2016 goals, plans, and wildest dreams

Considering last year was the first year I’ve ever written down goals for myself, I’m probably really tempting fate by doing it two years in a row. But I’m a) ever-optimistic b) dumb, so here we go.


Qualify for a Novice 3-Day – I only need one more completion, so we should be good on this I would hope.

Compete in a N3D  – This is more tricky, but if I save all my pennies and the stars align just right, we’ll be in Flagstaff in July.

I want those to be Henry’s ears on the steeplechase track.

Place at N3D – This is taking it perhaps one step too far, but we’re gonna choose to dream big.

Move up to Training – We’ll see how the year goes, but if we’re ready, I want to do it. Granted, the tables at Training still make me want to pee myself a little. And by a little I mean a lot.

who builds this and puts it on a Training level course? Satan?

Make an actual 15m circle – Not oval. Not trapezoid. Not rectangle. CIRCLE. 15m. Not 18m. 15m. Why is 15m so much harder than 20m?

Go to at least one dressage-only show – And only whine about it a little bit. And try not to scare the DQ’s. Ah, forget that part, I don’t really care if I scare the DQ’s.

Keep Henry happy and healthy – You’re welcome for the $$$ fetlock juice, please do not require any more in the near future.

Get a 4-legged bun in the oven – pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaase?


Get the trailer 100% road-worthy – Poor Black Betty has been on hold for a while.



Be more fit – Seriously, for real this time. Henry would really appreciate it.

Be better about budgeting – If I want to go to Coconino, I have to start saving now. Arizona is far away and that shit is not cheap.

but it’s pretty

Buy a truck – Also another reason that better budgeting is required, since a truck has become necessary and my car is about to croak anyway.

Do a little better about balancing horse stuff with real life – I have a serious one track mind.

Get another tattoo – I’ve had that planned for a while.

Live boldly – We only get one go around, so might as well get the most out of it eh? I want to seize every opportunity I can and do things I haven’t done… especially the things I think I can’t. I want my default answer to be “why not?”.

Last year I ended my goals post with a quote that I thought summed up what I wanted for the coming year. I tried to do the same this year but couldn’t really come up with a good one. Instead I wandered over to my mom’s Pinterest account (which is still up, thank goodness) and found that she had made a quotes section of her own. I picked a few of my favorites from her favorites, because it only seems fitting to start the year with a little wisdom courtesy of her.

true story.  This would be great for a parent to do for their kid and have the words overlaying images of milestones in their lives, showcasing all they've done because they believed in themselves:

it's vital.:
She had this one pinned FOUR times, so I’m gonna guess she liked it

I've been trying!:



Ding dong the watch is dead

Some of you might remember how my fancy smurf-blue Optimum Time watch died literally AS I walked into the start box at Greenwood. It did this weird funky number thing before the display completely died so I just figured the battery was dead. While the timing of it’s demise couldn’t have been worse, I thought it was no big deal.

On our way to 3.2 time penalties since apparently I can’t accomplish 400 mpm on my own

I got a new battery about a month ago and finally last weekend I remembered to ask the SO to change it for me. Because me plus electronics is a really really bad idea, just ask every laptop I’ve ever had. He whisks the watch off to the garage, where all of his fancy tools and gadgets are, and comes back 20 minutes later and says “I dunno what’s wrong, but it’s not the battery.”. Well crap.


A little investigation reveals that I’m 3 months past the end of the warranty period. I tried the oh so fancy re-boot that Optimum Time suggested (hold all the buttons down at the same time, which is really hard BTW, until something happens). Nothing ever happened, so it was suggested I send it in. To THE UK. Shipping both ways plus repair fees? Might as well buy a new watch.

I must confess, I really only used the stopwatch feature of my watch anyway. I didn’t particularly like the beeping at intervals thing or the counting down thing. I’d rather just check my time at a couple spots on course and focus more on learning my pace than on listening for beeps. For interval work I just keep an eye on the time. I’m just not fancy about watches I guess. Or I just don’t want to set all that crap up… that could be it too.

