Full of Himself

Warning: there is some Bobby involved in this post. Is the title about Henry or is it about Bobby? I’ll let you decide.

Originally I wasn’t planning on having another jump lesson this past weekend. We had one the Saturday before, and then we XC schooled on Wednesday, and since I was still getting over the flu all week I didn’t ride much aside from those lessons. But Bobby basically begged me to tag along with him (he’s obsessed), and lord knows I always need more jump lessons, so I hauled Henry over to Bobby’s barn and then we carpooled from there. IE Bobby drove. Because, no shit, I am so tired of driving back and forth down that same 60+ mile stretch of highway.

but it’s worth it for this

Bobby and I were both kind of tired and run down, so we were relieved when Trainer took mercy on us and said that once we did it right, we could be done. Granted, with me, you never really know if that’ll be attempt #1 or attempt number #15. Consistent, I am not.

We warmed up and Henry was absolutely raring to go. Like… cantering in place. We hopped over a little vertical each way before we started courses and Henry literally took off an entire stride away from the jump, which caused fits of laughter from Bobby and Trainer (thanks guys, always helpful). At that point I chunked my whip. Then we did a little short course and again, I didn’t have much control over where we took off from. At that point I chunked my spurs. I honestly think Henry was still a little offended from the taps on the butt that he received on Wednesday. He’s a delicate flower like that, especially when it comes to getting in “trouble”. He always remembers. Once I ditched the whip and spurs he became much more reasonable.

Then Trainer put the jumps up a little and gave us a full course. First Henry and I stood and watched Bobby go:

He’s so well-dressed these days, y’all, it brings a tear to my eye. And no we didn’t wear basically the same outfit on purpose.

And I gotta say, it was probably one of the best courses I’ve ever seen Bobby do. Their stadium has come a really long way in the past year or so. White boy found rhythm. He even nailed it on the first try. Then it was my turn and somehow the stars aligned and I actually managed a decent effort on the first try too.

I felt like a total sack of potatoes up there, still really drained from being sick all week, but Henry packed me around and listened to my input, and I only made a couple of questionable decisions. For me, that was a fairly solid first attempt. Trainer was like “Oh My God, you guys can ride now!”. I thought she was going to retire on the spot. Yeah I know, what are the odds that both of us actually got it pretty right on the first try? We’ll see if that actually carries over to the show this weekend. I would not bet money on it, but hey maybe? Henry was so proud of himself he literally clicked his heels together over this jump:


After the lesson we took Henry out to the XC field to lunge him down the bank, but… that’s, uh, a story for tomorrow…

Double Digits

Guess who’s TEN today?!?! The one and only He’salmostsweet.

There’s nothing almost sweet about this face
Oh wait, you has carrots?
entire bag of carrots later…

Ten seems like such a legit age. He’s definitely not a baby anymore, and he’s not green. He’s totally a REAL horse. Like… he can wear a flash now without having a temper tantrum. Progress.

a real horse with a Birthday Boy ribbon

Granted, every day is still like the very first day he’s ever worn boots, as he frog-walks his way out of the crossties… (never change, Henny. Never change.)

It’s hard to believe that I’ve technically had him since he was 6… we’ve had so many fun adventures. I owe him a lot, and every day he teaches me something.

note carrot slobbers

This little weirdo of a horse definitely earned his way past “short term resale” and into the family. I hope we’re still only at the beginning of our journey, and here’s to many more birthdays!

Also, Henny, now that you’re TEN, can you please stop pretending to spook at the same round bale that we walk past every day? I mean… really… it’s food. Don’t tell me you’re scared of food. No one who’s seen your belly would ever believe that.

CONTEST: Baby Bets

What can I say, I just really love a good contest. Want to win a $50 gift card to Riding Warehouse or Luxe EQ? Of course you do. Read on!

Get it out!

