About my “hastily written blog post”/”witch hunt”

The blog post from one of the Chronicle’s staff writers that I’m sure most of you have seen by now mentions my “When does control become abuse?” post in a backhanded kind of way, calling it a hastily written personal attack. Eventing Connect also published a post today in which the author (who posted many blog comments on my original post, if you care to go read them) says that it’s a witch hunt for ML. Look guys… let’s set a few things straight here so we can get back to the real issues at hand.


First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Yep… surprise! I’m a blogger! This is a blog! I’m not a journalist. I don’t write articles. Blog posts are OpEd pieces at best. Shocking revelation, I know. I’m not bound by the same politics that the news media is, so I stated my uncensored opinion, the history behind why I have that opinion, and what I think the problem is (notice I said the rules are the problem, not the rider). The post was not hastily written – I spent several days outlining my thoughts, researching, thinking, writing, thinking some more and writing some more. I didn’t post it (5 days after the second incident occurred) until I was 100% ready to stand behind every word I said. We are now 3 weeks post-Boekelo and 2 weeks post-Fair Hill. That’s light years in the world of social media, news, or journalism. The general news media can churn out articles in hours. For one person who blogs as a hobby, nothing about it was hasty.

This is much bigger than just one person. I do not care about Marilyn Little herself. My agenda is not a witch hunt. She was the catalyst for my post, absolutely, because it was the instance involving her and her horses that launched this whole train of thought for me in the first place. If I hadn’t cited her in the post, no one would have understood what the hell I was blabbering on about. But if you think the post was meant to attack her, you aren’t reading it all the way through. It’s about the fact that a horse went around a cross country course at a 3* event with blood dripping from it’s mouth. That it was seen and photographed by spectators in said state. That our current rules are such that the horse was not pulled up – and depending on how you interpret our very vague rules – the way all of this went down is totally legal. That this can happen repeatedly with no consequence. That in fact, when you look more closely, many of our rules (not just in the “abuse of horse” section) don’t really make a lot of sense or are very very vague when you look at them from a horse welfare point of view. And that our sport really can’t let things like that happen, because then it looks like we’re condoning it. I found all of the photos and an already very lively discussion on a European website – somehow they were off and running with this days before we were, and the view of American eventing in general was extremely poor. To be honest, in that moment it felt very hard to defend the thing that I love so much. If you’re focusing on ML or her bit choices here, you’re missing my point entirely.

I will ask you this – even if you DO believe that it was nothing but a “hastily written blog post attacking one specific rider” – does that make my questions any less valid? Does that make the issues at hand any less important? Criticize me if you want to, but let’s not lose sight of what really matters here. The issues are still the issues. The fact that others are trying to downplay the real issues is, to me, extremely disappointing.

I won’t apologize for saying what I felt I needed to say, and you can absolutely bet that I’d say it all again. My opinion hasn’t changed – we need to better define our rules so that things like this don’t happen. To those who have been supportive, which is the vast majority of the general public and eventing community – thank you. To those who haven’t – thanks to you too. We might not agree, but in our disagreements I always learn something (even if it’s just that I’m 100% dedicated to what I believe).

Now, for those who are actually interested in doing something instead of just talking in circles and pointing fingers:

I am looking to put together a small group of people to help draft and submit rule change proposals to USEF and FEI regarding our current rules about visible blood. If you are interested in being a part of this, are familiar with eventing rules, have strong written communication skills, and are willing to make yourself available for a few online brainstorming sessions/discussions, please contact me. Either leave a comment here that gives me some way to contact you, contact me on facebook (my blog’s fb page link can be found in the sidebar) or go to the Contact Page in the menu bar to send me an email. I think we’ve spent quite enough time talking… time to put our money where our mouths are and try to make some good come of all this.

The Saddle Hunt

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, the hunt for a dressage saddle is in full swing. I finally sold my beloved Devoucoux that Henry outgrew (ok, it wasn’t actually for sale for very long but it’s my theory that time actually slows down when you’re trying to sell big dollar items like saddles and horses) and became a one saddle family again. Not ideal for an eventer, with that whole dressage thing we have to do. Or try to do, at least.

