Henry’s family tree

Emma kind of unintentionally started this unofficial blog hop last week when she posted about her new horse’s pedigree. The comments were great, and led to lots of good discussion… so many thoroughbred fans out there. She encouraged other people to post about their thoroughbred’s pedigree too, so here I am. Such a people pleaser (everyone who knows me is probably laughing hysterically at that).

Henny is too

I’ve owned and ridden my fair share of TB’s, plus I am a breeding nerd, so this one is right up my alley. Over the years I’ve developed some opinions (shocking) on which lines I really like, which ones I don’t, and just how much it matters in the big picture. Short version – I don’t put a ton of stake in it, but sometimes it can give you an idea of the horse, what it might be good at, and what it might be like. When I’m looking at TBs, especially ones that are fresh off the track or still on the track, I absolutely DO look at and consider the pedigree. While it usually won’t be enough to turn me away completely if I really like the horse but not the pedigree, it can definitely make me go from 90% interested to 50% interested if I see some lines that I don’t like, or 50% interested to 90% interested if I see some lines that I really do like. That’s kind of what happened with Henry. I liked him on video and I loved him on paper.

Digging into his pedigree – first of all, his JC name is Hesalmostsweet and while he is registered, he never actually raced, just trained. I had him DNA verified to confirm his identity for TIP since he was not tattooed and I didn’t get papers. He is, indeed, Hesalmostsweet, and I have the fancy official JC letter to prove it. (So everyone who keeps insisting he’s QH or Appendix – STOP IT, he just has a big butt! That means you, BOBBY!)

It is big and it is round and it is muddy

Henry did not exactly come from a blueblood Kentucky background. He was born at a small private farm in Arkansas, by a stallion named Skeet, who stood at stud for a whopping $500. Skeet himself was a decent racehorse, winning some minor stakes races on the dirt and turf. However, he has very few registered offspring, and dropped off the map in 2008. I can’t find what happened to him after that nor have I been able to track down any of the handful of his registered offspring. As it was, I had to seriously scour the internet to find any pictures of him.

Skeet, aka ChestnutHenry

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one. Aside from color, Henry and Skeet pretty identical, right on down to the weird faces and tongue.

Skeet’s sire was Dove Hunt


who has produced at least one upper level eventer that I can find, 2* horse and NAYJC competitor Case Closed:

Dove Hunt’s sire is the famous Danzig, also known as a big part of the reason I was so interested in Henry. I’ve had very positive experiences with Danzig line horses in the past… I’ve found them to be honest, good learners, and very correct jumpers. Henry has definitely lived up to that. I always stop and take a closer look when I see Danzig in a pedigree.


Danzig can also be found in a similar spot in the pedigree (top sire line) of eventing stallions Sea Accounts and Sea Lion

Sea Accounts
Sea Lion

as well as one of my favorite eventers ever: Ziggy


just to name a few.

Moving on to the dam’s side of Henry’s pedigree, things get a lot harder to dig up. His dam, Lona Thump, raced but didn’t do very well, and then produced a few offspring that never did anything. Her sire, Royal N Trouble, at one time stood at Broken Word Farm in Arkansas. Which, if you google it, comes up with a bunch of stories like this: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/172992/arkansas-trainer-charged-with-animal-cruelty 

So, uh… big yikes. Unfortunately I can’t find much info on what ever became of Royal N Trouble.

Royal N Trouble’s sire was Royal and Regal, who you can spy in this particular little video that some of you may have seen a time or two before:

At one point he was 3rd, but faded to ultimately finish 8th.

Other names that stood out to me in Henry’s pedigree were Wavering Monarch, The Minstrel, Key to the Mint, or if you go even further – T.V. Lark, Sir Gaylord, Graustark, Sea Bird, Buckpasser, etc. There’s nothing flashy in his pedigree, racehorse-wise. No big name Kentucky sires and nothing particularly fashionable, which to me is kind of a plus. It’s not always good things that come along with those big names. Henry’s is basically just a solid, sporty TB pedigree, without any of the glitz and glamour.

And really… that’s pretty much what Henny is, too.


The great thing about not having any obligations during Thanksgiving break was that I had 4.5 days off of work and pretty much nowhere that I had to be. The SO had to work on Friday and Saturday, so the only day that I didn’t go to the barn was Thanksgiving day itself… because, being anti-social, I made my own “turkey trot” 10k through a few neighborhoods (the real Turkey Trot in Austin had more than 20k people, so that’s a NO), then spent 3 hours cooking, then ate so much that I could not move. Thanksgiving success. Otherwise though, I got a lot of riding time in.

Dude, there is literally a castle next door

We did some actual work – like our first full-intensity dressage school (he thought that was stupid) and our first full course of jumps (he thought that was amazing) since Henry’s return from rehab. But we also spent lots of time just ambling around and exploring the property’s 120 acres. I hadn’t really gotten around to doing that yet.