So I did what any other logical human would do – proceeded to whine about it to everyone. My options were:

  • pay to ship it back and forth to the UK and have it repaired for who knows how much (minimum $50 at the best case scenario I would guess)
  • buy a new watch ($90)
  • wait until a used watch comes up for sale
  • buy something less fancy (read: CHEAP, because the Great Coconino Penny Pinching has already begun) that will still work for me.
like this one, which is $21 on Amazon

Luckily Hillary came to the rescue (or just wanted to stop the onslaught of whining… whichever) just before I added the cheap one to my cart on Amazon and offered to send me her old OT watch. Bloggers are the best. Bonus points – it’s yellow. Still fitting in with my color scheme.

Stupid Smurf watch… RIP. Your life was short and tragic, despite living in your original box and being used like 10 times. But welcome to the family, Sunny! May you fare better than Smurf.



Fat guy in a little coat

Ok, he’s not fat, but… when your horse was way too thin last winter and is at a pretty perfect weight this winter, it turns out that none of his clothes fit so well anymore.

His quarter sheet


looks more like a cape.

His blue sheet, which I bought new for him last year, went from a little roomy


to a few inches of butt hanging out.

His green blanket (also bought new for him last year)


has suffered the same fate.

I had to let all of his belly straps out at least 8″ when I pulled his blankets out this season.

But considering he looked like this a year ago


and looks like this now

I am not complaining.

But he’s still not getting new clothes. Sorry kid.


Blog Hop: what did you GIVE for the holidays?

Buying presents for people is one of my favorite things in the world, because

a) shopping for horse stuff (sorry non-horse people, you usually get gift cards or something easy, because I don’t understand your life) is fun

b) trying to find good deals is one of my favorite things

c) putting thought into finding the right thing makes me happy

d) my Mom always went crazy with the Christmas presents, so now I think the craziness is deeply rooted in me too

I also really love seeing what other people gave as gifts… it gives me ideas for next year (or birthdays), and sometimes I discover new businesses I haven’t seen yet. So on that note, what did you give as gifts this holiday season?

Significant Other – we’ll start with him since his are non horsey and therefore less fun. He got a new stereo, a fancy alarm clock, lots of weird Japanese graphic novels (thank you Amazon wishlists), a DVD collection of 50 classic horror movies, and random geeky and nerdy stocking stuffers (including my personal favorite – Star Wars light saber chopsticks).

the chopsticks are legit

My dad got a Yeti cup and some hard cider, and my brother and his family all got gift cards.

quite tasty

Bobby and I went halfsies on all the trainer gifts… we got Eventing Trainer a custom stall guard with her logo from Deco Pony and a Kastel shirt.


Dressage Trainer got a bottle of wine and some peppermint bark (because dressage people are sophisticated or something like that, I think?).

And we gave both trainers this card:


Because let’s be honest.

Barnmates got custom ornaments from Hamer & Clay, which y’all already saw.

Bobby’s dumb face

And the very lovely sweet woman who helps take care of the horses got a Noble Outfitters wine down hoofpick from Riding Warehouse and a bottle of wine.

The barn owner’s husband (aka our Handyman Deluxe) got Noble Outfitters socks and Noble Outfitters Hay Bucker work gloves from Riding Warehouse.

My friend/Sadie’s lessee Michelle got a custom browband from Dark Jewel Designs (because she rides a pony and it’s so hard to find pretty browbands in pony size!)…


plus a Kastel shirt, and a WEBSITE (FINALLY!) for her farm (mostly thanks to blog reader Marissa at Premier Equine Business Solutions)! Well… I paid for the hosting for 2 years anyway, after that Michelle is on her own.


As for the smaller 4-leggeds… Delia got a no-stuffing toy (which Stewie stole and ripped to shreds), Stewie got a rope ball, Quinn got a slow feed bowl, and all 3 of them got treats.

The big 4-legged got a bran mash, because food is all he cares about anyway.

And it was all SO FUN.

Post-Christmas sales

If you’re looking for a way to burn that cash or those Visa gift cards you got for Christmas, a few of my favorites are having good sales!

Riding Warehouse (20% off automatically shows up when you add things to the cart)

Aztec Diamond Equestrian

PS of Sweden

Asmar Equestrian

Yes I’m sharing this because one of them already got me and I don’t want to be the only one. Who can say no to a $26 merino wool sweater? Not I.

Hamer & Clay wins Christmas

I’ve talked about Hamer & Clay a lot on my blog. I first came across her ornaments last year and gave a lot of them (like 10) as Christmas presents. I forgot to order one for myself though, so when H&C opened up for orders this season, I made sure to get myself a Henry (and a couple for barnmates too). Of course, I also posted on here that orders were open, and you guys absolutely went nuts for these ornaments. Kelsey at H&C is one of my favorites, so many thanks to y’all for making this by far her busiest season.