I miss you, Devoucoux

Once the Devoucoux officially hit the road, the feelings of panic started to set in. I haven’t ridden in a lot of different dressage saddles before, and of the ones I’ve tried, the only ones I’ve liked are CWD and Devoucoux. Apparently my ass is French. But I don’t really have the budget that allows me to easily find either of those brands, especially considering I took some of the saddle money and put it in the Black Betty Rejuvenation Fund.

Remember the glittery Devoucoux I borrowed at AEC? My French ass does.

My trainer was kind enough to let me borrow her saddle (also a Devoucoux, but with the right panels for Henry) for Greenwood, which… I’m pretty sure that thing was blessed at birth by a voodoo priestess or something, because that saddle is divine. Definitely different from my Makila, and it was just so easy to ride in, not to mention that Henry moved great in it too. I’ve considered offing said trainer and keeping the saddle for myself, but I figure I actually need her for other things, so that’s out (at least for now… we’ll call it Plan B if nothing else works out).


My problem now is that my budget is lower than my ass’s expectations. Since I haven’t been able to sit in a lot of dressage saddles in my time, I don’t really know how to guess at what I’ll like vs hate. I can do it with jumping saddles because I know exactly what I like, but dressage saddles are more of an enigma. Big block or little block? Set high or low? Deep seat or shallow? Narrow or wide twist? High or low pommel? Hellifiknow. So I stared at the Dev for a long time to observe it’s attributes and made a list of what features it has, and what I know Henry needs. I also made a list of all the other dressage saddles I’ve sat in and not liked or didn’t fit Henry. I scoured ebay, facebook, and used saddle sites and quickly decided I was screwed. One night I found a Kentaur Andromeda for super cheap and snapped it up, figuring it was worth the gamble considering how underpriced it was.


It fit Henry ok – a little bit too flat for him but good in the tree/shoulder – but it didn’t work for me at all. I was able to sell it on facebook the next day at enough of a profit to have made the venture worthwhile, but still a little disappointing. So I did what anyone with #firstworldproblems would do in my situation: had a little pity party for myself and did a lot of whining, because I just couldn’t find a single thing that looked promising in my price range unless it was in questionable condition. Finally I decided to get super serious and scour every single used saddle site I could find, foreign or domestic, and happened upon this little gem:


A Luc Childeric. All the specs are right on paper, so I’m really hoping this is The One. The shop I got it from in New York offers a 5 day trial, and it was listed at a really reasonable price. It’ll be here on Tuesday, so cross all your crossables that it works. Otherwise I might take up bareback dressage. Or heavy drinking. Or both combined.

Trading Up – aka how I can justify anything

It’s no secret I love nice things. Love them a lot. Sadly, I don’t have a bank account that permits me to go around buying all the nice cool stuff I want… one of life’s biggest injustices. So when I see things that I must have, I usually play this little game with myself that I like to call Trading Up (yes, I might have issues).

Basically I can only buy said item if I sell the item I’ve already got that’s like it, or enough other stuff to make up the price difference. This is why I try to buy stuff as cheaply as possible, because some day it’ll probably be on the rotation out. I recently did a massive purge of stuff, so we all know what that means. UPGRADES! I recently sold off everything in my breeches collection that I wasn’t wearing, specifically because I needed to buy another pair of whites. Behold said whites.


They’re La Valencio’s, just like my current whites, which I bought from Divoza in the Netherlands. I had a coupon code (because always always coupon code) so before I checked out I decided to take a quick glance at the sale section. Why do I do that? Why? It’s a trap. What I did I see there, staring at me with their big puppy dog eyes, begging me to take them home? Navy Lorenzinis. The ones I’ve been lusting after for months but could never justify the price tag. They were almost 40% off the best price I’ve ever seen anywhere else. So what did I do? Added them to the cart and sold a couple more things to make up the difference. There was nothing else I could do, obviously.

come to me, my precious

Not a new item but equally exciting – my Samshield finally came! She’s so purty. Too bad no one will know just how pretty she is until next show season. I need to take a pic of it with my coat so that it’s all matchy. Obviously I had to sell a lot of stuff to make this one happen, but it needed to. My current GPA is at the end of it’s life span so I needed a new helmet anyway. And one simply cannot buy a plain regular helmet when one is an eventer. Especially when said eventer already has a coat and Ogilvy pad (also bought via Trading Up) that are navy with yellow piping.


