As part of my show season preparation, I finally sat down and made stall cards for Henry and Halo. Last year I usually just jotted my number/hotel on a piece of tape, and every single time I did that I thought to myself “This is ghetto, I should make real stall cards”. But I didn’t, because I never remember anything.
Stall cards in general are one of my favorite things. Most of the barns I’ve been at over the years have put some kind of information on the horse’s stall. Sometimes just name and how much they ate, other times everything from basic info to blanketing information. As someone who has worked in a barn (and still barnsits sometimes) I love having it all right there on the front of each stall. It takes all the uncertainty out of everything, and makes it so that just about anyone can step in, if necessary, and care for the horses.
Bobby and I hemmed and hawed for a while about exactly what info to put on them before deciding on All Of It. That way if one or both of us is injured at a show or otherwise incapacitated in some way, all the care instructions will be right there. So I threw together some stall cards for the boys that we can take on the road with us and now they’re off to get laminated so we can re-use them over and over. And they have unicorns on them, natch. And they’re color coordinated. Might as well, right?
Do y’all put cards on your horses stalls at shows? What info do you include?
I try my best to stay away from all the cool, fun technology. I’m the curmudgeon with an old iPhone that has more things that don’t work than things that do work. I still have a hotmail account. I have no interest in figuring out how to work Skype. But when I heard about Honey, the Google Chrome plug-in that can save you money, my little penny-pincher heart went pitter-patter.
I installed Honey a while ago and have seen it pop up here and there when I’ve ordered things online. Basically when you’re on the shopping cart page, if Honey has any coupon codes entered for that website, it will pop up and ask you if you want to try them. You say yes and it will run through them all automatically. Sometimes one works, sometimes none do, but it requires literally zero effort from you. I like zero effort.
This year I decided to start tracking how much money I saved because of Honey, jotting down the amount every time a code works. So far this year I’m up to $20 with just a few small purchases, the latest addition being a $5 savings at Drs Foster and Smith for my dog’s joint medication. It’s not often that it works on horse related sites, usually it’s the more popular websites like clothing or shoes, but Drs Foster and Smith does have some horse stuff too. You can also go on Honey and enter a coupon code yourself, if you know of one that isn’t already in the system.
Imagine if we all had Honey and entered coupon codes as we came across them. Savings for everyone!
Side note – Honey does use Google Analytics tracking to record usage, so if you’re super paranoid about being watched, you have to on and opt out of that feature.
Terise over at Breeches and Boat Shoes posted this last week, and I thought it was a great idea so I stole it. Yay, thievery. But really, it’s a good one so it should be a blog hop.
I have two different trunks (barn trunk and trailer trunk) plus a mess of stuff in the tack room, so brace yourselves. I didn’t even bother trying to document the piles of random crap currently residing in my garage or guest room. I pretend those aren’t there, especially when SO inquires about them.
First- Stanley. I love Stanley.
The bottom layer has a cooler, a tub of Effol hoof conditioner that I’ve had for approximately 9,000 years, hoof pack, vet wrap, a spare Himalayan salt block, my skull cap, extra fly spray, and extra bell boots.
The next layer is the Back on Track stuff (mesh sheet and quick wraps), the current almost empty can of fly spray, my jumping boots, my black set of Majyk Equipe XC boots, and my navy DSBs.
Then on top is my grooming bucket, my Samshield, and my tray of random crap (including but not limited to: fly bonnet, XC watch, various wound sprays and ointments, tape, a leather punch, a belt, two pairs of gloves, a weight tape, Voltaren, and sticky spray).
Next, the little baby trailer trunk:
It’s small and super lightweight, so it’s easy to lift in and out of the trailer. This one mostly has stuff that I only use at shows. It serves the dual purpose of storing things that don’t really need taking up space in my other trunk, and having some stuff already “pre-packed” when I go places. Laziness is key.
The bottom layer is poultice, some Omeprazole, a lunge line, my saddle and bridle racks, poultice papers, Henry’s sleazy hood, my XC whip, and a spare halter.
The next layer is Stud Muffins (horse show necessity), white set of Majyk Equipe XC boots, braiding kit, a bag of random little stuff (currently it has a couple of snaps, a sharpie, extra bridle tag numbers, safety pins, chapstick, a couple band-aids, and a copy of Henry’s coggins & vax record), my pinney, and my Signature Spurs.