In 2015 when Merlin was born we did something similar to this… whoever guessed closest to his foaling date/time won. And then of course there was the “gender reveal” with the fetal sexing for Lissa and Sadie. But this time we’re upping the ante! First of all, we’ve got 3 mares this time. Second of all, we’ve got a few more criteria:

– Foaling Date
– Foaling Time (doesn’t have to be to the minute accurate, just to the hour is fine – ie 2AM)
– Gender
– Color
– Face Markings
– Leg Markings (again doesn’t have to be specific – “one sock”, “none”, “four socks”, etc will work)

Everything you guess correctly will earn points. 10 points each for foaling date and time, and then 5 points each for gender, color, face markings, and leg markings… so each foal can potentially net you up to 40 points. Spread that over 3 mares and you’ve got a chance to rack up some points even if you don’t get a few things right. I’m hoping that helps level the playing field a bit from just guessing foaling date/time.

Image result for in utero horse

Submit your entries via a comment here on this post or you can message them to me on the blog’s facebook page. Just make sure you leave a link or an email address so I can contact you if you win! You don’t have to guess every category, but obviously the more you fill in, the more potential points you get. I’ll keep it all in a spreadsheet and add it up as we go along. Entries should look something like this, for example:

Sadie – 3/15, 8pm, colt, blood bay, no face marking, one sock
Lissa – 3/25, 2am, colt, chestnut, blaze, three socks
Laken – 4/1, 11pm, filly, dark bay, stripe, four socks

Easy peasy. Here’s their info:

Sadie and Lissa were obviously already fetal sexed (both as colts), so we have an idea of what gender their babies might be. However, fetal sexing is not totally accurate, so feel free to bet against the vet if you’d like. Laken’s fetal sexing appointment was inconclusive. Due dates are based on 340 days gestation. I’ve included pictures of all 3 combinations below and whatever info is important so you can make your best guesses.



What we know: In foal to Mighty Magic. Fetal sexed as a colt. Due 3/17. Foal guaranteed to be bay or brown.



What we know: In foal to Emerald van’t Ruytershof. Fetal sexed as a colt. Due 3/17.



What we know: In foal to Balou du Rouet. Laken was born chestnut. Due 4/3.


Entries close on 2/28! The contest winner will be revealed after the last foal is born. Obviously I have no idea exactly when that’ll be, so you’ll just have to stay tuned.

And yes, I’m mostly doing this to distract myself from going completely crazy with anxiety/anticipation over the next month. Help a sister out and enter.

Finding Holes

For a few weeks now it’s been on my calendar to take yesterday off for XC schooling. Trainer always teaches at the “local” (ie 2 hours from me) venue on Wednesdays, but since it’s often hard for me to get off work during the week, I rarely partake. But I have 32 vacation days to use this year, which will be damn near impossible, so I’m going to start taking a Wednesday every month or so. Even though I’ve been sick, I didn’t want to back out of my plan, so I loaded up and away we went.

I’m not really sick anymore, but I’m still super weak and get tired incredibly fast. I had to rest in the middle of tacking up, and was pouring sweat. Why was it almost 90 in February? By the time I got on I was already exhausted. We decided to keep it very short/simple and just head back to the Irish bank, the only element we’ve really had trouble with. As soon as I picked up my reins to warm up, Henry was raring to go. He knows what we do at this place.


After I was done getting dragged around the field warming up, we walked back into the woods, hopped over a few small fences, and then started breaking down the Irish bank.


First we walked up onto the Irish bank and just walked down the shorter drop repeatedly. Here’s where I should back up and say that down banks have always been Henry’s one Achilles heel on XC. The only 20 on his entire record is from a down bank at his very first show. He’s never really understood how to drop down them. Instead, he decided early on that the solution is to leap.