And since I had a remaining shop credit, I jumped on the chance to try out the new merino quarter zips from Kastel. The green one was calling my name. An atypical color choice for me but there’s just something about it…

There has also been some saddle shuffling and news on that front, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow. The struggle is real. Real painful.

I obviously have a lot of reviews to do in the coming months.

Somehow, out of all of this buying and selling, I still managed to come out of it in the black and put some dollars aside into the Black Betty Rejuvenation Fund. Trading Up… it’s a thing.

AEC Recap Day 3 – Stadium and Awards

FINALLY, a month later, I can finish the recap! In case everyone has forgotten, here’s Day 1 and Day 2 to refresh your memory. When we left off, Henry and I were sitting in 10th place individually after XC and Team Always be a Unicorn was first in the Adult Team Championship with a 17 point spread over the second place team.

AEC15brinkman9-26xAD1-3457At AEC they run show jumping in reverse order of placing, so I had about 20 people ahead of me in our division before I went. Luckily I think the ring crew was just as ready to be done as we were, because they were ushering horses in and out of there without so much as a pause in between. So fast, in fact, that even though there were 4 other rounds between my first teammate to go and myself, my trainer didn’t make it back down to warm-up until they were calling me to the ring. We quickly jumped 3 fences and off I went up the hill and into the ring…


where I proceeded to ride one of the worst stadium rounds I’ve ever had on Henry. I just couldn’t get a canter that I liked, couldn’t pick a rhythm, kept changing things instead of letting it flow, over-correcting, and basically every choice I made was wrong. I really have no good explanation or excuse. We had a few well-deserved rubs along the way before finally having a rail at the very last fence. I walked out and told my trainer “I deserved that”, and she agreed, because I did. Still, we got our completion medal, Henry got an apology, and I dismounted so I could stand and watch our last two teammates jump.

Jeannette and Panda

Jeannette went in and had a trip fairly similar to mine, also having the last rail (damn that stupid last rail, it came down a lot). Then, finally, it was Bobby’s turn. He was in first place after XC so he was the very last person to show jump, and he DID NOT have a rail in hand. At this point I wasn’t even sure what our team had left in hand anymore either, because I hadn’t been able to pay close attention to everyone else. The pressure was on, and I could hardly watch.

I was so nervous for him, I think I jumped every fence with Halo. He had a couple of rubs that made my heart absolutely just STOP, but they stayed in the cups. Finally, after what seemed like an hour instead of a minute, he rounded the turn to the last, saw a little bit of a gap, moved up to the distance, and had another hard tap. In that moment I think time stood still and I lost a good 10 years off my life, but all the poles stayed in the cups. This is the point where I lost my ever-loving mind, screaming like a banshee and jumping up and down like I won the megamillions. Somewhere in the walk between my vantage point and the ingate I started bawling, handed Poor Henry to Poor Trainer (who at that point was laughing at me), and hugged Bobby for a good 30 seconds. Proud doesn’t even begin to describe it. Bobby is a huge turd but I love him anyway and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of that win.


They did the awards for the Adult Team Championship first. Turns out that even with my rail and Jeannette’s rail, we still opened up the gap and finished with 19 points in hand over second place. Since they drop the highest score, all 3 of ours that counted toward the final tally were in the top 10 overall… hard to beat that. The best part is that our trainer made a bet with us that if we won the ATC, she would wear the unicorn mask for our win photos. She thought she could weasel out of it by standing outside the ring and trying to look nonchalant in the hopes that we would forget, but I yelled at her to get her ass in there and put the damn mask on. Everyone got a good laugh out of it and asked who was under the mask… I made sure everyone knew that it was AMANDA MERRITT of ANCHOR EQUESTRIAN. I think she told me that she hated me a couple hundred times but we all know that’s not true. She looked majestic AF.