On top of that goes my Deco Pony stall guard and my Noble Outfitters bridle bag, at which point the tiny trunk is at max capacity.
Then, in the tack room inside the barn:
Three bridles, two saddles (with girth, corresponding Ogilvy pad, and current-rotation schooling pad on top), all of my extra saddle pads, some extra bits, my bathing stuff, my GPA (because I dunno, I just can’t throw it away yet), and two little Rubbermaid drawers. One drawer has all of Henry’s bonnets in it (there might be 8 of them) and the other has more spare bits, syringes, and tack cleaning stuff.
This past weekend Charlotte’s Saddlery had a sale. Normally I’m pretty good about staying away from sales like this, because why tempt myself, but that $20 gift certificate that I won at the indoor eventing thing just happened to be for Charlotte’s. So naturally when I got the sale flyer I was like “perfect, I can go grab a few things that I need and see what else I can’t live without!”. I should also mention that the show we were supposed to go to this past weekend got rained out, so I might have been in need of a little… therapy.
I actually had a plan beforehand. I was only going to buy things that I genuinely needed, and then if they had any white breeches that looked promising I’d try them on, or if they had a navy Kastel in my size I would buy it. See how good I’m being?
Luckily for my wallet their white breeches selection was thin. I didn’t like the fabric of the Romfh’s, I already know from experience that I don’t like Pikeur’s enough to justify the price (even at 20% off), and TS are just a no for several reasons. So, I was safe there. I would have tried on the cheap Ariat breeches in Mulberry if they’d had my size, but I was safe there too. None of the show shirts on the sale rack grabbed me. No Ogilvy square pads, so I breezed right through that section too. They did have Kastel’s on sale, but no navy. Womp womp. I picked up a fancy navy with white piping grooming tote, tried to explain to myself why I needed a $30 tote instead of the $5 bucket I currently use, failed, and put it back. I paused at the saddles long enough to take this picture for Bobby (because BAM saddle in his colors) but before I knew it I had passed all the way through the “fun” side of the store. Womp womp again.
I grabbed fly spray, dewormer, and a salt block, my only actual “need” items at the moment. Now I was starting to feel a little panicked. Originally I wanted to be good and not spend much money, but now I didn’t want to be the person that came into a sale, found $20 worth of stuff, and paid for it with a $20 gift certificate. Don’t be That Guy.
So I grabbed a roll of poultice papers (not totally necessary but I know I’ll use them) and found a leather Nunn Finer neck strap hanging on a peg. I’ve been thinking about upgrading to a thinner leather one, so why not?
Now my haul was at least a little better (I had 2 non-sale items, at least) but I still felt bad. I even wandered back over to the Ogilvy section and stared at the plain black dressage half pad, trying to figure out how the hell I could justify a 3rd one. Sadly, I couldn’t.
And that’s how I walked into a giant store-wide sale and only spent $36. I know, that’s not what sales are about. Trust me, the lack of extravagance and frivolity disappoints me just as much as it disappoints you.
A few weeks ago I bought a new purse. This is a rare occasion for me. I really don’t give a crap about handbags and tend to carry the same one until it dies. In fact, I only bought a new one because the handles on the old one were about to crack in half. And of course, you know what happens when you buy a new purse… you have to clean out the old one.
When I unceremoniously dumped the contents of my old purse into a heap on the kitchen table for cleanout/transfer, I couldn’t help but think “This is a really weird collection of crap”. Most of the weird items were horse-related things that I’d have a hard time explaining to a normal person. Surely I’m not the only one? What weird horse stuff do you have lurking in your purse?
a Carat Cake that I bought in December and carried with me for 2 months just so I could give it to Henry on his birthday
a flathead screwdriver (you know how many things you can use that for? emergency hoof pick, emergency hitch pin, emergency weapon if someone tries to mess with my horse… or actual screw driving, I suppose.)
a twine cutter
dryer sheets (this counts as a horse item because I don’t go anywhere during “static season” without them… don’t want to shock the pony!)
I have to admit, I wasn’t really digging the “your horse as a character” thing that’s been going around blogland. Until yesterday that is, when I suddenly realized that Henry is 100% April Ludgate from Parks and Rec. Now I get it.
