Weekend Update

Yeah, horse show happened yesterday, but I need a day to gather myself before I can write all that up, so a few quick “what’s up in my world” updates:

Image result for weekend update biden
I only used this picture from Weekend Update because ❤ Joe Biden and cried actual tears because of him TWICE last week

First – dog update. As I mentioned last week, Stewie had not been feeling so well. The only thing we found amiss in his vet appointment was a low grade fever and elevated white blood cell count. He came home with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, instructions to bring him back if he seemed worse, and a follow-up appointment for this Weds to recheck him. He’s steadily gotten better at night (he’s not shaking for hours at a time), although he’s still not eating very well (granted, he’s never been a particularly great eater anyway). He wants MY food, and treats, but not his own food.

I bought my plane ticket and Rolex tickets last week, so I’m officially GOING. If there’s some kind of blogger meetup happening, lets talk details. I’m so excited!


I finally paid off the Devoucoux! That didn’t take FIVE MONTHS or anything. Thanks, Henry’s giant stack of fall vet bills and newly acquired, very expensive acupuncture addiction.

Because I am obviously so very good at adulting (see above), I rewarded myself with a pair of “oilslick” spurs. They were on sale, shut up.


And last but not least, a few Sadie pictures. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pregnant mare who’s belly was so perfectly round.

I wish they’d quit jostling their babies

She still thinks she’s fancy though!


More tomorrow, when I’m more awake.

The Not-Show No-Prep

Remember what my main goal for 2017 was? Ah, that’s right: to chill the eff out about being so insanely competitive with myself. So we have our move up horse trial this weekend and I’ve decided to take the “Oh, it’s no big deaaaaaal, it’s fiiiine, not even worriiiieeed, I’ll pack laterrrr…” nonchalant approach. Because if I pretend it’s NBD, my myriad neuroses seem to be able to keep themselves contained.

Image result for i'm calm gif

Normally I’m the queen of pre-show lists. I have lists of lists. Pages of shit to do, when to do it, what to pack, things planned down to the minute, etc. It’s part of what feeds my crazy Type A control freak obsession. This time I’m taking the opposite approach.

so chill

My prep this week has been bare minimum. I learned my dressage test on Wednesday and ran through it once (technically we rode it twice last year, so it’s not totally unfamiliar to me) and I’ll run through it another time or two tomorrow. I cleaned up Henry’s tail and gross fetlock hair when I clipped him a couple weeks ago, so I haven’t really touched him at all. He got new shoes yesterday, but that’s about it. My tack will get wiped down tomorrow but I’m not taking it all apart and conditioning it to perfection. I guess I might polish my boots (wearing the brown ones, because so casual) and I’ll pull out my nice helmet. I’m even using my blue “schooling” Majyk Equipe XC boots instead of our fancy “show whites”. So far the only thing I’ve packed is my stud kit, in case it rains. Normally an event takes up every waking thought for at least a week beforehand, but I’ve managed to prevent myself from devoting that much thought to it.

important things

But really, we’re approaching this as one big schooling opportunity. I’m not braiding. I’m not wearing a watch on XC. I’m not even wearing a show coat. These are very weird concepts to me, but I think they’ll help my brain remember that we’re here to get experience, not to compete. The goal is to not fall off and not get eliminated. If I can like… stay chill and not ride like a drunk monkey, that would be a bonus. Aiming high over here. But after a couple years of always feeling lots of pressure, and sometimes crumbling under it, I have to admit it’s pretty liberating.

Yes, I am so free.

It’s nice to not be like “I have to get under X in dressage if I want any chance of placing, and I def can’t afford a rail blah blah blah, and I have to get my qualification for X”. I do not give two shits. We can finish dead freaking last… as long as we finish, I’ll be thrilled. Big fat whatevs. We’re just gonna do our best and have fun with it.

Image result for i'm calm gif

That’s how I’m playing it anyway. Gotta somehow make this attitude channel all the way through the weekend. Oh, and if the rain could hold off until after we run XC, that’d be great too.


Dude… wtf is up with this weather lately?

First, it was 18 degrees last week. IN TOWN. It just doesn’t get that cold in Austin. Then the past couple days its been 80+. Such weird weather this year, constantly pinging back and forth from one extreme to the other. Freezing pony, sweating pony, freezing pony, sweating pony. Or really: psycho pony, lazy pony, psycho pony, lazy pony. I think we’re all living in constant fear of colic.