After we got our team awards (which was so much stuff that it took a whole ‘nother team of people to carry it all) I started to leave the ring because I figured my rail had knocked me out of the top 12. Then I heard them call the 12th place person with a 35.8 and I came screeching to a halt, turned around, and put myself in line. I knew that I finished with a 34.8 but had no idea what place that was… turns out I didn’t change places at all, we stayed in 10th. If I hadn’t had the rail it only would have made a 2 place difference, putting us in 8th. I was actually kind of okay with that because the 10th place ribbon is way prettier than 8th. Shallow people problems.


Henry thought the entire awards ceremony was stupid and refused to look even remotely interested for his award photos, but the victory gallop was pretty damn fun. I will happily run around the ring to “We are the Champions” without complaint any day of the week. It was a pretty cool moment.


All in all, it was a very successful and fun AEC experience. We had a blast, had a great dressage, easy XC, and learned exactly how not to ride stadium. Plus we walked away with lots of awesome stuff. Can’t really beat that!


Well that escalated quickly

On Friday when I posted what can only be called my opinion piece on the bloody mouthed horse situation, I thought it might get a little bit of attention. What I didn’t count on was it getting over 40k hits (and counting), lighting the Internet on fire, and causing me to spend most of my weekend trying to respond to it all. Those 10″ of rain we got here in Texas at least came in handy for something, since it was far too wet for me to ride anyway.

There are a few more things I’d like to say on the matter before I return to my regularly scheduled blog content, mostly in general response to a lot of the conversations I’ve seen on the blog comments, Facebook, and message boards.

we do this because it’s FUN, remember?

Somehow a lot of people got stuck on my post being a snaffle vs non-snaffle discussion. If you’re getting hung up on that, you’re missing the much more important big picture.

Some defended the blood, saying it happens to everyone and isn’t uncommon or a big deal. I’ve been to a lot of competitions in my 32 years and never seen it before in my life. It’s never happened to me before either. Not to mention: if you think it’s ok for horses to be bleeding from the mouth in the middle of a competition, you must not like horse sports very much. Eventing already has a bad enough reputation for safety and horse welfare. What kind of repercussions do you think we will face in the future if we let bloody horses continue around course and do nothing to stop it? We have to police ourselves or someone else will.

In case you missed it, someone named Emily jumped to ML’s defense with her comment on the blog post, which was probably the saddest of all the comments I read:

You have no place to comment on another rider’s system. Especially not one who is as successful as Marilyn. As a groom at the FEI level I’ve seen the behind the scenes and Marilyn’s horses are not being abused in the least. They are strong horses and she needs control.
So you can comment after you’ve won a gold at the Pan Am Games, won a few Grand Prixs and gotten multiple horses to Rolex

I wasn’t aware that bringing home medals and ribbons was justification for leaving a literal trail of blood in your wake. I think Aimee of Sprinkler Bandit fame said it best


Our sport cannot survive mindsets like Emily’s. Any horse showing visible blood while on course should be pulled up IMMEDIATELY, no matter who you are or where you are. This isn’t just about ML… anyone should be pulled up. But a rider who has two bloody mouthed horses two weekends in a row should get extra close scrutiny. That’s not normal, especially not in conjunction with some pretty wild equipment setups.

We want happy horses, even if they’re kinda silly and spooky

I received story after story in my email and fb inbox from people who were at Fair Hill, all saying that many spectators clearly saw the blood and wondered aloud to each other why the horse was being allowed to continue. Is that what we want people to see and think when they come watch our competitions? A couple even went so far as to question officials, who assured them the horse was “fine” and had just bitten it’s tongue. That looks bad for our sport. Incredibly bad.

How it happened, while important to understand for the sake of prevention, should not factor into a decision to stop the horse/rider pair because it can’t be determined until after the fact. Visible blood should equal immediate mandatory retirement. Period. And I personally, as an eventer, would be 100% ok with that if it happened to me. I would WANT to be pulled up on course if my horse was bleeding so much that people could see it even as I was galloping past. No competition is worth risking his well-being or causing him discomfort. I would hope that the vast majority of my peers would feel the same. Not to mention that IMO a tongue bite serious enough to cause that much visible blood is not a minor injury at all. Mouth injuries hurt like a mofo, I think any of us can attest to that.

the happiest place

If we want to stop things like this from happening, IMO we have to target the specific wording of the rules regarding blood and we have to make sure they’re fully enforced. Having arguments on the internet about snaffles is a waste of time and energy. There will never (and should never IMO) be a rule saying we can only use a snaffle while jumping. So instead of arguing about bits on Facebook groups and forums until we’re blue in the face, why not channel our efforts into something that will actually matter? Email, call, and make yourselves heard to our governing bodies. Sign the petition. Submit rule change proposals. Help protect our sport.