When I got my package from H&C and very excitedly tore off the glittery ribbon to open the box, I think I squealed like a baby pig.

As usual, the details are just spot on. Look at his little beaded browband and Majyk Equipe boots! She even got the piping on the Ogilvy and my Roeckl gloves. Bonus points for glittery mane and tail and derpy overall impression.

The ones for my barnmates came out perfect as well… Sherri got a little ClayRheta

complete with C4 neckstrap and glittery mane/tail, of course. Because mares.

And then there’s Bobby. The ClayHalo I ordered? Nailed it. She even managed to make Bobby look just as dumb in clay as he does in real life. That’s true artistic talent.

Then there were the extra ornaments that I didn’t know about. Have I mentioned I love Kelsey? Because I do. These are perfection.

First, a magnet version of Halo with his AEC ribbons to celebrate his national championship win (yep, she makes magnets too).

Then I opened this little one and just about died laughing…

Yep that’s my trainer wearing Uni. Remember this photo?

It might be the best ornament I’ve ever seen.

But wait, there’s MORE! And was wrapped like this. Behold:

Ever seen wrapping that amazing before? Once I saw what was inside I understood that no other wrapping would have suited this beast.

That is without a doubt the most amazing, rainbowy, glittery, sparkly unicorn I have ever seen. LOVE doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. It’s perfect.

Many eternal thanks Kelsey at Hamer & Clay for really going above and beyond. Not only are the ornaments I ordered just gorgeous, these extra AEC-related ones are now keepsakes that I will cherish forever. You win Christmas, my friend.


Majyk Equipe Gen 2 XC Boot Review

Some of you may remember my original review of the Majyk Equipe XC boots that I did in the spring. I remain very happy with my ME boots, and my first set is still trucking along looking as good as new over a year after their original purchase. When ME contacted me asking if I’d be interested in trying out and reviewing their new Gen 2 version of the XC boots, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been very pleased with mine and wasn’t really sure what they could do to make them better, so I was definitely curious.

Straight out of the box I immediately saw a few differences between the new Gen 2’s (white) and my older Gen 1’s (black). The first most obvious thing is the logos – they used to be fabric and now they’re a rubbery/plastic. I’m definitely down for anything that is easier to clean. They’re also smaller and a little bit more conservative looking.

Gen 2 on the left, Gen 1 on the right

The second obvious thing was the design of the straps themselves. The Gen 2 boots have a little tab on the end of the velcro straps, making them MUCH easier to grab and pull off. This is awesome when you’re trying to untack a hot, prancy horse after XC, or on cold days when you’ve got gloves on. Very smart. Tip of the hat to you on that one, Majyk Equipe. I didn’t even realize I needed that feature until you gave it to me.

Old strap on the left, new strap with tab on the right

Once I started using them, I noticed that the strike plate on these felt a bit bigger and was easier to conform to the leg. The Gen 1’s require a bit of a squeeze so you can feel when the strike plate settles in the right place, but the Gen 2’s are more fool proof in application.

Old strike plate


New strike plate

A lot of the original features that I loved so dearly are still there – how super lightweight they are, how they dry so quickly, the tags under each tab that clearly mark left/right, and the durable yet very well perforated outer layer. I can still throw them in the washing machine to clean them (on the gentle cycle and then air dry, of course, which is great if you’re lazy and now own white boots). Majyk Equipe still pays close attention to technology, materials, and does research/testing on their products.

Gen 1 lining on the left, Gen 2 lining on the right. Definitely more and bigger perforations.

So what are the main differences between the Gen 1 and the Gen 2?

Upgrades to the Gen 2 boots:

  • 5 layer construction (for more durability). According to ME this provides 30% more impact protection without having a negative effect on flexibility.
  • eco friendly anti-fungal Gen II Hyperflex Foam lining
  • more extra large perforations to help keep the legs cool
  • stronger materials (including the fabric binding, which is now double stitched)
  • New strike plate design (4 way flex and covers a larger area)
  • improved strap design
you can see daylight through these new perforations!

I already thought that the original Gen 1 Majyk Equipe XC boots were the best on the market, and the Gen 2’s are even better. Especially when you consider that they retail at only $75 for the fronts and $82 for the hinds (not to mention that RW has free shipping over $50 and always has a coupon code floating around, which makes them even less).

