The Yes-Man

One of my favorite things about Henry is that, in general, he’s a pretty agreeable type of guy. Sure, he can get super tense and curl himself up into a tiny up-and-down ball of horse like nothing else I’ve ever ridden, and clearly he will never enjoy having his legs scrubbed, but the word “no “isn’t really in his vocabulary. Really, he is the epitome of a Yes Man. Those yeses can vary widely, from the grudging and perhaps borderline dramatic “omg FINE” of Dressage Henry to the absolutely euphoric “ERMAGERRRDD YAAASSSSS” of XC Henry, but they’re all still overall obedient reactions.

that’s a definite YAAAASSSS

So last night at my dressage lesson when Henry absolutely flipped me the proverbial bird and NOPE’d right over PLSDT (poor long suffering dressage trainer), all I could think was: “well this is a new one.”. The offending movement? Rein back.

This isn’t the first time we’ve ever done rein back. I mean come on, it’s a basic. Granted, we don’t work on it that much. Last night he did a few, grudgingly, and then at my next request after that he was disinclined to acquiesce to the whole backwards thing anymore. He stood there rooted, stiff-jawed, until finally his solution was to charge forward through my hand. PLSDT came to help and Henry just about ran over the top of him before he finally sighed, rolled his eyes (ok that part didn’t happen, but if horses could roll their eyes, trust me, they’d have been rolling around like that boulder in Indiana Jones) and took the requested 3 steps back.

literally the only picture from last night because I am so good at media

My first thought was that my aids were incorrect and he didn’t understand, but PLSDT verified that they were accurate. My next thought was that he’s sore somewhere (even though he sure as hell felt fantastic for the rest of the lesson, especially in the canter directly proceeding the bird-flipping rein backs), because he’s only about a month away from his SI being due. That could certainly be part of it. But mostly I think it was because we started this at the end of the lesson, after a walk break where he thought he was already done, it was hot, he was sweaty, and rein back is hard for him anyway being that he’s a croup-high horse.

Either way, we definitely went home with some homework. He is no stranger to the “backwards” concept, because one of his strengthening exercises from his chiropractor/acupuncturist is backing short distances up a slight incline, which we do in hand regularly. He just genuinely had no interest in backing 3-5 steps at the end of our dressage lesson last night. So now, we shall rein back several times every ride.

$20 says today he reins back perfectly, like he’s never done otherwise in his entire life. Horses, amiright?

Image result for drama queens gif

Rules Rules Rules

Before I get started with today’s post, I have to take a minute to thank Pam at Mango Bay for stepping in at the 11th hour and making sure that my facebook fundraising campaign for USEA Foundation met it’s goal yesterday. When we’re picking and choosing where to spend our money, it’s nice to know which small business owners give back so generously, in turn, to our sport. Pam/Mango Bay is among the best, and I think everyone should know that!

Okay, moving on…


Usually every year when the new FEI rule approvals roll out, I glance at them without much more than a modicum of interest. They affect the upper levels of sport, of which I am obviously a fan, but they generally don’t really affect ME, the lower level competitor. At least not immediately (because we all know trickle-down is a thing, and when things change at FEI they have a way of making it down the chain sooner or later). They’re usually pretty boring, either very tiny changes or matters of semantics. This year, though… this year a few things really caught my attention.

Image result for fei equestre

First, from the perspective of “fan”, the big HALLELUJAH from me came with the announcement of the removal of the dressage coefficient for eventing. The FEI states that this was “to address risk management issues through rebalancing the importance of cross country skills” which I completely 100% wholeheartedly agree with. For those who aren’t totally clear on how the coefficient worked, it weighted the dressage marks by 1.5, placing more emphasis on the importance of a good dressage score. Which, IMO, is definitely not what we should be doing in upper level eventing. Interestingly enough, Equiratings went back and looked at some 4* and championship results, and over the past 6 years there are FIVE 4* events and one WEG that would have had different winners without the coefficient. That’s cray.

The second thing that really caught my eye was from a rider/competitor perspective, and purely for selfish reasons. This would be the new restructuring of the star levels for eventing starting in 2019.

So basically the current 4* becomes a 5* Major, current 3* becomes 4*, current 2* becomes 3* etc. While my initial reaction to this was to wrinkle my nose up – after all, 4* is FOUR STAR and always has been, right? Boo, change. But SJ goes up to 5* level, so this kind of puts us more in line with them as far as star ratings go, which does make sense in my head.