And to those trying to threaten me, bury the photos, or have them removed – shame on all of you.

When does control become abuse?

I’m sure a lot of you have seen this photo floating around on facebook


The first time I saw it I thought “hear, hear” but then moved along on my merry way and didn’t give it a whole lot more thought.

I love horses, that much is 100% true. But I’m also not a total bleeding heart. They are big animals with minds of their own and I understand that not every horse can go in snaffle. I don’t have a problem with “big bits” in theory, and I generally believe the adage that a bit is only as severe as the hands holding the reins. I also believe that upper level competition often requires a little more “whoaing power” than us peons down at the lower levels would need, especially on XC where they need to go from high speeds to slower speeds as quickly as possible. However – I do think that there’s a line between what is acceptable and what is just plain abusive. When this picture of Marilyn Little and Scandalous at Boekelo popped up on the internet, I admit to being a bit horrified.

Photo: http://www.equipefoto.de

A double twisted wire gag, with one rein, a lever noseband with a chain under the jaw, and a running martingale. That combination is enough to set any horseman back on their heels a bit. But the nail in the coffin? The evidence of blood in the mouth.

This isn’t the first time that the internet has been set ablaze by ML and her bitting choices. The very first one that I remember was not long after she made the switch from show jumping to eventing and this photo appeared on the cover of Practical Horseman. Hard to see here, but yes that’s a chain flash. Never seen one before. Never seen one since.


Her bitting choices are known to be on the less conventional side. That lever noseband with the chain under the jaw makes an appearance on her horses quite often, as do somewhat unconventional bits.


There’s no doubt that she is a great rider and highly successful. I totally understand that sometimes there are strong horses that require something a little outside of the box. I don’t understand what’s going on when the majority of the horses in one barn end up in these kinds of contraptions, especially when they end up bleeding from the mouth. I also totally understand that sometimes horses bite their tongues (granted, I have never seen it, but I know it happens on rare occasion). I REALLY DON’T understand how the same rider could have blood in yet another horse’s mouth at yet another competition only a week later.

link (edited 10/28: the professional photographer that took the most damning photos has had them removed from facebook, so this link is no longer active. You can still reference another photo below, you just have to zoom in.)

There’s another angle here where you can see it very clearly as well, in case there’s any question about the authenticity of the above photos.

This looks bad for us. Real bad. The first time raises some serious eyebrows. The second time establishes a pattern. There’s a trend here, and it’s not a good one. I might not make any friends with this post or this statement, but it has to be said:

What in the holy hell is going on here?

WHY has the same rider had two horses with blood in the mouth, at two competitions, on two continents, within one week of each other, and gotten away with it both times? If we’re just missing it – how do we catch it? How do we punish it? And more importantly – how do we prevent it? If this can happen, multiple times, with zero consequences, something is very very wrong. Somehow we seem to have forgotten that the welfare of the horse is the first priority.

I chose ML as the subject here because so many pictures like this have surfaced in the past week, but it’s certainly not fair to throw her into this alone, because she’s not the only one to end up with blood on her horse in competition. There have been incidents like this showjumper and this dressage rider, where blood was noticed and they were immediately eliminated. And of course Steffen Peters’ elimination from the World Cup that happened earlier this year because of bloody spur marks. The difference is that those instances were dealt with appropriately and these with ML have not been. Blood in the mouth and bloody spur marks cannot be allowed to happen at any level without some kind of penalty. So how do we make sure that we’re catching it every time, especially in eventing where the rules are so vague?

The FEI eventing rulebook only addresses blood in one brief and fairly vague section:

526.4 Blood on Horses

Blood on Horses may be an indication of abuse of the Horse and must be reviewed case by case by the Ground Jury. In minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip, or minor bleeding on limbs, after investigation the Ground Jury may authorise the Athlete to continue.

