Prepared: what does it look like?

Knowing when to move up a level is, I think, one of the trickiest questions for us as riders. I’ve talked about it on this blog before, when we were moving up from BN to N (geez that feels like a life time ago) but it’s a subject that you see come up quite often on blogs and message boards. It would be nice if there was a handy dandy be-all-end-all checklist that we could go by, but there really isn’t any hard and fast rule that is going to applicable across the board. Jim Wofford gave a good outline of his opinions here, but even then, there’s more to it than that.


And before anyone starts jumping to conclusions, NO I am not even thinking about moving up to Prelim. Like ever. That’s hilarious. Trainer can take my horse around that level but I’m gonna hard pass, thanks.

But even just to feel ready to show at a particular level, whether it’s a move up or not, there are certain things I want to be doing at home to feel like I’m well-prepared. For instance, I’m proooobably not gonna want to run Training if a 3’3″ stadium course looks at all big. Personally, I need that stuff to look small or I start riding in fetal position (ok, sometimes I ride in fetal position anyway). So for me, if I’m ready to go to the show, that means I’m comfortably jumping full courses a hole or two higher at home.


That seems to be pretty common across h/j-land… always school higher at home than the level at which you show. It makes sense to not expect to go to a show and be successful if you’re performing at the very tip top of your current ability. It doesn’t seem quite as common in eventing though. I often see people very meticulously set a course to 2’7″ or 2’11” or 3’3″, whatever the height may be that they’re showing, and very rarely jump anything higher except for a single fence here and there. I dunno how they do it. I would legit die or pee my pants when I got to the horse show. Probably both.

Same thing for XC – if I’m running Training, I want to at least have jumped some legit Prelim fences. If nothing else it’s a great confidence boost if I’m worried about a tricky jump on my course, to be able to say “Come on self, you’ve schooled bigger harder things than this, don’t be such a baby. Sit up and kick. Jesus.”. You’d be surprised how well that works for my psyche.

Image result for pull yourself together gif

A similar idea can be applied to dressage, just without the death part. If I never school anything harder at home than the movements that are in my test, riding up centerline at a show would be exponentially more stressful and more difficult. And anyone who’s ever seen us do dressage knows that we’re challenged enough without any added stress or difficulty.  So we plug away at home with shoulder-in and haunches-in and leg yield and counter canter and 10m circles even though I wouldn’t, under any circumstances, enter a test that had all of that.

For me personally, being truly prepared (whether it be for a move up or just for a show) means that I’ve done enough work at home to where I get to the show and feel confident in our ability to perform the task at hand. I’ll never be mistake-free, but I at least want to always walk in the ring or start box feeling like we’re more than capable of making it around. For me, it’s such a mental game. If a fence looks intimidatingly big, I’m probably in trouble.*

*Unless it’s a BAT (big ass table)… I reserve the right to say that those ALWAYS look too big and never walk within 30′ of them on foot…

What does “prepared” look like for you? Do you jump higher and school harder movements at home?


As you may have guessed from all the mentions of counter canter around here lately, we’re working really hard to strengthen Henry’s back, SI, and hind end. Now that he’s post summer break (he says how the eff does it count as a summer break when I still made him do w/t dressage 4 days a week and one light conditioning day???) and post SI injection, and only 4.5 weeks from the start of the fall season, it’s time to get buckle down and get that big ol’ butt turned back into serious muscle.

Big. Really big.

This is an ongoing thing with him really. The fittest and strongest he’s ever been was summer of 2016 when we did the 3Day, but of course he came home from that and hurt himself about a month later, garnering a few months off work. I legged him back up to decent fitness in the spring, but he definitely was not as strong as he was before his time off. He really loses it FAST when he’s not in hard regular work. His SI is just naturally not very good and his loin is perpetually weak. As we’ve slowly ramped up the hills, transitions, counter canter, and trot poles, he’s gotten better and better. Every week he gets steadier and stronger.