And right there, at the very bottom of the chart, is the introduction of a new star level – the new 1*. If you read the original FEI rule change proposal, it states: “the introduction of a CI* at a lower level event of a XC at 1.05 meter level. This new category would allow a transition between national and international competitions in developing countries. The level can be used for the Pony championship as well as the basis for developing a Children level/category in Eventing.”. For us plebeians who used to think of the current 1* as a faraway, distant, maybe-someday-but-probably-never goal, the new introductory level could be pretty appealing and much more attainable… if you’re into paying lots of membership fees and higher entry fees to show at the “international” level, anyway. Brilliant in a lot of ways on the part of FEI, both to use this level as a stepping stone to the upper levels, and to bring more money in. Making a 1* just a little bit smaller opens it up to a whole lot more people/horses.


Over in the showjumping world there are two semi-interesting changes for 2018. First being a clarification to the rule about blood in the mouth… now it will read: Horses bleeding in the mouth (in minor cases of blood in the mouth, such as where a Horse appears to have bitten its tongue or lip) Officials may authorize the rinsing or wiping of the mouth and allow the Athlete to continue; any further evidence of blood in the mouth will result in Elimination. Which makes it match up with the other disciplines. I don’t like the rule, personally, but I can get on board with it at least be standard across the disciplines. Weirdly, no one from FEI called to ask me what I think. 😉 The second rule for SJ says hind boots can only be used for purposes of protection. That’s past due, IMO.

The major change for dressage, which I think is REALLY EXCITING (I mean it’s still dressage, but it’s exciting for them) is the removal of most of the collective marks. No more scores for paces, impulsion, and submission – now you’ll have one score that covers the rider’s seat, aids, and correctness. I think it has the potential (although granted I can see how it might not play out this way) to level the playing field just a tiny bit, which in turn could be really interesting. How much do I have to pay USEA to take the submission and impulsion scores off of THEIR tests?

Either way, I think it will be interesting to see how all these things play out in the long run. What do you guys think of the new rule changes? And more interestingly, how do you think these changes could trickle down over time into the lower levels?


The Damage

Ah, Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday). I have a major love/hate relationship with this whole thing. On one hand, omg consumerism at it’s worst. On the other hand, DISCOUNTS ON HORSE STUFF. I must say though, you would never, under any circumstances, catch me in an actual store on Black Friday weekend.

Image result for hate crowds

Luckily this is 2017, and we live in the glorious age of online shopping, which means I can do it all completely alone and in my pajamas. My favorite circumstances for any activity!

The hard part is resisting all the stuff I WANT. Because I always want stuff. If there’s one talent I have in life, it’s lusting after expensive horse things. Alas this is always a pretty tight time of year for me financially, with the holidays and then all the membership renewals, Henry’s big annual vet visit in January, truck and trailer registration stuff, moving Presto down here soon, etc etc etc. I do tend to keep at least a little bit tucked away for the occasion though, plus I try to get the majority of my Christmas shopping done all at once. Not to mention that a lot of these sales are a good opportunity to stock up on basic necessity items at a nice discount.

Image result for whatever you need to tell yourself gif

Out of those 183 sales that made it onto my list, I clicked on all of them. Every single one. Gotta verify, ya know? So I looked at a lot of websites and a lot of fun horse stuff. Yet it took me all the way til Saturday to actually BUY anything… a fact that I’m not sure whether or not I should be proud of, or sad about. I did a lot of cart loading and a lot of daydreaming, but I just couldn’t bite the bullet until then. And what was this magical, fantastical item that finally pushed me over the brink?

Yeah. Soap. People soap, at that. Because when Michelle and I were in Bruges a few months ago, I bought the most awesome soap at a little apothecary. It smelled so great and was just lovely to use every day. Now I’m on a really big “fancy soap” kick. And of course the SO also discovered and fell in love with my fancy soap, so now it’s gone. When I was perusing the artisan soaps at KJ Creations and saw “Trail Ride: Pine Needle/Tea tree” I was like OMG YES I WOULD LOVE TO SMELL LIKE AN ENCHANTED FOREST! And at 35% off, why not add a few more to the cart? Chamomile/Lavender/Orange? Hell yeah. Vanilla/Lavender/Patchouli? Who wouldn’t!

After that it was a slippery slope (bad pun fully intended).

I was digging the 35% off at KJ creations so naturally I tossed in some homemade Yum Yum Muffins for Henry (I love that the giant size bag of them is called the “Spoiled” size because boy is that ever accurate), and a yellow and blue hand-dyed Unicorn lead rope. Because unicorn. Also because cross country colors. Also because 35% off. Also because I’m clearly 12 years old. But KJ, a fellow Texan, is awesome and it was a good “small business” purchase that I didn’t feel guilty about.