How to make a course with 4 poles, one set of standards, a barrel, and a coop. I need more jumps.

We ambled around the front part of the property, while Henry snorted at… I dunno, whatever Henry felt warranted a good snort. This included, but was not limited to – the trash can, the flag, a round bale, some particularly suspicious-looking grass, and THE COWS.

I finally convinced him to walk up and say hi to one of the baby moo-demons (he’s been over near them but wouldn’t get within 20 feet of the fence, because BIG BRAVE EVENT HORSE) which went really well until it licked him. Good news, Henry can jump 15 feet completely sideways in a single bound. So athletic.

We also wandered over to say hi to Dudley the mini-donk a few times, who Henry is no longer afraid of, but now he’s a little obsessed. He stares intently at Dudley and nickers at him in a fairly creepy way.

Luckily Dudley doesn’t seem to mind the creepy horse

We also discovered a WHOLE ‘NOTHER FIELD! If you walk to the very back corner of our usual field, there’s a gap in the fence. The field next to it is planted with… something… I dunno, not a farmer… and then there’s another planted field next to that, but eventually if you keep going you emerge here:

It’s a smaller field, but still big, and flatter than the other field. I’m thinking I might set up my jumps over in this field and then use the other hilly field for conditioning rides. Omg, so many fields. The footing is just as good in this one too, except for a few random stray rocks that I need to go pick up. We kept walking and found a shortcut to this “new” field from behind the arena, so it’s not such a long walk all the way around. Who even knew that was there? We also found a stock tank that we will never ever get anywhere near, because it looks like an awesome snake habitat, therefore hellsno.

King Henry surveys his lands

Henry still felt great even after a harder dressage ride and jumping day, so I continue to knock on wood that all will remain well. He has an acupuncture/chiro appointment on Thursday, and then maaaaaaaaaaaaaybe we’ll be ready to go back into lessons by mid-Dec?


So, what’s the damage?

Post-Black Friday weekend feels like we’re in the aftermath of some kind of major weather event, where everyone is starting to poke their heads back out to assess the damage and see if it’s safe.

Image result for is it safe gif

I am not crazy enough to go to an actual store during that time (ew, people, yuck) but I do question my sanity every time I put that Black Friday sales list together. It’s ridiculous, and really time consuming. But the fun thing is, there are tons of really good sales from a lot of great retailers. I usually manage to get almost all of my Christmas shopping done plus nab a few little things for myself that I’ve been wanting. This year was no exception, although I was left feeling like I wished I had more money to go around so I could support all of my favorites instead of just a few. Alas, Henny is expensive.

who, me?

I had already taken care of some of my Xmas shopping before Black Friday, via Hamer and Clay. It’s become tradition at this point, I always have to order something from her. Or 5 somethings, but who’s counting…

And then of course Riding Warehouse got my business within an hour of their sale going live, because I am powerless to resist them even on the strongest of days. Got a few Xmas presents though, and stocked up on some essentials for Henry plus nabbed his usual Xmas day bran mash. I had a few other things in my cart for ME that I ultimately forced myself to remove, so that was sad, but maybe I get a few points for willpower?

OKAY FINE I ADMIT IT, I did grab this for myself because it’s vest season and I love RW and I wanted it and it was my reward for “putting back” an $80 saddle pad and $150 breeches. Fair trade?

Then I hit up One Horse for a few more Xmas presents (and maybe threw a $10 tank in the cart for myself, wooopsy how’d that get in there?) and a couple other places that I can’t mention because I feel like the people who will be receiving those purchases will know it’s for them and I refuse to give them that satisfaction.

like this A-hole

Otherwise the rest of my purchases were not horse-related (Amazon, Spreadshirt, Redbubble, and Old Navy – although ON had thermals for $5 so I had to grab a few for riding) and therefore boring. But the good news is, 90% of my Xmas shopping is done now, and somehow I escaped it all without buying too many things for myself. Okay, I admit, that part was disappointing. Normally I buy myself really great Xmas presents.

What about y’all? What sales did you succumb to… or did you make it through BF weekend unscathed, despite my best efforts?

Black Friday Sales

Also Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, of course.


As usual, I’ll keep adding to the list as more pop up, so check back (I’ll stick new ones at the bottom of each section!).

US Retailers

Riding Warehouse – 25% sitewide and up to 85% off clearance items. (items will be automatically discounted once you add them to your cart)

Teddy’s Tack Trunk – 10% off with TEDDY10 11/24-11/28. Free shipping on orders $75+ and a free TTT hat with orders $100+.

One Horse Threads – 40% off with coupon code VIP (THIS IS A SPECIAL CODE FOR MY FOLLOWERS!) and free shipping on all orders over $50.