Exhibit A from 2 years ago

He’s gotten a bit better about the overdramatic leaping over time (and god have we ever worked on it ad nauseum) but he’s still never really properly dropped down a bank in his life.

showing Trainer his leaping skills last summer

It hasn’t really caused an issue before and I think we all figured that over time as he got less green, he’d figure it out. But this stupid Irish bank at Pine Hill really brings the problem front and center… I don’t know if it’s the fact that there’s an up bank and then immediately a down, or if it’s just the fact that the down bank is so huge, or the fact that there’s a log on top, but he does not like this thing. He really doesn’t want to jump off of it at all, and when he does, he kind of scrapes his feet down over the log and then pushes off, leaping WAY out. It’s incredibly awkward.

Even as we built it up slowly for him yesterday, from walking off the short one, to trotting off the short one, to putting the whole thing together (a million times) it became really clear that he just does not understand the question. He doesn’t understand and he’s not confident. Honestly, he’s never understood down banks, he’s just gotten by up to this point because no question he’s faced has been very big or complicated. We’ve found a pretty big gaping hole.

super good at jumping little tables, though…

So next time we’re going to just go out and lunge him over all the down banks, especially all the big ones with logs on top (which seem to especially throw his brain for a loop) and see if he can figure it out on his own, without a rider in the equation. Poor Henny. His hamsters just can’t compute this one. On the plus side, I was super happy with how good his gallop felt, especially to the right. That weird 4 beat, lateral crap is gone.

And yes, I almost died yesterday in the heat. I was soaked with sweat and totally drained by the time we were done. Never get the flu. I do not recommend.

Treat Yo Self (but only a little)

November through January are always extra tight months for me. Between the holidays, buying christmas presents, renewing memberships, the fact that Henry’s teeth/shots/coggins are due, my truck and trailer registration are due, etc etc it’s just a lot financially. Especially because we a) don’t usually know until the last minute whether we’ll get profit sharing at work or not b) if we DO get it, it’s not til Feb. The month of January is cringeworthy, at best. But if I come out the other side in one piece, I always try to “Treat Yo self” a tiny bit in February. Because, you know, good job for surviving the holidays for one more year.

Image result for treat yo self

Sometimes the Treat Yo-self: February Edition is something really fun, like a saddle or a trip to Belgium or a horse (that’s happened). This year since I seem to just perpetually drain my bank account straight into the vet’s, I had to take it down a notch (or ten). Which is fine because really, I have pretty much everything I could possibly need already.


These two are Peony’s fault. I’ve been wanting to grab a plain black Ogilvy dressage half pad for a while, and she was selling hers so that just… happened. Then she sold me a dressage baby pad too because hello it’s in Willow Tree’s barn colors! It will soon be adorned with their logo.

Ok technically I claimed these in the Black Friday BOGO from If the Bonnet Fits, but those orders weren’t fulfilled until after Christmas. I wanted a solid color bonnet with ombré trim, but couldn’t decide between navy and hunter. And hey, if you can’t choose one, just get both. Of course, I don’t have anything else hunter that’ll go with that bonnet, so now I need some things to coordinate, right? Just nod and say yes.

It’s been so long since I had a fully clipped horse, I’m a bit at a loss about this whole shedding thing. Teddys Tack Trunk to the rescue with the SleekEZ! Gotta try this thing out today now that temps are in the 80’s and piles of hair are falling off my horse.

You can see them if you look closely!


Yes those are oil slick spurs. Yes they’re ridiculous. But for some reason they also bring me lots of joy. Plus they were 50% off, and who can say no to that? For the same price as what it would have cost to have Color Tack paint my own spurs solid navy, I got a whole new pair of spurs in motherfreaking RAINBOW, y’all.

Henny got a fancy Polo Finish browband from Boy O Boy Bridleworks that matches my custom belt! This pattern is officially called the “Henry” and is available in yellow/navy, green/navy, red/navy. I’m going to have to do a full review on this browband once I’ve used it more – it’s so impressively made!

OK I didn’t buy this for myself but I felt like it really deserved to be included. Meet my new course walk/horse show bottle. Will it hold water or will it hold liquid courage? No one will know…

Netflix and Try Not to Die

I sometimes find myself wistfully thinking of how nice it would be to have one of those glorious Netflix-filled weekends spent in one’s pajamas that I hear so many good things about. Yeah, well, be careful what you wish for.

