PSA: Awesome Sale Items

I just happened to stumble upon these, oh so innocently, last night while I was perusing Riding Warehouse. Because it’s normal to visit an online tack shop once a week to check the new Items and see what’s on sale. Naturally.

They have especially good deals on show coats… the Kerrit’s Kompetitor and Horseware Competition jacket are both only $69.88. Crazy cheap. And the Kerrit’s one is a super pretty blue with white piping. I’m trying desperately to think of a good reason why I need another blue coat.

They also have the Ariat Platinum Softshell, normally $500, for $299.

If you’re looking for a coat, definitely take a tour through their coats sale section, they have lots of good stuff in there at great prices.

Eventers – their Dalmar boots are only $66.88 per pair, fronts and hinds!

And – BROWN TALL BOOT ALERT! The Ariat Challenge‘s are on sale for only $279.

Plus breeches, helmets, show shirts, bridles… so much good stuff. Sadly I’m on a spending freeze at the moment, so everyone go buy something in my honor and then tell me all about it. I’m suffering from withdrawal.

The Eventing Unicorn (and attention Fair Hill attendees)

It seems like AEC was not the end of the line for Uni the Eventing Unicorn. Last week she was made famous with her appearance in The Chronicle of the Horse, and this week she’s at Fair Hill with my coach, having all kinds of adventures. Uni’s goal, in addition to just being awesome, is to get photographed on/with and autographed by as many upper level riders as possible. Then she will come back to Texas and be auctioned off this winter at the Greater Houston Combined Training Association banquet for a great cause. There will also be a photo book of all of Uni’s adventures auctioned off with her. Here’s a sneak peak of what she’s been up to so far, while en route to Fair Hill from Texas:

Last minute farrier adjustments
honing those cross country skillz
Stopping for a snack while walking the 2* course

If you want to follow along with Uni on her adventures, like her page on facebook

The Eventing Unicorn

And click the badge below to follow @eventing_unicorn on Instagram



IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE AT FAIR HILL: if you find Uni and take a picture with her, I will send you a $10 Riding Warehouse gift card! Snap the picture and post it on instagram, making sure to hashtag #eventingunicorn and tag @eventing_unicorn

And remember: Always be a Unicorn.

What I learned at Greenwood

When I first sat down to write what is now my customary post-show “what I learned” blog post, I admit that I was a little stuck at first. On paper it would be pretty easy to be disappointed with how Greenwood went. Worst dressage score ever, worst stadium ever, and worst total score ever. It wasn’t an event that anyone would like to have in the middle of their fall season, two weeks before Area Championships.


I kind of wanted to just sweep it under the rug, shrug it off, and pretend it didn’t happen. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that I actually learned quite a lot about myself and my horse in “failure”, if you want to call it that. And the things that I came up with as learning points were so much BIGGER.


I learned that even when all else seems like a loss, Henry will still come through on cross country. He gets braver and smarter and more clever with every show. Of course, changes for the better in some areas can sometimes mean changes for the worse in others. He’s not a machine and neither am I. That’s what makes this sport so ridiculously hard – it’s three very different phases that ask completely different things of the horse and rider. Growing pains are to be expected, I suppose, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not William Fox-Pitt and Henry’s not Ballynoe Castle; we’re just doing the best we can. It’s okay if sometimes our best just isn’t that great.


What I also realized, after I moved past those silly little feelings of failure, was that I still had a blast. I crossed the finish line after XC smiling from ear to ear, every bit as “high” as I always am after running cross country with Henry. It’s such a joy to be galloping and jumping a horse that absolutely loves his job, it brings me a level of bliss that nothing else can. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? I spend my life scrimping and saving and eating a lot of Ramen to afford this sport, and not because I get ribbons and glory in return. I do it because of the sheer joy the horse and the sport give me, and that joy certainly does not hinge on a score or ribbon. A score does not define us, so why was I letting it? It tells you nothing about my or Henry’s story. It’s just not a big deal.