If the Bonnet Fits – Buy one mercerized cotton bonnet receive the second mercerized cotton bonnet half off 11/26 – 11/28 (all BOGO orders will be made AFTER Christmas)

Voltaire Design – 25% off accessories on 11/25

Hastilow USA – 15% off everything excluding saddles

Equiline America – extra 10% off overstock with code EXTRA10

Paul and Lydia – 25% off with coupon code blackfriday2016 11/25 – 11/28

USEA – 20% off all apparel with code SAVE20

Gray & Co – special pricing on select items

KJ Creations – 25% off storewide through 11/29 with code ShopSmall

Hunt Club – 20% off storewide with code HOLIDAY plus free shipping on orders over $75

Le Fash – 11/23 through 11/28 use code 15 for $15 off $250, code 25 for $25 off $350, code 50 for $50 off $550, code 75 for $75 off $750, plus free shipping with coupon code THANKS.

Alessandro Albanese – 15% off with AABLKFRI

Ruespari -20% off when you spend $100 or more with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY16

Triple Crown Custom – 20% off plus a free gear bag with any rug purchase with code TCCBF20

Beval Saddlery – 25% off storewide plus additional markdowns up to 75% off

Total Saddle Fit – 75% off stirrup leathers and cinch liners for orders over $100 with code BLACKFRIDAY on 11/25

Equ Lifestyle Boutique – 20% off sitewide 11/25-11/28 with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY

Equestri Lifestyle – Extra 30% off sale items with code EXTRAGRAVY, and 20% off site wide with code BF20.

Top Hats Boutique – 10% off and free shipping with code HOLIDAY10 11/25 – 11/28

Dark Jewel Designs – 15% off with code BLINGSALE16 on 11/26

The Connected Rider – 20% off Equine Couture, HDR, Tuffrider, FITS, Horseware, Rambo, 2KGrey, Rhino, Amigo, Mio, Micklem, Rambo, AA Platinum, Bobbys Bridles, Devon-Aire, Northrun, & Veredus. Free shipping over $75. Up to 75% off clearance. Items automatically discounted when added to cart.

The Herbal Horse – code SBS16 for 25% off your order, earn double unicorn points and get the Gift Set at a discount.

Solea Equestrian – all Parlanti on sale starting 11/25

Ride Heels Down – sale starts 11/26

Dapplebay – 15% off with coupon code 2016HOLIDAY from 11/25 – 11/28

Kastel Denmark – up to 50% select items

Point Two Air – 30% off vests, 50% off canisters, 10% off service.

Swanky Saddle – 30% off 11/24 – 11/25 with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY30

C4 Belts – 40% off with code C4BF2016

Struck Apparel – up to 30% off select styles starting 11/25

Equestrianista – 30% off plus free shipping on orders over $75 with code Save30

Knix Wear – up to 50% off sitewide

Equus Now – up to 40% off store wide, sale starts 11/25

Fleeceworks – 10% off “pads with purpose” plus free shipping with coupon code PWPBF

Horse PreRace – 35% off everything on 11/28.

Spur of the Moment – 30% with code HOLIDAY2017 until 11/28

ISellTack.com – 20% off Back on Track from 11/24 through 11/28

Schneider Saddlery – blankets and sheets on sale

Equestrian Collections – various deals up to 80% off

The Painting Pony – 15% off with code BLACKFRIDAY plus various discounted items

Uckele Equine – 15% off storewide, 11/18 – 11/23, or 25% off store wide on 11/25 only with coupon code Black2016.

Adam’s Horse Supplies – Kerrits – 20% Off 11/20 to 11/28, Ariat – 20% Off 11/21 to 12/11, Back on Track – 20% off 11/25 to 11/28, TuffRider – 20% Off 11/21 to 12/31, Equine Couture – 20% Off 11/21 to 12/31, HDR -10% Off 11/21 to 12/31, Pessoa – 10 to 20% Off 11/23 to 11/30, Ovation – 20% Off 11/23 to 11/30, Romfh – 20% Off 11/23 to 11/30, Mountain Horse – 20% Off 11/23 to 11/30, Dublin Lifestyle boots – 20 to 25% Off 11/24 to 12/4

Equicube – $10 off 11/23 – 11/28

CeeCoach – 15% off with code 15%COTHBF

Mary’s Tack – various discounts up to 65% off

Stock Bubble – $5 off any stock tie with code THANKFUL5

Red Maple Run – 25% off 11/25 – 11/28

Doctors Foster and Smith – up to 40% off plus $25 gift card with purchases over $75 with code 25GIFTBK, or $50 gift card with purchases over $125 with code 50GIFTBK.

