A Proper Thank You

I know I’ve said this a few times already, but I continue to be completely blown away by all the support Presto and I have gotten both during his illness and afterwards. The fact that he had (has!) so many people rooting for him, people who have never even met me or him before… it’s meant more than words can ever properly convey. We decided that we’d really like to send something out to all of his supporters and give them a proper thank you.

the Riding Warehouse team in their Presto shirts

I’m not sure how obvious it was while everything was going on but that was the hardest couple weeks of my life, ever. I tried to spare y’all the worst of the details and remain as positive as I could, but I still don’t have it in me to go back and read any of those posts so I’m not sure how successful I was. All I can say is that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Every moment felt like it was laced with sheer terror, just hoping that against all odds he could hang in there for one more day, just one more day at a time.

Presto seems to be completely over it, physically and mentally, but I’m not sure that my mental and emotional scars will ever fade. I’m still a bit traumatized about the whole thing. The nightmares have pretty much stopped but I don’t think that nagging worry in the pit of my stomach will ever go away. I worry that we got too lucky. Like he overcame such staggeringly impossible odds that someday, somehow, we’ll have to pay up. I don’t think I will ever forget how I felt, kneeling there in the west Texas dirt, watching my very sick foal fight for his life and feeling completely and utterly helpless to save him. And although I never in a million years want to go through anything even remotely like that again, it was worth it in the end.


But what really helped me (both of us really, if you believe in the power of positive thinking, which I do) see it through to the other side was you guys. Everyone who called, emailed, texted, messaged, left a comment, chipped in toward his vet bill, sent him good thoughts, prayed for him (to the deity of your choice, naturally), checked in on him every day, or bought a shirt – it made all the difference in the world to us. I’m not sure I could have survived it without my fellow horse friends to lean on, and I don’t think he could have either.

so much support for my nugget, all over the world

Presto and I worked on a little something fun (and oh so top secret) this weekend and we want to send one to everyone who has supported us during all this. Unfortunately there is no way for me to go back through all the comments and messages and shirt orders to track people down individually and get names and information, BUT – if you would like a small token of thanks from me and Presto, please please please send me your name and address. You can contact me on facebook messenger, DM me on Instagram, or email me through the contact page here. We have lots of them lined up and ready to go, so please don’t hesitate to claim one! I’d really like to make sure that all of his supporters get a proper thank you, with something tangible, from both of us.


Saturday’s XC schooling was fun and all, but the real highlight of the weekend was going to see this little nugget. Side note: he’s 2 months old today! Everyone be glad I resisted the urge to get him a little “2 months” sign and pose him with it like all the human babies on facebook.


It sounds funny, but I was more nervous to go see Presto than I was for schooling. I have legit overprotective horsemom syndrome, and I’m always worried that something is going to be wrong with him. I dunno what, just something.

Pffft, I is perfect *nomnombucketnom*

When we got there Sadie was up toward the front of the field and as soon as she spotted me she locked on to my bag with the treats in it. She’s no fool. Of course, Presto was nowhere to be found. All the babies were scattered around the field, passed out asleep, none of them near their actual mothers, and from that far away I couldn’t tell which one was him. As I was opening my bag to give Sadie her belated birthday/happy mother’s day cookies, Presto jumped up (waaaay back by the far hay hut) and started screaming his head off. What did Sadie do? Completely ignored him. Mom of the year, right there.

How could you ignore this sweet albeit sometimes perhaps overly dramatic nugget?

Granted, Presto didn’t seem particularly concerned either. He walked the whole distance from where he’d been sleeping to where we were, screaming all the way. Pretty sure he’s just always gonna be a talker with a flair for the dramatic. That’ll be a fun party trick at horse shows.

for real with the side eye, baby horse

After I finished stuffing Sadie (and Lissa and Laken by default) full of cookies, I haltered Presto and started messing with him a bit. It’s obvious that the lovely ladies at the breeding farm have been handling him a lot, because he leads great and picks up his feet like a champ. It’s not bad showing up after a few weeks of absence and having your foal be more trained than he was when you left.

Best. Fro. Ever.