I also learned that even the worst day at a horse show still isn’t a bad day at all. Lauren wrote about this a while back in her post Attitude is a Choice, with the poignant phrase “Isn’t it a luxury to have a bad horse show?”. It absolutely is. Spending the weekend at a beautiful facility on the back of a horse just can’t possibly be that bad, no matter how it ends. If the worst thing happening in my life at the moment is a bad horse show, things are going pretty darn well.

late night bum scratches

Either I’m getting better about this whole attitude thing or the loss of my mom in August really highlighted what’s important vs what isn’t, but my perspective has changed. A year or so ago a show like this would have definitely spurred a few private tears and I’d have felt pretty defeated/humiliated, but this time I was still all smiles on the way home. Here I am, four days later, still smiling. I feel lucky to be able to do this at all, even when I do it badly, and I still feel nothing but euphoria when we cross the finish. At the end of the day, the circumstances don’t matter. Nothing is permanent, for better or for worse… all you can do is enjoy the ride.

Greenwood cross country video

Yay, something that didn’t take forever to get! STILL don’t have my AEC pics, btw…

They managed to get all the jumps in the video except for 2, 5, 13, and 14. Greenwood’s course is so spread out and wooded, I’m sure it would have required a few more videographers to get it all.

And some stills from the video

Oh ya know, just lopin’ over the feeder…


Random question of the day – does anyone besides Ecogold make a shaped XC pad that comes in navy? And not the cotton one BoB carries, which is the one I currently have.

Greenwood Day 2 – Cross Country

After our massive huge disgusting shitshow on day 1, I was not feeling so happy about cross country day. Normally I’m pretty confident about XC. Henry hasn’t had a cross country penalty all year, but this course was super technical, and definitely the toughest we’ve faced. There was nothing that looked big (except the brush at 15), but there were questions on it that he has never been asked before, not even in a schooling situation. And to have to face it the day after having such a horrendous dressage and stadium round was not giving me warm fuzzies. At one point I considered just packing my toys and going home, but quitting for no actual reason other than sheer mortification just isn’t what we do.

I hate everything. Except XC.

Henry was still acting like a mare in heat, so the plan was that if we got on course and he seemed unlike himself, I would retire. Of course I noticed going into the startbox that my watch battery had died, and despite trying to have my trainer turn on the helmet cam this time, we STILL didn’t get it. I am one giant walking curse for electronics. Luckily I did end up buying pro video of XC so I’ll post that when it comes – hopefully today. As for the time, since we were starting XC in last place it didn’t really matter anyway, so I just gave my watch to my trainer and went without. Here’s the link to the full course walk if you want to see more detail… sorry, Bobby was in stupid California so he wasn’t there to make fun pictures. Yell at him. He abandoned me in my time of need.

Henry came out of the box a little sluggish and I had to really support him and close my leg to fence one, but he landed from that, looked around a little, perked up his ears, and clicked into Game On mode. Whatever strange awful horse I’d had all weekend disappeared and normal Henry was back and ready to roll.


Fence 2 was a log with a sloping landing that made it ride a bit like a drop. The approach was very confusing so Henry didn’t really lock on until a couple strides out and I stuffed him to a bit of a short distance (after being so super flat and runny in stadium, the close distance was the only option he was allowed), but he happily went.


galloping Henry is FINALLY happy Henry

Then we went winding through the woods to 3, a simple little mushroom.


Fence 4 was a tiny log on top of a huge mound – the first real test so far on the course. Once you got up to the top you literally could not see anything but open space and the super dark entrance to the woods, so it really was a leap of faith for the horses to jump off and hope they’d find ground under their feet on the other side. No hesitation here from Henry, he happily hopped down and away we galloped back into the woods.

what it looks like when I’m taking course walk pictures. Allso – giant mound.


We had a long twisty gallop through the woods to 5, a small tiger trap. Henry saw the ditch in front of the fence at the very last second and made quite the impressive leap over it, but again there was zero hesitation. If you have a ditchy horse this isn’t the course for you – there were 3. By this point Henry was totally in his normal groove and actually being really fantastic.


After 5 was a little corner, which we came back down to a showjump canter for, because directly after the corner…


it was a sharp right hand turn to the first combination on course – 7ab. Down bank, slight bending line downhill to a hanging log. I stayed in the backseat, let him figure it out, and he very smartly picked his way through.



8 was a simple little white table with mulch on top

XCfence8Then on to the trakehner at 9. He’s seen trakehners before, but this one had a real monster of a ditch under it, the likes of which he definitely hasn’t seen, so I just kept my leg on and kept coming forward. He gave it quite a bit of extra space in the air, but he had no problem with it. Maybe we need ditches under all the stadium fences.


