The Electric Death Stick

A couple years ago when Henry was re-learning how to be ridden in a bit, I tried carrying a whip. That was well before we started eventing, so it was just a short little jumping bat, but after almost a month of carrying it every ride he still wouldn’t relax about it, so I gave up. Later on I started carrying one on XC but really he’s so pumped to be running XC that you could carry a grenade launcher and he wouldn’t notice.

WHEEEEE!!!! Whip? What whip?

Last year when we really started delving into dressage, I tried carrying a dressage whip a few times to help me a bit with those trailing haunches in the lateral work, but he was unfocused and way over-reactive (borderline belligerent, really) whenever I carried it, so I opted not to push the issue.

But over the last 6 months he’s really started to calm down and settle into the dressage work a lot more. As soon as it started getting hot and humid I found myself working WAY too hard to get him forward and engaged, so instead of surgically embedding my spurs into his ribs I thought I’d try the dressage whip again. Or as Henry calls it, the Electric Death Stick.

Dass scurry, I’mma hide behind dis lead rope

The first ride with it was borderline. He was rideable, but he was still tense and worried about what I might do with that thing. Because I beat him so much, apparently? Henny logic. I ended up dropping the whip after we cantered that day, since by that point he was plenty forward and I didn’t want it to turn into a meltdown. Then I carried it again the next dressage ride, which was on a very very humid and hot day. I ended up having to tap him with the whip FOUR times that ride, to really get him forward off my leg. The first time he was a little shocked, but I immediately let him go into stretchy circle (aka Henny Brain Recovery Zone) and he settled. He respected the whip after that, but didn’t get upset if I used it.

Why you hate me?

Then yesterday, another dressage ride, another few taps with the whip. Now instead of getting the very offended “OMG DEATH STICK” response, I get a “Yes ma’am” response. It took two years, but finally, finally I can carry a dressage whip, use it when I need to, and Henry won’t have a come-apart. Weird milestone, but a milestone none the less.

Memorial Day sales

Surely you’ve come to expect these posts from me by now.

Riding Warehouse – 15% storewide

Teddy’s Tack Trunk – 10% off bath supplies with coupon code BATH

Uckele Equine – 10% off with coupon code MEMORIAL16

The Herbal Horse – 16% off all orders with coupon code MEM16

PS of Sweden – 20% off S/S 2016 collection

Bit of Britain – 15% off with coupon code MEMSALE6

C4 Belts – 25% off with coupon code #FINALLYSUMMER – 25% off, or 30% off orders over $129

Jeffers – 10% off with MD1

One Horse Designs – 20% off everything with coupon code weekend

Spur of the Moment – 20% off with coupon code MMD20

Phyllis Stein – 20% off with coupon code TWENTY

Beval – 30-75% storewide

Emily’s Equine Creations – 15% off grooming collection with SUMMER 15, 25% off rider collection with SUMMER25

Personally Preppy – 20% off with coupon code MemorialDay

O’Shaughnessey – 25% off with coupon code MEMDAY16

Horze – additional 20% off sale items with coupon code MD2016

SmartPak – 15% with MEM16



Mini Reviews: Back on Track, Ice Horse, Camelot

Yep, more mini-reviews. It’s the only way to fit everything in without doing a review every day for a month. Just go with it.

Back on Track

I was a hold out on the Back on Track voodoo for a long time. It’s pricey, and I wasn’t blown away by the science enough to shell out that kind of dough. Then last fall we found some arthritis and remodeling in Henry’s hind ankles, so I figured “what the heck” and asked the SO for a pair of the Quick Wraps for Christmas.

Trying it out

I used those a few times and thought I noticed some difference (windpuffs were smaller, and he seemed a little more limber from the beginning of the ride) so when the Mesh Sheet showed up on TackDealz one day for $145, I couldn’t pass it up.


I started putting the sheet on before lessons, or in the trailer on the way to shows. Can’t be 100% certain that it did anything, but again he seemed more limber through his back and his hind end when he had worn it vs when he hadn’t.

