopped at Dover (it’s in the same shopping center) to pick up some dewormer and accidentally bought another jump pad. I just don’t know how this keeps happening. Well that’s a lie. It was navy, it had an awesome shape, cool features, and it was cheap. Yeah I know I’m looking for a dressage pad, not a yet another jump pad. I have a problem, leave me alone.

Saturday morning I was up and at em bright and early for a dressage lesson. And by bright and early I mean I was at the barn at 5:45 to groom Henry, pack my stuff in Bobby’s trailer, and haul the boys over to Dressage Trainer’s place for the first two lesson spots of the day.

pre-dawn Henry is Not Amused

It’s been a while since we’ve had a dressage lesson (a month? more? this summer is starting to run together) so I wasn’t sure how “on it” we’d be but Henry was pretty good. He has been VERY stretchy lately, which is nothing short a miracle on a horse who, a mere 4 months ago, wouldn’t give you a single step of stretchy anything. The king of the fake braced frame is finally starting to seek the contact and come down into it. Not all the time, but a lot more. He still has trouble with the shoulder in, more to the left than the right, but that’s getting better too.

It seems like the progress with dressage is so slow, but it’s nice to hear Dressage Trainer say that Henry looks markedly better every time he sees him. Dressage is difficult for him (and me)… he’s naturally a tense tight horse, built downhill, not a great mover, and not blessed with particularly talented rider, but we’re making baby steps. It’s gonna take a while but as long as he keeps improving a little bit at a time then we’ll call it success. There is a little video below, which I’m mostly just posting because thanks to Bobby you will never be able to un-see the last 20 seconds. I’m sorry, Internet. I’m so, so sorry.

On Saturday night we had a family get-together at my parents house to celebrate all our August birthdays. My mom, my brother, and myself all have birthdays within a couple weeks of each other so it just becomes easier to do one little party. I loaded the dogs up for their “adventure” – my parents have a big backyard – and had a little family time. We had a smorgasbord of Indian food, Chinese food, and pizza, plus a pretty awesome strawberry cake.

Smart corgi kept his nose plastered to the AC vent the entire way
all together we represent 135 years on earth! Note the rainbow candles.

On Sunday I had planned on doing a small gymnastics school but Henry was not feeling it. He wasn’t bad, but my nice stretchy relaxed horse that I’ve had for the past couple weeks was gone and he was super tight, super tense, and way over-reactive to leg. No idea what that was about, but it took me almost half an hour to get any kind of stretching down into the contact. I hopped through the gymnastic a couple times and called it a day.

crossrail, 2 strides, oxer with pole on top, two strides, narrow brick wall

I’m trying to think that it’s just a coincidence he acted like that on his second day of being off the MagRestore. I’m also trying to think it’s just a coincidence that the super stretchiness started when I first put him on the MagRestore a couple weeks ago. We’ll see how he feels today. We might be going back to the magnesium permanently.

VCBH: My Cubicle

Let’s round out a big ‘ol week of boring with something 99% not horsey! I swear I have a dressage lesson tomorrow and things will go back to Henry on Monday. Until then…

Most of us work for a living, some of us in way swankier places than others. I am curious for a pictorial tour of your office or cubicle. 

I don’t have a cubicle but I’m not sure that mine qualifies as an office either. It’s more of a room. Or a closet. A sad closet with no windows. Welcome to the RMA lab.

It looks like a huge mess of crap. Mostly because it’s a huge mess of crap. I swear there’s a very specific order to it, but if you don’t know the system we have going on here then there’s no point in trying to convince you it’s not a mess. On the left (or behind me, when I’m at my computer) are all the returns and repairs waiting for quotes to be sent out, or waiting for the quotes to be approved by the customer so we can repair their equipment. Then my white board, full of more things that would take forever to explain, and then my space at/above my desk which is mostly markers and cereal and water bottles. There’s a couple horse pictures in there.

The view from my chair toward the door reveals more and more shelves and boxes and equipment. I won’t even bother trying to explain. Yes it’s claustrophobic. On the other side of my shelves is where the repair and evaluation technician sits.

All the important things like a big box of markers, peanut butter, a Painted Pony, a ribbon from some horse show at some point, a koozie, my computer, my phone, etc are on my desk. Oh hey, bonus Jezebel picture on the wall under my tools.  Also my nameplate reveals that I’ve worked here forever (or since 2005. same thing.).