On Saturday I bundled up and went out to do trot sets once it warmed up to 32 degrees. Five layers. That’s how many it takes for a Texan to not turn into a popsicle when it’s freezing outside. Thank goodness for my heavy SSG winter gloves, I really have no idea how you northerners do it. Henry was quite lit, so while I was trying to do trot sets, it was really more of leap/squeal sets. The next day it was in the 50’s, and he was back to normal.

Then on Monday it was SUPER WINDY, and Henry was seeing demons. The same field that he rides around literally every day was terrifying, to the point where he was just standing there staring at random things and trembling. He just about vacated the premises when a bird flew out of a tree. He’s typically not that spooky, so that was a weird and super irritating day.


By Tuesday it was 80 degrees and Henny said it was way too hot to work. I had to kick him just to keep him walking, and he considered most of my aids to be suggestions.

I wish my left hand would quit trying to run off and join the circus
Too hot. Go away.

Despite the weird weather, I’m glad that I’ve at least been able to ride. Temps for the next couple weeks look much more stable (60-80, ftw) but there’s also a lot of rain in the forecast. As long as we don’t have any more 18 degree mornings, I can live with it. Y’all keep that below freezing shit up north, please.

Poor Little Doge

I dropped Stewie (my 12yo Jack Russell mix) at the vet this morning. In the past week he’s had several nights where he’s been having what I would call anxiety attacks in the middle of the night.


I talked to the vet at the end of last week when it started and they suggested Benadryl to help zonk him out a bit, and hopefully it would pass. While he’s always been kind of a high energy, anxious type of dog (because JRT) he’s never done anything like this before. Poor guy wakes me up in the middle of the night trembling from head to toe, panting and cowering. Sometimes I’ve been able to get him to settle back down, but other times not so much. By morning he’s okay again. One night last week the Benadryl worked, then over the weekend it didn’t.

That time I tossed a treat at Quinn and he didn’t notice when it landed on his back. Stewie noticed…

Sunday night he woke me up at 1 and neither of us ever went back to sleep. A few hours were consumed with me googling this, reading about other people and dogs who have had this same problem. Stewie has been fairly normal during the day, and sleeps for most of it. That makes one of us. Luckily Monday was a good day and he was 100% normal, and slept through the night just fine with the assistance of more Benadryl (thank god, because I was so tired I was asleep before 9). Last night though he woke me up again at 3.

He’s been my best bro for all 12 of his years

All I could think the other night while I was trying to get him to settle was “I have no idea how people have babies. Who could do this for like a year straight without jumping off a cliff? And at least the dog isn’t screaming in my ear, he’s just sitting here vibrating.”. On the plus side, I’ve had so much extra reading time (in the middle of the night) that I’ve finished 3 books since last week.


So I dropped Stewie at the vet this morning (with an entire page of handwritten notes and a day by day record, because Crazy Dog Mom) to get a thorough checkup. Hopefully they can come up with an explanation and/or send him home with some drugs so that we can keep this from happening again. They didn’t seem particularly alarmed and said this was actually pretty common (google agreed). But poor dude, I feel so bad for him. It makes me sad to see him like that and be unsuccessful in all of my attempts to help him. I’ve been trying to deny the fact that he’s getting old, but little things have slowly been cropping up over the past year. 😦 Fingers crossed we can get this one figured out.

German Shepherd

Well guys, we’re getting down to the wire. Sadie officially passed the 270th day of gestation last Friday – the last stop on our fun little timeline before Little Nugget is a fully developed foal.

He’s now approximately the size of a big German Shepherd (this timeline is more for stock horses than warmbloods so ours are a bit bigger), and he has a coat now, and a tail. The markings (If any… come on, give a girl a stripe or something.) are all visible now. We already know he’s going to be bay or brown, so that’s less of mystery. Mighty Magic has lots of white but Sadie has very little and her line seems to suppress it, so we’ll see who wins the battle of the markings.

So far, everything looks good. Michelle has been on “belly watch” for a couple months already, observing their activity. All of them seem plenty active, and one day when she put her head up to Sadie’s belly Little Nugget kicked her in the head. That sounds about right. Soon the mares will start getting super huge and more uncomfortable and then belly watch will turn into foal watch. Hopefully Sadie doesn’t take her angst out on the barn walls quite as much this time (eh… sorry ’bout all the teeth marks on your nice barn, Michelle…).


Sadie’s “due date” is March 17, but of course horses don’t really have due dates in the same way that humans do. That date is just based on the average gestation of 340 days… anything from 320 to 360 is considered average. Last time Sadie went 330ish days, so we’ll see what she feels like this time. Things are about to start getting real, and anxiety levels are about to start going through the roof.