Of course, with the ramp-up in all of this hindend targeting work, we’ve had to deal with some muscle soreness. I’ve finally figured out that giving him days off makes everything exponentially worse, so what used to be his off days are now his long bareback marching-walk days. I think he’s getting tired of seeing me every day, but I just keep giving him more cookies.

and donkeys

He’s always been a horse that gets tight and muscle sore pretty easily, so it’s certainly not a surprise now. I expected this. Luckily I’ve gotten pretty good at managing it and helping him work it out. We do stretches, psoas release, and lower lumbar/SI area massage daily. Then he gets a nice long forward walk to warm up, before we ever really start working. All of that makes a huge difference in how he feels.

I’ve also added a couple of new things to our repertoire. I’m not a fan of oral supplements in general, but I added MSM and DMG daily. It’s $25 a month for both and I’m hoping we can just use them temporarily as he comes back into full fitness. He’s been on this particular combination before, waaaaay back when I first got him and was bringing him back into work off of a year layoff. I thought it helped him a bit then, so it seemed worthwhile to try it again.

The other fun new thing that we’re trying out is microcurrent therapy. I’ve had good luck using electroacupuncture with him, so when I saw the Microlief system I couldn’t resist trying it out. I’m still waiting on my Medipore tape to get here so I can try it, but we’ll see if I can tell any positive difference with that too. Yes, eventually I’ll review it, once I get a good idea of whether or not it helps.

All of this might seem a little high maintenance, but it’s definitely working. His canter work is feeling better than it has in over a year, and really all of his flatwork continues to make steady improvement as he becomes physically more capable. Hopefully after another month or so he’ll be back at full strength and all of this will start feeling easier for him again!

Blog Hop: Dealbreakers

I’m pretty sure we’ve discussed dealbreakers before, at least in the capacity of buying a horse, but what about the things that would prevent you from even swinging a leg over in the first place?

I’m not a particularly timid rider, so most things don’t bother me. I don’t mind a hot horse, or one that might be inclined to buck or play or spook. Young and green is fine, and while I’d prefer to not have to ride one that requires a ton of leg (let me tell you what I’m not good at – slow horses), I don’t mind it every once in a while. My dealbreakers are mainly of the I-don’t-want-a-horse-to-crash-down-on-top-of-me variety.

For me there’s only one thing “on the flat” that will make me not even want to climb aboard: rearing. Been there, done that, got the bruises and the near death experience to prove it. If it rears, I’m not going near it. Period.

There’s a reason I like eventing this horse

If we’re talking about jumping, I have one more dealbreaker: I will not jump a horse that has a consistent tendency to hang it’s knees and jump over it’s shoulder. See above about the whole not wanting to ride a horse that is going to crash down on top of me thing. Rotational falls are scary, I’m not interested in stacking the odds in favor of one happening by riding a horse that hangs it’s knees. I think I’d be cantering down to every fence just holding my breath, so… no thanks. Hard pass. I make enough mistakes, I don’t need to be extra worried about the potential ramifications of my bad decision-making. While it’s true that just about any horse can get to a solid fence badly enough to have a rotational in exactly the right circumstances, I sure as heck am not interested in stacking the odds in my favor by picking a horse that jumps with hanging knees.

What about y’all – any dealbreakers that make you not even want to ride a particular kind of horse?

Birthday Weekend Horse Camp

Who requests a gymnastics torture lesson on their birthday? My dumb ass. And when Trainer nonchalantly says “you should come up the night before for a dressage lesson and just stay over”, who answers “hell yeah, birthday weekend Horse Camp!”? Yep, you guessed it. Newsflash, I’m not any smarter at 34 than I was at 33.

its ok, he’s not any smarter at 10 than he was at 9

I have literally zero media from Friday. Nary a picture, not even a shot of Henry in the crossties. But FINALLY Henry decided to show up for a lesson as pretty much the same horse I have at home, which made this lesson much more productive than last weekend’s. Plus I didn’t almost die of heat stroke, so… there’s that.

Mostly we worked on lengthenings and our counter canter loops again, and got several “YES YES YES!!!” and “THERE!”s from Trainer’s general direction, which I’ll happily take. They’re rare. At one point we apparently even got some toe flick. Who knew Henny was capable? We got good feedback (will I ever stop sitting to the outside at canter? probably not.) and homework, so it was FINALLY a productive dressage lesson. Thanks for deciding to show up, Henny.

