How’s that working out for ya?

I figured at some point I should circle back around and give updates to the things I’ve reviewed, since things sometimes change over time. I’m on my way to Philly today for AETA, so the timing seemed perfect for this post. There have been a lot of things that I’ve reviewed, so I’ll try to keep it brief. Also, PSA: Riding Warehouse has a winter clearance sale going on! I think the code diy15 still works for an extra 15% off but if not you can always use LIKE10 for 10% off. Go forth and purchase.



Tuffrider Sport Dress Boots

Still love these things and wear them every day. Despite being super cheap they’ve held up well and are by far the most comfortable boots I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that they’ve dropped a lot and are a bit too short on me.

Aztec Diamond Equestrian breeches

Still my favorites, although my latest pair seems to run smaller than my first two pairs. The fabric has held up fabulously well though, the only evident wear is tiny bits of the silicone cracking on the left knee of my oldest pair.

Aztec Diamond Equestrian show shirt

I just found myself not ever wearing short sleeve show shirts so I ended up selling this. I need the cuff sticking out, I was an H/J’er for too long to handle bare wrists no matter how practical.

Kastel Denmark sunshirts

Very devoted loyalist to Kastel, my collection is pretty ridiculous by now. My first ones are definitely starting to look worn but they’re holding up well considering I wear them almost year round.

Mondoni Kingston brown field boots

I find myself not wearing these very much anymore, mostly because I need to re-dye and do a better job of sealing the color this time. I didn’t really do that last time and they’ve worn and faded. This is on my to-do list.

Horseware Competition Jacket

Sold this when I bought my Equiline coat. It was a good entry level coat but I adore my Equiline.



Tack & Equipment

Leistner Prinz brush

I’m still weirdly obsessed with this thing, it truly is amazing. I accidently picked up the wrong brush one day and was like “wtf, did my magical unicorn brush suddenly lose all of it’s powers?” before I realized my error. I solved that problem by immediately throwing away the old non-magical brush. Two more Leistner brushes have joined the collection now – to be reviewed soon.

Noble Outfitters Ringside Backpack

Still adore and use daily.

Stirrup Showdown: MDC vs Royal Rider vs fillis

I finally caved and bought the navy Lorenzinis when they were on super sale at Divoza, which I need to review.

Majyk Equipe XC boots

Still a huge fan.

PS of Sweden High Jump bridle

I sold this when Henry went through his “OMG there’s a flash, I can’t possibly breathe or put my head down or go forward” phase. Which isn’t really a phase so much as just what he does now, hence why I’ve ditched all my flashes. Still sad about selling this though, I kinda wish I’d held on to it anyway even though I would never use it.

PS of Sweden Flying Change bridle

Still have, still use, still really happy with. I use it for every day and for shows and its holding up well to the abuse.

Ogilvy Equestrian jumper half pad

Henry still likes his Ogilvy pads (we use one for dressage now as well) therefore so do I.

Bobbigee’s custom baby pads

I’m still using a couple of these in my regular rotation and they’re aging nicely. Especially compared to the Wilker’s that fell apart in it’s first wash.

The Battle of the Breastplate

I’m now on to yet another breastplate – I bought the PS of Sweden 3 point when Henry gained a lot of weight/muscle and outgrew his 5 point. Mostly I bought the 3 point because I wanted to try their other style, since I was having to size up anyway. Still need to review the new one.

PS of Sweden quarter sheet

Someone will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands, even if it’s a bit too small for Henry now.

If the Bonnet Fits – custom fly bonnets

Love mine! It remains the best value I’ve seen on the market.



Other Stuff

Best. Cheap. Stuff.

It’s still the best cheap stuff, no doubt.

The Herbal Horse fungus salve

THH fungus salve AND the THH Heal Quick salve both have a permanent place in my tack box.


Extreme Makeover: Bobby edition

Yep, you bet your ass I’m taking credit for this one.

When I first stumbled upon Bobby in November of 2014, he was pretty adorable. I mean, who doesn’t love Wintecs, rubber boots, big shiny plastic helmets, faded saddle pads, and a crop with a wrist strap? He was very Pony Club Chic.

In case Bobby tries to deny my claims, I submit to the court Exhibit A – a photo from the exact event in which I met Bobby
Exhibit B – from the same day. He says he wore the rubber boots and ugly helmet because it was raining. It wasn’t.

