Review: Kentucky Bridleworks leather halter

Just like bourbon and thoroughbreds, it’s hard to compete with Kentucky when it comes to leather halters.


This beautiful creature is from a relatively new company called Kentucky Bridleworks. As the name implies, they are made right here in the USA in Lexington, Kentucky from American steerhide. The construction is very classic, with wide sturdy leather, a rolled throat, double buckle crown, and English chin. What these particular halters have that’s a bit different is a trigger snap at the throat, which you can swivel to face in or out, and it’s probably my favorite feature. It’s much more sturdy, and IMO makes them a bit safer. I always get nervous about regular clips snagging on something.


Currently Kentucky Bridleworks offers two options: black with chrome hardware or brown with brass hardware, both of which come with an engraved plate. I was really tempted to go with the black and spice things up a bit, but in the end was persuaded that black looks a little too dressagey, and let’s be honest no eventer wants that (just kidding, DQ’s. Kind of.). It arrived quickly, was beautifully packaged (great for gifting!), and pre-oiled, so it was ready to go right out of the box. I opted for the horse size for Henry, since he’s normally between cob and horse. I probably could have gone either way, but since he doesn’t wear a halter in turnout I prefer a looser fit. They seem to run pretty true to size.

A+ for presentation!

The halter is absolutely gorgeous, broke in quickly, and is holding up great. The hardware is solid and the stitching is perfect. Kentucky Bridleworks makes all of their halters by hand, which takes one hour per halter. There’s no machine cranking these out in a matter a minutes… an actual human (in the US, no less) is putting these together piece by piece, which I definitely appreciate.

still a pretty halter, even when it’s on a grumpy face

Kentucky Bridleworks also offers a money-back guarantee for returns within the first 30 days, or free repair of any defects within the first year. Always a good thing to see a company willing to stand behind their product and their work!

At $84.95 including US shipping, I think these halters are a good value. They’re built to last, yet still beautiful enough to look right at home in a show barn. Check them out facebook and Instagram for more pics and videos!

On Pause

Well, uh, March didn’t quite go as I had planned. I knew better than to enter any shows in March, since Sadie’s due date was mid-month. But I only planned on being in Midland for 4 or 5 days, giving Henry a little mini-vacation and then being ready to come out swinging for a couple shows in April.


almost as funny as when I put blue hoof conditioner on Henry and he just loved it

Instead I spent 10 days in Midland, and 4 straight weekends. Henry’s mini-vacay turned into basically a month off. I was able to ride him on the weekdays when I was home, but mentally I was just not in the right place to be able to put in a serious ride. Mostly we just trotted and cantered through the fields, because every horsewoman knows that a canter really is the cure for every evil. Henry didn’t seem to mind the time off from real work, but he’s a little bit fat and in dire need of a spa day at the moment.

Because of all that (and, uh… the general state of emptiness in my wallet), we’re sitting out the shows in April too. We really haven’t jumped since that one little jumper show at the end of February (omg…) so it seems a bit unwise. Plus I need to get him a little more fit again. And that whole dressage thing I suppose. Ugh.

no derpssage!

Money is also in short supply, so I’m having to do some creative wrangling of my show schedule but I think we’ll be able to eke out some cheap ones. We’ll try a little show or two in May, to dip our toes back in, start back up with some lessons again, and as of yesterday Henry is back into his regular riding schedule. And after 6 days off, geez was he spooky. Spring Time Henry is weird. He’s sluggish but he’s wild and spooky at the same time.

While I didn’t really plan on skipping basically the best two months of the year for showing Henry (because it starts getting hot in May, and Henry does not do heat), I’m not as upset about it as I would have been a year ago. The pressure is off this year anyway, and the whole extremely scary and honestly kind of traumatizing ordeal with Presto put a lot of things into perspective.