Then I found myself needing a new dressage pad, and when Riding Warehouse had their Back on Track sale (I’m sensing a theme here) I decided to bite the bullet. I’ve only used the pad a few times, but Henry was good each time. Coincidence, yeah maybe. Tough to say.

Sadly, it doesn’t make me ride better

All three products are really nicely constructed with good materials. I won’t let Henry wear the sheet unsupervised, just because I really don’t want him to destroy it, but it fits him well. I’m still not unequivocally sold on the idea of Back on Track being magical, but I’ve seen enough to believe that it can definitely help. If you get a good deal or come across a sale, or if you have an arthritic horse or one with a tight back, their stuff is definitely worth trying.

Ice Horse tendon wraps

I honestly had a hard time coming up with a lot to say about these. I feel very “meh”. Don’t love them, don’t hate them.

fronts are Ice Horse, rears are Finn Tack (haven’t used those enough to review them yet)

I only paid $35 for the pair, secondhand. I don’t love the design in general, I think the little strap meant to hold the ice packs in place is a pretty goofy. Also the gel in the ice packs tends to settle toward the bottom of the leg as it warms up, so there isn’t even coverage of the tendon.

No gel pack ice boot will ever be as good as ones that use real ice. Those are quite impractical for me though, so being able to toss these in the freezer or ice chest then pull them out and put them directly on the horse definitely has it’s advantages. They’re convenient.

Either SO has not noticed this yet, or he noticed and chose not to protest. Either way, yes we have an ice boots shelf in our freezer.

I use them after hard gallops or XC schools and they seem sufficient enough for that. If my horse was doing harder gallops or higher level fences, I would want the cooling power of real ice. Overall, for what I paid I’m satisfied with them. If I’d paid the $100 retail price I probably wouldn’t be super thrilled.


Camelot contact anatomic girth

It’s much easier to come up with my feelings about this thing: it’s legit heinous.

normal girth on the left, Camelot on the right

The leather finish is pretty bad, it looks like it was dipped in colored plastic. The “leather” over the padding on the inside has the same yucky plastic look, except it looks thin and wrinkled and sad. Edges are cut unevenly and the stitching is crooked in spots. The color, which they call Oakbark, is kind of a sickly grayish brown and there’s no way that will change short of a deglaze and a re-dye. Honestly, I’m not even sure that would work.

I’m going to assume the person that cut this piece of leather did so with their teeth

To it’s credit, the elastic is thick and sturdy, the anatomic shape is good, it has 3 dee rings that are nylon reinforced, and it has roller buckles. Technically it has all the things a girth should have. So… yay?

yay elastic?

Functionally it’s fine, if you can get past how it looks and feels and how questionable the workmanship is. I used it once and just couldn’t do it. It’s cheap, in every sense of the word. But good news – I have a 54″ I’ll sell you for $40.

Prepping for Arizona

Traveling for horse shows is not a new thing for me.  Growing up doing h/j shows, and now eventing, in a place where the closest shows are 2-4 hours… traveling becomes normal. Week-long h/j shows, those are pretty simple. Lots of supplies but not much tack and equipment. Weekend-long events, also pretty simple. Lots of tack and equipment, not a lot of supplies. But two weeks of eventing and 4 solid days of travel for Coconino? Sweet Jesus, the amount of crap we need is overwhelming. Add the complication that we have to fit it all into a 2 horse Brenderup and my regular size truck… I’m still not really sure how that’s going to work.

Like this. It’s going to work like this.

I’ve been keeping (and regularly adding to) a list of all the things we need to take with us. Priority one is hay, because in Arizona you can’t get the type of hay our horses eat, and I’m not changing their hay on a long trip like that. So, we shall load up the truck bed and stack that shit sky high.

seems reasonable

Aside from just figuring out what to pack and how, we have a lot of other stuff to get ready too. The truck and trailer need to get serviced and checked out before their 2,000+ mile round trip journey. We need health certificates to cross state lines and booster vax for our USEF paperwork. Our layover and pit stop destinations had to be checked out and planned (done!). The horses need to start on electrolytes and an immune booster, because Bobby and I are both paranoid and it’ll be hot. I already located a feed store in Flagstaff where we can buy Triple Crown in case we don’t have room to take enough with us, plus a laundromat to wash clothes in between weeks, a place where we can shower if our Plan A doesn’t pan out, and the closest grocery store and Walmart to the show grounds. I’ve stalked the hell out of Flagstaff via Google Maps.