Sometimes he looked considerably less PC Chic and more grown up, but still missed the mark in an old women’s show coat, black tie, and gray skunk stripe helmet. Not to mention those skin tight tan cotton/spandex breeches that I fantasized about burning on a pretty regular basis. He’s so much more fabulous than that.

seriously that coat though

Since we’ve been at the same barn for over a year now, I’ve spent most of that time berating him and telling him how ugly his stuff is. Because I’m a true friend, and friends don’t let friends look janky. Who knew I’d someday be doing a Straight Eye for the Queer Guy type of thing?

at least he’s cute

But between my verbal and emotional abuse, backup verbal and emotional abuse from our trainer, and the fact that he acquired basically an entire new wardrobe because of his AEC win, I’m proud to announce that Bobby no longer looks janky. In fact, he looks fly AF. Now his outsides match his insides.

Behold his XC outfit:

Control yourselves, ladies

And his dressage/stadium ensemble:

He made sure to take a picture where everyone could see the perfect amount of cuff from his long sleeve shirt, since at one point I told him his bony wrists were disgusting and I never wanted to see them again

New additions to his wardrobe include:

  • Charles Owen custom helmet – black with red piping (he won that)
  • Charles Owen vest – BETA 3 approved
  • Tailored Sportsman white breeches for shows
  • Barn logo tech shirt for XC
  • C4 belt/neckstraps – not just one but TWO (he won one of them)
  • Fancy boots on Halo – a full set for XC and a full set for stadium (he won one set)
  • a men’s tech fabric show coat, not the women’s wool coat he’s been wearing since the 90’s (he won the gift card for that)
  • white tie instead of the old black one, because welcome to the 21st century (also from gift card)
  • a new LONG SLEEVE show shirt, no more bare wrists (also from gift card)
  • Balls (he stole those from me)

He’s even revved up to buy a custom whip and chunk that silly wrist strap crop. AND he’s got a Stanley trunk (christmas present) and a ringside backpack (he won that too), plus he let me dye Halo’s tail for AEC. The only thing he’s still clinging onto is the Wintec. I did succeed in making him fall in love with a real saddle, but I haven’t yet been able to convince him to actually buy it. Soon. Sooooon…

we all know its a slippery slope

I have to say, I think Bobby is my greatest masterpiece. He’s beautiful.

Perpetually Remedial

As I briefly mentioned in the Maiden Voyage post on Monday, Henry and I had another lesson this past weekend. My trainer is headed to Ocala for the next 6ish weeks (that bitch, I hope she gets a sunburn and some mosquito bites. I mean… uhh… good for her…) and I wanted to cram in one more torture session before she left, so I opted for a stadium lesson instead of an XC school. Of course, I brought my phone out to the ring with every intention of having her get some video but then I forgot to ask. Typical.

Here’s a picture from our last lesson. Learn to love it.

This was much like our last jumping lesson in December wherein she jacked up the fences and tried her hardest to help me figure out how my canter needs to get better as the jumps get bigger. In my defense, our arena at home is fairly small (soon to be expanded hopefully!) and it’s hard to practice the bigger more open canter that you need in the show ring, or string together a course of bigger fences, plus we don’t have a resident trainer, so pretty much the only time we really get to do this is at lessons and shows. Which don’t happen a lot, because it requires hauling out and driving a ways. I also seem fairly incompetent about being able to figure it out without assistance. You know what that makes me? Constantly, perpetually, and unfailingly remedial. I spend the first 75% of the lesson relearning my pace and getting that good canter back and then it’s like oooooh DING DING DING. Every. Single. Time.

I want every jump to feel like this

I’d be lying if I said it’s not frustrating. It’s REALLY freaking frustrating. Mostly because I feel like I should be doing better than this. I should be getting this faster and retaining it better. I’m in that really irksome phase where I know what I need to be doing but I just can’t seem to string it all together at the same time yet. If I had a dollar for every time Trainer said the words “wait” and “allow” my Coconino fund would be overflowing. Once I finally got Henry straight, with a nice forward canter, had that inside hind REALLY lifting and pushing, we cantered all the way down to the base of the 3’6″ oxer and Henry just rocketed off the ground like he had springs in his legs. He jumped the freaking snot out of that thing- it was probably the best effort I’ve ever felt from him. How many times was I able to duplicate that effort? A few. How many times did I actually string the whole course together without messing something up? Eh… once?

even Wofford is on to me

Part of it is my deeply ingrained love of the long spot. That just doesn’t work in eventing, or when the jumps get over 3′ in general, or with this horse especially. He loves long and flat. Unfortunately long and flat pulls rails. Getting him to not be long and flat is my job, and I’ve got to retrain myself to wait and go all the way to the base with power. When I see a half-stride distance my default is to either panic and gun it or pull like hell. Guess how well that turns out? Like shit. The base is my friend. I need to just sit up and close my leg, ride all the way up to it and get all up in it’s personal space. If anything, I need to be hunting for the chip like I’d hunt for real chips – with vigor and extreme enthusiasm.