So, the lack of horse show recaps and photos will continue here for at least a few more weeks. Hopefully filling the void with a bunch of Presto pictures is more than enough to make up for the lack of HorseShowHENNY? Plus there’s ROLEX (anyone doing the RK5K?)! We’ll eventually work our way back to where we were in February and then figure out all the show stuff from there. At this point I’m just really glad to have my boys… everything else isn’t nearly as important.

Running and Screaming

Normally I really hate Wordless Wednesday posts, but today I’m short on time and long on pictures. Let’s call it a Fewer-Words Wednesday? Whatever.

Either way, I got the pics from Michelle’s nice camera of Presto’s first little gallop in the big field the other day. There’s also video at the bottom for those who would like to hear the soundtrack. He pretty much just ran around neighing at everyone and everything, which is really cute when you’re a baby horse. Maybe not so much when you’re older, but ya know… a squealy little high pitched neigh is adorable when you’re bitty.

Exhibit A
gee, I wonder where he gets that trait from…

Sadie and Presto had lots of fun running around for a few minutes while Sadie blew off some steam from being cooped up. He had never galloped flat out like that before!


four off the floor
about the time he said “Help me, she’s crazy!”


um, yes.

Eventually Sadie slowed down to a trot


and then finally down to a walk (much to Presto’s relief) and made a few “look at my baby, isn’t he cute?” laps past all the other horses.




Sadie tried her best to find a good spot to roll, but Presto was having none of it.


And then finally we got to the supermodel stage, where Presto just kept making adorable pose after adorable pose. So photogenic, this one. Ok maybe I’m slightly biased, but neh no I’m not, he really is the cutest.








These two. I just love them to bits. ❤


best momma mare 

We came out the little side gate on the way in because it’s closest to their stall… the bottom “board” doesn’t move so he had to jump over it. Liam loved to leap over that thing his first few times in and out, but clearly Presto is not impressed by this. He kinda looks a little insulted, actually.

dis “jump”, it be bullshit

And with that, his first real “day out” (which was all of 10 minutes, really) was over and he was pretty pooped. Stretching those long legs out for the first time was a lot of work. Or maybe all the screaming was a lot of work? You decide (sound on for the video, of course):

Presto’s Weekend Shenanigans

Yeah, I know. Henny is wondering where his blog went too, and WTF this kid thinks he’s doing hogging the spotlight. But a) it feels like such a privilege to still have Presto, I really can’t stop obsessing, and b) soon I won’t be seeing him as often and won’t have much to say except “yep, he’s a baby horse”, so I’m taking full advantage of Presto posts while I can. Henny will get his blog (and Instagram and facebook) back soon, I promise. But for right now it’s really hard to compete with Presto cuteness.

I mean, come on, this isn’t even a fair contest

I got to play with Presto a lot on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I just sat there and watched him do normal baby horse things… it’s amazing how much more you appreciate that stuff when your foal very nearly didn’t make it. Everything he does is cute and it makes me so incredibly happy to see him bouncing around and neighing and having a good time. He’s earned it.


He still talks a lot. I mean… A LOT. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a foal that had this much to say. He neighs at people, he neighs at horses, he neighs just for the sake of neighing sometimes. On Saturday morning the neighbor let her horses out, and as they wandered over toward where Presto was, he immediately marched over and introduced himself.

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Baby neighs! 😍

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This kid. He’s so funny. So brave and bold and sure of himself. Although he did get really mad at us when we put his halter on for the first time. Poor guy, the only halter he’s worn so far was the one attached to his muzzle at the clinic, so I’m pretty sure he thought we were muzzling him. It took two of us to get the halter on, and then he just stood there with his head down and ears flopped out sideways. My heart broke a little bit. He eventually realized he wasn’t muzzled and got over it, but still glared at us for the next few hours as if we had betrayed him.

I tied a Jolly Ball up in his pen, which he alternates between scratching himself on and playing tetherball with. Sometimes he just stands there gleefully swinging it in circles (which initially scared the crap out of Liam next door) but he seems to like having something to play with while he’s still relegated to a smaller space.