In all fairness, I’ve been told that I’m April Ludgate too. Several times. When I first heard that, I had never seen Parks & Rec so I went and watched a little youtube compilation and was like oh… yep, nailed it. Sarcastic, blunt, weird, pretty much the polar opposite of warm and fuzzy. Then I started watching episodes here and there because obviously I love April. People also tell me pretty often that Henry and I have the same temperament. I can see how our relationship works out so well. But – let’s look at the Henry/April comparison.
First, there’s the top-notch resting bitch face (or mareglare, if you will):
Henry every day when I put him back in his stall after a ride:
It’s been a long time (a year, to be precise) since I had Henry adjusted, so when another boarder was having the chiro out for her horses, I eagerly added Henry to the list. Last year the chiro really didn’t find much out of whack with Henry… his poll and neck were a little out, and a couple of ribs.
Henry has been a little reluctant to really give me his rib cage to the left, so I thought maybe he was out again in that area. Dr. Jack arrived, I pulled Henry out, and he looked at Dr. Jack like “Oh Jesus, not this guy again?”. Always a sweet, welcoming face from Henry *insert heavy sarcasm*.
After a general once-over, Dr. Jack started with his neck, with a couple of fairly impressive sounding pops. When he did the left side, which took a couple tries, Henry immediately started licking and chewing. Well, for like 5 seconds until Dr. Jack moved somewhere else and Henry went back to super suspicious.
He was a little bit out in the ribs again, and his poll, but the two biggest areas were his withers and his lower lumbar. The lower lumbar in particular took quite a bit of work on Dr. Jack’s part to get adjusted. Coincidence that 75% of our dressage lessons are spent trying to get Henry to release and supple his lower lumbar? Probably not. We spend a hell of a lot of time doing attempting haunches-in exercises. I’m interested to see if he feels any different now that it’s been adjusted.
Side note: dressage trainer called Henry “emotional” in our lesson last week and I still can’t quite get over how perfect that word is for him. Emotional. Hahahahaha.
Yep… it’s breeding season. I’m even more excited than usual because I actually have some personal investment in this particular season, with Sadie being bred to Mighty Magic for my future eventer. But besides Sadie, my friend Michelle at Willow Tree Farm has a few other really awesome pairings happening this year too. I’m playing the role of auntie, which I assigned to myself. Mostly because I just really really like baby horses. Sue me.
First – mine. I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll never ask it to jump the kinds of things that Mighty Magic has jumped, but if it has that kind of talent I wouldn’t mind. It’ll definitely be bay or brown since MM is homozygous, which makes me happy since dirt colored is my favorite. A little bit of face white would be nice too. I won’t even sit here and say whether or not I want a colt or a filly… whichever. I’ll be thrilled with anything as long as it’s healthy.
The Emerald x Lissa baby is probably the most exciting on paper. Lissa herself did the Grand Prix all the way through 1.50m, and of course Emerald is one of the best showjumpers in the world right now. Someone is going to get a ridiculously nice baby from these two; I’d be shocked if this one doesn’t sell in utero. Pretty good chance for bay with some chrome, too.
The Balou x Laken is pretty interesting too, being that Laken’s pedigree is so stacked with big name jumpers (Heartbreaker, Cassini, and Pikadero to name a few). Balou needs no introduction by now. Another bay with chrome maybe? Or chestnut. Or gray. Lots of possibilities with this one but 100% chance of cute and scope.
And last but not least: something more pint-sized. Penelope is hopefully getting a bit of a size upgrade with a dose of Carracci. Little mare can jump, so I would expect that someone will get a really nice little sportscar of a mount from this cross. And also probably dark coated with chrome.
Maybe Michelle will end up with a pasture full of chromey bay babies in 2017? The one with the least amount of chrome being mine, of course. A girl can dream. Which one do you want? All of them except Sadie’s will be for sale I believe.
Quinn doesn’t get to come to the barn with me a lot, mostly because a) he has no horse sense b) he’s deaf, so I get nervous with him out in wide open spaces. But on Saturday he gave me those big sad eyes as I was getting ready to leave, so I let him come. And thank goodness I did, because what a helper he is.
First he helped me put the new reflectors/decals on the trailer (you can tell since they’re crooked).
He made sure that the couple of stray rocks in the barn aisle were not, in fact, edible.