After that I wandered over to the USEA site to see if any of their already-on-sale stuff qualified for the additional Black Friday discount. It did, which meant that this Ariat vest found a new home at my house for a steal of a deal. It matches my Ego7 boots! No regrets on that purchase either, because I’m obviously a big fan of USEA (side note: if you get US Eventing magazine, I’ve got two articles in the breeding issue!).


Then while I was scrolling through facebook I saw that Equestrians Against Normalcy finally released the first run of their game, and who the hell can even say no to THAT? I did restrain myself with only one Jump Off pack, though. For now. This one wasn’t actually a Black Friday related purchase since there was no special sale or anything, but I was like meh I’m already on fire from everything else, might as well buy this game too.

Image result for kavalkade ivy halter

Then I came across the Kavalkade Ivy bridle, which I looooooooooooove but Henry does not need another bridle. Still, it was on sale for like $70 with rubber reins, so it seemed almost criminal to not buy one. I, in my ever infinite logic, was like “I know, I’ll buy one for Presto!” even though it’ll be at least another year before he really wears a bridle. Alas, they were out of cob size in brown, which took the wind out of my sails just enough for me to realize that buying a bridle for a horse that isn’t even a year old yet is kind of the definition of dumb. So I did the only logical thing I could think of and bought him the Kavalkade Ivy HALTER instead. It was so cheap. I have no regrets here either since I’ve been looking for a nice leather halter for him for a while anyway. And it’s kind of a dual purpose item, because when he inevitably breaks it, as baby horses are wont to do, I can use all the pieces to beat some manners into him.

I’m kidding.


Either way, it will be reserved as his “in public” halter, and he’ll have to grow into it because the smallest size was cob. It’s cute, that’s all that matters.

I rounded out my path of Black Friday destruction with a big dose of practicality at Riding Warehouse. Partly because they’re my faves, but also because Henry is out of salt-on-a-rope, which to him is basically the end of the world. I threw a few of those in the cart, and the big ass 6lb bag of German Horse Muffins (see earlier note about spoiled), and the cool new cover-up pants with the Riding Warehouse logo. 

I also tossed in their cheap navy waterproof quarter sheet, because no matter how hard I tried (and I tried several times) I just couldn’t make myself pull the trigger on the Back on Track at any point over the weekend. Probably because it’s still hot here and I just couldn’t stop questioning whether or not I would actually use it enough to be worth it. So for now, $37 quarter sheet it is. Henry won’t care anyway, he’s got so many cookies coming. I also tossed in a few things for my blogger Secret Santa too, but those are top secret.

And now that all the Black Friday craziness is over, it’s Giving Tuesday! It’s always hard to pick which charities get the last bit of cash that’s left, but mine is earmarked for the USEA Foundation (link to my official facebook fundraiser – the Bill Gates Foundation will match donations (up to $1000) to nonprofits via official FB fundraisers today!) and Thoroughbred Charities of America.

Time for everyone else to fess up – what all did you buy this weekend? And/or what organizations are you supporting today (feel free to pimp them below)?

Every weekend should be a long weekend

I formally propose a new 2.5 day work week with a 4.5 day weekend, because that was awesome. Who’s with me?

I don’t think he’s with me

I’d like to sit here and say that I got a lot accomplished, but I really didn’t. Updating that massive Black Friday sales list (which I made the final update to this morning and swear to god I’m so done) took up a lot of my time on Thursday and Friday, but otherwise I was kind of just lazy. I haven’t been home much lately, and I very rarely get days where I have genuinely NOTHING to do, so it was a nice change of pace.

We didn’t have any Thanksgiving plans, which I’m totally cool with because it’s not anywhere near the top of my list of favorite holidays. We’re those shitty people that showed up at Boston Market specifically to get like 10 gallons of mashed potatoes, only to find out they’d just closed. No worries, we traipsed across the street to the grocery store and made it out of there AS they were locking the doors, with mashed potatoes in hand. Because really, mashed potatoes are the only part of Thanksgiving that I care about.