Thinline – reduced prices with coupon code THANKFUL

State Line Tack – 25% off plus various deals starting 11/25

Paradise Tack – up to 80% off various items

Tack Warehouse – 15% off sitewide plus other special offers 11/25 – 11/27

Chicks Saddlery – various discounts

Dressage Extensions – 25% off turnout sheets and blankets

The Horse of Course – 25% off with code SAVEBIG2016

VTO Saddlery – 20% off most orders $50 or more 11/23 – 11/28 with coupon code THANKS

Buckwild Breeches – 30% off sitewide through Cyber Monday

Bit of Britain – 20% off your order with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY

USRider – 20% off storewide (must be a member)

Road ID – Road ID’s 20% off, plus various discounts

The Distance Depot – 15% off orders over $100 11/24 – 11/25 with coupon code THANKS16 plus clearance up to 75% off

FarmVet – various discounts starting 11/25

20 x 60 –  10% off plus free shipping with code BLACKFRIDAY16

Horse – 25% off plus various deals starting 11/25

Horze – up to 70% off. First time shoppers use code HZSIGNUP for an additional 15% off.

Big Dee’s – various discounts

Jeffers Equine – 15% off with code TURKEY16, and 12 Days of Christmas deals start 11/26

Dover Saddlery – various discounts up to 70% off

Horseloverz – various discounts

Centerline Style – spend $100 and get 10% off with code SAVE 10, spend $250 and get %15 with code SAVE15, spend $500 and get 20% off with code SAVE20, spend $1000+ and get %25 off with code SAVE25.

Style Stock – free gift with any purchase over $50

Equus Couture – Select browbands $100 each, plus get a $25 gift card for every $150 you spend.

Annie’s Equestrian Apparel – 15% off sitewide with coupon code “passthepie” through 11/27

One Stop Equine Shop – 20% off the Horze Blaire, Leah, Rio, Sander, and all Avalanche Blankets 11/25 – 11/28. Various other brands on sale also.

RNS Video Media – sale on event videos from 2015 and first 2/3 of 2016, sale runs 11/27 – 12/4.

HorseHack – 15% off sitewide and FREE SHIPPING for orders over $50 from 11/24 11/28 with code HACK15.

Saratoga Horseworks – fall outlet sale from 11/25 – 11/28

Farm House Tack – over 35% off Dublin Country boots 11/24, more deals coming

Sport Horse Lifestyle – 15% off with code BlackFriday.

Asmar Equestrian – sale starts 11/25, save up to 65% off select styles and get an additional 10% off sale prices with code AESALE2016.

It’s A Haggerty’s – $5 off purchases from their etsy shop on 11/25 with code smallbizfriday16

Devoucoux – lower prices on used saddles

Professional’s Choice – various markdowns

SmartPak – 15% off with code GIFT2016

Added 11/25:

The Horse Network – 30% off with code BlackFriday2016

USEF – $10 off orders $75 or more, $15 off $150 or more, and free shipping on orders over $50 11/25 – 11/28.

USEFPerks – 25% off cards and stationary 11/25

USHJA – 15% off (order will appear in cart)

PS of Sweden – all grooming bags on sale

Shawn McMillen Photography – 30% off all 2016 photos (price automatically adjusted at checkout) 11/25 – 11/28

Carousel Horse – various brands on sale, plus closeouts and special deals

Equilume – 10% off 11/25 only (call or email to redeem)

Welsh Wear – 35% off sitewide with code SHOPPING 11/25 – 11/28

Back In The Saddle – 25% off select Under Armour

Walsh – 25% off $100 or more

Equine Art by Julie – 30% off any custom creation for orders placed 11/25 – 12/18. Contact on facebook to redeem sale price.

Signature Spurs – free shipping

Huntley Equestrian – 40% off with code BLACKFRIDAY40 11/25 only

Higher Standards Leather Care – 15% off in the etsy shop through 11/28 with code HSLC15

Snaks 5th Avenchew – 15% off storewide with code BLACKFRIDAY16 or get a free gift with code FREEGIFT

Bridle Bling – 15% off plus a free gift on orders over $50 with code BRIDLEBLING

Victory Canter – 15% with coupon code wow15

Jods – 15% off all outerwear and free shipping on everything 11/25 – 12/4 with code SALE15

Mango Bay Design – 15% off with code merry merry

Clever with Leather – 40% off 11/26 only with code CLEVER

Nickerbait – 10% off on 11/25 PLUS a FREE stocking stuffer bag for each bag of cookies you order with promo code black friday

Rebecca Ray Designs – save 20-70% on various in stock products through 11/28

US Animo – save up to 40% on select items

Hunt Country Saddlery – 15% off with code Blatchford

My Virtual Eventing Coach – 40% off yearly membership, $175 instead of the usual $300. To redeem, contact admin@myvirtualeventingcoach.com

O’Shaughnessey – 40% off and free gift with coupon code OS1125

ManeJane – 25% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Nupafeed – sale starts 11/28

MaeLort – 10% off with coupon code blackfriday

The Cheshire Horse – 15% off and free shipping through 11/28 with coupon code SPECTACULAR

Valley Vet Supply – various deals

Added 11/26:

Deco Pony – free shipping on US orders or 15% off for Canadian orders, plus orders over $250 get an additional 10% off.