Aside from all that logistical crap, we also have new tests to learn (Training B for Bobby, the N3D test for me. By the way we both hate our new tests. There will be much whining on the way to Arizona.) and extra stuff to acquire. I was down to just one pair of white breeches so I got two more (the really nice Winstons for when I want to look legit and a cheap, fun pair for when I need my butt to be inspirational)

Only Europeans would put quotes on the butt of their breeches. 

plus I had to get jog outfits. I’ve figured out that jog outfits, which I was originally excited about, sound much more fun in theory than they are in execution. I still haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to wear but I have several options, so that’s what matters. I’ll figure out the rest later. I also got my awesome new custom belt from Boy-O-Boy Bridleworks in my colors that I’m more than a little obsessed with.


And – my Winston coat that I ordered a couple months ago has arrived from Belgium! I can’t wait to have it in my hands.

I didn’t really like using Henry’s navy and yellow bonnet for dressage (nothing says LOOK AT ME BEING UNSTEADY IN THE CONTACT like a bright yellow line across a horse’s forehead) but Henry is too fussy about his precious ears to go bonnetless at a summer show, so I got a monotone one – navy with navy beads – from If The Bonnet Fits. A little bit of sparkle but mostly very subdued, for a more elegant dressage look.

I also got an awesome box of stuff from Riding Warehouse with poultice, hoof pack, some Licky Things, a jacket, and some ice boots, PLUS a box of stuff from Teddy’s Tack Trunk with liniment, more of my favorite fungus spray, a couple more brushes, etc. I needed all of these things for our trip, so now I think we’re fully stocked on pretty much everything but fly spray.

The last thing I really wanted before we embarked on our journey was a custom helmet cover for my skull cap but I’m out of budget money for non-essentials now, so that won’t be happening. Gotta just suffer through with the plain navy one that doesn’t have a stitch of yellow on it. Sad story, I know.

I still have a few more odds and ends to pick up for Henry (Red Cell paste, Flair strips, etc), but otherwise I think we’re all set. Now if anyone needs me I’ll be playing a really fun game of How The Hell Do We Fit All This Crap In Our Tiny Amount of Space. Because I really don’t know. Anyone want to volunteer to rent and drive a U-Haul?



Being a good horse show spectator

I think most of us have probably had THAT boyfriend or family member. You know, the one who insists they want to come see you horse show, but spends the whole time complaining. They’re hot, they’re cold, they’re bored, you aren’t paying enough attention to them, it smells, it’s dusty, they’re hungry, when are you going to be finished? After one or two shows of babysitting THAT person, you never want anyone you love to come watch you compete ever again.

I’ve had one of those. I’m not sure that I’ve ever wanted to murder someone more than I did that particular week, and the scars are forever on my psyche. Now when someone says they want to come watch me show, my immediate reaction is something like this:

It doesn’t matter how much you love someone or how great of a person you think they are, you just never know what they’re going to be like at a horse show. Let’s be clear – I show for myself. It’s fun for me, I have my own little social scene, and I don’t have to worry about anyone else or what they want/need. It’s a nice, albeit expensive, reprieve from the responsibilities of my “real life”. So if you march up in there and need to be babysat or ruin my otherwise good time with your whining and neediness, I just can’t do it. I’d rather you support me from afar with a few facebook likes and a really nice present on my birthday (hey, a girl can dream).

When my dad, uncle, and grandma said they wanted to come to Holly Hill, my first thought was “Oh god”. Nothing against them at all, that’s just my knee jerk reaction to anyone wanting to come to a show. My uncle is a character, he’s entertaining but you never quite know what he’s going to do. I was worried about the mud and substantial amount of walking for my grandma. My dad… he’s the most patient, sensible person I’ve ever known, so I had hope for him. Still, there was trepidation. That’s a lot of people.