It seems like in both of these recent cases that the blood was not noticed and not investigated. The USEF rules for eventing are even more vague and don’t address the issue of blood in the mouth at all.

4. SPURS—Spurs must not be used to reprimand a horse. Such use is always excessive, as is any use that results in a horse’s skin being broken.

5. BIT—The bit must never be used to reprimand a horse. Any such use is always excessive.

To add fuel to my own personal fire, I came across a couple more rules and rule change proposals yesterday that made me wonder what exactly we’re thinking.

The first was this – a USEF rule change proposal for dressage.


which seems to be targeting bridles like this in particular

followed by this note, put out by a USEF Steward General to other stewards:

“I am attaching a few updates that have been clarified for me by the FEI regarding tack, that have to date, not been added to the FAQ’S online.

The first is regarding the accepted diameter of a snaffle bit that is allowed in competition. After much discussion regarding the verbiage in the FEI Dressage Rules and the lack of language in the FEI Eventing Rules, the FEI has notified me that there is no legal minimum requirement as to the diameter of a snaffle bit allowed in competition.

The second is regarding the new bridles that are being seen. One is manufactured by Stubben as the 2500 Freedom, and the other is being called an “ear cutout” by the other manufacturers. Both have been declared illegal by the FEI.

Thirdly, please be aware that “attachments” to the bridle of any kind are illegal.

So… there is no minimum diameter of a bit, but we want to ban the use of bridles or attachments designed to make the horse more comfortable? This is the Stubben bridle in question:

Ugly as sin, no doubt, but what about it is so detrimental to the horse or the sport that it becomes necessary to ban it from dressage competition? The idea is not that dissimilar from a Micklem. Shouldn’t we be embracing changes and advances in technology that could make our horses more comfortable? I also don’t understand what’s so bad about a poll cushion or similar “attachment”. A system that allows a rider to go unreprimanded after having two bloody mouthed horses two weekends in a row yet wants to ban anatomic bridles REALLY has me scratching my head. I have to wonder why it seems like the priorities in these rules are so, well… backwards.

The obvious question is – what do we do?


First, we have to care. Second, we have to be heard. Third, we have to come up with solutions. Maybe we need to start by defining our rules more clearly. Maybe we need to have stewards at the end of each phase specifically to check the mouth and sides of the horse. Maybe we need to be more proactive about penalizing those who toe or cross the line, regardless of who they are. Maybe we need to remember why we make rules in the first place. I don’t have the answer and I don’t know how to solve this problem. But make no mistake, this cannot keep happening. As soon as we cross the line into looking abusive and forget about horsemanship, there is no more sport.

To those who see pictures like these and would rather just keep quiet, make excuses, or turn a blind eye  – you are part of the problem. We have to stand up, speak out, send emails, write and submit rule change proposals… do something. One voice gets lost. A lot of voices put together can make a difference. How do we fix this?


What it’s like to be famous

I wouldn’t know of course, but Uni sure does. If you aren’t following her on facebook then you missed out on some pretty great pictures from Fair Hill:

David O’Connor can tame a unicorn without even trying
Colleen Rutledge and Jimmy Wofford have a slightly different tactic
Lucinda Green uses a little lovin’
Joe Meyer should know not to put his fingers in Uni’s mouth
Bobby Costello is trying a little good old fashioned oxygen deprivation
But Will Coleman, Sinead Halpin, and Hannah Sue Burnett just wanna party

Uni even made a cameo appearance in the official highlight video around the 2:50 mark:

The plan for Uni’s future has been updated a bit… instead of being auctioned off over the winter, we’re going to hold on to her and take her to Rolex for even more mingling with the stars. She can get more autographs from and photos with some international eventing stars, and thus be even more awesome. She’s going to be the most well connected unicorn in the business by the time she’s ready to go to her new home.


Side note: Yes, that means a Rolex trip is in the works. Brace yourselves, Kentucky. You’ve been warned. Is anyone else planning on going to Rolex? Possible meet up, perhaps?