Image result for sick bed gif

As I mentioned yesterday, I was not feeling so good for my lesson. I woke up that morning feeling a bit off, and by the time the lesson was over I had a terrible cough and was starting to feel really depleted. After my lesson I was going to hang around for a bit, but just got to feeling like maybe I should go home… something didn’t feel right. About an hour from home, everything kept getting weirder. Almost like my brain was going fuzzy. I stopped at the convenience store to see if anything looked edible (I hadn’t eaten all day – no appetite) and grabbed a Gatorade and some crackers.

Image result for sick bed gif

That got me through, but by the time I pulled into the barn I knew I needed to get home ASAP. I tossed Henry’s blanket on, turned him out, unhitched my trailer, and was out of there in 5 minutes. I intended to stop on the way home for some drugs but things were getting fuzzier by the minute, so I skipped it. By the time I pulled into my neighborhood I realized that my skin felt really hot to the touch. As soon as I got in the house I took my temp and bam … 101 degrees. I normally run more like 97-something. I texted the SO and asked him to pick up literally any and every flu med from the store; it’s been going around work for a month or so and it looked like I was finally the lucky recipient.

shoutout to the real heroes of the weekend

For the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday I was basically plastered to the couch like a sad sack, taking as many meds as possible and watching Netflix. I am a huge fan of documentaries, so the one perk of this whole thing was that I was able to knock several off of my list:

For the love of Spock – Because I ❤ Leonard Nemoy.

13th – About the mass incarceration problem in the US, the commercialization of our prison system, and how it all ties to race. This is a MUST WATCH for every American.

Religulous – This is mostly Bill Maher beating down almost every major organized religion, and the concept of religion in general. He’s a little grating at times (and a little mean), but religious debate is super fascinating to me. It was mostly interesting to hear what people’s responses were to his questions.

Jesus Camp – This is an older one, but probably the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s about an Evangelical children’s preacher and her summer camp which basically teaches those kids how to entwine their faith with politics, saying things like how they are at war with liberalism. It’s NUTS. Like brainwashing level of nuts. Kiiiiind of gives you some insight into why Trump was so popular in certain places, though.

Blackfish – I’ve been holding out on this one for a long time, not sure if I really wanted to watch it, but I’m glad I did. Nothing really shocked me that much, it was just sad on so many levels.

Amanda Knox – I never really followed her story when it was happening, but who doesn’t love a good whodunit?

Dis(honesty) – All about the study of lying. Why people lie, how, when, and what impact it has. Pretty interesting.

Killswitch – The story of hacktivists Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden.

The True Cost – If you enjoy cheap clothes and cheap leather, don’t watch this because it’ll ruin it for you. This documentary looks at the true cost of fast fashion and how it affects people and the environment. You’ll never look at clothes the same way again.

Definitely everyone needs to watch 13th. Right now. Then watch The True Cost. Then watch Jesus Camp and come back here so we can talk about it and go WHAT THE SHIT WAS THAT together, because for real I’m deeply disturbed.


I made it to work yesterday long enough to do the few things I really HAD to do, then went back home and was a sad sack again. I finally felt hungry though, so that was a plus. Today I feel much more normal, aside from some general weakness and a cough that won’t quit. Why is it that I only get sick on weekends or vacation? For real… when I was a kid I had chicken pox on spring break, food poisoning on Xmas vacation… it’s been this way my whole life. If I have to get the flu, why can’t it be on a Wednesday or something?

But hey, at least I got my lesson in?

Lesson Day

On Saturday morning I loaded Henry up and made the 2 hour journey to Trainer’s place for a stadium lesson.


My stadium round at Pine Hill last month was fine, until I pulled too much coming into the final combination and tried to kill us both. I needed to work more on keeping a steady rhythm all the way throughout the course, and to remember to allow him to come forward out of the turns.