Jojo Sox – totes and socks 40% off with code: BLACKFRIDAY 11/25-11/27
25% off luggage with code CYBERMONDAY on 11/28

Charleigh’s Cookies – 20% off 11/25-11/28 with code BlackFriday

Grey Horse Candle Co – 10% off with coupon code SHOPSMALL on 11/26

Emily’s Equine Creations – orders over $10 get $5 OFF with code “shopsmall” and orders over $20 get a free gift (while supplies last)

Five Star Tack – up to 40% off select items

Added 11/27:

Eponia Equestrian – $25 off sheepskin 5 point breastplate or anatomic girth with coupon code CyberMonday


International retailers:

Aztec Diamond Equestrian (UK) – 15% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY

Divoza (Netherlands) – various discounts

Selwood Equine (UK) – various deals

Ashbourne Equestrian (UK) – Animo sale 11/25 only

HorseMarket (Lith) – 20% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAYHM

Tackville (UK) – 40% off with code BLACKFRIDAY

Just Riding (UK) – various discounts on Animo, Parlanti, KEP, Kask, etc.

Added 11/25:

Scarabeus (GER) – 25% of with code BF16 11/25 – 11/28

Equiport (UK) – various sale items

Le Tack Truck (CAN) – 20% off 11/25 with code BlackFriday2016

Jin Stirrups (ITA)-  25% off with code JS BLACK FRIDAY 2016 on 11/25

Reitsport Schockemohle – various items on sale (Pikeur, Kingsland, Equiline, Eskadron, Fior de Liso, etc)

Discount Equestrian (UK) – 20% off most brands

Equizone (GER) – Up to 60% off clearance plus 30% off storewide with code #BlackFriday16.
GPA Helmets, Dy’on, Stübben, Sprenger, Mountain Horse, Kavalkade, HKM, Manfredi, KEP, etc.

Symphony Saddle and Tack (CAN) – clearance specials up to 50% off plus take an additional 10% off  with coupon code BlackFriday2016 through 11/28.

Tack Shoppe of Collingwood (CAN) – 10% off with coupon code BLACKFRIDAY through 11/27

Premier Equine (UK) – 35% off everything

Added 11/26:

Hufglocken (AUS)- 25% off Mattes with code SHEEPSAVINGS


Breeding Specials and Stud Fees:

Sir Wanabi – stud fee special of $1000 CAD or about $750 USD. 3 year LFG contract. Offer ends 11/25 at midnight.

Prototype – 30% off stud fee through 11/28. Includes first collection, booking fee, and 3 year LFG. Use promo code #BF30OFF

Silver Creek’s Vindication – 20% off through 11/25

Birch Creek Farm – $500 stud fee for Nassau, $250 stud fee for Longacre Showtime

Findus – first 10 mares get $750 stud fee including first collection, 30 day LFG, and 2 year contract

A1 Performance Sires – various frozen semen discounts, first come first served.

Pikturesque Farm – 50% off stud fee for Aloha, Quilot Z, or Hilken’s Go For Gold if paid in full by 11/30

Bandelero JSF – offering 3 breedings at $700 for full 2 year contract. Offer ends 11/26.

Aliano – $850 Canadian fresh semen, 2 year contract, first collection included and LFG contract.

Avalon Equine – first 10 breedings purchased are $350-500

Dreamscape Farm – 50% off the original stud fee price for: Banderas $700 (Original price $1400CAD), Farscape DSF $650 (Original price $1300CAD), Sagnol $750 (Original price $1500CAD), OR $300 stud fee for Bodyguard. (Original price $800CAD). Collection Fee is $125 and container is $40 per collection. Offer good for first 15 mares to each stallion or through 11/28.

Canterbury HPF –  two frozen breedings available at the 50% offer price of $300. First come, first served.

Cimarron – $575 includes first collection of chilled semen. Shipping is additional. Additional collections $250.

Added 11/25:

Artrageous – $500 if booked by 11/27. Contact at foxhavenfarm@gmail.com to redeem.

Rising Star Farm – Half price breeding specials to Cartier R (frozen semen 2 doses for $500), Diabolo D’Esquelmes (frozen semen 2 doses for $500), and Valentino Z (fresh semen at $750 – including first collection). Contact ronda@risingstarfarm.net or 512-751-2390 to redeem.

Added 11/27:

Coromino – special rate of $850 if paid by 11/28.  Includes booking fee and first collection. Fresh semen only. Contact via facebook.