Mostly I was shocked with how much he’s grown in the past few weeks. His withers now hit right at bra height (I got home and measured, that’s 12h for those among us who prefer to be all precise and fancy). Liam’s only got about an inch on him now at the withers, although Liam’s giant butt is a little bit out of control and a few inches higher at the moment. I think all my delusions about having a horse that finished more like 16.1h instead of 16.3/17h are fading quickly.

he doesn’t look that big until you remember that Sadie is 17h

After I was done messing with him and gawking at him, I got to work with his fancy new Leistner brushes. His coat looks… terrible.

How many 2 month olds have custom brushes?

All baby coats look terrible around this point, right before they start molting, then they look REALLY TERRIBLE until they’re done. But Presto’s seems especially thick and coarse and fried, I’m guessing maybe because of that whole near-death/couldn’t-absorb-any-nutrients-through-his-GI-tract thing that happened (details). The coat underneath looks nice and dark and shiny, he just needs to shed this gross carpet of thick curly baby fuzz so we can get to it.


The hair has grown back on all of the bald spots on his butt and neck though, and it’s nice and dark. His legs are super dark like Sadie’s for sure, but I think his body might end up being a smidge lighter than hers. I’m still definitely sure that he’s brown (that little bit of shadowing on his shoulder is the telltale sign), but I think he might end up being a lighter shade than she is. We’ll see.

super dark hair on his hocks

Otherwise though he looks good and seems to be feeling quite fine. I might be biased (neeehhh) but I think he’s got such an air of intelligence about him; he’s curious but calm, and bold but quiet all at the same time.

I’m gonna need you to turn around for approximately 3 seconds so I can tangle myself up in this.

He also got bored with me pretty quickly, but he’s still content to stand there and hang out. I think he’s just hoping he’ll get more scratches.

airplane donks

I think what I love most is that he’s got Sadie’s sleepy eyes and floppy ears. It’s a Westporte trait that he seems to pass on almost always, and it just gives them the best expression. Presto might not be winning at the whole “look of the eagles” thing, but he looks really sweet.

Yes… VERY sweet… come closer, Liam, so I can bite you…

Hopefully I’ll be able to make it out to see him again in a couple weeks! Maybe he’ll be shedding by then?

99 problems 

But banks ain’t one! Crap, brb, gotta go knock on some wood so I don’t jinx myself.


We headed back down to Pine Hill on Saturday to do a little XC schooling. Mainly we wanted to work on the down banks, but I had my eye on a couple of the “beefier” Training questions as well. Henry didn’t have an issue with the little bank at the derby the weekend before, but still, we need to work on his (and my) confidence at them.

up is easy

We popped over a few warmup jumps before our group headed over to the water, Henry’s favorite. Not quite sure why this horse loves water so much but I will never complain. We jumped through the first time from Training log to log the long way across, then came the short way over the Training ark to the upbank.

No problem with any of that so we turned it around and did down bank to ark. First down bank of the day being one that drops into water? Only makes sense if you’re on Henry. No hesitation, he plopped right in.

Then we jumped the Prelim ark to the Prelim log into water to the Training ark out, making something a little more complicated. He took a big leap over the Prelim log when I got him there a bit too deep, which made the already downhill landing even more of a drop, but he went.

Then it was over to the Weldon’s wall. Which, really the ditch in front is so small that it doesn’t even count, it just rides like a very upright brush fence. No problem here either, he just popped right over. Well ok, there was no problem with the jump itself but he did spook at the bushes while he was in the air so he landed trying to duck right and then kind of fled through the woods. I’m pretty sure he will never stop being spooky at Pine Hill no matter how many times we come here. #nevertrustabush

After that we headed over to the trakehner, which definitely does have a real ditch under it. He took a little peek off the ground but jumping it was never a question. For as spooky as he can be about open ditches, Henry is pretty brave when you put something over top of it.

And then last but of course not least, we headed over to the banks. We started by jumping down the single (same one as last weekend), then the double, then finally the triple down to the bench. Same line we came UP last weekend. Henry picked his way carefully down the triple the first time, but went. The second time he had figured it out and nailed it. What a good pony!