Saturday morning I woke up with a really gross cough, the kind where by the time you’re done coughing, it feels like your lungs have collapsed and you can’t breathe. I won’t even describe what I was coughing up. Let’s just say it was gross. I made it through the lesson, but I kept getting very winded. Trainer kept looking at me like she thought I might die, so she took pity on me and kept things fairly short.

We hopped over a few warmup fences first, and true to form I can’t stop messing with my canter if the fence is under 3′. Little jumps are the death of me. It’s like when they get bigger I know I don’t have any choice but to keep my leg on and keep coming, but my brain becomes overwhelmed by options when the jumps are small. It makes no sense. But I was kind of glad when she walked around and put all the jumps up bigger.


I have to give Henry a ton of credit, he was jumping really super. I think the SI injection was what he needed, because he was coming off the ground so much more powerfully and evenly. He’s got his trademark Henny bascule back. Trainer even said “THIS is the Henry I know!”. And it’s true, he does finally feel like himself again.

I had a little bit of trouble with wanting to chase him too deep to the red and white oxer the first couple times (Me, a life long gap-lover, looking for the deep distance? What?) but once Trainer got me to come out of the corner and just support the canter instead of trying to chase the jump down, it worked out beautifully. We ended on a short course (because see above about me not being able to breathe) and then called it a day.

I took him on a short walk through the XC field afterward and he was still jigging, so… obviously he was not tired after our lesson. I, however, was rapidly deteriorating. It was starting to become obvious that my cough wasn’t just a cough. More on that tomorrow…

Review: Ovation Aqua-X breeches

I have a few items in the queue for review that all have everyone’s favorite thing in common: stuff I didn’t think I’d like that much and actually ended up loving. It’s always fun to be pleasantly surprised.

My quest for great breeches seems to always be ongoing. I have a couple of brands that I really like but you know how it is… everyone always needs more breeches and more breech options. I especially have been on the lookout for something a bit similar to my Aztec Diamond breeches. Those have been my favorite pair for a long time, but they’re now going on 3 years old and I’m not sure how much life they’ve got left in them. Sadly, ADE changed their fit after that season, so I haven’t been able to get any of their other models to fit me as well. But I do love the fabric of those, and the silicone knee grips. They were kind of like my lower budget version of my very beloved 5yo pair of Animos.

Enter the Ovation Aqua X. They have 3 of my most favorite features: 1) fantastic, comfortable, quick-dry tech fabric 2) more of a mid rise 3) silicone knee patches.

I had a pair of Ovation breeches many many years ago, back when they were a mostly cotton blend. They were ok then but I didn’t have them for very long before I sold them, and that was the last time I really even looked at Ovation breeches. I’ve had several other Ovation items that have served me quite well… schooling helmets, bridles, breastplates, a couple saddle pads, etc. For a low budget brand, I’ve had pretty good luck with them over the years. I’m just such a breech snob, I guess it never occurred to me to circle back around and check out some of their newer models.

When I got the Aqua X breeches I was immediately impressed with them. The fit is really excellent on me–I love that the rise isn’t too low (no worries about needing a belt!) and they are SUPER flattering in the saddle. When Trainer first saw them that was one of her first comments: “They’re so flattering!”. Which I think translates to “You look less fat in those pants than you normally do.”. Whatever, I’ll take it. The fabric is nice and light without being too thin, and they dry really fast. I think these will be fantastic in the summer when I start sweating buckets in some very unflattering places.

full seat version

I also find them to be extremely comfortable. They’re nice and stretchy without getting saggy, and have the ever-so-popular euro seat and mesh sock bottom, because velcro is literally the devil. These breeches are marketed as summer breeches, although here in the South they’re quite suitable year-round. They’re made from MIPAN Aqua-X material, a “cool-to-touch” nylon/lycra blend (no cotton to fade or sag!) that also offers UV protection… this same fabric technology is also used for items like cooling sleeves that are so popular with cyclists and golfers.