Hallowed Ground

***Yes, I’m still doing my annual Black Friday sales list! Have no fear, it’ll be here tomorrow. If you just can’t possibly wait that long to get started, Riding Warehouse’s sale starts today. Otherwise – check back here tomorrow morning for my usual giant list… it’s already over 50 sales!***

As a former lifelong h/j rider, I’ve spent a lot of time in arenas. Don’t get me wrong, arenas are very important. Having access to a flat open space with good, even footing is a must-have. But give me the choice between riding in a nice arena and a nice field, and I’ll pick the field 99% of the time.

For people who are thinking “is she really about to write a whole post about a field?”. Yes. The answer is yes. Why? Because it’s difficult to find good natural footing in this particular slice of Texas. Really difficult.

See, on one side of town there’s black gumbo soil… it’s a dense, dark clay that, when wet, will suck the shoes right off of a horse. When dry, it’s a bit like trotting on pottery. It shrinks and cracks and can closely resemble concrete in the summer (just ask Hillary). It grows some really gorgeous grass, but it’s not so great if you want to ride on it a lot. On the other side of town the top layer gets rocky and the grass becomes sparse, which is equally bad, for obvious reasons.

the view from the top

There are a few areas more north and east of town where the soil gets a lot better – little oases of sandy loam. Unfortunately most of those areas are about an hour’s drive from me. Therefore you have to understand how much I geeked the hell out when I realized that the hay field at the barn is a little mini-oasis in the middle of black gumbo territory.

First of all – it’s a huge space. Giant. Like it takes 10 minutes to trot a lap. It’s also sloped, which is probably part of why it dries so quickly after rain. The slope varies in different parts – most is just a gentle slope, but then there’s one decent hill out in the back that’s perfect for hill work. There’s enough flat-ish space to be able to set up a jump course or do flatwork. And because it’s got a lot of sand in the soil, it doesn’t get muddy when it’s wet or hard when it’s dry. It’s the weirdest and most miraculous thing, and probably some of the best footing I’ve seen anywhere in Texas. That’s why I have dubbed it The Field (formal title), and that’s why it has become hallowed ground for me.

The view from the front gate. Find the coop!

As an eventer, this chunk of space is incredibly valuable. I can do just about all of my riding out here, if I want to. I have a TON of room for trot sets and gallops, plus varied terrain to help us practice our balance and make us stronger. The barn owner has no problem with me putting jumps out there, as long as I move them when it’s time to cut hay. My beloved coop is already out there, but I’m going to drag a few stadium fences out as well. It would be awesome if I could jump in the field all the time… there’s so much space to build whatever course you want, and there are so many options for using terrain within the exercises. It’s an eventer’s dream space.

there it is

I’ll save the arena for days when it’s a little too wet to ride in the field (the arena can withstand fairly monsoon-like rains)… I don’t want to put so much as a divot into any square inch of that space. It’s perfection, and I want to keep it that way.


An Update on Things

Henny has been back under saddle for 3 weeks now. For the most part, it has been boring… which is a good thing.

But guess what wasn’t boring? Finally meeting DUDLEY. Henry made of fool of himself nickering at him like it’s his baby. Dudley was undeterred by the big dumb horse.

We started with short, easy rides, and are slowly ramping our way back up. The aquatred kept all of his muscle (and then some) so he’s still pretty strong, but his cardio is not what it was. We were doing 45 minute long trots before, but 25 minutes has him a little labored now. We’ve also been doing a few hill repeats out in the field at the walk and trot… because when you live in a place that is fairly flat, a hill is a fantastic treasure that is not to be wasted.

I’ve been cautious about putting much stress on his leg, so we’ve mostly had dressage days and hacks out in the field. He’s only had 2 days of pole exercises in the arena, and one day of jumping in there. And by jumping I mean he hopped over a couple of 2’6″ fences a few times each. The footing has remained very good, so I’ve gotten lucky in that regard… the field especially is still nice and springy. I did jump my new coop on Saturday when I put it out there (once each way), which Henry was absolutely delighted with. He landed and dolphined so hard (his version of bucking looks more like a dolphin leaping) that he tripped and almost fell down. Still the picture of elegance and grace.


I went ahead and scheduled an acupuncture/chiropractic session for him next week, just to thoroughly cover all my bases. He feels a little stiff through his rib cage and neck to the right, so I’m hoping that’ll fix it. I’ve already been hemorrhaging money on him over the past couple months, why stop now?

Yes, keep going. Moar money.

He’s almost back up to regular turnout, but not quite. Luckily he’s behaved himself pretty well anyway. Most of the other horses at the barn are QH types that would rather eat than run around, and they’ve all stayed inside under their blankets on the cold nights. Both of those things are helping to keep him chill rather than running laps like a moron.

Me Henny. Henny derp.

The swelling above his ankle has continued to go down, too. That combined with his ridiculously hairy legs make the injury hard to spot now. Still, I’ve been keeping his BOT wraps on him sometimes, and slathering stuff on the “bad” leg after longer rides. Plus he gets enough stall time to make sure he’s resting it adequately. I have to give many props to the barn owner and workers – they’ve been giving him excellent care, and none of my super annoying requests have deterred them in the slightest.