So, hopefully now our down bank issue is at least mostly fixed. At some point we will have to circle back around and tackle the Irish bank that was the cause of this whole undoing, but I’m waiting for Trainer to squirt her baby out so she can deal with that one. I’ve tapped out.

But now I do feel better enough to enter one more show for the season, a schooling HT in June. They run the same courses as their recognized, which are no joke, so it’ll be a good last test for us before spending the $$$ on the recognized Trainings in the fall. They also have a giant freaking down bank that T shares with P, so let’s hope Henry’s still feeling cocky by the time we have to face it!

Review: ECP Contoured Correction Saddle Pad

Because there’s no such thing as too many saddle pads, am I right? Especially if they come in a million colors, are XC shape, and have a built-in half pad.

Behold. Also please ignore the fact that my stirrup leathers have literally worn through to their core.

Typically on XC I use my regular jump Ogilvy pad on top of their XC pad, which is more of a euro-cut than a contour. The setup has always worked well for me functionally, but I was interested in the idea of an all-in-one pad, especially in this slightly smaller contoured shape. Because streamlined. JK mostly because lazy and one pad is easier. The Contoured Correction Pad from ECP is very budget friendly and has built in memory foam (Henry’s favorite) shims… I figured it was definitely worth a shot!

The shims to me kind of feel a little bit more like a regular foam than the dense Ogilvy memory foam that I’ve become accustomed to… it’s lighter weight and more open-cell than theirs, but it does have a good “spring back” quality to it like you would expect from memory foam. The pad has four pockets total, one in the front and one in the back on each side, and each pocket contains three shims of varying thickness. That’s 12 total shims to play with.

front shims
rear shims

Since I was using it as an all-in-one pad, and since Henry’s jump saddle is meant to fit with an Ogilvy under it (ie a bit wide), I left two shims in the front and all of them in the back. Together they make something that is about the same thickness as my Ogilvy. I like having them as shims though, it offers a lot of leeway for fit with a horse that might be uneven or is still growing and changing a lot. It takes all of 2 seconds to just unvelcro the pocket and put shims in or take them out. It would also be very easy to use shims of a different material if you wanted (Thinline devotees, I’m looking at you). The pockets offer lots of options.

The shape of the pad fits my saddle (17.5 extra forward CWD) pretty perfectly, and the contoured spine means that it stays up off of his withers. It has a bit of an upward contour in the back too, so it doesn’t sit down on the spine… a problem I had with my PRI contoured pad. Princess Henry has lodged no complaints thus far and has deemed it to be of sufficient padding for his delicate-flower needs. It washes well (take out the shims) and seems to be very well made. The fabric is sturdy, as is the stitching.

It also comes in a metric crapton of colors. Riding Warehouse has all of these:

not gonna lie, I kinda want the green one too, to go with his green bonnet

Plus I think there are a few more that they could probably order for you if you smiled and asked nicely (burgundy and purple?). The price is super reasonable at $55, and I bet you could find a friend *AHEM* that has a coupon code or two floating around somewhere at any given time. ECP also has a dressage pad and a regular square pad too, if you’re not into the XC contour shape.

Overall I think that if you’re looking for an economical all-in-one pad, or have a need for something shimmable, this is definitely a good option!

One Decade Later

Tomorrow is Sadie’s 10th birthday.


That feels so surreal to type. On one hand, it seems like I’ve had her forever, like she’s always been a part of my life. On the other hand, it seems like just yesterday that she was first introduced to me as a black dot on an ultrasound screen.


It’s a unique experience, breeding and raising a horse. You know everything about them. The source of every scar, physical or mental. What they’re like in pretty much any situation. In some ways you know them better than you know yourself, something that is especially true when you’ve owned a horse from age 23 to age 33. I’m not the same person I was when she was born, and much of what I’ve learned about myself, horses, and life in general can be attributed to her in some way.


Although the entrance of Presto into the world officially marked the transferral of Sadie’s ownership from me to Willow Tree Warmbloods, she will always be “mine”. I will probably always be the one that knows her best and I’m not sure that anyone else could possibly love her more than I do.