Next stop on our fun timeline: an actual foal! We’re close. We’re really close. So… holy crap, this is it y’all. The home stretch, after two years of planning.

Image result for not panicking gif

For those who have asked how Merlin is doing – he’s super! He’s had a couple of “pre-k” lessons (learning to wear surcingle, boots, and a little w/t on a lunge line) and reports from his owner and trainer are that he’s been super. He’s quiet, easy, and a quick learner. Also he’s a total giant already at 18 months. Granted, so was his sire. Super interested to see how the Mighty Magic compares to big brother since they have very different sires!

Logo Contest WINNERS!

Sorry I’m a little late with this! There were so many good logos submitted that it took a little longer to get everything sorted and ready to roll. Many thanks to all of you who sent logos to Michelle… the entries were a little slow to start but by the end she had over SIXTY to choose from! Picking a winner was no easy task, I’m sure. So, without further ado, the winning logo is:


There were several top contenders, but in the end it came down to a matter of branding. What was the most versatile logo that went best with the vision of Willow Tree Warmbloods as a business? What would embroider well on a hat or jacket, translate well to a computer screen, and look right at home on the saddle pad of a Grand Prix horse? In the end, this logo (which is Lissa jumping over a willow branch, with a round shape that hints at something global or international) gave WTW a logo that serves as easily recognizable branding for the business. And if you’re into the symbolism side of things, willow trees are known for being able to take root and grow in pretty much any environment just from planting a single branch, so the “hidden meaning” here is super cool – like each WTW horse is it’s own branch, ready to take root and grow into something marvelous. It’s simple but poignant, and truly representative of the WTW vision.

We also picked two runners-up to receive gift cards from Riding Warehouse! Congrats to the creators of these two logo concepts:



Just to give you an idea of exactly how hard this decision was, here’s just a tiny sampling of the entries submitted:


Britt, Leslie, and Carrie, you should all have received emails this morning about your prizes. Many thanks again to everyone for your time and effort and participation!

And of course, extra special thanks to all of the companies that pitched in and made it possible for us to offer such an awesome prize pack: Lund Saddlery, Teddy’s Tack Trunk, Hamer & Clay, and All Ears Selfie app!


Review (and giveaway): Lund Saddlery Figure 8 bridle

The current item on the docket for review from Lund Saddlery is their Figure 8 bridle!

Despite his facial expression, Red was a willing participant in this review.

If you haven’t read any of my previous reviews of the Lund pieces, check out the 5 point breastplate, the flash bridle and rubber reins, and the 3 point breastplate. The leather on the Figure 8 bridle is the same as on all the other Lund pieces, so I won’t repeat myself too much there. In short, it’s a nice sturdy Sedgewick leather with soft padding, fancy stiching, and sheepskin on the nose. Like all of the Lund bridles, it has a contoured, padded monocrown to provide extra comfort for the horse. The styling is very classic, and the sheepskin is fluffy enough to provide some comfort without being Way Too Fluffy (a personal pet peeve of mine).

After I got my initial impressions of the bridle, I passed it off to my trainer for her to try out. She’s been using it on one of her young horses, and it even made the trip with them to AEC last fall. It’s sturdy enough for everyday use but it still cleans up nicely for shows, which makes it a great buy if you don’t want to have to purchase a separate show bridle.


As far as sizing goes, if you have a horse that is typically in-between sizes, it might be a good idea to size down. Red is a pretty average sized thoroughbred and Trainer had to punch some holes in the noseband for him. The full works, but a cob might have worked better. Otherwise all the straps are nicely proportioned and it sits well on his face.

As with all of the Lund pieces, the Figure 8 bridle is priced very reasonably at $215 CAD (approx $159 USD).

Lund Saddlery is giving away a free Figure 8 bridle to one lucky winner this month! Click here to enter.

PS – I have not forgotten about the logo contest! We got so many entries there at the end that in order to make sure everyone’s gets looked at thoroughly and fairly, they’re taking the weekend to decide. I’ll have contest results bright and early Monday morning, I promise! Sorry for the slight delay.

Putting out feelers: is this finally the year?

The one and only time I ever attended Rolex was in 2001. It was actually the first event I ever went to, having grown up in h/j land. It was a big part of the reason why I decided to be a working student for an eventer after high school; I remember just being completely blown away by the sport (and the horse park, and Lexington in general). Giltedge won that year, but I fell in love with the fiery little Jacob Two Two and eventing itself.

And yet, I haven’t ever been able to make it back to Rolex. I was just too damn poor for most of my 20’s (plus severely airplane-averse), and for the last couple years pretty much every spare penny has gone to my show budget. But since this year is a more relaxed year for us, and certainly very flexible, maybe it’s finally time to go back.