Even with a 7pm lesson I sweated so much that it looked like I’d jumped in a pool, and by the time I’d showered and scarfed down some food, I promptly passed the hell out. I don’t even think I made it to 10pm. Wild parties these days.

As soon as I got to the barn the next morning I went to check on Henry in his turnout and found this:

Pacing, sweating Henry staring at the mare next door like a total creeper. I pulled him out to hose him off and he immediately started screaming and spinning. Oh good… those two precarious brain cells totally fell out in the paddock overnight when he apparently professed his undying devotion to the mare. Super.

Trainer pulled up to find him in the crossties screaming and pawing, and me standing there giving him whatfor. When I explained what was going on she smiled evilly and said “Grab a rope halter and tie him to The Tree of Knowledge for a while!”. And that’s how Henry legit ended up spending an hour and a half tied to a tree like a rogue 2yo while I jump crewed for the first lesson.

not as embarrassed as he should be

He screamed, he pawed, he kicked out at the air, he bit the rope, and he tried to dig a hole to China, but by the time I went to get him to tack him up, he had gotten most of the temper tantrum out of his system. The Tree of Knowledge wins again.

The lesson itself was just what we needed, working on getting Henry powering to and jumping from the base, and trying to get me to stop chucking my body at him. That will probably forever be a work in progress, chucking my body is my fave.

Mostly though he was just extremely offended at having to TROT into the gymnastic. He warmed up like he thought he was HH Azur strutting into the Olympic stadium… he was so excited to finally be jumping after 3 dressage lessons in a row and very little jumping all summer period. Then he was horrified at having to trot into the line via poles and a crossrail, like he was some kind of green baby. DON’T WE KNOW WHO HE IS???

he is beauty, he is grace, his legs are all over the place…

You never have to guess how Henry feels about something, his emotions are quite clear. We got a couple good efforts by the end though, and again took home some things to work on, so mission accomplished for the weekend.

Plus on the way home I stopped at a new gas station on my route and discovered that not only does it have a Which Wich in it, it also has FROYO with a ton of topping options. Happy effin’ birthday to ME!!! That’s my new official refueling spot from now on.

Most Loved Things – Review Updates

Last week I had a couple different people ask for updates on things I’d reviewed a while ago, so I thought I’d do a “quick n dirty” review update on how some of my favorite things are standing the test of time.


Majyk Equipe boots

I sing ME’s praises a lot, but it’s because I really do love them. Not only are the boots great, the people behind the company are great too. My very first pair of Majyk Equipe XC boots – that I got in 2014 and have used almost daily since – have finally just now had the binding shred on one of the fronts. Considering how much my horse interferes, this is kind of miraculous. He’s a boot killer extraordinaire. I have many pairs of ME boots in my collection these days, and have continued to be extremely happy with all of them. They’re dedicated to using the best technology and materials, and always striving to improve, and it really shows.

Lorenzini stirrups

When I originally reviewed these my one and only real complaint was about durability, since I’d already had some chipping of the surface paint.  Luckily, aside from a couple of very tiny dings, the chipping has not really progressed, and is pretty much limited to the area that sits underneath the stirrup leather (as you can see in the above pic). I do still really love these things otherwise – they’re super pretty and I like the grippiness of the footbed and the weight of the iron. I know some other people that have tried them and had some knee pain, which I’ve never had a problem with myself, but as with any expensive stirrup I’d suggest attempting to trial a pair before you drop a ton of money.



Kentucky Bridleworks halter

I loved this thing when I got it and love it even more now that it’s super soft and broken in. Henry tried to murder it when he was solidly in his “the hose is a snake” phase, but luckily he only broke off part of the crown (BAD HORSE) so it’s still usable. This leather on this thing is RUGGED, the hardware is solid, and it’s only gotten better with age.



Ovation Aqua X breeches

These are my favorite all-around breeches. They’ve been so great this summer, nice and lightweight but still super flattering and comfortable. I wear them more than any of my other breeches and the fabric still looks fantastic. The only sign of wear is the silicone at the knees has started to wear at the edges, which is something that does happen with silicone. I can’t wait for the hunter green ones to come out this fall… slowly I will fill my closet with these things. 110% worth the extremely reasonable price.