Yet I’m not sad about the idea of seeing someone else’s name on her papers, because there’s no one else in the world that I’d rather have as her owner. Willow Tree is where she’s meant to be. They take better care of their horses than any other breeding farm I’ve ever seen and I know they’ll do right by her. She’s a good broodmare, she loves her job, and she gets the best care that anyone could ever want for their horse. She’s happy, she’s healthy, and she’s a productive member of horse society. What more could you want?


I can’t wait to see what other babies she produces, and I especially can’t wait to see other people enjoying her foals just as much as I have enjoyed her (and, in turn, as much as I already enjoy Presto).


And although Presto looks more like his sire, I already I see so many qualities in him that remind me of her. His tenacity being #1. I don’t think he would still be alive today if he wasn’t Sadie’s child. That mare has no quit in her, and apparently he doesn’t either. While it can sometimes be one of her more frustrating qualities, I’ll also be eternally grateful to her for it.


So here’s to a decade of Sadie, and hopefully a couple more still yet to come. It’s been the experience of a lifetime.

I don’t have the heart for Badders.

Every year when Badminton rolls around, Bobby and I follow along online and dream about how fun it would be to fly over to jolly old England and attend in person. It is, after all, the ultimate 4*. The paramount event.

Last year, watching the carnage (and there’s no other word for it, that’s exactly what it was) at the Vicarage Vee took some of the wind out of my sails. That fence was really hard to watch, and it punished anyone and everyone who didn’t meet it exactly right.

Image result for vicarage vee boyd martin

This year saw a new course designer and no more Vicarage Vee. I was hopeful we’d see an event just as big and gnarly as Badminton is known for, except hopefully without the carnage. Alas, that last part was not to be.

Hung legs were everywhere. I stopped counting after 14. Some of them resulted in horse falls, a few rotational or awfully damn close to it, but miraculously a lot of these horses were able to pull out their “fifth leg” and save themselves (with the assistance of many a broken clip). Still… it was hard to watch. Horses don’t get to this level if they have a tendency to hang a leg (no one wants to die), so something was contributing to them either getting to the questions wrong or misreading them.

Two spots in particular that made me cringe were the The Lake and the PHEV Corral. At The Lake, the distance from the bank up to the brushed jump did not work out well for most people. I don’t think the horses jumped the bank the way the designer thought they would, and as a result the distance was off. There were a lot of runouts here, but also some scary falls. At the Corral, I hated having very upright fences, the rails of which were quite square and the second of which was on a hard angle, toward the end of a course like this. There were many horses that just got in a bit off-stride and couldn’t get out of their own way, resulting in a hung leg.

The Lake
The Corrals

I love eventing because it’s hard, and it’s gritty, but I don’t love seeing genuine horses make mistakes and get punished with a fall. For me it takes all the horsemanship out of it. That’s not to say that I want XC to be easy – heck no. It shouldn’t be a dressage competition. But the Rolex course seemed to do a bit better job of turning mistakes into glance-offs or refusals, whereas Badminton sent a lot of horses and riders into the turf. Granted, it’s always done that. This is nothing new.

Bobby and I both didn’t make it that far into the coverage before we lost heart and closed it. It doesn’t leave me with a warm happy “omg eventing is so awesome” feeling. Instead it made me feel… uncomfortable. I lost all desire to go watch in person.

Did anyone else watch? What were your thoughts?

Pine Hill Derby Part 2



But first, the course. Fair warning, I did a real shit job of documenting the course with photos (as in I took none and had to scour the internet to find a few to put here), so here’s the map again.

Teddy’s Tack Trunk sponsored a jump!

After I was done with dressage (praise be) I left Henry at the trailer and set off to walk the course. They were doing jumper rounds in the stadium ring so I didn’t wait around for a break to walk the first three fences of my course, which were all stadium jumps. Jump 4 was another stadium fence set in the fence line, over which you jumped OUT of the arena, landing on a downhill slope. I figured Henry would be a little confused about jumping out of the arena, so counting that plus the downhill landing I figured I’d just stay back and keep my leg on. That’s usually the right answer.