10 was just a little feeder headed straight at the finish line, so the only possible issue here was getting their attention afterwards…


because once you landed you had to hang a sharp right down to the water and our second combination on course. I’ve not seen anything like this at Novice before, there was a little log directly out of the water with two strides to a rolltop. Henry’s never done a combo out of water either, but this actually rode REALLY well – more like an upbank to a fence (which he also hasn’t done before, but whatevs). He read it perfectly and cantered through like a pro. He’s always great at the water.

XCfence11ab XCfence11b

After many pats and good boys we were off to 12, the Steeplechase fence. I like pretty much anything with brush and this one always seems to ride well for everyone. Henry was no exception.



Then it was a long gallop up the big hill into the very back of the property, over a simple hanging log at 13

XCfence13Then to this tricky little fence at 14. The approach to this was kinda nuts, with a steep down hill, one stride of flat, then straight back up the hill to a very vertical log stack. I was expecting this to ride pretty shitty, but again Henry read it perfectly. I stayed in the backseat down the hill, closed my leg at the bottom, and he powered 3 strides up the hill and popped right over. Many more pats and good boys. He’s getting more and more clever with his feet.


Another long gallop back down the big hill and we were finally to the last combination on course – the one I was borderline shitting myself about. There was a huge ditch with a bending 5 strides to a massive skinny brush. Massive. Skinny. Brush.



friend Amy as height reference. She is a normal sized person. The brush came up to my boobs too. Also- SKINNY.

I was worried that he’d take issue with the ditch but I was bound and determined not to add any more disaster to my weekend, so I lined him up with the brush (which put the ditch on a slight angle), sat, growled, and stuck my spurs in. We got a crappy distance to the ditch, which Henry completely launched himself over


therefore making the distance to the brush come up reaaaaaaaaaally tight. But bless his awesome little XC loving heart, he never even thought about not going. He flicked an ear back at me like “you better hang on, cuz here I go”, I hooked the fingers of my left hand into my neck strap, and he just carried me right through. The whole weekend was redeemed in that moment.

XCbrushfull2 The last two jumps were pretty simple – a little green house

XCfence16and then the Halloween decorated bench at the last.

spot the black cats

I actually slowed down a little at the end because I thought we might be too fast, but I failed to take into account the fact that the course actually wheeled a lot longer than it was listed at, so we ended up a bit over on time. Oops. I really couldn’t have cared less. Henry seemed super proud of himself and strutted back to the barn in his normal post-XC fashion. By the time we made the walk he’d already cooled down and his general demeanor was a lot more normal than it had been before. He begged for cookies and tolerated some face rubs and nose kisses.

We ended up at least not finishing dead last, and I really came to GW to run their tougher XC, so at least we succeeded at that. We just have to figure out what the hell happened in stadium and never ever do that again.

Greenwood Day 1 – Dressage and Stadium

Well… that was embarrassing. Henry has been so good all year that I suppose we were due for a clunker, but when we throw in a clunker, we REALLY throw in a clunker. I’m not really sure what was up with him this weekend, he was just kind of pissy in general and not himself. If he was a mare I’d swear he was in heat, but alas he is not, so I’m at a loss. I’m having the vet out this week just to make sure there’s nothing physically wrong.


He warmed up for dressage really well. Like, REALLY well. He was moving great and our connection was great, and he was actually fairly uphill for once. Impulsion is magical. We were the very first horse to go for dressage and it was quite a bit colder that morning than it has been, so I figured that had something to do with it.


When we went over to the the dressage arena we’d just barely started to trot around when the judge rang the bell, so we weren’t even able to make a full lap of the arena before we went in. And as soon as he stepped foot in the ring, he took one look at the gazebo and the videographer and decided that he was super tense and kind of wild, and that I could take this dressage bullshit and shove it where the sun don’t shine. The first half of the test was an effort of trying to keep him IN the ring (I’m not shitting you, he hit a post with his foot and knocked down a length of the plastic chain. It was all I could do to keep him from ducking out at A.) and at the correct gait.