My dad on the course walk

Turns out, though.. they were model citizens. By far the best “horse show spectators” I’ve ever had show up to watch me compete. They would arrive right around the time I was getting on (standing far enough back to not be in the way, but close enough to hand me things I needed), bringing food and drinks with them. That’s really nice, because I don’t ever remember to eat or drink appropriately at shows. Then they found their way down to wherever I was riding, stayed well out of anyone’s way, stayed quiet, and met me back at the stalls when we were done.

They even took pictures

They didn’t need to chat a lot, and they didn’t complain. Even when they accompanied me on the course walk they didn’t whine about the rapid pace, the crazy humidity, or the constant rambling to myself. And then, after I was done riding, they left! They didn’t want me to entertain them, they didn’t complain about the fact that I couldn’t come spend time doing other stuff with them. They just smiled, said good job, and went on their way. That right there is how it’s done. Best horse show spectators EVER.

My uncle listening to me strategize. He never said a word, just gave me the “you crazy” look with one raised eyebrow. I’m ok with that.

I see a lot of bloggers who have boyfriends or parents tagging along with them to horse shows though… how does that work for y’all? Are they all just really well-behaved or are you somehow able to keep zen long enough to not kill them?


Today’s the Day

Opening date for Coconino! Well technically the 3Day opened last Tuesday, but I was waiting for week 1 to open so I could send both entries together. Now we begin the really fun period between Opening Date and the show itself where every lump, bump, cut, scratch, and bite are legitimate reasons to panic. Still waiting for someone to invent a bubble wrap horse suit.

All kidding (and neuroses) aside, I’m pretty excited. Granted, it’s been raining a ton, our riding and turnout schedules have been all over the map, and there are more monsoons on the way, BUT we’ll be ready. We’ve been planning this for months and it feels like we’re finally in the home stretch. Most of the planning so far has been fun but now that we’re only 6 weeks out from departure, the more there is to do, so it’s starting to feel like crunch time. Making a 16 hour drive each way to spend two weeks eventing is no small task and there seems to be no end to the list of things we need to buy or do or remember to pack. That’s a whole ‘nother post in and of itself though. Maybe tomorrow.

feeling a little bit like this when I look at my To Do list

But today – today is kinda fun. I’ve wanted to do a 3Day for basically ever, so this will be a cool thing to check off my bucket list. And filling out the entry for Henry’s first Training was a little bit of a milestone moment. I’m 5% sad that I won’t be the one in the irons, just for sentimental reasons, but I’m 100% sure that having a pro up there is going to be the best thing for him. He’s ready, and I’m feeling really confident that he’ll do great and learn a lot. Plus it’ll be fun to just play Owner for once – all of the fun, none of the pressure!

So there go all those pieces of paper (seriously, so many) and all the checks and all my money. Yay, I’m poor again. But if the secret to happiness is spending money on experiences, not things, July should be a pretty damn happy month.

Soon, Flagstaff. Soon.


Yep, I did it. I cheated on Henry.

I used to ride lots of different horses all the time, but since I’ve had him I’ve probably only sat on 3-4 other horses. Our barn is small, everyone rides their own horse, so there’s not a lot of opportunity to throw a leg over something else. But this past weekend Bobby was going out of town and he asked if I’d hack Halo around while he was gone. Ride your big fancy national champion event horse? I mean, I guess.

So fancy. Much champion.

Saturday was the first day the horses have been able to go out in forever, since it won’t stop raining and the mud is ridiculous. When I got to the barn the first order of business was figuring out who was muddiest. Henry won that particular contest by a landslide, so I brought him in first to hose him off (there is no currying that mud off) then tossed him in his stall to dry while I rode Halo. This is the accusatory stare I got from Henry the entire time I was messing with Halo:


Bonus of riding Halo, I also got to try Bobby’s super fancy custom saddle. It definitely felt different from my CWD, but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s a nice saddle with good balance.