Then of course the very first XC fence was a down bank. Super. I got permission from the TD beforehand to just skip the bank if we had an issue there, but… I really wanted to jump down the damn thing. Mostly because whether or not he jumped off the bank was going to be the real test of how much we’ve rebuilt his confidence about them. The bank itself wasn’t very big but it was going down a big hill, so on the approach it kind of looked like you were jumping off a cliff. Plus it was another downhill landing. I have to be honest, I stood on top of that thing and felt in my gut that he wasn’t going to jump it.

the bank looking up – we came down

After the down bank it was a bending line right to a small bench, then you kept rolling out into the big field with a little bit of a longer stretch to 7ab, a vertical to oxer in and out of stadium fences. Then you hung a right and jumped the red train car

this thing used to make me shit myself, now it’s meh

straight to a stadium fence vertical set in between trees.

pic stolen from Bobby, who does course walks at night with a flashlight

Then it was a right turn through the water and up the bank out

pretend there’s water here

loop around back to a skinny into the water from the other side, and out over an uphill log.

skinny into the water – log out is to the right, out of the frame

After that it was back up the hill to the T rolltop, with a distance that walked either a long three or short four to the triple up bank. I was excited to ride this, it looked super fun.


After that there was one more stadium fence hidden back in the trees, then we looped around and had a little brush fence at the last.

cute lil brush box

Overall I thought the course looked really fun and inviting. If we hadn’t literally just had a down bank issue, I’d have gone so far as to say it looked easy. Nothing was big or tricky, although I thought having the stadium fences scattered throughout was definitely a challenge. Henry is not particularly careful, especially when he’s in his flatter more forward XC mode of jumping. Getting him rocked back for the stadium fences was going to be one of the hardest parts for us.

My plan for the bank was simple: I was going to stay in the back seat and ride it like both of our asses were on fire. I told my trainer that I was going down the bank come hell or high water, either with or without the horse (and if I went without the horse, could someone please go catch him?).

Bobby making out with his Maxime poster. Good luck unseeing this.

Henry was great in warmup, he definitely woke up once he realized we were jumping (ah, there’s the energy I didn’t have in dressage). He was a little confused when we went from XC warmup to stadium… he kept looking back down the hill toward the start box like “wtf kind of cruel trick is this?”. The first stadium fence was fine, but he landed pulling on me a bit and I didn’t get him back quick enough to make a very balanced turn to 2. That kind of dominoed into him getting a bit crooked off the ground and pulling the rail there, but then he was more reasonable to 3. I landed from 3 with my spurs in his ribs because I knew he’d balk at 4, the jump out of the arena. Pretty much every horse was really backed off of that, and I’d already seen a couple stop there. Henry sorta weaved his way down there in a very skeptical canter, but he went.

I landed and immediately sent him forward again… I wanted him thinking forward as much as possible before we got to the bank. He was a bit confused about how the hell we’d just teleported magically from stadium to XC, but he never needs to be asked twice to gallop out onto cross country. We came around the corner, I sat up, kicked him forward, and we attacked the bank. And while Henry leapt off of it with considerably more gusto than necessary, he didn’t even hesitate. Perhaps the override wasn’t needed after all, but we made it so whatever. We’ll smooth it out next time.


I had to steer to the bench with super long reins after the big leap down, but we got down there and over it fine. Then he was off and running at 450mpm, which would have been great except the next fences were stadium jumps and the course speed was 360mpm. Thanks to Dr. Bristol we had a stadium canter back by the time we got there and popped through the in and out fine.

***Side note: you have never seen seasoned event horses more confused as when you combine an XC course and stadium course together. Horse minds were being blown all day.***

Then I let him go a bit more forward again to the red train car. I thought he might back off a little there since it’s in a new location next to the trees he always loves to spook at, but he locked on and was delighted. Then another whoa and balance again for the stadium vertical, right turn down to the water keeping a bouncy canter up the bank out. I’m pretty sure I could feel Henry smiling by this point – he loves water. I pretty much just steered as we looped around to the skinny back into the water and the log out.


He landed and wanted to charge up the hill (HENNY GO CROSS COUNTRY HENNY GALLOP) but I could only let him roll for a few strides before I had to bring him back again. We had to fit four strides in between the bench and the triple up banks (because charging forward and flat to up banks is not the death warrant I would like to sign, thanks) so I found a short distance to the rolltop, landed whoaing, then let him maintain the collected 4 and pop up the three banks. And it was SO FUN.