There’s not a lot of personal stuff in my space, just because a) I’m not into decorating b) this is a coffin, not an office. I do have this lovely sign that a coworker made for me though. It’s good to have a reputation.

And this fortune I taped to my shelf, because it seemed appropriate. This is how I decorate, folks.

Sadly, that’s it. I think I win “saddest office space” so far. Give a sister a skylight or something, at least!

Your favorite horse and rider of all time

When I was watching American Pharaoh make history yet again in the Haskell on Sunday, I got the feeling that I was watching what is likely to be the best racehorse of our generation. Our Secretariat. Our “Tremendous Machine”. He’s poetic and beautiful to watch, and the love and appreciation that the people around AP have for him is palpable. That said, I’m still not sure if he’ll ever overtake Zenyatta as my sentimental favorite. I got into an actual debate with myself and Zenyatta won out. (Remember how I said I love the solitude of barn sitting? These are the kinds of pressing issues that I apparently spend a lot of time thinking about when the only time I speak to other human beings is at work. Woot, hermitism!)

Then, of course, because my mind is ever-wandering, I expanded beyond racing and into showjumping and eventing.

Joe Fargis has always been my favorite jumper rider. I saw him ride Edgar at a Grand Prix while I was working on the East Coast and he left such an impression on me in just that one day. He was so tactful, so soft, so quiet, and yet totally effective. Edgar was a little spooky at the tents when he first came into the ring, and Joe just quietly walked him past, patted him, whispered some words of comfort, smiled, picked up his reins, and proceeded to give everyone a riding lesson.

My favorite jumper would probably have to be Rhythmical. He was little, he was spicy, and he was fierce. I remember watching all the Grand Prix classes on ESPN in the late 90’s and just waiting for Rhythmical’s turn in the jump off… you always knew you were in for a wild ride. He always gave 100% and was so fun to watch. Plus how could you not love his rags to riches story?

My favorite event rider for many years now has been Buck Davidson. He has always impressed me with his compassion and genuine love for his horses, and how appreciative he’s always appeared. Considering he was born into this life it wouldn’t been really easy for him to take it all for granted. It seems like a lot of upper level riders don’t always feel much attachment to their mounts, but you can tell how much Buck loves his crew… especially Reggie. I also admire the fact that Buck was not blessed with the tall, thin physique of so many other top riders – yet he rides every bit as beautifully as they do. He’s an inspiration to us “commoners” in that way. You don’t have to fit the George Morris mold of physical perfection to ride well.

Speaking of Reggie aka Ballynoe Castle RM- he gets my favorite eventer spot too. How could you NOT love Reggie? He’s wise beyond his years, super consistent, mega talented, and obviously has a great brain. I want one of those. I think we ALL want one of those.

I haven’t watched enough dressage or other disciplines to even begin to pick favorites there.. I’ll have to get to work.

Who do you love?


The Most Amazing Trailer Ever

So there I was yesterday, doing my monthly perusal of Craigslist looking at horse trailers. I’m not in the market yet but eventually some day I’ll buy a truck and then a trailer, so why not just start looking now, right? It makes sense, trust me.

I was clicking through the Dallas ads, not really even paying much attention, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by the paint job on a shitty old rust bucket of a trailer. My reaction was something like this:

It was quite honestly the most tacky, gaudy, and mesmerizingly garish paint job I have ever seen. My eyeballs were bleeding. But it was also The Best Paint Job Ever. Behold, readers, the trailer whose outside looks just like my inside:

unicorntrailer2 unicorntrailer3



Yes, it’s blue and yellow. Yes, it’s got unicorns on it. Yes, it’s covered in stars. You might as well go ahead and paint my name across the front and cover the whole damn thing with glitter clear coat. It is, without a doubt, the most awful and yet most amazing trailer I have ever seen. EVEN THE HUBBIES ARE YELLOW! And it has BLUE ASTROTURF in the tack compartment!


Let’s all take a moment to be extremely thankful for the fact that Henry would not fit in this tacky ass jalopy, otherwise it would probably be sitting in my driveway right now. Let’s also take a moment to appreciate that there is someone else out there just like me, who loves the same colors I do AND is super into unicorns. I don’ t know you, Julio from Dallas, but you’ve created a true work of art here. Hats off to you, sir.