Otherwise I spent a lot of time hanging out with the furkids in between stalking sales and buying stuff (I escaped with relatively little harm done, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow once it’s all over). Grem seems to have developed a sudden affection for Stewie. Well… biting him, mostly. But then she cuddles up to him and he seems to not mind too much.

too cute, can’t handle

I also got to ride Henry totally uninterrupted for 6 days in a row. After day 4 he was looking at me like “oh boy… it’s you again…” so I think he’s earned today off. Plus it’s been pretty hot for him, to the point where I’ve been questioning my decision to do an Irish clip instead of a hunter clip. He grows SO MUCH hair that he’s standing out there borderline sweating in the 80 degree temps. But apparently a cold front is on the way, so if he can just hang in there a little longer, I think he’ll be a lot happier. Right now he’s just kind of dull and blah.

except for selfies

I DID finally go out to my jump field and move all my jumps around. I only had 2 set up before, and I had to get a little creative with jump materials, but now I have 6. It’s much closer to having a real course, anyway, and I brought home my 3 broken standards so I can get them back in serviceable condition. It’s kind of exciting to have a course set up again, although now it hasn’t rained in so long that the ground is a bit hard for my liking.

I also started (for real this time) putting out more feelers for pasture board situations for Presto. I’ve not had a whole lot of luck so far, but I do have one place to go look at this weekend. I was kind of hoping I would have more options than this, but this part of Texas is not cheap. I’ll keep looking though… I remain convinced that the situation I’m looking for is out there somewhere.

So even though maybe I wasn’t the most productive person in the world over the long weekend, it was a nice little break from work and all that other mumbo-jumbo.

What have you guys been up to with your time off?

2017 Black Friday Sales


Okay guys, here we go!!!


Some of these sales are already active, some won’t go live until tomorrow or Saturday. I’ve included date info where I can, but if you’re not seeing the sale yet, try their page again later. As always, I will keep adding to this list as more sales pop up (I know for sure there are several more coming, I’m just waiting on some details so I can add them to the list), so keep checking back here. New ones will be posted AT THE BOTTOM BY DATE ADDED!

Image result for black friday shopping gif

Riding Warehouse – 25% off sitewide through 11/27, discount automatically applied to cart.

Majyk Equipe – keep an eye on their website/facebook for FLASH SALES coming throughout the weekend.

Luxe EQ –  EXCLUSIVE! 11/24 through 11/27 20% off all Filli Fabbri boots. Includes available inventory and special orders not currently in stock. Allows 3-4 weeks for special order delivery.  Use code blackfridayfabbri2017. 30% off all Asmar with code blackfridayasmar2017. 20% off all sweaters with code blackfridaysweaters2017. 20% off closeout Essex Talent Yarn shirts – sale price automatically applied. 20% off closeout Tailored Sportsman Ice show shirts – sale price automatically applied. Check out the clearance section for deals on Animo.

Teddy’s Tack Trunk – Tgiving and Black Friday: 10% off Leistner brush sets plus free hoof oil brush, 10% off Espana Silk bath bundles. Sat & Sun: 15% off Prinz, Dandy Dust, and Dandy Shine brushes. Cyber Monday: Free shipping on all orders.

One Horse ThreadsEXCLUSIVE! Get 40% off clothing with code 900blackfriday !!!

Jeffers Equine – 15% off your entire order with code GOBBLE 11/23-11/24

Barn Dog Apparel – 20% off sitewide through 11/27

If the Bonnet Fits – $10 off per bonnet for mercerized cotton, or $5 off per bonnet for acrylic yarn. 11/24-11/27

The Herbal Horse – up to 50% sitewide, no code needed, and a free 4 oz. product (leave your selection in the notes field at checkout) with every logo pad or logo hoodie purchased. If you have coupon codes from points or past purchases, they can be stacked on top of this sale!

Cambox – up to 50% off while supplies last

Bit of Britain – 20% off with code BLACKFRIDAY plus free shipping on orders over $50

Dark Jewel Designs – 15% off on Small Business Saturday for all orders. Discounts will already be applied in Etsy shop, no code needed.

Best in Blue Equestrian – 11/23 through 11/25 use code GIVETHANKS for 10% off and a free bridle charm with purchase.

Bel Joeor Metier – 10% off saddle covers, plus code OPENING2017 gets an additional 10% off anything in the shop.

It’s a Haggerty’s – Buy 2 custom Sunshirts and get the third FREE with code BLACKFRIDAY2017. Buy one square pad and get a sunshirt of your choice 25% off with code PADSPECIAL2017.