After that it was just a hop over another stadium fence and around the corner to the little brush box at the finish. Aside from the rail at fence 2 we were clear, so we added 4 faults to our dressage score. Still, there were enough issues to move us up from 6th to 4th. Mostly though I was just really thrilled that he went down the bank. We definitely still need to keep rebuilding his confidence more, but good to know he isn’t totally broken about it.

cookies??? (he got half a bag of German Horse Muffins so now he’s probably got the ‘beetus)

While I did think that in general it was a lot harder for us to really get in a good groove around a course of mixed stadium and xc fences (me probably more so than him), it was still a total blast. I would definitely love to do more derbies every once in a while!

Pine Hill Derby Part 1

Saturday was an early morning. I was up at 4:15, pulled out of the barn at 5:15, and we were parked, unloaded, and Henry was happily munching his hay at Pine Hill by 7:30. I picked up my packet, dropped off the raffle items I’d brought (thanks Mango Bay and Majyk Equipe!), and slowly got Henry ready.

Nice quarter horse.

The morning was pretty cool with a little bit of a breeze, so I thought Henry might be a bit up. Yeah no. Our warmup was fine, but I was having some trouble motivating him enough to really get him pushing with the inside hind, especially to the left. When he finally did start pushing and connecting into the outside rein the quality of his trot improved tenfold, but I knew I’d have my work cut out for me in the ring.

It started so well, with an 8 for our first centerline. Spoiler alert: this was our highest mark of the test.

The good thing is, not so very long ago I had to ride my test as if I were sitting on a stick of dynamite. He’s still sensitive and tense at times (pretty much just in the walk and transitions these days), but overall I can ask for more now. Sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesn’t. He seems to have a particularly hard time in this arena because the corners are quite deep… we get bogged down a lot and he doesn’t want to go IN them at all.

I am the queen of the 15m oval

For the test itself he was obedient for the most part, but I got nothing on any of my lengthenings (he politely declined, thank you) and I kept losing his hind end a bit. The medium walk was shuffly and the free walk was hurried, both of which she really nailed me for. Ouch, double coefficient.

this is as lengthened as he got

On the plus side we at least got the one 8, and his other best scores (a 7.5 and two 7’s) were for things we’ve historically been shitty at – the stretchy trot and the canter/trot transitions. THAT part did make me pretty happy. Note to self, next time work on the walk and the lengthenings more in warmup, because ouch the 5’s hurt. Also – time to put the spurs on.

Either way, I was pleased enough with his test, because he’s still working light years better than he was last summer. If I could actually take some dressage lessons again at some point, it would probably really help. Or if he hadn’t had like 3 of the last 6 weeks off because my life has been nuts. Details.

If I had stopped squeezing, he’d have stopped cantering

The judge was not very charitable, but she scored everyone that way so it was fine. We got a 37, and the best score in either Training division was 33. Her comments were pretty spot on (and pretty detailed, for a dressage test). Yes our lengthenings were non-existent, yes the walk work was not good, yes he’s on the forehand a lot. Henry’s butt is literally 2″ higher than his withers and I still sit like a jumper convert, so we are no strangers to the forehand.

I love being done with dressage

While it definitely wasn’t our best test, it was also far from being our worst.  We were sitting in 6th after dressage in a fairly tightly packed group of scores, which is fine, I’ll take that.

Honestly if Trainer had let me withdraw and go home at this point, I would have. I was tired, and once I walked the jumping course and saw the down bank, I was pretty certain that we were toast. But we’ll cover all that tomorrow…

Derby Day

Or I suppose we could call it Double Derby Day? Yes tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby (which I haven’t paid any attention to at all this year, aside from the one-eyed horse) but it’s also the Benefit Derby at Pine Hill!


I’ve been looking forward to this for months. I love eventing derbies, I love benefit shows, and I love Pine Hill, so this is basically the trifecta (see what I did there?). So many of my friends and favorite business owners stepped up to donate money or products and it was all very much appreciated. Can’t wait to see the program and the signs and the raffle.