Kastel Sunshirts

This was one of the very first reviews I ever did, more than 3 years ago, and I’m still using the same shirts I was wearing back then. I’ve added many more Kastels to my collection in that time, and well as sunshirts from various other brands. The Kastels are still my favorite by far, and these days it’s pretty easy to find them on sale. A good sunshirt is an absolute necessity when you’re in the south, and there’s really no reason to not own at least 10 of these things.


Boy O Boy Bridleworks

I never did a formal review on my Boy O Boy products, I did a Small Business Spotlight on the company, but I really feel like I have to circle back around and sing their praises a bit more. I absolutely LOVE my custom belt and the matching polo finish browband, they’re just so impeccably made and look fantastic. BoB stuff might seem a bit on the pricey side, but you’re paying for something that is handmade and done to the absolute highest standards, so to me it’s worth it. These are the kinds of items you keep for a very long time.



Lund Saddlery tack

I’ve reviewed a lot of pieces of Lund tack over the past year, and I’m happy to report that all of it is holding up really well. I’ve absolutely abused this tack and it still looks fantastic. They’ve worked hard to iron out some of the original challenges with ordering and shipping, and it’s been fun to see this company grow, expand, and progress since their debut. They continue to keep coming out with really solid additions to their line, which you’ll continue to see more of here.

Travelin’ Man

I try to always give plenty of advance notice to the barn owner and barn staff whenever Henry is going to be gone for lessons or horse shows. Ya know, so nobody panics when he’s not in his paddock or stall. I sat down the other day to text them his August schedule and realized… Henry is gonna be away from home for like 2 straight weeks. Big time traveler, this guy.

very sophisticated Porkerpotamus 

His whirlwind Texas tour starts on the 19th, when we head up north for a Ride-a-Test/$5 Show Jump Rounds day, and then stay overnight so we can XC school the next morning. From there we head straight south for 6 days of barnsitting, and then from there I go straight to Trainer’s to drop him off for a week.

Pretty excited to be able to take him barnsitting with me… a couple of the horses are spending the summer in Colorado (lucky them) so that makes space available for him to come along with me. There’s a fancy. legit dressage arena on the property, so we’ll spend the week torturing ourselves in a real, bonafide dressage ring. Normally we don’t see those unless we’re at lessons or shows. Which probably explains a lot about my test geometry.

what I did the last time I brought Henry with me to barnsit
I’m an eventer, I can’t help it.

And then of course he’s going to “camp” at Trainer’s while I’m in Europe. He’s gonna head over there a couple days before I leave so that I have time to get all my shit together for my trip, and then she’s going to drop him off on her way through my town, a few days before I get home. Lord only knows what they’ll do together, but hopefully he’s not too mad by the time she’s done.

So now I’m figuring out what all I need to take with me in order for him to have everything he needs to be away from home for 2 weeks, and exactly how I should transport it all since I don’t have a dressing room in my trailer. He basically needs…. everything, I guess?? We’re about to be gypsies!

Self Assessment: Foal edition

Someone asked me about foal conformation a while ago but I completely forgot until my post last week about inspections. So, for a fun Wednesday exercise, I’m going to put myself and Presto out there and give my complete and honest opinion (as unbiased as possible anyway) of what I think of him so far (not on an emotional level, cuz y’all already know where I stand on that one), as an event prospect. Plus, hey, I think it’s good to strive to see both the good and the not-so-good in our horses, it’s what helps us learn. Fair warning, your opinion may vary. I’m not a judge. I have no actual qualifications or credentials. I’ve just seen a lot of babies grow up and am really fascinated by this stuff. This is only my very humble opinion, from seeing him on a regular basis as he’s grown and developed so far. 


The old adage with horses is “3 days, 3 months, 3 years”… the idea being that those ages are the ones that give you the best idea of what the horse will look like when it’s mature. For me personally that’s been true most of the time, but not always. Some are beautiful from day 1 and never have a bad day, others are pretty awkward for a really long time. Just kind of depends on the horse. Their bodies can do some seriously freaking weird shit along the way, just like human teenagers. So we’re gonna look at what we’ve got so far with Presto, and in 4 or 5 years hopefully we’ll find out if I was right. Just to have some kind of structure, let’s use the FEH judging sheet as our guideline.