But, ya know… I’m the only one that can fix my own problem. I’m tired of sucking at the same thing over and over, and I figure I can either whine about it or I can make a plan. So I’m going to haul out to my old jumper trainer’s place a couple hours away and fit in a few lessons while my eventing trainer is in Ocala. Old Jumper Trainer is magical and very well-versed in my neverending bullshit (he’s the one who once uttered the phrase “The only difference between a deep distance and a chip is what you do with your body”… see how long I’ve had this problem?). Maybe I’ll be slightly less shitty when Eventing Trainer gets back? Ha, optimism is cute.

The end of the road

I’ve talked about Jezebel on and off on my blog, but for those who don’t know she was a mare that I used to ride and event in the early 2000’s. After our time together she went on to have several lovely foals, but a few years ago she found herself looking for a new home. I was not in the position to take on a broodmare but my friend Michelle (Sadie’s lessee) was kind enough to step in and take her. She did it because she knew Jezebel meant a lot to me, and for that I’m forever grateful.

Sadie to my left, Jezzy to my right

She was underweight and her feet needed major attention, but over time Michelle got her looking great again. Jez raced a good bit before she evented, so she had a decent amount of wear and tear from her years on the track. I have always known her to be a very stoic mare, so when Michelle called me and said Jez was having a really hard time getting around this winter, becoming much worse instead of better despite extra care, I said we should absolutely let her go. If that horse was hobbling, she was REALLY hurting, and I can’t stand the thought of that. We’d been hoping to make her comfortable enough to get another foal from her – she loved her babies! – but sadly it just wasn’t to be. At this point it would have been cruel.

I will always remember Jez as having had the most heart of any horse I’ve ever sat on. She was a tiger and always gave 100%. She was very sensitive and required a very tactful ride, but once Jez trusted you she would turn herself inside out to please you. She didn’t have the patience for dressage, but she never met a cross country fence she couldn’t conquer. She was a big, stout, old-fashioned type of horse that truly embodied everything a Thoroughbred really should be – a type that is becoming exceedingly rare.

Yesterday Jezebel was laid to rest on the new cross country course that is being built at Michelle’s facility. Now she will forever be surrounded by and a part of the thing she loved most. Happy trails, Jezzy… thanks for the ride.


Maiden voyage

Yesterday I finally hitched my truck up to my trailer, loaded my horse in it, and drove us to a lesson. That sentence might not seem special to most, but for me it’s a years-long dream finally coming to fruition.

It’s hard to explain just how I felt when I pulled out of the driveway at the barn. Elated? Triumphant? Exultant? Euphoric? Terrified? Maybe a little bit of all those things. I haven’t had my own rig for over a decade, and not being able to go wherever you want whenever you want is a very hard thing when you’re me. I greatly value independence.

As with any new thing there was a bit of trepidation on my part, hoping that Henry would like his new trailer and that it would perform as expected on the drive. Henry put his feet on the ramp, looked around, walked in, and pooped. I’m gonna call that his stamp of approval. The hour and 45 minute ride there was uneventful, as was the ride back. If anything, the rig performed admirably. My truck had no problem with the hills or the wind (as it should be, considering I’m only at about half of it’s towing capacity), and Henry seemed calm and happy.

When I posted last September about desperately wanting a rig, I really had no idea how or when it would possibly happen. But there’s something magical about putting things out there in the universe, because here we are now, only 4 months later, and it’s a reality. Thanks to Beth for passing Betty the trailer down to me and to everyone else who helped make Rue the truck possible… it means more to me than you’ll ever know. It’s not just a truck and trailer- it’s endless possibilities and so many open doors of opportunity.

Freedom is oh so very sweet. Here’s to many more happy journeys with Betty and Rue.

Signature Spurs

Last month during all of the awesome pre-Christmas giveaways circulating around social media, I was lucky enough to win a pair of Signature Spurs on Horse Collaborative. At first I was kinda like “cool… I don’t really need more spurs but they look nice and they’re free!”, but now that I have them and realize just how nice they are, I’m pretty stoked.

fancy gift box

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Signature Spurs, they make and sell several personalized items including stirrups, halters and nameplates, spurs, and custom whips. When I won the spurs I was very happy to find that they have tons of options to choose from, since Princess Henry will only tolerate a very small roller ball spur. You can have anything you want engraved on them and choose from three fonts (I went with my full name in Script).