He looked at me like this when I gave Henry cookies.
And then Henry looked at me like this when I gave Quinn one of his cookies.
They told each other funny stories at my expense:
He guarded the gate…
while looking really adorable. Because that’s what corgis do.
When it was time to go home he gave me those sad, hopeful eyes again
and then sat on the couch like this for the rest of the afternoon.
One of the other fun finds from AETA that I haven’t mentioned yet was a glove brand called I-Quip. They didn’t actually have a booth there, but when I was introduced to 3* event rider Taryn Nolte (who is, coincidentally, sponsored by Winston Equestrian USA) she had some of these gloves with her. Turns out her company, Tarypen Equestrian, is currently the only US rep for I-Quip, a company based in the UK.
Some of the first words out of her mouth were “full custom”. Every eventer out there should know what I mean when I say that I immediately perked up upon hearing those words. Taryn pulled several different models of I-Quip gloves out of her bag, each one just as lovely and buttery soft as the last. No doubt they were beautiful, but what’s the longevity like? Then she pulled out her own pair that have been used for multiple horses a day for a couple years and they looked barely broken in. I did a little digging and it turns out there are tons of people out there with 5+ year old gloves! Beautiful, custom, and high quality? I needed to know more.
She went on to talk about how great the feel is with these, which I can attest to myself. The gloves truly felt like a second skin. They were lightweight but still looked tough, and the workmanship was impeccable. Some things just ooze quality and these gloves are one of those things. Another great feature for eventers or those of us in warm climates: the gloves are super grippy when wet. And since they’re made from natural hide, not synthetic, they’re still breathable when it’s hot.
For all of you out there who don’t really care about a custom option or prefer plain black, don’t worry, they also have a standard lower-budget “off the rack” black glove called the Signature that is newly available this year as well (rumor has it that Luxe EQ will be carrying these, so keep an eye out!). It has a little touch of I-Quip’s trademark green on the cuff, but all the visible parts are plain black. For those of you who DO like custom, hold on to your hats because things are about to get fun.
For the US market, Tarypen and I-Quip are focusing on a few of their core models; mainly the Luxury Eventer, the Show Jumper, the Working Eventer, and the Center Line. My personal favorite (and the ones I ordered for myself – spoiler alert) are the Luxury Eventer, so we’ll start there.
The Luxury Eventer is a full leather model with reinforced index and little fingers and a top wrist strap closure. You can customize absolutely everything about these gloves. Stitching color, piping color, finger reinforcement color, front color, palm color, bling… you name it, they can do it.
Just look at all the colors for the palm and back. I’m sure none of you will guess what I ordered. 😉
The Show Jumper model is very similar to the Luxury Eventer, coming a bit higher on the wrist and featuring a slightly different cut, but also full customizable.
For those that prefer a cloth back, or something a little more all-around, there is the Working Eventer model. It still has the same hide on the palm as the other models, but has a knit back and a strap closure on the underside of the wrist.
The Working Eventer still has tons of customization options as well, but at a lower price tag than the full hide models.
The Center Line dressage glove is another full hide model but true to their dressage intentions they’re usually white, although you can also get them in ivory, light pink or other light colors with either a matching or contrasting palm. They have a bit more of a traditional, subdued style while still looking super classy.
Aside from just having a ton of color customization options, I-Quip can also make a fully custom size from your hand tracing, for those who have difficulties fitting into standard sizing. All of the gloves are hand-cut and each piece of leather is hand-picked to assure the highest quality. These are not your standard, mass produced, “disposable” gloves made in a random factory in who-knows-where, made out of who-knows-what, with your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine quality control, and an often questionable work force. These are works of art that experts are picking, cutting, and making in the UK specifically for you.
If you, like myself, are tired of gloves that are uncomfortable, hot, slippery, or ill-fitting, or if you’re just frustrated at having to buy a new pair every year (or if you just like having Really Nice Things) I would definitely recommend taking a look at I-Quip. I’ve never seen anything like them before. Obviously I was impressed with them since I already ordered some for myself!
Want to get your hands on some of these bad boys without waiting for them to be made and shipped from England? Check out the shop on Tarypen’s facebook page to see what she has in stock! Interested in ordering your own pair? Drop them a facebook message or give them a call at (215) 779-0272.