Type is a fun one. It’s the thing that more than one judge (including Marilyn Payne) has said is THE most important thing when judging an event horse in hand, yet it’s also the thing that you’ll find the least information (and definitely least specific information) about. So what exactly is an “event horse” type? Could be anything really, I’m sure we can all spit out examples on opposite ends of the spectrum, from draft cross Covert Rights to diminutive pony cross Teddy O’Conner. But, for the sake of averages, let’s throw out the outliers and exceptions and look for what we see the most often at the upper levels. That’s generally a horse that is leggy, not too compact in length, has good length of neck, and isn’t too heavy. A horse that has an elegant, “sporty” appearance, that looks athletic and like it will be able to really cover the ground. Not so light as to be fragile, but not so heavy as to pound the ground or be unable to gallop efficiently.


To me this is Presto’s strongest area that I’ve seen from him so far. IMO he really looks like a baby event horse (honestly he looks a ton like his sire Mighty Magic to me), with a more rangey, elegant type and a nice length of leg. As far as the “shows the appearance of refining blood” part of the judging criteria – he’s 74% and I think he looks it.


This one is really a lot harder to judge with a foal, but I’ll give you my impressions of what I’ve observed so far with him over time. The FEH criteria have two separate sections under conformation, one for frame and one for legs/feet. Frame is looking for the general skeletal conformation of the horse, proportions, natural strength of topline, etc. Legs and feet… should be obvious. Straight legs, clean joints, good bone, feet of appropriate size, correct angles, etc.


For “frame”, I think Presto has some strengths and some weaknesses. I like his head (although that has no actual importance IMO), and I think his neck is of good length. His shoulder is probably another one of his best qualities. I think topline is fine, at least so far, but he could have a better/stronger loin connection. He might end up being a touch long – hard to say for sure yet. I think saddle position will be good, but again I think it’s too early to really say. If you draw a triangle connecting his point of hip, point of buttock, and point of stifle, you get a pretty equilateral triangle – typical of an event horse. His point of stifle is below sheath level, indicating good stride length and possibly better jumping ability. It could be a bit lower. His LS gap and point of hip alignment are correct.

On to the legs! This one is also really hard with foals, especially if they haven’t sprouted outward in the chest yet, because many will look like they toe out at this stage. Presto’s left front is beautiful, but the right front has a bit of an outward deviation below the knee (pretty similar to Henry’s, ironically). It has improved tremendously in the past couple months since he’s gotten healthier, and I think it will continue to improve, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that deviation never goes away completely. I think it’s quite minor, though, so while I’d have to mark him down for it, it doesn’t bother me a lot at this point.

As far as his “pillar of support”, following the groove of his foreleg draw an imaginary straight line vertically. At the top it emerges well in front of the withers (indicating he won’t be inclined to be heavy on the forehand) and at the bottom it falls just behind his heel. It should fall either through the heel or slightly behind the heel to avoid being overly prone to soft tissue injuries.

I think the hind legs are good, if perhaps a touch straight, but he’s still in such a narrow phase that it’s hard to get an idea of how anything back there will end up. Overall right this second he looks really long in the pastern, but I’m going to call that a growth thing, since this is the first time he’s looked like that so far in his life.


FEH only judges the walk and the trot, so I’m going to stray from their scoresheet a little here and include canter and gallop. For w/t/c they’re really looking for something very close to a dressage horse – good elasticity, freedom of shoulder, uphill, active hind leg, etc. For gallop they want something very groundcovering and efficient and light across the ground. It’s extraordinarily difficult to find those two things existing in the same animal, but hey we’re talking gold standards here.


To be honest I’ve had a really hard time judging Presto’s gaits so far. He is the type of foal that either stands still or gallops, with very little in between. I’ve hardly seen any trot, and most of it was just a few petering steps as he’s coming back down from canter to walk. I think he’s got some suspension there, but I’ve seen pretty much nothing else. If I had to judge his walk and trot based on what I’ve seen so far, he wouldn’t have super high scores. Maybe someday he’ll actually show me those gaits.