Seriously, yak horse?

I asked the main barn worker how Henry has been behaving for her, since he’s gone so long without full turnout. She looked at me like I was a little nuts for even asking, and said he was great. She thinks it’s funny how vocal he is (apparently he starts screaming for his breakfast before she even gets out of her truck… which sounds about right) and she plays with his tongue when he flops it around. It makes me happy to see them get along so well, since she spends so much time with him.

The nicest thing ever – got a handwritten “welcome” note in the mail from the BO.

Hopefully over the next month we can continue weaning him off of all the special treatment and back into normal life, and I can keep amping the workload back up towards normal. For now though – he looks great, he’s happy, and I’m glad to have him almost-back. *knocking on a metric shit ton of wood*

Garage sales are for amateurs

Last week my barn owner let me know about a sale that was coming up… a local lesson barn was closing and they were selling off pretty much everything, including jumps. Another friend of mine sent me a Craigslist ad that she found about the sale, which had a bunch of pictures. And there, amongst all the others, was a picture of this bad boy:

I’ve been wanting a couple of fences that I could stick out in a field and jump on occasion. We don’t get a lot of opportunities to school XC, and sometimes it takes a little while to get my brain back into XC mode (for gods sake, let him go forward and jump out of stride). Having a couple fences that we could just go out and gallop over once a week or so would be really helpful.

Did someone say GALLOP?!?!?

The barn owner said that I was more than welcome to put whatever I want out in the giant hay field, as long as I move it out of the way when they cut hay. Therefore as soon as I saw the coop in that ad, I knew I needed it. It was perfect. Not only could I use it as a galloping fence, I could also use each side as its own skinny and make combinations. Uphill, downhill, bending lines, angled lines… so many possibilities. I wanted that damn coop, and I wanted it bad.

The sale was supposed to start at 9, and I rolled in at 8:55 to see a bunch of other cars already there. I was about 10th in line when the gate opened. Luckily everyone else made a beeline for the barn, whereas I made a beeline for the arena. Most of the jumps had sold privately earlier in the week, but there were still 7 standards, a handful of poles, and yes, MY COOP, still sitting in there. I couldn’t believe no one else had bought it, all the roll tops and gates and walls were already gone. Fine by me though!

I snatched the tags off of literally everything in the arena and brought them in to pay before anyone else could even think about looking at them. MINE. All mine! Well… really the standards were for my friend who just bought her own place, but she was running late so I claimed them for her. They weren’t in as good of shape but they were only $5-$8 a pop… at that price who could resist? Plus they let us take some poles and jump cups for free. I’m not that into garage sales, but barn sales are amazing.

I pawed through all the stuff in the barn but there’s just not a whole lot that I need. I did snag a roll of vet wrap and a new jar of ointment for 25 cents each, and an awesome wide broom for my trailer for $4. Things that excite horse people. We’re weird.

It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle fitting everything in the back of the truck (uh, I did not really realize how big the coop was) but we got it done. I dropped all of my friend’s stuff at her house, then went out to the barn to find just the right spot for Coop.

both halves of the coop, 2 wing standards, 5 regular standards, and 5 poles. Bam.

It’s only Novice size though (2’9″ tall and 4′ wide at the base), so I think I’m going to drill some holes in the top and add 6-8″ of brush for extra height. Then it can be a true Training size gallop fence. I just need to find some brush.

I can’t even express how excited this makes me. It is, no doubt, one of my top 5 most favorite purchases ever. Doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Now I just need to find someone to make me a Training size table…

Exclusive Luxe EQ “Last of It” Sale!

The February clearance sale was so successful, we decided to do it again! Get a jump on your Black Friday shopping with these exclusive offers from Luxe EQ. They’re clearing out the last of some Esperado inventory and last season Animo -this is the only place you’ll find the list!

Here’s how it works:

  • For questions or orders, email megan@luxe-eq.com or message Luxe EQ on facebook.
  • All items are on a first come, first served basis. Once they’re gone, they’re gone!  Items are not considered sold until payment is received.
  • All sales are final.
  • Please read descriptions carefully and thoroughly – not all photos are of the exact colors available.
  • Animo breech sizes are as follows: 38IT=24US, 40IT=26US, 42IT=28US, 44IT=30US (coat size and breech size are usually the same)
  • Esperado breech sizing as follows: 38 = 28US


Esperado Aline show shirt – $49.50

  • Navy – Small (1)
  • White – Medium (1)
  • Pink – Medium (1)
  • Red – Large (1)
  • Royal Blue – Medium (1)