But of course, when I started getting all gung-ho about this shindig, I forgot that it’s literally the day after SO’s birthday… which is today. That means if I wanted to leave the today (it’s a 2 hour drive and my dressage time is 8:52, sooo leaving today would be ideal) I’d have to be gone on SO’s birthday. Considering that I was gone for 2 weeks in March when Presto was born and just got back from a week at Rolex, I thought it a bit unwise to test his patience by being gone for a horse show on his birthday. Instead I’ll be leaving at the absolute pre-ass crack of dawn tomorrow to make it down there in time.

Image result for too early meme

And after I’d already made plans to stay over tomorrow night and XC school the next morning (Trainer’s baby shower is on Sunday afternoon and only about half an hour away from the show venue, so I figured I could roll it all together), SO informed me that we had movie plans for Saturday evening. See above about not pushing my luck at the moment. That means I have to basically jump off my horse after the jumping phase and floor it for home, which in turn means I’ll miss the big raffle at the end of the show. Boo.


They posted the derby course the other day though, which is awesome. I’ve been able to learn it in advance, so that minimizes how much time I have to spend walking. I don’t think this is a particularly ideal format for us, with stadium jumps sprinkled in throughout the XC course (if we don’t have a rail at every single one, it’ll be a miracle). Nor was I very happy to see a down bank right at the beginning, considering that just a couple weeks ago we discovered that we still have a down bank issue. I already have plans to XC school a lot in May to work through it, so if we have an issue with this one at the derby I’ll probably just retire. No point in pushing Henry’s already semi-fragile brain at the down bank.

Otherwise though I like the course a lot, and nothing else concerns me. I really hope he does actually decide to go down the bank, because I love how the water is set up and I definitely want to go up the triple bank!

We’ve done the double… I want to do the triple

Either way, even if we only get to do dressage, we need that practice too. Plus the money from the show goes to a good cause. Can’t beat that. Anyone else have other fun derby (Kentucky or otherwise) plans this weekend?

Growing like a weed

​Who’s the cutest baby horse in all the land?


Presto is 7 weeks old today, although Michelle took these pics for me on Monday. Can you believe how much he’s filled out??? Looking at him now (aside from all the hair missing on his butt and his neck) I don’t think anyone would ever know that he spent his first 3 weeks clinging to life at the vet clinic.


Even though he’s not at an ideal age to judge his conformation (if we’re following the “3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months” rule), I continue to be really happy with how he’s put together. He will never be the super developed, muscular horse that Liam is, and he’s not supposed to be. Liam will be a showjumper, all power, and Presto will be an eventer, a (hopefully) lighter and more streamlined horse. And right now, he REALLY looks like a baby eventer. I love how he’s put together, definitely still really happy with the cross.


Height-wise he’s catching up to Liam pretty quickly. When he first came home from the clinic Liam easily had a hand on him, but now they’re pretty close. He nurses pretty constantly, nibbles at grass and hay, and helps himself to Sadie’s food. I sent videos to his vet the other day and she was blown away by how great he looks.

He also seems to be having tons of fun at the breeding farm, playing with all the other mares and foals. It makes me happy to see him out there enjoying himself… I’d say he’s earned it.

On Sunday Sadie was bred back to Mighty Magic, so fingers crossed that we see a little black dot on the ultrasound in another week or so. I think some lucky buyer out there would be very happy to have a Presto full sibling next year!

who wouldn’t want one of these?

As for the rest of the Willow Tree mares, they’ve just gotten started on breeding season so only one has been scanned in foal so far: Laken to Diarado. I’m very interested in this combination… even though it’s really meant for the jumper ring, I’ve seen so many Diarado’s pop up in eventing lately.


And as for Liam… he’s doing Liam things.

ears are too heavy to hold both of them up at the same time

And of course, Liam and Presto remain the best of friends. It looks like Liam is sold to a GP jumper rider, which will be the perfect home for him. He’s a big, fancy chunk of a colt who knows 100% that he’s a BOY.

I won’t have time to head down there to see them this weekend, but planning on the weekend after. Hopefully then I’ll have more pics and videos (Presto will be almost 2 months by then!) and more positive ultrasound results to share. And maybe he’ll start shedding so his poor bald spots blend in a bit better…