My only minor complaint about these is that I would like the silicone on the knee patch to come a couple inches further forward toward the knee, just to give them extra grip in the saddle. They aren’t slippery, but they aren’t as grippy as my Animos (which, granted, are like weary sticky spray in pants form). Otherwise I haven’t come across anything else that I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been wearing these things almost non-stop since I got them. I also wish they came in a huge rainbow of colors, but apparently they’re working on that. 😉

Image result for MIPAN(R) Aqua-X
New color, Aegean Blue. These are next on my list!!!

Price wise, the Aqua X are very budget friendly. They come in both knee patch and full seat, and retail for only $116.95 from Riding Warehouse. Currently only beige and gray are in stores, but Aegean Blue and Navy should be arriving by late March (rumor has it that black and hunter green are coming in the fall also). Plus there’s almost always a coupon code floating around for RW (message me if you need one!) and they have free shipping over $50, making these breeches an even better deal.

If you’re looking for a lower budget, comfortable, light weight breech, especially for summer or a warm/humid climate, I definitely recommend giving these a try!

Crazy Juice

This week has been a little bit awkward for me as far as riding time. The vet wanted Henry to have a few days off after his SI injection, so the earliest I could ride him was Tuesday. But I had an appointment on Wednesday and couldn’t come out, therefore I figured there was no harm in giving him a couple extra days. Instead of a “real” ride on Tuesday, I figured we’d go for a nice long bareback walk. (spoiler alert: BAD IDEA)

No idea what she’s talking about, I’m a perfect angel.

I should say, this is not unusual for us. I hop on bareback in his hackamore once every couple weeks and we amble around, trot a bit, and I’ll usually stop at the top of the field to let him graze a little. It’s relaxing for both of us. Um… usually, anyway.

I have to assume that someone is feeling mighty fantastic after his vet appointment, because I can’t blame anything else. It was almost 80 degrees on Tuesday, not particularly windy, and Henry isn’t typically the kind of horse to get wild after a few days off. I haven’t lunged him, aside from a few times to evaluate soundness, in years.


Yet, on Tuesday, before we even made it out to the field, I’d already almost eaten dirt three times. He planted all 4 feet and snorted at the round bale, danced past the same arena drag that is always sitting there, and LEAPED sideways because a human moved his arm. The next 30 minutes contained a truly masterful combination of spook, spin, leap, stop, squeal, snort, bolt, and passage. Very athletic. 10’s across the board for artistic marks.

Granted, now he’s missing a pretty giant chunk of mane from one of his unannounced pirouettes where I came millimeters away from becoming a lawn dart. Fairly certain that Depo-Medrol should be relabeled as Crazy Juice, because oh my god. Today I’m climbing back on for a dressage school, and the temperature has dropped 20 degrees since yesterday, so this could potentially be very exciting. If you never hear from me again, it’s because dressage finally killed me.

Am I the only one with a crazy pony right now?

Favorite Swag Items?

Since Britt oh-so-masterfully provided Willow Tree Warmbloods with a fancy new logo


Michelle and I have been brainstorming about what all we want to put it on. I’m a fan of basically anything and everything you can personalize, and in this day and age that includes everything from hats to vests to tech shirts to jackets to polos to belts to socks to saddle pads to fly bonnets to coolers to banners to stall guards to stickers to decals to sunshirts. Just to name a few things. Not that I’ve thought about it.


So, um, obviously I can quickly spiral wildly out of control. Michelle isn’t much help here, because we both have the same OMG YES LETS PUT A LOGO ON THAT reaction when we find something we like. Someone needs to reign us in.

Image result for dory light gif

Michelle decided that we should start a list. Not a list with everything we can possibly think of to slather a logo on (which is what my list looks like), but a list that makes the most sense. I’m guessing I prooooobably don’t need 15 items of WTW logo clothing (or do I?) or a custom batch of Dreamers and Schemers socks (OR DO I???).

So, general public that probably has considerably more self control than we do, we ask: what are your very favorite logo’d swag items? What are your essentials when it comes to repping your barn or favorite business?