She’s beautiful.

The Gaggle of Girths

I’m not really sure what the correct term is for a group of girths but “gaggle” seems like surely it must be right… right?

Sometimes finding things that Henry and I both like is impossible difficult, and he’s enough of a delicate flower that if he doesn’t like something he isn’t shy about letting you know. I can’t totally blame everything on him though… I’m pretty picky too. That’s why I had to go through 6 dressage girths to find one that we both approved of and wasn’t stupid expensive. Yes SIX. Strap yourselves in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

When we first started out with this eventing thing last fall and I bought the Frank Baines saddle, I didn’t want to invest much in dressage tack in case we ended up back in jumperland. So I bought the cheap little Ovation Airform girth. It served us really well for a while but once I body bodyclipped Henry he started getting weird patches of missing hair around the middle of where the girth sat. I thought this was perhaps because of the synthetic material (I’d had that problem with him before with a synthetic jump girth – his skin is super sensitive) so I decided to move on.

I tried Brandy’s really gorgeous leather Albion girth and Henry and I both loved it, but shelling out $230 for a girth was not happening no matter how much I whined to myself. Sadly, and very reluctantly, I gave Brandy her girth back. At least now I knew that he seemed to like the leather girth, so off I went a-hunting for something similar.

Somewhere in all that hunting I got sucked into the black hole of craziness that is anatomic girths, and someone offered to let me try their TSF. That thing sat really awkwardly on Henry, with a big gap at the front edge and all the pressure on the rear edge. He was so grumpy when I tightened the girth that I didn’t even bother riding in it. Some internet research told me that I wasn’t the only one with the weird gapping problem. The TSF was another “no”, which I wasn’t too upset about because for the price I didn’t like the leather very much anyway.

Once I climbed out of the black hole of anatomic girths and back into the realm of “normal” leather girths, I decided to try the Shires Blenheim girth. It was leather, it was in budget, and I liked the white stitching detail. What I failed to notice while shopping is that there was only one keeper for the billets, and it was way down low toward the middle of the girth. So low that my billets didn’t actually reach to it and flapped around all over the place. You fail, Shire’s girth. You fail hard.

After The Great Shire’s Failure I decided maybe I should give up on trying to find a nice leather girth in my price range and opt instead for fleece: enter the Ovation Dri-Tex girth. I had used a fleece jump girth with him once upon a time and it was fine, it just tended to not actually hold my jump saddle in place at all. Slight problem, but I figured that wouldn’t happen with the dressage saddle. And I was right, the saddle didn’t move around at all. But that girth sure did. I liked that it was wide and squishy, but the fleece would bunch up under the billets and shift, ending up twisted all over the place by the time I got off. Plus the elastic was so thin that it was very easy to end up overtightening the girth. Why do fleece girths suck so much? Why did I use them for so many years? What was I thinking? I hate you fleece.

After that I circled back around and got another Ovation Airform girth to hold us over until I could find a bargain that I was happy with on a nice leather girth. Or until I felt okay splurging on the fancy sheepskin lined Frank Baines with humane ends that I was heavily lusting after… whichever came first. Yes, the overtightening issue of the fleece girth sent me completely into Paranoid Nutjob Mode about a too tight girth and made me only want something with humane ends. That’s just how I work. Go with it.

Then, as if by magic, there was a Nunn Finer Piaffe for a great price. It was nice leather, it was well padded, and it had humane ends. I thought maybe this could finally be the one. When it arrived I was very happy with the leather quality and how nice and squishy the padding was. I’ve been using it now for about a month and a half and it gets the Henry seal of approval too. I’ve come to really love the humane ends, they seem to work exceptionally well with the design of the billets on my monoflap Devoucoux. No rubbing or chafing issues either, with lots of elbow clearance. The saddle stays put, the girth stays put, it looks nice, and the horse is happy. FINALLY. It only took 8 months.

Hopefully I’m done buying dressage girths for quite a while. My delicate psyche can’t take any more. But hey, if anybody needs a cast-off dressage girth I’ve got like 4 of them floating around in my house/car… a whole gaggle of ’em.