I’ve seen a lot of canter and gallop, though! His gallop is pretty good, although if I’m being picky it could cover a bit more ground. Kid is freaking fast, though, and he just skips across the pasture, light as a feather and nicely balanced. The canter has varied all the way from “I swear I didn’t breed a hunter” to “omg WOW”, depending on when I happen to see it. I think when he’s butt high it gets more downhill and flat, and right now he’s definitely butt high.

Either way, he is probably not going to win the dressage by merit of his gaits alone, unless he’s hiding something he just hasn’t shown me yet. His mother is a big elastic mover, so I’m hoping that this continues to develop in him.

General Impression

Let’s throw out the “behavior” part of the score sheet criteria, since it doesn’t really apply to this particular scenario. Aside from that we’re basically just looking at overall development, and “does it look like something that can be an upper level event horse”?

general impression: already sick of my bullshit

Development wise, I’d say he’s fairly close to average for his age. The fact that he’s basically caught up to Liam, height-wise, despite all of his troubles is kind of miraculous. He’s still got a ways to go in the width and substance department though. Some days he looks quite filled out and lovely, other days he looks like a puny weed.

As far as potential, I kinda look at him and think more like 2* horse than 4*, but a) that’s what I want to see, b) I’m strongly of the opinion that a lot of what makes the difference between a real superstar horse vs a nice mid-level one are things we can’t see… heart, desire, courage. And of course scope, which I have absolutely no way to measure right now. Those are all big question marks and will be for a long time. I did not set out to create a 4* horse, so that’s not what I personally am looking for. Regardless of level, I do look at him and see event horse.


So there you have it, my attempt to be as fair and objective about my own foal as I can possibly be. All I really know for sure is that I’m excited to see what he turns into.

Edited to add sources of conformation assessment information, by request! Highly recommend purchasing Judy Wardrope’s ebook, which can be found here: 

Or check out some of her free online articles (with very brief basic overviews of conformation for each sport) here:

Fatty Fatty 4 x 4

Well, this is kind of embarrassing, but, um… Henry is a bit of a porker at the moment.

maybe he’s pregnant?

I’d noticed that over the past couple months he was looking more fluffy, but I just figured that it was because we’d cut back on conditioning work for the summer. It’s not that unusual for Henry’s weight to fluctuate a little, depending on his work load. So I didn’t really think much of it, figuring that as he went back into a more normal schedule, the weight would start to come back off.

But when I showed up for my dressage lesson, and Trainer hadn’t seen him for 2 months, she said “He’s so fat! Look, he has a fat pad above his tail!! HAHAHAHAHA OH MY GOD!”. So rude. Poor Henry.

Y U so mean???

It’s ironic that she said that on that particular day though, because when I went to get him out of his pasture before we headed over there for our lesson, I was walking up to him going “OMG he’s fat… is that a halter horse or a thoroughbred? Maybe it’s just the angle?”. Because really from certain angles he doesn’t look fat at all, but then from others, well… halter horse.

Henry is no stranger to FattyFatLand… I don’t think I’ll ever forget that very first day when I unloaded him from the trailer, pulled off his blanket, and was greeted by this:

Yes, I leaned down and checked to make sure he had boy parts. Then sent his DNA off to the Jockey Club to confirm he was a TB. No, he’s not a pregnant mare, and yes, he’s a thoroughbred. He’s just a bit of a fluff when he’s not working.

Image result for fluffy gif

I also found out that the weekend feeder has accidentally been giving him double rations, which I’m sure hasn’t helped. Henry was probably delighted, but I don’t think he needs THAT MUCH Triple Crown Senior (his standard ration is the lowest recommended daily amount).

It also kind of made me think about how different the ideals are for each sport. If Henry was a hunter, he’d be pretty perfect. But he’s not a hunter, he’s an event horse. He has to gallop a lot and jump solid stuff for a living, so we don’t want a lot of extra weight on him. I’d already started adding his long trots back into our repertoire, but I think it’s time to start bumping up the time. Somebody needs to lose a bit of that fat lard before fall season starts, and hey, maybe his rider will lose some too?