Life with a corgi

When we oh-so-innocently adopted Quinn a few months ago, we didn’t realize that we were adopting Joseph Stalin reincarnated in dog form. Don’t be fooled by the cute face and ridiculously adorable waddle, he rules this house with an iron paw and uses terror to keep his subjects in line.

First of all, he’s just not very good at dogging. He doesn’t play with toys and he acts like going outside is some kind of brutal punishment suitable only for the other two peons he lives with. He just can’t figure out how he ended up in a place with two such common canines, but it only took him a matter of days to terrify them enough to move to the top of the pecking order. His favorite activities to partake in with his “brother and sister” (which he finds terribly insulting) are: barking at them, chasing them, trying to steal food from them, and snarling at them if they come anywhere near him when he’s chosen to have People Time.


That’s right – he chooses when he wants affection. If you pet him when he doesn’t want to be petted he glares at you as if he’s contemplating having you hauled off to a military prison and tortured. But when he does want affection, he wants it NOW and he wants it on his terms. If that means he has to put his fat little stumper feet all over your laptop, freezing and crashing every program you had open… well, that’s the price you pay for the privilege of his company.


Our other two dogs don’t sleep on the bed. When Rob and I were each single, both of our dogs slept on our respective beds. Since Rob and I have been together, both of dogs have been relegated to their own beds. Fair is fair, after all. Or at least fair WAS fair, until Quinn came along. Guess who sleeps on the bed? Not just sleeps on the bed, but gets lifted onto the bed every night at bed time, because if you’ve ever seen a corgi try to jump then you know how little lift those stumpers generate. Quinn waddles into the bedroom, looks at you with that penetrating corgi stare, and says “Hey, human-servant! Raise me onto thyne throne!”. And we do. Because dammit, he’s just so cute. Plus if we didn’t, he’d probably have us killed in our sleep or something.


You’d think that things like this would buy us some loyalty from Quinn Stalin, but no. He has tried to leave with not just one but TWO delivery guys. He made it all the way to the pizza guy’s car before we snagged him, and the poor Chinese food delivery guy looked appropriately terrified when he realized he was being chased (at a slow trot) by a perpetually hungry corgi.


It’s obvious that Quinn lives for food. Any time you walk into the Magical Food Room he’s right on your heels, usually completely in your way and standing in front of whatever you’re trying to access. I have never seen a dog actually try to climb into the refrigerator before. Just make sure before you leave the kitchen that you know where Quinn is… that one time he accidentally got shut into the pantry really pissed him off. We were all walking on eggshells for days worried about retaliation, but luckily the treat I gave him upon release seemed to soothe the beast.


Quinn being deaf has added a little bit of complexity to having him around, but not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Mostly because even if he could hear, I’m pretty sure he’d ignore us just as much. The only difference is we have to wave our arms to get his attention instead of just saying his name, so that he can then flip us the bird and do whatever the hell he wants anyway.


The thing you hear most often about corgis is how much they shed. People aren’t kidding, Quinn leaves a trail of hair behind him wherever he goes, regardless of how much we bathe and brush him. I find Quinn hair in all kinds of places… my underwear, my purse, all over my car, in between the keys of my laptop, and I even found a Quinn hair on Henry’s bridle. Let’s not even talk about how much of it I eat on a regular basis. I’ve given up trying to keep the dog hair out of the food and off of the dishes… it’s like velcro. I’m pretty sure he climbs into the cabinets while we’re gone and has a good shake, laughing maniacally all the while. But after the first few weeks you become blind to the tumbleweeds of dog hair that are forever blowing across the living room.


Basically, life with a corgi is a lot different than life with our other two mutts. I’ll tell you a secret though – and please don’t tell Quinn because he’ll see it as a sign of weakness and surely have me offed – we absolutely adore him and wouldn’t change a thing.



Fancy Pants

I know that in some ways my fashion choices are a little more “out there” than the average person’s. I love something that is a little different, a little unique, and not quite so… boring. Piping, a little bit of color, some kind of pattern, or – one of my absolute favorites – just a tiny touch of bling. Specifically on the back pockets of my breeches. Why, I don’t really know, because lord knows I’d rather no one spend any longer than necessary staring at my butt in a pair of breeches. Yet my white show breeches have bling on the back pockets and not only do I get compliments on those things all the dang time, I love them. Stare at my butt all you want, but you’re gonna need shades, cuz that rear end is blingin’. You can’t really even see it much when I’m showing because it’s covered up by my coat, so to me that’s kind of the best of both worlds. Fancy AF, but covertly.