A little hard to see, but double stitched binding on the Gen 2’s (left) vs single stitched binding on the Gen 1’s. The binding fabric also seems to be a thicker, tighter weave.

I’ve been using the new ones for a month now and find myself enamored with Majyk Equipe all over again. I even let the white ones get super muddy, sit in their own filth for a week, and then wash them. They came out sparkling and beautiful again, which gives me much hope for the longevity of the white.

Well done, Majyk Equipe. Well done.


Blog Hop: Hoarding Confessions

I’ve never really thought of myself as a collector. I don’t like clutter in my house so I don’t keep knickknacks or things like that. My horse stuff is generally the same way – I try to sell as much as I buy to keep everything “even”. Of course, sometimes I don’t succeed at that. And sometimes I like things so much that before you know it you open your closet/tack truck and you’re like “How the heck did I get 10 of those?”. No idea how that happened.


So – what do you seem to collect?

Judging by the sheer amount of Kastel clothing present in my closet, it would appear that I might have a little bit of an addiction problem happening. 6 sunshirts (pink, blue, coral, white, gray, yellow), 2 merino wool sweaters (green and gray), a puffy jacket, and a hat. Look, I just really like Kastel okay?

Welcome to the Kastel section of my closet

Which leads us to the one thing I’ve actually knowingly collected – hats. I have no idea why I collect hats or when it started, but I just like having them. It’s nice to be like “Hmmm which awesome hat am I gonna wear to the barn today?”. If I like a brand, I want a hat with their logo on it. Think of it as free advertising on my massive forehead!

Just a portion of my hat collection

I might have 12 pairs of Sock it to Me socks and at least 10 Mango Bay belts too, but I consider those life essentials so they don’t count.

PS – I still want the forest green and navy Kastel sunshirts.

PSS – Need moar hats.



Jumping bigger sticks

On Sunday Bobby and I trailered to a farm a little over an hour away so we could have a jumping lesson from our trainer. Bobby is about to move up to Training (I gave him balls) so he wanted to jump some big-ish stuff, and I’m taking every opportunity to a) get a jump lesson b) jump in a larger arena than at home. Our problems tend to be exacerbated greatly when we have more space.

Nope, I wasn’t pawing, dunno what you’re talking about.

At Trainer’s suggestion I switched Henry to a full cheek Dr Bristol. I needed a little bit more respect and something that he couldn’t just lean on and drag me through the corners. I tried it out o/f on Saturday at home, doing some of the exercises Buck recommended, and Henry was actually quite good. Normally he’s a drama queen about any new bit, but he was fantastic in the Dr Bristol. I got more respect but he never tossed his head, curled up, or seemed pissed. Kind of amazing for Henry, usually he has an opinion about everything.

He’s thrilled with his new gear. THRILLED.

On Sunday when we got on and started warming up for our lesson, Trainer immediately said that she noticed a big difference in how Henry was moving. The magic fetlock juice plus new farrier are definitely helping. She set the fences as we warmed up, and had them at about 3′-3’3″ to start with, which we’re pretty comfortable with right now. We warmed up, did a couple courses at that height, then she started raising the fences. Bobby and I both looked like this

Trainer cackled (she’s evil, so she cackles by default) and said “We’re gonna put a few at Prelim height so Training looks small!”. Great. Super. Sure, why not? Seems like as good a day as any to die.

It took me most of the lesson to remember what our “right” pace is, and I really had to ride every step, but Henry was great. Very honest a couple of times when he totally didn’t have to be (sorry bud) and just quite rideable in general. A total turnaround from the horse I’ve had all fall – this is my normal Henry, back in business.


I’m just gonna cling like a monkey and try not to fall off, k?

At one point Evil Trainer had us jump the big square oxer, bending 5 strides to the last big oxer of the triple. It was a bit of a wonky line that required you to jump the second one on an angle, and bless Henry’s golden little heart, he was super game.

The key points were pretty much exactly what Buck said (Trainer is evil but she is wise) – always keeping him bent around my inside leg, making sure to keep the power in the canter, and getting him more comfortable jumping from the base. It’s a work in progress of course but it was light years better than what’s been happening lately.

Dare I say that I think I have my horse back? BRB, gotta go find a shit ton of wood to knock on…