Runnin’ runnin’

Remember how I freaked out there for a minute after Henry went to rehab and agreed to run a half marathon? Yeah… that happened.

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It’s still two months away, and it’s probably a good thing that I entered it because otherwise I doubt I’d still be running much. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely needed the exercise. I’m stronger than I was before, and I’ve lost a little bit of weight (kind of. if you squint.). I’ve always had a huge mental block with running; I just don’t like it. Even when I was heavy duty into triathlons the running part was still like torture. Swimming, awesome. Cycling, even better. Running? Just effin’ kill me. So this time around I’ve tried a different approach – keeping it casual.

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First: the schedule. I’ve been sticking mostly to a 3x per week schedule, trying to avoid running two days in a row. I need that day off in between so that it doesn’t start feeling like a job, and it helps keep my compartment syndrome in check. Sometimes I run 4 days a week, if I had to cut one short because of time or something, but 3 has been pretty standard. I do two weekday morning runs that are 3 miles (aka 2 cupcakes), and then I do a long run on a weekend morning. Right now the long run is at 6 miles (aka 5 cupcakes).

the only running statistics that I’m interested in

The second vital part: I don’t track my pace… I have a few set routes that I know the distance of (a couple different 3 mile loops, and a 6 mile loop), but I don’t turn on runkeeper or mapmyrun to track it. I just can’t. I’m so overly competitive (yes, even with myself) that I have the most amazing ability to take the fun out of literally everything. And there’s already basically no fun to be had in running. I know how long each run is taking me anyway, total minutes-wise, so it’s not rocket science to have a decent idea of what my pace is. I’m not worrying about negative splits or heartrate or any of that other overly analytical crap though… I just run however the hell I feel like running in the moment. It’s liberating.

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And the last, but equally vital piece: I run alone, in private. I’m up early so that I can run in the dark, before dawn, just me and our big black dog. I don’t want people looking at me, I don’t want to be forced to make eye contact and say good morning to anyone, I don’t want to talk to anyone, and I sure as hell don’t want to run with anyone. Leave me alone to suffer in peace with Twenty One Pilots and Bastille, please. I need to pretend like I still have some damn dignity.

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I burned myself out on all this stuff when I was doing triathlons, making myself crazy with my obsession with the numbers. Always trying to be faster and faster and faster. At the end of the day though, running isn’t my number one thing, I’m not that good at it, and I don’t particularly care that much. My new approach is a little bit unconventional but it seems to be working so far, since I’ve actually managed to keep up with it and don’t hate it yet.

I do think that it’s helped my riding though, especially while Henry has been recuperating. I’m still strong and reasonably fit, which has definitely helped. Will I actually keep running after the half is over? Who knows… we’ll see what happens in the next couple months…

Guess who came over to play?

Herrlerr!!!! Well… and Bobby too, I guess.

The boys!

It rained a lot last week but the field at my barn dries exceptionally fast. The soil is a bit sandier than most areas around here, which seems to make all the difference. Because of all the rain, Halo hasn’t gotten to gallop for a while (he has this gross thing where he has to be able to clear his nose out really well all the time or he starts to reek of rotten food. Tie back surgery issues. Long story.) and Bobby said he was starting to get really stinky, so after clearing it with the barn owner I invited him over to ride. Henry can’t gallop yet, but he can supervise.

Bobby requires adult supervision

We trotted a few laps with Halo (Henry can’t keep up with him, even trotting), cantered a slow lap, and then hung back and watched him fly around the field. The footing really was perfect – just soft enough to be springy, but not so soft as to make any divots. Halo seemed thrilled. I’m not willing to say that I missed Bobby (gross… although I know for sure he’s missed me) but it was fun to have someone to ride with again. Henry and Halo slipped right back into their “wise older brother vs annoying younger brother” roles without missing a beat.


On Sunday I went out in the arena and set up two tiny jumps… some barrels, and a 2’6″ vertical with placing poles. Not much, but our first fences for like two months! I cantered him over both of them a few times (he basically started cantering in place when he realized we were jumping) and called it quits. At this point I live day by day with my fingers crossed, hoping that he stays sound.

Today he gets to go into his own normal sized paddock for the first time. The turnouts are totally dry now, and he’s been well-behaved in his round pen turnout, so everything is as ready as it’ll ever be. Hopefully he can keep his brain glued in and continue to behave himself.

Holy crap, it’s IN the barn!

But, you know… this IS Henny we’re talking about, so we’ll see. Please stay out of trouble, horse.