Halo was not exactly super pumped about w/t/c in the ring, but he was polite and indulged me without complaint. He feels like riding a Cadillac, whereas Henry is more like a Ferrari. Halo is a big long horse with a big long stride (pretty sure his canter step is approximately 25′ long) and good suspension in his trot. He requires and prefers a lot of support with leg and hand to keep him together. He’s very obedient, but he’s more of a “pounds and inches” kind of horse whereas Henry is an “ounces and millimeters” kind of horse. Henry is very sensitive, much more compact, and most of our warmup is spent trying to get him to come into my hand at all. Very very different horses for sure.

Are we done here?

It was nice to be sitting on a different horse again though, since it’s been a while. Halo is quite the gentleman, which I have to assume is a natural quality since he sure as hell didn’t get it from Bobby.


What’s new at Luxe EQ

I hadn’t been to the Luxe EQ mobile in a while – so long, in fact, that they’ve gotten a bigger trailer and lots of new inventory. I decided it was time to remedy that (plus I really wanted to look for some new white breeches) so last Saturday I loaded up the best road trip corgi ever and made the drive to the h/j show at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

dis my console

Our timing was pretty spot on; we arrived right as they were opening the new arrival of Snaks 5th Avenchew. There were some stray crumbs and bits in the bottom that Quinn was more than happy to help clean up.

big fancy new mobile of amazingness!
Quinn is the official Luxe EQ janitor

The treats are really cute though, they’d make great gifts or a fun splurge item at shows. I came home with the Pony Pop-Tarts for Henry (which you saw him devouring in yesterday’s post) because how could I not?

Dada Sport, Paul & Lydia, a bunch of treats, French Laundry

First I poked around everything outside… the Asmar, the Le Fash, the Tucci, the EIS, and some sale stuff. There were no navy Le Fash left in my size, thank goodness, otherwise it probably would have come home with me since I was already feeling weak. I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of high tech gadget inside the trailer itself that emits a resolve-killing pulse wave or something. Every time I get close my debit card sprouts legs and starts climbing out of my wallet. I think I’m overwhelmed by having so many nice things in one place.

Asmar, Le Fash, EIS
The Great Wall of Tucci

I made it through the whole outside display without touching anyth- no, wait… the treats. Crap. Scratch that. But anyway, once we were done perusing all the stuff outside, we wandered inside (also known as The Danger Zone). As soon as you walk in you’re not really sure where to look first, because you pass through the portal (er, door) into a sea of helmets, belts, boots, and bonnets. I love all those things.

Samshield and Kask

The Kasks are new, and I haven’t seen any in person before. They have some really cool features including a magnetized sliding clasp and lots of customization and fit options. Definitely awesome helmets. I’m 100% married to my navy and yellow Samshield, but the Kasks have some features I haven’t seen from anyone else and that makes them interesting.

Majyk Equipe boots and Schockemohle soundproof bonnets

I’ve reviewed the Majyk boots on here already – Luxe EQ has a few different models, including the brown leather ones that everyone seems to be asking for.

Then there are the belts. TS, Brian Toohey, CS Simko, Manfredi, Asmar, etc etc. If you need a belt, of basically any size or color or material, this is the place for you. Good lord the belts.

more belts
Brian Toohey belts
CS Simko and more Brian Toohey

Once you manage to pry your eyes away from the belts, there’s a nice selection of gloves (including a couple Roeckl models I haven’t seen anywhere), socks, and stock ties.

Roeckl, Samshield, SSG, Winston, Animo, Style Stock

Then just beyond that are the hats and visors. Since we have two seasons – summer and monsoon.

Below the visors is a little rack with a new brand called Dada Sport. I really liked all the details on all their stuff – nothing ostentatious, still looked really clean and elegant, but had just a little something extra to set it apart.