Hamster brain fell out immediately upon entry, aka the point where I realized I was screwed
hamster brain temporarily re-installed

By the end of the test he finally started to settle and we got a few good movements, but in general he was just lit up and not very rideable. We ended up with a much deserved 40, our worst score ever. Although funnily enough everyone else on their green horses had a pretty similar morning, because after dressage we were actually tied for 4th. What a shitshow that was. Somehow we still managed to get some good transition scores, an 8 for the halt, and a 7 for gaits though. I’ll take the charity.

Weeeeeeeee more zoomies!
oh hai, randomly decent halt for good measure

Stadium wasn’t any better. In fact, it was much worse. Again he warmed up really well, and when we went in, we jumped fence 1 fine, had a good approach to 2 but he was just diving down onto his shoulder at the base, so we had a rail there. After that, everything just went all to hell. He pulled me past pretty much every distance, got super flat, and tapped or knocked down pretty much everything.

Fence 1… such promise…
fence 4 – shit is about to hit the fan

At the two stride he landed so far into the line that we baaaaaaaarely fit in a second stride, and he popped straight up in the air over the out, almost tossing me right over his shoulder. I had to monkey climb my way back into the saddle, and since I was now at an impossible approach to the next fence, I had no choice but to circle.

by fence 8 it was nothing but survival mode
over the last like a semi-trained dragon

Myself and my trainer only remember two rails but they had me down as having pulled three (that ain’t even worth trying to protest) plus my circle and a time fault. OUCH. OUUUUCCCHHH. We dropped from 4th to dead last.

but hey, we were well dressed. So… there’s that?

I have no idea what the hell THAT was, but I’d like to never repeat it. I’ve never had such a bad round on that horse, and he’s never been so unrideable ever. Mortifying. I couldn’t find anything physically wrong with him and he was eating and drinking normally, so I just left him alone and decided to see how he felt the next day before XC.

Henny says “NOPE”

Did I mention the XC course was the biggest, most technical course we’ve ever taken on? Yep, there’s that. I’m sure anyone who saw my stadium was like “This chick is going to DIE on XC”… because that’s totally what I would have thought too.

Free stuff day = best day

When Bobby said in Episode 4 of The Shitshow: “a gift card is like two awesome gifts: 1) it’s the gift of something free and 2) it’s the gift of shopping”, it might have been the wisest thing to ever come out of his mouth. Going through all of our prizes and redeeming the gift cards and certificates has felt a little bit like winning the lottery, especially because all of the companies have been so awesome about sending our stuff to us quickly.

On Wednesday I got my first COTH issue, which is 50% dangerous (ads. so many pretty ads.) and 50% awesome. No way I’m escaping the next year without buying anything because of the Chronicle.

Nice navy Samshield with orange piping you’ve got there, Daniel Bluman…
Then yesterday I got a package from Kastel – their hooded winter jacket, which fits perfectly. I almost can’t wait for cold weather to get here so I can wear it and review it.


I also got my XC boots from Professional’s Choice, which look nice too. They’re basically identical to my Majyk Equipe boots, from what I can tell.


Hidden at the bottom of the pile of packages was a big envelope from USEA. A little while back I put in my form to redeem our Silver Medal at BN, and the certificates and medal came! Pretty cool. I really do love USEA and their awards programs.


The arrival of that stuff also prompted me to go look up the scores required for a Gold medal at BN again, and it turns out that our score at AEC was the last one we needed, so now I can put in for that one too. Think I’m gonna wait til the end of the season and see if we get our last score needed for Silver at Novice so I can apply for both at the same time. Medals errywhere. Need moar medals. I’m not really sure what to do with them though… or the certificates. Or his ribbons from AEC (seriously, what do I do with these ribbons that doesn’t involve cutting them up or stringing them across a room like a kid? Help. I don’t usually keep ribbons.). I need a Henry shrine in my house or something. I’m sure the SO wouldn’t mind that at all, an entire room dedicated to Henry…

And last but not least, something that was not free but I’m pretty excited about anyway: thank you cards for all of the sponsors of Team Always be a Unicorn. Naturally they feature a unicorn.


As for the weekend, we are off to Greenwood today to run their mini-Rolex-looking Novice course. We are the first horse to go on Saturday and second on Sunday. I’ll try to be awake enough to stay on my horse.




The Chronicle has been Unicorned

I feel like I’ve really accomplished something noteworthy in my life right now. Not for making it INTO the Chronicle of the Horse, although that itself is a pretty awesome thing, but for succeeding in getting a unicorn into the magazine.