The stall sign, and what it means

One of the first things I noticed about the new barn is that several horses have wooden stall signs hanging on their stalls. I’ve always liked the wooden signs that are handmade or handpainted… it might not look as uniform or professional as a traditional engraved plate, but there’s something very personal, genuine, and loving about them. It’s easy to buy something, anyone can do that… it’s a lot harder put your heart and soul and time into something that you’ve made with your own two hands. Maybe it’s because my mom used to paint a lot when I was a kid, and was always crafting, so stuff like that reminds me of her in a way and holds a lot of sentimental value.


I painted my first stall sign a decade ago. I was trying to come up with Christmas present ideas for all my barn friends but of course, as a 20-something horse owner, I was low on cash. I went to Hobby Lobby, bought some wooden plaques, a couple different paint colors, and spent the next few days handpainting those things in our barn colors. It was a labor of love for sure, because I soon found out that I was not a naturally gifted painter. After much cursing and even more trial and error, I was finally done.

While I was happy with the results, I swore up and down that I would never make another stall sign unless it was a) for myself, b) for a horse that I had no intention of ever selling. I’ve owned a lot of horses since then, and I’ve stuck to that. The only horse that has ever had a “fancy”, handpainted-by-me-with-love stall sign is Sadie.


So when I walked into the new barn and found myself smiling a little at all those signs, obviously handmade by people who loved the horse inside that stall, I started thinking about Henry. I had a lot of time to ponder our relationship while he was away at rehab… he was never meant to be a keeper. He was a project, a flip, something to keep me busy. Yet we all know that he’s a lot more than that by now.


I was talking to a friend a couple days later about his rehab process… how it’s gone so far, and what we still have left to do. I explained how I was taking the longest, most conservative route that the vet laid out for me, and what that entails. If it means we miss horse shows and clinics and all sorts of other fun things, so be it. This horse owes me nothing. He’s been giving me 110% of himself since day 1, and it’s my job to do right by him. And there it was, with those words: my lightbulb moment.


I went the very next day and bought a wooden plaque, some paint, and new paintbrushes. Last night I spent two hours (I told you I’m not very good at this) painting his stall sign. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s very “us”. Other people might look at it and think it’s silly, or childish, and that’s okay. But I hope at least a few people are able to see what it means to me: the sign of a horse that is truly loved, truly special, and isn’t going anywhere for a long, long time.

Review: All Ears app

This is a fun one… and it’s cheap!


When the creator of the All Ears app contacted me a couple weeks ago on Instagram asking if I’d like to try the app, I almost didn’t reply. I’m kind of an old lady curmudgeon when it comes to apps. I don’t like the clutter on my phone, so I don’t download very many, and while I thought the idea behind this app was cute, I didn’t really think it would work.

Basically All Ears is a photo and video app that plays sounds while you have the camera up to catch your horses ears for photos. It’s called a “selfie” app, but it works either way. I don’t really do selfies, so I’ve used it primarily to just take regular photos. There are currently 29 different sounds (and it says more will be added), you can take photos or video, in portrait or landscape. and you can play the noises one time or set them to play continuously.

some of the different sounds
press and hold the button for a particular sound to select continuous mode if you’re taking several photos

Ah, but does it work? Amazingly enough, it works REALLY well. So well that I can’t really stop playing with it because I get such a kick out of it, and I’ve told all my friends to download it. It’s a really basic interface that is easy to figure out, easy to use, and has lots of options. I’ve played around with all the noises for Henry and found several in particular that he always responds to. He even neighed back to it one day, trying to figure out what kind of witchcraft had managed to trap a horse inside that tiny box.

two for one

Video of the app in use:

There are also squeaky toy and car key noises that work really well on my dogs (uh… except for the deaf one, obviously), making this app even more useful. I’ve gotten to where I take pictures of all of my animals through the All Ears app.

Stewie even pauses in the middle of murdering his monkey when I use the squeaky toy noise. Quinn remains blissfully deaf in the background.

I really wish I’d had an app like this while Sadie was growing up… it was impossible to get her ears up for photos. Usually lots of jumping up and down, bribery, and throwing things was required just to get one picture where she didn’t look like a bored mule. This is obviously way easier and it works a lot better. Technology, man.


The All Ears selfie app is $2.99 and can be downloaded from the App Store here. Normally I’m kind of a grump about paying for apps, but trust me, this is more than worth the 3 bucks just on entertainment value alone. It’s currently only available on iPhone but an Android version is coming soon. If you want to keep up with new releases and updates you can follow All Ears on facebook or on Instagram.