Can you see it? Nope. Nope you can’t.

For as resistant as I was to adding white breeches to my arsenal in the first place, I will admit that I’ve come to love them. A lot. They look so sharp, and although I was afraid of how terribly unflattering they would be, they’re actually one of my most flattering pairs.  I like them so much in fact that I’m considering adding a second white pair to the line-up. And to take crazy all the way to insanity, I might even run XC in them, even though it seems to me like white breeches on XC are basically the same as begging to fall off in the water jump. But they’re just so pretty, I see now why so many people do it.

oh there you are, butt bling

The white pair I have are La Valencio, a brand carried by Divoza, one of my favorite European shops. So when the thought entered my mind to buy another pair, I immediately marched right back over to Divoza. Because let’s face it, if you want fancy pants, the Europeans have got the market cornered.

The first ones that caught my eye were these, which are almost exactly the ones I’ve already got but in a sticky seat version.



But there are a few other cool pairs too:





If your left ass cheek is super into America but your right ass cheek is feeling more British, they’ve got pants for that:



for the more subtly patriotic




Fancy butts are pretty in all colors, not just white:





Silver pegasus tramp stamp, FTW.






Of course Aztec Diamond and Animo (two of my other favorite brands – coincidence? No.) are both fans of butt decorations as well, and naturally – European companies. Come on America, why are we such a cookie cutter snoozefest? Let’s liven things up a bit, starting with our butts.

Weekend recap: the vet, scratching, and getting naked

Not all of those things combined of course… that would be weird and awkward.

As I mentioned after Greenwood, I made an appointment with the vet to come check Henry out. He was just so abnormal at GW in all respects and it got my spidey senses tingling. Once I saw the XC video I was even more sure that something wasn’t right – he landed cross-cantering multiple times and seemed a little shuffly off the ground in a couple of places. That’s not normal. While there was nothing outwardly “wrong” that we could find at the time, his stadium performance and those few little things on the XC video raised some red flags for me.

suspicious cross-cantering #1
suspicious cross-cantering #2

Before the vet got there I already had a pretty good idea of what we were in for. I’ve known since I bought him that he’s a little sticky in the hind end, and I’ve had him on IM joint supplements for a while in the hopes that we could support him that way for as long as possible. As soon as the vet starting poking and prodding and flexing the hind end it became clear that IM is no longer enough. He is a pretty textbook case of lower hock soreness. He was obviously sore on the left, just baaaaarely sore on the right.

drunk Henny is a tripod

I hate joint injections. A lot. Sticking a needle in a joint is not something that gives me any kind of warm fuzzies. I think the vet read my face pretty well because he pointed out that the earlier we address the inflammation, the more we can slow the degeneration. So I gave the go-ahead and we injected both hocks.

What does this mean for the future? Well, for the immediate future I’ve scratched our last event of the season. With Greenwood having been semi-disastrous and this happening only a week before show time, plus a few other factors thrown in, I’m just not comfortable asking him to compete right now. I’ll give him some time, re-group, and make a plan for the winter. We’ve already more than accomplished everything I had originally dreamed of for the year, and it doesn’t seem right to ask him to keep going when he’s not 100%.

he ain’t worried

As for the more distant future, I had no plans for him being an upper level horse anyway, but his schedule will likely be lighter and more consideration given for preserving those hocks. We’ll see later this week how he feels and if the injections helped.

On a lighter note – if you’re going to pay for sedation you might as well get the most of it. I took advantage of drunk Henry after the vet left and clipped all the areas where he normally threatens to knock my block off. He made a couple of “Noooo, not my bellllyyyyy haaaaairr” half-hearted threats, but man… drugs are great.

“Does my belly look fat when it’s naked?”

Saturday I finished the rest of him. He might be mad, but considering we’ve still been in the 90’s, he’s got to feel better. Poor Henny… rough weekend.