The spurs by themselves are $59.95, or you can get the full package option that includes spur straps and a gorgeous embroidered velvet pouch for storage. Considering that similar spurs from Stubben or Herm Sprenger are $45-80 and these are very similar quality, the price seems fair. They arrived in a nice gift box, inside their little velvet pouch. The presentation of these is very high class (hint: GREAT GIFT IDEA) and well done.

The spurs are high quality stainless steel and engraving is expertly executed. It’s subtle enough to pass muster with even the most conservative hunter or equitation rider, and overall just a really classy way to personalize your spurs or permanently mark them so they don’t magically grow legs and disappear.

I am also really glad that mine came with the spur straps, because although this might sound odd, they are the nicest spur straps I’ve ever come across. The leather is very high quality, soft, and supple. Take the option that comes with the straps and storage bag – it’s worth it.

Happy in their new home with all of my other show stuff

These beauties will live in their velvet pouch in my tack trunk and be reserved for horse shows or other special occasions where my “everyday” spurs with their rubber straps might not be so glamorous. I love the fact that if I ever accidently leave them behind somewhere, there’s no doubt who they belong to. Hopefully this means we’ll have a long and happy relationship.

Definitely two thumbs up for Signature Spurs! Now I want a custom whip, too…


Adulting is hard

Even at 32, with 14 years experience of being a supposed “adult”, there are still times when I’ve hit the limit for how much grown-up stuff I can handle at one time. These past couple weeks have taken me well beyond that limit.

It started when my car died. There’s always a trigger, isn’t there? One car dead means a) you have to buy a new car, b) you have to get rid of the old, now-dead car. But it’s not that easy, of course. Selling the old car means finding the title (which took me all of two minutes, go me with my awesome organizational skills for ONCE in my life) calling someone to come get it, negotiating a sale price, cancelling the toll tag, signing over the title, and removing said car from your insurance. That’s so many phone calls. I hate phone calls.

But the new truck is corgi approved. Or at least the center console.

Then of course the new car requires a lot of the same things in reverse except it starts with loan paperwork. OMG whyyyyyyy so much paperwork? Then insurance, toll tag, getting a new higher-rated hitch put on so it can haul my trailer, blah blah blah.  That right there is enough to explode anyone’s brain. So of course I had to take a childish moment to get a unicorn to hang from the new truck’s rear view mirror. Ah, Levity.

When brain explodes, just add unicorn

And then since the truck was officially purchased, it was time to get the trailer ready to go. I finally got it registered in my name, which was a hell of a process in itself. First I tried calling my county to ask what I needed, which involved a 35 minute hold time, a 10 minute conversation, an email, and a suggestion that I try to register it the county of the person I bought it from instead. No joke. Because my county is ridiculous and wanted me to do a thousand things which would have required an insane amount of time and money. Yeah no. So off I went, driving 1.5hrs to the seller’s county, since all they wanted from me was a bill of sale and plate number. Unfortunately I’m stupid and wrote down the wrong plate number, so I had to stand outside of the tax office and go through every single form of my social media trying to find a picture of the right plate. Instagram saved the day. Well, mostly… we had to guess a few times to get the first number.

Hey there, new project. #halfwaymobile #morewheels #fixerupper

A photo posted by @the900facebookpony on

Once the registration was done, the next thing was getting new tires put on the trailer. That required more phone calls, an appointment, and then a 30 minute wait in line regardless of the fact that I’d made an appointment. Then I got the USRider membership (yes, I caved). Then I had to buy the the actual hitch and ball (which took trial and error using barnmate’s hitches to figure out what I really needed), mats, silicone, WD-40, and all the other crap I needed to finish out the inside of the trailer. That part wasn’t so bad since no paperwork or communication with other humans was required. Communicating with humans is the worst.


Then came the last thing… having the trailer painted. Getting someone to call or email me back has proven to be a fun challenge. Or show up. Or be on time. Or just completely not leave me hanging in the wind. Or not quote me $1800 (that’s hilarious). This part is still a work in progress (we supposedly have an appointment tomorrow), but I’m kind of at the point where no shits are left to give. Spending 3 straight days working on Excel spreadsheets and charts at work hasn’t helped. Nor have my ridiculously awful attempts at trying to ride a decent 15 meter circle. I need a coloring book and some macaroni and cheese, STAT… adulting (and dressaging) is too hard.