The only political post you’ll ever see here

There are a lot of things that I have felt in my 33 years as an American. Pride being the most common one… I am not the flag-waving, Constitution-thumping American that some of my friends are, but I have always been proud to be an American. Sure, sometimes I’ve been frustrated to be an American, or worried to be an American, but pride has always been the overwhelming majority. This morning I woke up with a totally different feeling: fear. Today I woke up feeling scared to be an American. As I set off on my morning run I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder, afraid of what it means to be a woman in Trump’s America.

Aside from fear, I also feel sorry… very deeply sorry. To all of my LGBTQ friends, to all of my Hispanic friends, to all of my African-American friends, to all of my Muslim friends, to all of my disabled friends, to all of my women friends, to anyone that has felt discriminated against or alienated by the Trump campaign and it’s affects: I am so sorry. I’m sorry that we as a nation have chosen to condone and even, somehow, reward this kind of behavior and exclusionary rhetoric. To all of my foreign friends who tried to warn us: I’m sorry we didn’t listen.

But if there’s one other thing that has been instilled in me as an American, it is hope. I refuse to give in to cynicism, and instead choose to proceed with skepticism. I am skeptical that a campaign driven by insults, lies, and fear mongering can result in something different, but I am hopeful that it will. I hope that the man we have elected into office realizes the gravity of his words and actions, for now they have the potential to do irreparable harm. The fear and dread that have now taken root via a knot in my stomach are real, but I am hopeful that I’m wrong. I hope that Mr. Trump is a wildly successful president. I hope that I look back on this post a year from now and feel silly for having written it. And mostly I hope that despite what so many of us are feeling now, we are ultimately able to prove that Americans are still inherently good, still unfailingly decent, and still compassionately kind to one another. We need it now more than ever.

Christmas Wish List

It will probably not surprise anyone to learn that I pretty much always keep a running list of items I have my eye on. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to a Riding Warehouse wishlist, making it really easy for anyone to pop in there and find a gift for me for whatever occasion, since apparently I’m really hard to shop for. But of course there are a lot of extra special things that catch my eye throughout the year… things that I pine for but can’t really justify shelling out the money for at the time.


Like some new breeches. I actually feel justified on this one since I cut my breeches collection waaaaaaaaay down this year. I’ve only got 3 pairs of regular schooling breeches (only 2 of which I like), plus the two pairs of For Horses tights (which are for summer). I need a new pair of navy and I want hunter green too… I love my RJ’s but also want to try the Romfh Sarafina that everyone is raving about so I can compare the two. Thus – green RJ, navy Saraphina. I was actually really close to buying a pair this past weekend and then my truck registration, trailer registration, and USEA renewal all came in the mail on the same day. Neeeeevermind.


I’ve been lusting after this Cavalleria Toscana shirt since I saw it at AETA last January. I forgot about it for a little while until I was in the Luxe EQ trailer a couple months ago and saw another CT shirt that was very similar to it. Still gorgeous. Still love it. Still want it. Still need it.


That weekend in the Luxe EQ trailer was also when I fell in love with this particular Duftler belt. I have more belts than one person could possibly ever wear, but it’s so pretty. I came really close to buying it then, and now I wish I had because I still want it.


A new girth has been on the list for a while. Mine is a cheap ETT find that I got a couple years ago and while it’s still totally functional, it’s looking pretty worn and ugly. I was starting to look for a new one when I saw photos of the upcoming Lund Saddlery girths… so much navy. Now I’m holding out for one of those.


A new XC pad has been on my list for a while too. I love how the Ecogold pads look, but I still want to use my Ogilvy half pad, and layered on top of the Ecogold I’m worried that it would make everything too bulky. I don’t love the shape of the Ogilvy eventing pad quite as much, but I know that I love everything else about their pads, plus I can layer it with my half pad. I’m thinking we need #hennythingispossible embroidered on it, too, because I’m a nerd.


So basically I just need approximately 3 wheelbarrows full of money for a Christmas. That should do it.

What’s on your Christmas List?

The First Week

True to form, Henry seems to have settled in just fine at the new place. He might be the weirdest horse on the planet, but he’s definitely a good traveler, which I’m really thankful for.


I got him all settled in on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday I hopped on. We pretty much just walked the perimeter of the giant hay field since the ground was still a little bit hard from how dry it’s been lately, but I just could not resist taking this giant green space for a spin. Plus Henry’s shoes were barely hanging on, so we couldn’t do much more than walk anyway.