Speaking of Liam… Presto has tried really hard to make friends. Initially Liam would not come anywhere near him. Presto kept sticking his head through the fence and nickering at him, but Liam just gave him the stink eye and kept his distance.


Then there was the time when Liam was sleeping and Presto snuck up behind him.

Oh, Liam. At least you’re beautiful.

By Sunday he did finally succeed in getting Liam to come over and make friends with him. First they just made baby face at each other.

Then started trying to grab each other’s halters (because of course).

and then finally Liam let his true personality shine through and Presto regretted trying to make friends with this maniac.

Poor Presto, he’s just a little outmatched in the coltish behavior department at this point. He’s doing his best to catch up though, already having gotten in trouble for biting and kicking me. Some of his sass is starting to come out now, so he might just end up being a good match for Liam whenever he catches up to him growth-wise. Nonetheless, he really isn’t deterred by Liam’s physical superiority and still constantly tries to get him to play, even if he tends to regret it afterward.

He also had his first leading and grooming lessons on Sunday. No surprise, he’s much better for the grooming. He is his mother’s child, no doubt, I see parts of her personality shining through more and more.

which is a-ok with me, she’s my best girl

He also got to go out in the big pasture for the first time (well, the first time since he was born) on Sunday. It was only for a few minutes because he’s not quite ready for tons of movement yet, but Sadie really needed to blow off a little steam so they got a quick 10 minutes. It was the first time he’s ever galloped, which was really fun to watch as he figured out how to move his legs that fast. Michelle got lots of pics with her nice camera, so when she uploads them I’ll post them here. Until then, I leave you with this:

Exactly why I didn’t name him Levitate. His mom already does.


Guess who got to come home a little early?

Presto getting one last hug from his vet before getting in the trailer

By Thursday Presto was doing well enough to where they really had no reason to keep him anymore. After one last check on Friday morning he got the all-clear, and Michelle went to pick him up that evening. I rented a car after work to drive up there (no more 600+ mile round trips on my truck) and got to the barn just a few minutes before they pulled in, pacing the barn aisle as I waited. How would he look? Would he still be sweet? Was Sadie smooshing him in the trailer? Would he be ok at home? Should I have just left him at the vet til he’s 4? You know… totally rational thoughts.

I will never get tired of that face ❤

He hopped out of the trailer with his usual HELLO EVERYONE greeting, and trotted into his stall. Meanwhile, Sadie and Lissa were being complete morons, screaming for each other, with Sadie spinning in circles in her stall and Lissa galloping around her pasture. Mares.

We brought Lissa in to try to calm them down, and she proceeded to try to attack Sadie through the wall. Again… mares. They don’t know what they want. Presto just kept watching them, wondering what in the world they were so worked up about. Finally they calmed down a bit, and I was rubbing on Sadie to see if that would help settle her more (it usually does, she has a one-track mind when it comes to a nice rubdown). Presto couldn’t understand why I was paying attention to her instead of him, and kept creeping up behind me, nudging at me.

spot the creeper baby

Once I paid appropriate attention to all of his itchy spots he was satisfied, and started exploring his stall and chowing down on hay. I have never seen a baby eat hay the way he does, but the vet seemed unconcerned with it as long as he’s drinking enough to keep everything moving. And he does drink a lot… he pretty much constantly goes: nurse, hay, water, sleep, repeat. He’s drinking milk as fast as Sadie can make it. Trying to make up for all that lost time, I guess!

He had all kinds of adventures over the weekend, which I’ll post more about tomorrow, but mainly just wanted to take today to let everyone know that he’s HOME, and that I greatly appreciate how kind everyone has been throughout all of this. It’s the toughest horse-related thing I’ve ever gone through for sure, and at a time when the world is a little crazy and I’d lost most of my faith in the human race, you guys really renewed it. I’m just blown away by the level of caring and by the generosity of so many people – many of which I don’t even know and have never met. It’s just been amazing and I really can’t thank you guys enough. And of course, Presto thanks you too. He’s still got a little ways to go before he’s totally 100% and back to normal for his age, so please continue to keep him in your thoughts. It’s worked really well so far.