Across from the visors are little things like earrings, stock ties, some really cute placemats and towels, etc. See the thing along the back wall that looks like a purse? THAT’S A COOLER!!! YOU CAN KEEP YOUR BOOZE COLD WITH IT. Or water, I guess, if you’re into that. I’m really not sure why I didn’t buy one, I think I got distracted by the breeches and forgot. They were really reasonably priced too, therefore a life necessity.

French Laundry and Loriece

In case you’re wondering, this is what Quinn was doing the entire time up to this point

I help!

As you go further back you hit the breeches, sweaters, shirts, and coats – the really fun stuff. By the way, Animo does custom coats now. Good luck forgetting that. So many colors.

I couldn’t even get pictures of everything, but there are more bins and racks hiding a mountain of breeches and shirts in different colors and sizes. Lots of Cavalleria Toscana too, which I LOVE but somehow neglected to take any pictures of.

Animo with more French Laundry pillows and CS Simko belts
That’s a lot of Tailoreds (with a hint of Le Fash)

And then finally at the back of the trailer – the giant stack o’ Tucci


and the wall of Winston coats.

extra want

But the real question is – what did I come home with? When I mentioned that I needed another pair of whites, Megan (the owner and a long time friend of mine), immediately started digging and pulled out lots of different options for me. I tried on several pair (a couple different weights of Animo, some Anna Scarpati, some Mastermind, and some Winston) and of course the ones that fit me perfectly and looked the best were the Winston. As soon as my coat arrives I will officially be head-to-toe Winston, since I already have their Vienna shirt too. And a sweater. Although I don’t have the Winston socks or hat…. yet.

I also tried on the burgundy RJ Classics Gulf breeches and was really pleasantly surprised by them. I wasn’t expecting to like them that much but so far I LOVE them! I think I’ll have to go back and get more colors, especially the green once it comes out. They might possibly be my new favorite schooling breeches. I’ll review them once I wear and wash them more, because so far they seem like a really good value.

The Haul

As usual I was not disappointed with my journey. I probably didn’t even cover half of what’s in there… it feels a little bit like my version of Disneyland. You’re pretty much always guaranteed lots of cool new stuff to look at and try on, and there’s nothing like being able to see and feel things in person. Especially white breeches.

Luxe EQ usually makes the rounds on the Texas h/j circuit, but since we pretty much stop showing in the summer the mobile will be traveling all over the country. If you’re in any of these areas I definitely recommend you drop in and see (and try on, which inevitably leads to buying, so bring your wallet) all the cool stuff!

Brownland Farm (Franklin, TN)      May 25 – June 5

Lamplight (Wayne, IL)      June 7-26

Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (Williamsburg, MI)      July 6-24

Kentucky Summer Classic (Lexington, KY)      July 27-August 29

Well that’s awkward

Fair warning, you’re about to get a bunch of crotch pics of Henry, so if you’re not okay with that, back away now.

for real, things are about to head south

I got out to the barn on Tuesday and everything seemed normal. Henry was turned out in the round pen, because it’s been raining non-stop here (I can hear the rain on the roof RIGHT NOW) and their turnouts are too slick. I brought him in, shoved him full of cookies, and started brushing him. I made it through the neck, the shoulder, the back, and was halfway down his belly before I caught something strange out of my peripheral.

Swollen junk. Awesome. The day before opening day for the N3D, naturally, because who needs low blood pressure and a stress-free life? I couldn’t find anything obvious… no scrapes or bites, no heat, sheath was cleaned in February, he didn’t seem to mind me poking and prodding it, temperature was normal, he was acting totally normal if even a bit more perky since they’ve been stallbound. I’ve dealt with this once or twice before in my life with other horses and moving around always helps, so I tacked him up and went out for an easy 30 minute walk/trot. When we got done it looked a little better, so I cold hosed it (my life is glamorous), gave him some bute, and asked BO to let me know how it looked the next morning.

What I’m doing
what Henny’s doing

Still swollen yesterday, although some of the edema seemed to have moved from the sheath to the belly. I couldn’t shake the visions of either a tree lodged in his sheath or some kind of rare South American weiner flu (because logic). So I texted the vet (poor man), included some pictures (you’re welcome), and we chatted. He wasn’t particularly concerned, but since he knows how crazy I am ($$$I’magreatclient$$$) he said he could come out that afternoon and check Henry out.