The farrier came out the next day (thankyousomuch for making a special trip just for us) and got his feet all fixed up, plus it rained about 1.25″. I wandered back out into the field the following day and it was perfection. Just soft enough to be springy, but not so soft that we were leaving divots. Since his feet were fixed now, we trotted a lap both ways (I LOVE the little hill way in the back of this pasture, it’s so hard to find hills around here!), then I let him canter. He proceeded to try to run off with me (not that Henry runs particularly fast) and buck me off (not that Henry actually bucks), yet somehow, in the midst of all this spectacular flailing, he reached down and snatched a bite of tall grass. Henny is back, y’all, and I think he’s feeling just fine.

He made this face the whole time he was getting his feet done

We’ve also been wandering around the property meeting all the various creatures. I have yet to be able to convince him to walk within 50′ of the baby cows (aka moo-demons) but he seems enthralled with the miniature donkey. Every time it brays he stands at full attention and stares at it. He’ll drag me over to it while he’s grazing but stop about 15′ away and just watch it. He can’t figure out this tiny mystical long-eared creature.

staring at said mini-donk
it’s very friendly

On Saturday I clipped him, because I already officially Cannot with his hairy self. I did opt for a chaser clip (or Irish clip, depending on who you ask) this time instead of his normal full clip. It looks a little goofy but I figured it’ll require a bit less blanketing and help keep his back/butt muscles a bit warmer, so practicality won out. At least for now.

now he’s 3 different shades of bay while he begs for cookies

It pretty much kept raining all weekend, so we were stuck riding in the arena. It’s only half covered, but the good thing is that it’s all fine sand, so even after a huge deluge it’s still 100% rideable in there. In fact, I think it’s actually better when it’s soaking wet. The driveway gets muddy long before the arena does. We did a dressage ride on Saturday (spoiler alert: having a couple months off did not make either of us a dressage whiz) and then yesterday I set up some trot and canter poles to work over. He was super excited as soon as he saw the poles, probably hoping they meant it was jumping time, but not yet. Hopefully next weekend, assuming all continues to go well.

For now he’s still relegated to his big covered round pen turnout, but once it stops raining and dries up a bit, he gets to start going out in a paddock. Under heavy supervision, of course, because Henny.

Review: Lund Saddlery flash bridle and rubber reins

It’s a two for one review! Not just because it’s two products, but also because you get the opinion of two reviewers. I’ve been using the flash bridle and Trainer has been using the rubber reins (they went with her to AEC’s on the Lund figure 8 bridle) so I recruited her to do a write-up with her opinion of the reins.

I talked about the Lund Saddlery brand and leather in general in the last review, so I’m not going to keep repeating myself on those counts with every product from this line. Their strapgoods all use the same leather and hardware, so everything I said there applies here too. Too lazy to go back and read the other review? Short version: Sedgwick leather takes a little longer to break in but is extremely sturdy and long-lasting. The hardware is all solid SS, nothing cheap or plated.

Lovers of classic tack – the Lund line will make you happy. There are no gimmicks, no fads, just well-made items constructed from sturdy leather. I appreciate the general simplicity of the flash bridle, and the fact that while they have certainly made efforts to keep the line very classic-looking, they have not shied away from adopting modern design features when it comes to horse comfort. Specifically what is, IMO, the best feature of modern bridle design – the monocrown. The crownpiece is shaped to allow space for the ears, and it’s well padded for optimum comfort. The noseband and browband are fancy stitched, too, (h/j-ers, rejoice) which is a nice touch. I found the workmanship on the bridle to be just as good as on the five point breastplate; all the details are executed perfectly, with nary a stitch out of place.

I got Henry the full/horse size bridle. He’s usually in between cob and full, but his forehead is a fairly broad so I didn’t want to risk a too-small browband. Lund does have sizing charts for all of their tack, so if you’re unsure about what size to get, I would just ask for the chart and do some measuring. The fit on him is pretty good everywhere but the noseband… I had to punch two holes there to make it fit. Pretty typical for Henry.

❤ that padded monocrown

I have the same minor complaint about the color that I did with the 5 point breastplate (still not an Australian Nut fan on my horse) but the bridle is holding up nicely and has taken my abuse well. I accidentally left it in the bed of my truck for a few days (don’t ask) where it got rained on and then baked in 100+ degree temps, and it didn’t even look dirty when I finally rescued it. Generally I’m the type of person to lean more toward a flashy bridle as opposed to a more classically-styled one, but for day-to-day use I really appreciate a good, basic, sturdy bridle like this. It’s a true workhorse – one that can take abuse, is inexpensive, and still looks nice.