For everyone who was asking about a t-shirt fundraiser for him, it has arrived! Fellow blogger Britt made a super cute design for him, using his actual silhouette from a video and adding his now-trademark face markings with a very apropos phrase. There are shirts (unisex and women’s, different fits, and a few color options), stickers, and a mug available in the shop, and it’ll be open for orders until April 21st!



Baby Bets Contest RESULTS

I’m a little late getting around to calculating the results of this, since, as I said yesterday, all 3 babies ended up being born within one week. The first one on a Monday, then the next one on Thursday, then the last one on Sunday. Once those girls decided to get started they didn’t mess around. But I have to be honest, I was just not in a good enough place emotionally with everything going on with Presto to where I could stand to sit down and go through all my entries and calculate scores. Now that he’s finally doing better, I’ve finally done it. And omg, there was so much math. Thank goodness for Excel spreadsheets and formulas.


I also realized that I left too much room for technicalities, like for instance if someone guessed “star” and baby had a star and snip, you weren’t technically wrong, you just weren’t 100% right. So I gave a lot of half credits for half-right answers. I also gave people credit equally for bay or brown, since I know a lot of people don’t really differentiate. Next time I’ll lay it out better in the rules. For the first two mares, Lissa and Sadie, a lot of people were neck and neck in the points. What really killed pretty much everyone’s chances was Laken’s filly. Lots of people got a big fat 0 points from her (which should surprise no one, because fillies do what fillies want).

First things first.. here are the babies! Willow Tree Warmbloods class of 2017:

Liam WTW “Liam” by Emerald out of Lasilissa 






Like Magic WTW “Presto” by Mighty Magic out of Westbound






Lorelei WTW “Rory” by Balou du Rouet out of Interlaken

photo by Stephanie Mills Photography
photo by Stephanie Mills Photography
photo by Stephanie Mills Photography
photo by Stephanie Mills Photography

For those who are keeping track, that’s two colts, one filly. One chestnut, two brown (although obviously Rory will go gray). Four whites for Liam, one for Presto, two for Rory. Funnily enough, they all have dots – Liam has a white dot on his nose, Presto has a white dot on his lip and a black dot in his sock, and Rory has a brown dot on her nose. It’s like they all wanted to coordinate with the new WTW logo.

But anyway, without further ado, the winner of the Baby Bets contest is Karley!

Thanks everyone who participated (for real, there were 52 entries!) and we’ll definitely do it again next year!

Release Date

Presto has had a good week so far. Despite slowly being weaned off of his myriad of medications, his bloodwork has continued to improve.

so itchy

He’s looked so much better, in fact, that the vets have been hinting at sending him home soon. How soon? Maybe this weekend or early next week!

Considering that this little nugget had somewhere around a 10% chance of survival when he first went into the clinic, the mere thought of being able to take him back home is incredibly amazing. Lucky doesn’t even begin to describe it. This kid is made of some tough stuff.

also itchy stuff

We’ll see how the next few days go, and see how the vets are feeling about his progress. He won’t be able to come off of all his medications before he goes home (he’ll be on sucralfate for, oh, I dunno… ever? Ok not that long, but a while.) but considering the veritable pharmacy he WAS on, one or two is pretty manageable. I’m sure all of us will be pretty excited when that IV catheter comes out and the elastikon can come off of his poor little neck.

tiny mane is already unruly

I’m trying not to get ahead of myself and still keep taking it day by day. Babies are incredibly fragile and can go up or down so fast. But, knock on everyone’s nearest wood surface, he’s doing really well right now. The vets don’t really update me anymore unless I specifically inquire, but I know that he’s been increasingly difficult to medicate (which is actually a good thing, it means he feels good enough to protest) and that he’s been pretty darn active, especially in the mornings. Afternoons are for siestas. I’m really hoping that he’s been able to put some weight back on this week so he can start filling out!