I was also VERY HAPPY that the Chronicle listed the breeding of the horses! As a bloodline nerd, I love it. Also, go Thoroughbreds.

AECchronicle2 AECChronicle3

It’s in the October 12th issue! There’s also a good little write up on Bobby and Halo’s story:




Cross country video from AEC

Still no pictures, but the video was finally posted yesterday! Hallelujah.

My particular observations:

  1. Henny looks like a squirrel. He’s all ear hair, teeth, and swishy tail.
  2. He’s much happier jumping out of the faster pace in the first half than when I had to slow way down toward the end to make time (we both agree that 350mpm is dumb).
  3. Look at him save my butt at the bank like a bonafide saint.
  4. I never get tired of looking at that cute face.

And I pulled video stills for those who don’t want to invest almost 5 minutes of their life to watching a BN course.



matching expressions


oh hai, ditch


AECXCcap13    AECXCcaplastfenceThe same video people will be at Greenwood this weekend, and I’d reaaaaaally like a video there since their Novice course is fairly stout, but it’s EXPENSIVE. Understandably so, equipment wise and manpower wise and time wise, but I might be a little too poor to justify another video right now.

5 things I learned at the AEC’s

I’ve pretty much given up on official pictures or videos from AEC ever getting posted, so now I’m going out of order and posting 5 things I learned before I actually finish the show recap of stadium day/awards. Desperate times…

Everything is better with a team

Seriously, if you ever get the chance to participate in an Adult Team Challenge or Championship, DO IT. I always have fun at shows no matter what, but having a built in team of people that you genuinely want to succeed and do well makes it even better. It’s not often that we mere mortals at the lower levels get the opportunity to compete as part of a team, but there’s just something about being “in it” with other people that makes it more special. Your success depends on theirs, and vice versa. You feel a responsibility to your teammates that makes it even more important to do well… you don’t want to let them down. I was more excited for Bobby when he won than I would have been for myself, and I was super proud of and elated for every person on the team for going out there and getting the job done. I’ve never yelled and screamed and cheered so much in my entire life. Also, if you qualify for AEC and even have just a remote chance of making the trip, DO IT. This was, hands down, the most fun that I have had at a horse show ever. The prizes are badass, we had parties every night, and the atmosphere was awesome. I mean, come on, that British announcer guy alone is worth the entry fee.


It helps to have a trainer as crazy as you are

The ridiculous unicorn and rainbow and glitter theme would not have worked as well with a super serious, reserved, quiet trainer. Don’t get me wrong, when it’s time to do work she’s all business, but AM can take a joke and is completely on our level of nuts, and the fact that she so good-naturedly played along made it extra fun for us. Especially when she bet us that if we won the team championship she would wear the unicorn mask for our win photo. Chronicle of the Horse subscribers, keep an eye on the AEC results issue.

Her favorite pastimes include drinking champers out of water bottles and sorting flowers


Bobby and I, as dumb as we are separately, are even dumber together

I mean… I knew it was bad, but going through all the footage to make Shitshow episodes was eye opening. We are a couple of dumbs that are compounded times a million when we’re put together. We appear to have no shame, no filter, and no sense of propriety. You’re welcome world.

Bobby blindfolding children for Pin the Horn on the Unicorn

There are always people willing to help

We had so much support every step of the way, from trainers to friends to sponsors to you guys reading the blog and cheering us on – it means a lot to feel like you’ve got people in your corner. And of course an extra special thank you to Riding Warehouse, Mango Bay, Gypsy Tails, Straight Shot Metal Smashing, Uncle Jimmy’s, Willow Tree Farm and Lori at Mars. We had SO MUCH COOL SHIT thanks to you guys. The Unicorns looked pretty fantastical and had a great time.

Support crew. Behold that sparkly unicorn shirt.


Making Bobby fancy = I win at life

Bobby actually said the words “Having fancy shit is fun!”. Direct quote. From the man with rubber boots and plastic tack who has spent the past year making fun of me with all my ‘fancy shit’. Give him some nice new gear and all the sudden it’s like the beast has been unleashed. Wait til y’all see him at Holly Hill when he rolls up there in his new outfit. He’s still clinging to that Wintec for dear life, but ya know… baby steps.