Esperado Rachel Breech – $75.00

  • knee patch Navy – 38/US28 (1)
  • knee patch Black – 38/US28 (1)
  • knee patch White – 38/US28 (1)
  • knee patch Taupe – 38/US28 (1)
  • full seat Navy – 38/US28 (1)



Esperado Grand Prix breech – $75.00

  • silicone knee patch Navy – 38/US28 (1)
  • silicone knee patch White – 38/US28 (1)



Esperado Parade show jacket

  • Black – Medium (1)  $75.00
  • Black with cream – Medium (1)  $75.00
  • Navy – Kids Medium (1)  $50.00


Esperado Tracy Vest (women’s) – $75.00

  • Navy – XL (2)
  • Black – S (1), XL (2)
  • Nougat Brown – XL (1)



PK vest (women’s) – $75.00

  • Chocolate – L (1)



Esperado Trevor Vest (men’s) – $75.00

  • Navy – S (1)
  • Black – S (2), M (1)


Esperado Fly Bonnet – $25

  • Wh/Br/DGr (3)



Esperado scarf – $25.00

  • Green (1)


Esperado Socks

  • pair Assorted colors  $5.00
  • 3-pack Assorted colors  $10.00


Animo Italia

Animo Norche breech – $250

  • Gray – IT38/US24, IT44/US30  


Animo Lilith show jacket – $400

  • Navy – IT44


Animo Lorina show jacket- $400

  • Black – IT38


Animo Labanda show jacket- $400

  • Black – IT42  


Animo Larosa show jacket – $400

  • Navy – IT42 (2), IT44  

TRM Blog Hop: Before and After

Cathryn at That Red Mare posted this blog hop yesterday and it immediately grabbed my attention. Who doesn’t love a good transformation? Honestly though, I don’t think Henry is your typical super impressive “before and after”. He came to me in good health (albeit FAT and with no muscle from having sat in a pasture for over a year) and he’d already jumped a little bit, so his early education went by pretty quickly. His is not a particularly radical transformation, but it’s still kind of fun to look back.

This was Henry on Day 1 when he arrived in Texas in December 2013. So fat that his butt jiggled when he walked. He’s always been cute though – the long mane and shaggy coat couldn’t hide that.


He’s a bit more fit these days… looks more like a event horse than a pasture puff. I think he went from cute to handsome.


This is one of our very first jumps, also December 2013. He was a little bit more green and careful in those days, but his style has always been good.


Now he just jumps much bigger things.



Ah, but what about the DERP? Well, absolutely nothing has changed in that regard. On Day 1 he was 100% derp…


and almost 3 years later – still derping so hard.


I started with a pretty nice horse. Now I just have a more fit, more educated one.

Maybe Sadie is a a little bit more fun as a before and after, since… ya know… going from a baby to an adult is a lot more drastic?

Sadie at 2 weeks, when she was still cute and tiny.


Sadie at 2 years, still looking a little gangly. (Yes, I’m skipping over the yearling part. No one wants to re-live that, especially not me.)


Sadie at 3 years, at her first little schooling show.


Her first show over fences, at 4 years. Cantering over the Baby Green jumps like NBD, because teeny things have always been a joke to her.


At 5, when she decided she’d rather be a jumper and the sticks got bigger.


And then last year, finally mature at age 8, and with her first baby.


Still hard to believe that my tiny little fuzzball is now a giant mare!

Stick a needle in it

Massage, chiropractic, aquatred, cold saltwater spa… Henry is no stranger to complementary therapies. Yet one thing he hasn’t tried, and in fact I’ve never tried on any of my horses, is acupuncture. No particular reason, really, I’ve just never had access to it or any personal experience with it.


My vet is a skeptic of “woo-woo” (his words) type things in general. Chiropractic, laser therapy, all that stuff tends to get an eyeroll from him. I appreciate the skepticism in a lot of ways, but I’ve seen enough “woo-woo” things work really well that I tend to be pretty open-minded about trying stuff. I’m all about finding ways to make the pony more comfortable.

bridleless derp

I’ve read a lot about acupuncture, all the different types, and what it can supposedly help with. Take a spin around a few different horse forums and you’ll find opinions ranging from “total hogwash” to “miracle cure”. As with all things, I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in between and depends a lot on the particular horse and practitioner.

A couple years ago we had a vet move into our area that specializes in acupuncture and chiropractic. I put her on my radar as one to watch and see how she fared, and thus far it seems like she’s been pretty successful with it. I know a few people that have used her and seen good results.  I was thinking that maybe it’s time to make a chiropractic appointment for Henry anyway (I’m sure he’s probably a bit out of whack from the stall rest/gimping that has happened lately) so on a whim I emailed this vet for her rates.

noble derp

It isn’t cheap for chiro plus acupuncture from a vet, but I’m thinking about trying it anyway. My curiosity is starting to get the best of me.

Has anyone else used acupuncture, either on yourself or your horse? If so – opinions? If not – would you, or wouldn’t you?