I’ve also finally gotten around to tallying up the totals from the Baby Bets contest (oh hey, surprise, all the WTW foals were born within a week) so tomorrow I’ll have the results and pictures of all the babies!


USEA members might spot a familiar Henny face in their mailbox this month! US Eventing magazine asked if I’d be interested in writing about life as an amateur eventer on a budget, and I happily jumped at the chance. Behold my new column: Beyond 9-5.

Although, it’s funny, I write here 5 days a week without having to put a lot of effort into it, most of the time words just flow (it’s not verbal diarrhea since it’s typed, so what would we call it, finger diarrhea? Ok, maybe not…). Writing the column was significantly more difficult. It felt more formal and more serious, being in print. Around here I’m anything but formal or serious. Hopefully it gets a little easier as it evolves and I find my groove, just like the blog did. I’m currently trying to figure out what topic I want to cover next. Tack/equipment shopping on the cheap, tent camping, DIY trailer fixer-upping (pretend that’s a word), dyeing tack, etc? I should probably go back through my blog and see what all I’ve done. Anything in particular amidst my years of shenanigans that sticks out to you guys as a good next topic?

I also have to give props to US Eventing magazine in general. I’ve always really liked flipping through it, but over the past year they’ve really amped up the breeding and young horse development articles and I’m loving it. This one in particular really grabbed my attention in this issue:

Might be slightly biased (ahem) but I have to say I agree.

Speaking of everyone’s favorite 73% thoroughbred, I have some pretty exciting Presto news to share tomorrow (hopefully. if things keep going well. knock on wood.). Look what he made yesterday!!!

Ok so it wasn’t fresh anymore by the time the picture was taken so it’s kinda dried out already, but look at that REAL POOP. Not a puddle, not a patty, but legit normal poop!

Nope, I’m not even a little sorry for putting a poop pic on my blog.

Uncle Skeeter

Some of you may have noticed me mention “Uncle Skeeter” in passing in a few of my Presto posts. Since Skeeter has now proven that he is, in fact, a very important part of the Presto family, I thought it was only fair that he get his own little post.

family meeting

When they first moved Sadie and Presto to an outside pen at the vet clinic, I felt sorry for whatever horse might end up next to them. Momma bear tends to be… well… a bear when it comes to her babies. She even gave serious what-for to her BFF Lissa at home when they were in paddocks next to each other with their babies, and there’s no one in the world that Sadie loves more than Lissa. So I was surprised to see that she was actually quite tolerant of Skeeter, the Cushings gelding that was in the pen next to them. She made some ugly faces at him the first couple days, but Skeeter was quite undeterred by her theatrics and that was pretty much the end of it.

Now Skeeter and Presto love to hang out. Presto will go over there and stick his nose into Skeeter’s pen to sniff him and say Hello. And Skeeter has taken it upon himself to be Presto’s protector. Any time a new horse gets put into the pen on the other side of Skeeter, he makes sure that the horse knows they have to stay at the opposite end of the pen from wherever Presto is. Especially that one polo mare that was there for a few days and, according to Skeeter, kept making very inappropriate eyes at Presto. He kept her herded up into a corner the whole time.

keeping watch during nap time

Skeeter is pretty severely Cushings, and has some kind of wound on his face. I don’t know much about him except that he’s been ready to go home for a couple weeks now but no one has come to pick him up yet. I think he’s just someone’s not-very-important pasture puff. I’m kinda glad they’ve left him there, though, because apparently Sadie thinks he’s a crucial family member, too.

They tried to move Skeeter somewhere else last week so they could thoroughly clean his pen (Cushings = pees a lot) and Sadie absolutely lost her mind. To the point where they just turned around and put him back in the pen because she was about to SadieSmash the barn to smithereens. I guess she has decided that Skeeter is the only approved babysitter and he isn’t allowed to leave.

I jokingly (or not) told Michelle that we may end up having to take Skeeter home with us if he still hasn’t been picked up by the time Presto is ready to come home. He seems perfectly suited for the role of babysitter.