I’ve already looked at tickets and am thinking about flying into Nashville and then driving down with Hillary. Here’s what I really need to know to get my planning started:

  • Who else is thinking of going?
  • Things I must see/do/eat/drink?
  • Stuff I should bring?
  • People I must meet?
  • Shenanigans and debauchery that I must participate in?

You know… all the important stuff. Let’s plan!

Fancy Show Horse

We were lucky enough to have some seriously nice weather here in Texas between Christmas and New Years. Temps were mostly in the 70’s and it alternated between sunny and overcast. It climbed up into the 80’s a few days, and one day it stayed down in the 50’s, but still – it did not suck. What did suck was how sweaty and gross my ridiculously hairy horse got on those 80 degree days.

Christmas bath

I did Henry’s Irish clip in October, and pretty much all of that hair had grown back with a vengeance. Like, no kidding, his clipped part was hairier than an un-clipped Halo. For a horse that already has a heat tolerance issue, this meant it was time for haircut #2. I toyed with the idea of giving him his usual hunter clip (leaving the legs and a saddle patch) because it looks better, but I’ve actually really liked how the Irish clip has worked for us so far this season. Yes, it’s a little goofy looking, but it keeps his back and hind end warmer and requires less aggressive blanketing. Practical Me doesn’t often win out, but she did this time.

Behold the goofy creature with a goofy clip

It looks especially goofy because his unclipped part is SO HAIRY  (we’re talking 3″ butt and leg hairs when he’s all fluffed up), and because of, well… his ears.

Much Fancy

He will let me clip all the way up to the base of his ears with no complaint, but even a draft horse dose of tranqs plus a twitch (I know this from previous experience) aren’t enough to take the fight out of him when it comes to his ears. I have no interest in clipping the hair out of the inside of his ears, but it’d be nice to get all that (gross curly) hair off the backs/sides. Alas, I decided a long time ago that it’s just not worth the fight with this horse. If Henny wants his hairy squirrel ears that badly, he can keep them.

We like to say that the hair is required to keep the hamster in his brain warm. Or maybe all that hair keeps his brain from falling out of his ear. Either way, we can all agree that this is exactly why ear bonnets are a life necessity. Just stick a pretty little hat over them and nobody ever has to know about the mess underneath.

TA-DA, instant fancy show horse!

Not Ruined. Thank God.

After last week’s fairly shitty solo jump school at home, I was in dire need of another jumping lesson.

Not gonna lie, I was having one of those “oh god, did I ruin my horse in one ride” mini panic attacks. Short version of what happened a week before: I just could not get my canter right, which made all of my distances total shit (as in, I missed really badly several times in a row), which finally made Henry mad enough to stop. While I definitely deserved it, I still tapped him twice on the butt for stopping at a little 3′ vertical. His job is to jump the jumps as long as it’s safe to do so, and he could have, he’d just gotten tired of my monkey riding. Fair enough, I had that coming, but you still have to do your job even when I don’t do mine.

After that he came unglued enough to where I had to drop my whip completely, because he was cantering in place and wanting to run THROUGH everything. Apparently I seriously hurt his feelings with two butt taps. Duly noted. A few days later I went out and cantered a couple of jumps on a circle until all seemed fairly okay, but he was still kinda grumpy in general. Feelings, he has so many of them.

delicate flower

So naturally I spent all week internally freaking out about having ruined my perfect saintly horse. That’s normal, right? When we got to Trainer’s place on Friday I filled her in on what had happened the weekend before. She just kind of giggled at our ridiculousness (I know I’m crazy, this is not news to me) and set up a vertical with canter poles to help address our rhythm issue. After hopping through it both ways and steadily raising the height (while she said the word “balance” approximately 1500 times) things were clicking again.

Since we seemed pretty much back to normal by that point (Henny grudge: over), she put the jumps up to 3’3″-3’6″ and made a course for us.

Other than the fact that I really could not make myself wait to the base of the barrel vertical when I didn’t see the distance, it was actually fine. At some point I will learn that just because it’s bigger, I don’t have to attack it when I don’t see anything. But uh… at least I’m not pulling all the way to the base? Maybe eventually I’ll find the middle ground. Maybe. Let’s just take this as a small victory.

The good news is, Henny was very very rideable and totally back to his normal self, thank god. I didn’t ruin him, I just pissed him off and we had to visit Trainer for some relationship counseling (aka reminding me how to ride). Crisis averted. Ah, the life and times of an amateur horse…