Even when he’s pumped full of Dormosedan, he can still look super pissed

First he got drunk, then molested. The vet checked all around the outside and the inside, cleaned it again, but couldn’t find anything super obvious either. There was a little dimple on one side of his sheath that hadn’t been there the day before – it looked like maaaaaybe a sting or bite of some kind but it’s tough to tell. Overall nothing alarming going on, so a shot of Dex and $105 later, that was it.

Henry gets to go on long walks and have his junk cold hosed for a few days, and hopefully it’ll clear up. If not, I’m armed with more Dex.

Because if any horse in the world is going to have a weiner injury, of course it’s Henny.

Hijacked: Bobby’s Favorite Things

written by Bobby C. Yes, THE Bobby. No autographs please.

I know…  you haven’t heard from me in a while and you missed me. Don’t worry, I’m back, and I’m here to help. You’ve heard a lot about Amanda and her favorite things, but I’m sure, like me, you’re thinking the same thing I am: WHO CARES WHAT AMANDA’S FAVORITE THINGS ARE! So to spare you from another post from Amanda about herself, I am hijacking her blog for the day to share MY favorite things! Well ok, not all of them are things. How about “Bobby’s Favorites”?  Let’s go with that. Not necessarily in order of favoritism, of course:

1.     My “ensemble”: The saddle (le sigh)…. Thank you Dustin and Silhouette Saddlery! The gloves (le sigh)… Thank you Amanda and Roeckl! The Helmet (le sigh)…. Thank you Charles Owen for donating a helmet to AEC and Halo for winning it!

The color coordination! Wow. Amanda made me this way.
Yes, two photos of me. I hijacked the blog, I can do what I want.

2.      Obviously Halo – no matter how many times I drop him in front of a jump, or pull to the base where he has to climb over a massive table, or run him past our distance, this sweet soul always goes and always takes care of me.  I fear the day I lose him, so I cherish every day I have – I do think he may be my ‘once in a lifetime’ horse.  He’s goofy, he’s so sweet, his personality is priceless and he tries his heart out for me every.single.time. Sweet Jesus, I just made myself emotional!  There aren’t words for how much I adore this sweet kind horse – his talent is as huge as his heart.

Give Herrlerr cookie!!! Who wouldn’t love this face?
That’s okay dad, I’ll jump this max Training oxer from a trot since you pulled all the way to the base. I got you, boo.
Halo’s personality summed up in a photo. “Hi Dad, Herrlerr help! Herrlerr take off all da t-post caps! Herrlerr a good boy!”
My favorite photo of all time of Halo – he’s spooking at the Prelim jump in the water, three strides away from the Training bank out of the water. But did he go? Of course. He’s Halo.
And a fifth picture because you don’t own me!

3.     Amanda Chance – no need to adjust your monitor, I did write Amanda Chance, the very same one that is the usual author of this blog.  She has gone from being the girl I yelled “YO CHANCE” at across the barn yard (which would always result in me getting flipped off. Actually still does.) to being one of my closest friends.  She’s pushed me to push myself (mainly through insults and trying to emasculate me) and surprisingly I am very grateful to her for that. With a little courage and a lot of hard work we are actually running Training (and having a blast!) when I truly never thought I would ever compete at that level again. Although I could do with less insults.

Yeah, there she is. No clue what she’s doing to jump #11. That’s my boo!

But she’s literally played ‘straight eye for the queer guy’ and transformed everything I own from cheap and tacky to classy and top notch.   She’s my partner in crime and we usually come up with the same wild ideas almost simultaneously. Go big or go home. The genius of the truck bed tent was totally hers though, credit where credit is due. And who else is going to give me coordinating black and red gloves in a glittery princess gift bag for my birthday?  And when I have a tire blow out and am running seriously late for a show, I get to the barn to find my horse already braided and bathed – who does that?  She secretly loves me.  I have to say, she’s pretty damn lucky I found her at a very rainy MeadowCreek HT in November of 2014. We have a pretty freaking amazing time in whatever we’re doing and are pretty gifted at entertaining ourselves and those around us by proxy – lucky bitches!