Horse show glamping

Remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was coveting a tent for my new truck? Guess what SO surprised me with last weekend?


Of all the things I ever thought I’d get ridiculously excited over, a tent isn’t really one of them, but I love this thing. Mostly because I’m both cheap and poor, so any alternative to paying for a hotel room at horse shows is welcome.


I have a 6.5 foot truck bed, and the tent goes all the way to the end of the tailgate, making it about 8′ long total. Plenty of sleeping space. It’s about 5′ tall on the inside, so while I can’t stand all the way up, I can stand up well enough to get dressed. There are also cool storage compartments and a shelf inside of the tent for lights and stuff. It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out the best way to put it up, but it’s really pretty simple once I got it. It’ll be harder to do with one person of course, but do-able. It was SUPER easy to take down and fold back into it’s carrying bag.

Quinn approves

The SO also bought me the truck bed air mattress that blows up via a rechargeable battery pack that plugs into one end. It inflates/deflates on it’s own and is a regular queen size bed. Fancy. And mesmerizing to watch.


I’m not sure when I’ll actually get the chance to use it for the first time… my spring show season is going to be pretty sparse since I’m saving up for Coconino. BUT – Bobby did get to use his this past weekend. Yes, he bought one too. Because he’s a copy cat in every way, shape, and form. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery though right? Figures, he’s obsessed with me.

His truck is smaller and his bed is shorter but with the tailgate down it still gave him enough sleeping room. He said it was awesome! We’re totally glamping now. I can’t wait to make a little tent city at shows.

Next step: This.


I need to un-complain for a minute

I feel like I spent most of last year complaining about the weather. In my defense, it wasn’t just my imagination- it was our wettest year ever on record. Although the wet weather pattern was predicted to continue through winter, so far this January has been nothing short of awesome. Thank you Texas, because I was about to lose my damn mind.

5 day forecast

That’s not to say that we’re dry… we’ve been so saturated with rain that I’m pretty sure we will never be truly dry ever again, but at least we’ve been able to ride for more than a couple days at a time. It’s glorious.

You can even ride in shorts, if you’re Bobby.

Last week I stole my neighbor’s Christmas tree so that I could take it to the barn and use it as jump filler. Henry was not impressed in the least (are you jealous of his ability to take off and land at the same time? mad skills.) but I’m totally down with the fact that I’m jumping a Christmas tree in January in a tank top.

Someone remind me of this next month when it starts raining again.

DIY weekend

You know when you’re like “I finally have a semi-free weekend, I’m gonna do all the things!” and next thing you know you’ve massively overcommitted?  Oops.

Originally my trailer was supposed to go to the painter on Saturday but the guy flaked out, thus I found myself at the barn early on Saturday morning with nothing to do. So I started WD-40ing every nook and cranny of the trailer, then organized her, cut off some screw ends leftover from the roof repair, siliconed lots of stuff, took a wire brush and got all the flaking paint and general funk off the inside, then pulled up the mats and swept it all out. I originally wasn’t going to repaint the inside but now I’m thinking I will after all, since she looks a lot better after a thorough de-flaking.

Just missing mats and pads now!

I started trying to figure out how I was going to hang the new wall mats and pads that I bought, but luckily the barn owner took pity on me at that point and said he’d do it. He’s the best. Or he just doesn’t want me to break things. Probably both.

After the trailer TLC I took my CWD home so I could dye it. Doing a brown saddle was definitely a slightly different experience than the black dressage saddle, but I’m pretty thrilled with how it came out.


bonus corgi
more bonus corgi

If anyone wants another step-by-step tutorial I can do a version 2.0 for a brown saddle but I kinda felt like I’ve exhausted this subject a bit already. If there’s enough interest I could be persuaded, so if you want more detailed info let me know.

On the way home from the barn on Saturday I stopped at Hobby Lobby to see if I could get ideas on what to use to bling my own spur straps. I LOVE the straps that came with my Signature Spurs so I don’t want to buy other ones, and I thought I could try my hand at DIYing these to make them fancier instead of paying $30 for someone else to do it. Luckily I stumbled upon exactly the right thing on a clearance rack, and for $3 I transformed plain into fancy. Plus they’re fully removeable if I ever want to just take them off.

dirty boots but you get the idea

On Sunday I was up early to drive out and watch Bobby in his first Training CT (he kicked ass, naturally) and then volunteer, but when I got home I finished the saddle. She’s so much prettier!

I wish I’d done this years ago, but I think I’m a little DIY’d out for a while.