Love Tap

I made the drive back up to Lamesa this weekend to see Presto again. I’m cringing at all the miles I’m putting on my truck with these 10 hour round trips (think I’m gonna try to rent a car next time) but it’s totally worth it to visit the little nugget. While I was on my way up there I got this text from his vet:

I just love her. She’s so invested in Presto, and it makes all the difference. Especially because she’s spent the last 16 days medicating him every 6 hours pretty much by herself. She’s gotta be tired of seeing 4am by this point. But y’all – look at how great he’s pooping!!! It’s not normal baby poop yet, but it’s getting close.

When I rolled in on Saturday he was up and nursing with gusto. Definitely a much stronger, happier baby than I left the weekend before. He still does everything a little bit in slow motion compared to a “normal” foal, but his curiosity is back and he likes to watch all the goings-on at the clinic.

Also very interested in this magical poop stick

Sadie seemed to be feeling a little neglected, so I ran up the street to the farm supply store and bought a curry comb and a brush. I spent a good 45 minutes grooming her and giving her mints, which seemed to make her happy, and then Presto inserted himself for some grooming too.

such a helper

I hung out for a while, because at this point it’s such a privilege to still have him that I can watch him for hours without getting bored. My main observation after sitting there all afternoon was that he’s eating like a MACHINE. They’ve been increasing his non-muzzled time every day, and he takes full advantage. Developmentally he looks more like a 3 day old baby than a 2 1/2 week old… obviously his growth kind of came to a screeching halt when he got sick, as his body was occupied with trying to stay alive instead of filling out. It appears that he’s trying to make up for lost time with gusto, because he eats pretty much non-stop. Between nursing and experimenting with hay and a few nibbles of Sadie’s grain, he’s absolutely going to town.


He’s still the same goofy, sweet baby that I remember from his first couple days of life, too.

Who knew that his brother’s hashtag would be so appropriate for him?

By the time I left on Saturday he had finally laid down to nap. It’s like he spent so much time laying down while he was super sick that he really DOES NOT want to lay down anymore until he absolutely has to. Stubborn little dude.

On Saturday night a storm and cold front blew through, and it was COLD on Sunday morning. Cold and wet and gross. I stole one of Michelle’s baby blankets and hightailed it up to the clinic early. Little guy doesn’t have much fat to keep him insulated, and I’d rather he not waste calories trying to stay warm.

I was greeted with a loud, trumpeting whinny (kid has got some lungs on him) but when I put the blanket on he was PISSED. He took off cantering a couple laps around the pen, trying to fling it off, then slipped and almost fell so decided to just stand there and glare at me instead. You’re welcome, Presto.

He’s pretty cute when he’s mad though.

I dunno if it was the cold weather or if he was just feeling better, but he was quite active. He was aggressively nursing (like for real I felt a little sorry for Sadie, all the head slamming into her udder seems unnecessary), kept backing his butt up to the wall and threatening to kick it, exploring and stomping through the puddles in his pen, etc.

Sadie says help
baby event horse

And then, quite deliberately on his part, he backed that curly little butt up and NAILED me in the shin with a foot. Turd! But the fact that he feels good enough to be naughty… I was ecstatic. Granted, a little offended that he kicked ME first instead of the vet (I mean come on), but that’s ok. We’ll call it a love tap. He thought that was a pretty fun trick and tried it a couple more times before I finally had to be a responsible parent and get after him for it. He was pretty undeterred by my discipline though. He’s definitely his mother’s child.

When it was time for his morning meds I had to hold him still for her to inject them into his IV catheter because he was too full of beans to willingly stand. And we’re all totally fine with that.

Overall he’s doing well. His vet made sure to say “He’s not totally out of the woods yet, but he’s doing good.”. She’s conservative with her optimism, which I appreciate. The real test will come this week as they start backing Presto off all of his injectable meds. He’ll be on his oral tummy stuff for a while, but it’s time to start weaning him off all the antibiotics and other stuff. Fingers crossed that he keeps doing well without it!