The birthday card she got me. Mean, evil, brilliant. Sound familiar?

4.      Dr. Norton of Elgin Vet Clinic because she has literally and I mean literally (you have no idea) been keeping Halo alive since 2007. It hasn’t been easy.

Dr. Norton trach washing Halo

5.     Sherri and Charlie – the dynamic duo who own the barn (and are long time friends). Sherri has played vet tech with me for years – I think she and I are more versed in the names and application of equine pharmaceuticals then we ever wanted to be?  Little side note there… she literally held Fabel (my old eventing mare I’d had for 29 years) while she died because I was traveling and couldn’t get a flight back. Wow – made myself tear up twice in one post.  As for Charlie, every barn needs a Charlie.  He tirelessly works to make the barn the best it can be and he’s always there to help with our mechanical incompetence!

Herrlerr, Sherri, and the late but not forgotten Fabel
Halo and Fabel a few days before she died. Because Charlie would kill me if I posted a photo of him.

6.      Amanda Merritt of Anchor Equestrian (I have way too many Amanda’s in my life) for being the most badass instructor.  She found me some big girl panties and strapped them onto me with duct tape.  She’s taught me to trust Halo at the higher speeds on XC, and she’s just so damn smart, insightful, and talented.  Yet another Amanda that is very lucky to have found me.

She got mad skills. Who can equitate over a Prelim table?
Only the best trainer has champagne on hand to celebrate your AEC win – and an empty woter bottle as the golden goblet.

7.       My rig.  I’ve NEVER had my own rig. I still love saying “My rig”. My beloved little 2016 Toyota Tacoma named Link (from the small but mighty Link from the Legend of Zelda) and my beautiful “antique” 1997 Brenderup trailer (affectionately named Wynona – look at the picture, that’s a Wynona).  We easily fit just about anywhere and she’s lightweight so I don’t need a behemoth truck.  Freedom is such a beautiful thing!  To quote one of my favorite movies: “I say who, I say when, I say WHO!” – name that movie!

Hotel room in the truck bed, dressing room/closet in the trailer. Love! (side note: Amanda and I BOTH fit in that tent. And said tent has it’s own atmosphere, as we learned at Holly Hill – ask her about being waterboarded)

8.      Zephyr’s Garden Anti-Fungal Spray. I know I did a dual review with Amanda on this one but Halo is STILL fungus free.  After clearing up the fungus with regular use, I now give two sprays a week to prone areas and nothing has grown.  This stuff is MAGIC.  As you can see from my list of favorites, I don’t go crazy for products. If it’s a favorite thing, it’s awesome.  After years and years of the fungus battle, I’ve finally won!  HOLLER!

Magic in a bottle

9.      Equicare Flysect Citronella. I really love this fly spray but not for any functional reason, its mainly nostalgic.  Don’t get me wrong, the lanolin sticks to the hair and repels the pests very well but I’d never laud it as the best ever because I’ve not done a comparison.  I remember my mom used to buy this brand for the horses way back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and they still haven’t changed the label in all these years.  That specific smell of citronella takes me back to when I first started riding, when my mom used to ride, to when I first rode Fabel – it’s funny how smells can take you back. I buy this so I can travel back in time. Again HUSH – MY FAVES, not HERS! Logic need not apply.

Let’s do the time warp again!

10.   Always save the best for last: Dustin. He puts up with me, he puts up with my love of Halo, he tolerates my required horseback ride in every country we visit, he supports me unconditionally AND he bought me that amazing custom saddle – need I say more?  NO you cannot have him.  I will sell hair follicles for cloning though….

Horseback ride through Hyde Park in London – not bad English form for someone who grew up on a ranch!

So, there you have it. Maybe not your traditional ‘favorites’ list, but at least be grateful you were spared, for a day, the typical boring ramblings of Chance.