I like that the Lund bridles are sold without reins, so that you get to choose exactly what reins you want, or keep the reins you already have. There’s nothing more annoying to me than being forced to buy reins you don’t even like (I’m looking at you, laced reins) so IMO having the option is nice, plus saves you money if you already have reins you like and don’t want to buy more. Or, if you already have a bridle you like but need new reins, you can buy those separately as well.

When I asked Trainer for her thoughts on the Lund rubber reins, she really had nothing negative to say: “I am very pleasantly surprised. I have small hands and generally don’t like thicker reins. They are supple, yet sturdy. I’ve ridden in them with and without gloves, never gotten blisters from them, and do not find them to be at all slick. Even when the horses get very sweaty or the Texas humidity kicks in, they keep their tackiness. The fancy stitching is just an added bonus that my diva side loves!”

reins in action!

The retail price for the Lund Saddlery flash bridle is $200 CDN (approx $150 USD, depending on exchange rate) and the rubber grip reins are $90 CDN (approx $68 USD), making them suitable for just about any budget.

Want to win the flash bridle and rubber grip reins? Go here to enter the November giveaway!

TBT: Back in the Day

How’s this for a throwback Thursday? I got an email in my inbox from Photobucket the other day, which I totally forgot I even had. Ten plus years ago that was where I uploaded all my pictures, but it’s been forever since I even logged into that account. Looking back through all those albums was a trip! Here were a few of my favorites… I hope you find them as entertaining as I did.

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Quinn (the horse) 2006-ish. Never again, hunter ring. Never again.


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Max, the reason I can no longer go to horse auctions.


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Nova, around 2003 or 2004 I think. Those custom Journeyman chaps were my high school graduation present.


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Sadie and her “brother” Weston. Sadie was the UGLIEST weanling ever.


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Puddles, aka MsRidiculous, circa 1998. Fastest Children’s Eq round of the day, I’m sure…


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I’ve been a mane sniffer for a long time, y’all.


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Almost falling off Charlie when he tripped in the Training water at MCP in 2002. Back then Training just had a flagged entry and a small jump out. Level creep is real.


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17yo me, with Monte the Argentinian “warmblood”. Yes I had a tattoo choker.


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My first warmblood inspection – BWP in 2003


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Bo, the horse that first got me into the Danzig line (Henry is also a Danzig). Note that rad hunt cap.


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Sadie’s dam, just a few months before Sadie was born. Mule ears are genetic.


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That time I had a western horse…


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Sadie as a 2yo, learning the ways of the world with her first saddling.


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Sadie as a 3yo at her first show ❤


Riding the Dutch stallion Kinnaras



Rehab: Phase 2

Yesterday I took a half day off of work so I could move Henry to his new babysitter barn. Best case scenario, he still has another week or two until he can go back into regular turnout, and he has to be on soft footing for a couple months, plus a few other short term high maintenance care issues that add up to a lot of supervision, so I essentially had to find somewhere that can babysit him 24/7 for a while.

I have to give a huge shoutout and many thanks to Equicare for taking such good care of Henry for the past 5 weeks.  He looks fantastic, is happy, and didn’t lose a stitch of conditioning despite his layoff. It was icing on the cake when I showed up yesterday to pick him up and they had cleaned my trailer, bathed him, and had all of his stuff cleaned up and ready to go. Great service means a lot, and they went above and beyond several times. They’re really great, everyone local to me should check them out.


Henry loaded, traveled, and unloaded well, except for all that screaming for his Equicare BFF Chico, the mini horse. Really Henny, of all the available equines to fall in love with, it was the mini?

He’s getting eased back into turnout slowly, so he went in the round pen yesterday afternoon. I really expected him to be a lunatic but he mostly just walked around and then tried to make friends with the mares over the fence.

note nosy mares

I did make him trot a few laps for me so I could see him move, then left him alone to roll and hang out and stare off into the distance wide-eyed (he’s particularly good at that). Then I unloaded all of my stuff, which quickly took over the tack room. Sorry, everyone else. The sad part is, there’s a lot more at home and in my trailer, I just figured I’d start with the bare minimum.

my bare minimum takes up an entire corner of the tack room

He’s getting new shoes today, and then hopefully I can get on and see how he feels. It’s finally supposed to rain a little bit over the next week, which would be great. This barn has a HUUUUGE hilly (for Texas) hay field to ride in, and the soil is pretty sandy. If we could get some rain, it would be soft enough to ride out there. I’m beyond ready to get back into the swing of things, and I think Henry is too.

barn door vista for Emma