How I ended up on the ground in a dressage lesson 

Not gonna lie, I was getting desperate for a dressage lesson. It’s been a few months, and the last one we had was SO BAD (yes, horse, let’s pretend like you’ve never heard of contact before in your life), I’m not even sure it counts. So I was bound and determined to get one in this weekend, and wasn’t even deterred by the fact that the only time Trainer really had available was 3pm on Sunday.

Spoiler alert: this was a mistake.

I think I let myself be lulled into thinking it really wasn’t all that hot anymore, since this past week we’d had a good 10 degree drop in temperatures. What I failed to consider is that it was still in the low 90’s. With 70% humidity. And you know who’s not really acclimated to the heat anymore, since we ride so early in the morning? Me and Henry both.

I got there early so I’d have ample time to walk around the XC field and get some stretchy trot before our lesson started. Whatever was in the air yesterday was bothering us both, because we were both sounding a little bit wheezy. I’d given Henry a double dose of his allergy med before we left, but that didn’t really seem to help. Once I got him thinking forward I decided to just walk and wait for our lesson time. But we were still dying so the walking quickly morphed into standing under the trees while sweat poured freely down my face.

Trainer showed up and we got right to work, fixing our crookedness to the left (my bad), working on some sitting trot and 10m circles and shoulder-in. All was fine at first. Then we got to the canter and were doing a shallow counter canter loop down one long side, lengthen down the other side, and repeat. That was all fine (you know, when I let go and use my leg so the horse can actually move his hind end), so we took a walk break.


As soon as we stopped working, my world start spinning and I wasn’t sure if I was going to pass out or throw up. I quickly slid off my horse and sat in the shade for a few minutes, head bent over. Trainer kept handing me more water bottles (please don’t die in the dressage court) and eventually I figured I felt as good as I was possibly going to feel, so I hopped back up so we could do the exercise to the left. We did it 3 times that way and finally got a proper counter canter loop, so we called it a day and I promptly went back to collapse in the shade. I loosened Henry’s girth and undid his nosebands and we both just looked at each other like “This was an idiotic idea”. The glare I got from him was well-deserved. Sorry, bud.

a preview of next weekends torture

I think it’s safe to say that we’re done with afternoon lessons until like… October.

Gremy Update

Cats are weird, y’all. And kittens? Kittens are crazy. Next level insane. At one point in my life I knew all this, but not having had a cat for a really long time, I kind of forgot.

Gremy has settled in to her new life as a dog terrorist inside cat, and she’s starting to get a lot more comfortable in her surroundings. In the beginning she spent a lot of time clinging to us and was much more subdued. These days she most closely resembles the Tasmanian devil. What’s this bullshit I read on the internet about kittens sleeping 20 hours a day? HAHAHAHA. If that’s what’s normal, mine is broken, because she plays and plays and plays and plays for hours and then naps for like 20 minutes before she’s off and running again at full speed. Her favorite trick is to dash between your feet while you’re walking, causing you to perform acrobatics in an effort to avoid stepping on her, which tends to result in the human crashing into something. Hilaaaaarious.

or murdering water bottles

She had her first vet appointment last weekend where she officially weighed in at 1.2lbs. She got a couple of her first shots, they did bloodwork, checked her for ringworm, did a fecal, etc. She was PISSED. I had to sacrifice another hair tie to keep her distracted (I’ve somehow lost approximately 557 hairties in the past two weeks).


She also got her tag, so she’s officially official now. My name and number are on the back and everything.

And the SO got her a harness and leash because he’s deadset on having a cat he can walk. Of course she’s so tiny right now that even the tiniest one they had is too big, so he’ll have to revisit that endeavor once she gets a bit bigger.

The dogs are still terrified of her, which has emboldened her a bit. She is not at all shy about coming at them with a needle-filled claw if they get too close, and she quite enjoys playing with Delia’s tail. They still have a little more settling in to do before everything is seamless, but so far everyone has at least escaped unscathed and for the most part they seem satisfied to leave each other alone.

So far so good! She’s definitely in that lunatic kitten stage, but she seems to have transitioned to her new life happily enough.


And she’s still really damn cute when she sleeps, even though those moments are getting more and more brief…