USEA – 20% off apparel with code SAVE20

Equizone Online – 30% off sitewide with code EZOBlackFriday17 and up to 70% off sale items starting 11/23

Millbrook Leathers – 25% off with code holiday2017

The Printable Pony – 50% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY50

Devoucoux – up to 40% off select items through 11/27

Voltaire Design – 30% off select accessories from midnight 11/23 through midnight 11/26

The Connected Rider – 15% off site wide with code FRIDAY, orders over $75 get a free Horze Crystal Brush, orders over $125 get a free saddle pad, and orders over $250 get a free Horze Dazzled bridle. There is also a separate black friday sale page with up to 70% off certain items.

KB Tack – 15% off with code Shop15

BlackJak Refinery – 11/21 through 11/27, two items will be on Mega-Sale for 12 hours each day. Share their Black Friday post on Instagram and get a free shipping coupon.

Freedom Ice Wraps – 30% off plus free shipping. Thursday only get an additional $20 off with code PLUS20.

Handy Hunter Boutique – various discounts on certain items, plus 15% off everything else in stock starting 11/23.

Gray & Co Designs – 20% through 11/24 with code INSIDER, and join their Holiday Steals facebook group for exclusive offers.

Kastel Denmark – starting 11/24, up to 50% off

Noble Outfitters – various items on sale, and orders over $100 get a free jacket or sweater plus free shipping with code BFCM17

Retired Racehorse Project – 50% off the store for RRP members, free shipping for everyone

Equitack – up to 20% off select inventory 11/24-11/27

Ellany Equestrian – 11/24 30% off saddle pads, logo gear and belts with code BLACKFRIDAY, 11/25-11/27 20% off sitewide with code smallbiz.

Bridle Bling – 40% off starting 11/24 (some exclusions)

Mastermind Equestrian – starting 11/24 get Mastermind Knee Patch colored breeches for $179 + free shipping

Relatively Stable – 25% off orders of $20 or more with code BLACKFRIDAY

Equestrianista – 25% off with code save25, orders $75 or more after discount is applied will receive a free Logo Hat.

Equisense – starting 11/24 30% off an Equisense Motion Set for the first 10 redeemed after 11am CET time. 20% off Equisense Motion Set the rest of the day.

Equisafety – up to 70% off

Athletux Equine – 50% off first month’s services for new clients, email to redeem

Dapple Bay Inc – save $25 when you spend $100 with code SBWKD25 11/22-11/27 and get 30% off phone cases with code BLK30 on 11/24 only

Accuhorsemat – 11/24 get $100 off any Accuhorsemat product

Valentine Equine – 35% off with code SALE35

Effects Equestrian – 11/22 to 11/25 discounts on Beach Sand and Pacific Blue breeches.

Aztec Diamond Equestrian – 15% off with code BLACKFRIDAY17 for 24hrs only starting 7pm EST 11/23

The Tack Room – 15% off sitewide

Mr. Castle – 40% off starting 11/24

HorseTech – 10% off on 11/25

Black Heart Equestrian – starting 11/24, 20% off sitewide

Rider’s Boutique – 20% off storewide plus free shipping 11/24-/26 with code FRIDAY17

Le fash – $10 off 1 Item with code 10OFF, $25 off $300+ with code 25OFF, $50 off $500+ with code 50OFF, $75 off $800+ with code 75OFF, $100 off $1000+ with code 100OFF. All full price orders through Black Friday will be entered to win our Navy Polka Dot Pocket Shir. Additional 20% off all Sale stuff on Small Business Saturday with code SMALLBIZ. On Cyber Monday get a Free Crystal Logo Hat or Leather Logo USB Key Chain with any full price purchase. (While supplies last, specify choice in order notes)

Equifit – various items on sale

FITS – various items on sale – 30-75% off sitewide

Drs Foster and Smith – up to 50% off sitewide plus get $50 gift card when you spend $125+, use code GR8GC50. Free shipping over $19.

Asmar Equestrian – up to 50% off select styles in the sale section, and 20% off sitewide with code BFCM17.

EquLifestyle Boutique – 20% off entire order with code BLKFRIDAY from 6pm 11/23 through 11/27

The Collected Pony – 20% off with code TURKEYDAY17 11/24-11/27

Knixwear – 20-60% off sitewide

Emily’s Equine Creations – 20% off (with a free gift on Small Business Saturday) purchases over $10

Alessandro Albanese – up to 50% off

Ashbourne Equestrian – Animo on sale, Prestige boots 25% off 11/24

VTO Saddlery – 20% on most orders over $100 with code THANKS

KJ Creations – anything by KJC 35% off with code: ShopSmall. Parlanti Miamis, Denvers, KK Boots, NEW Pro Line, SW Miamis & SW Denvers 20% off with code: PT2017. Parlanti Paddocks, Half Chaps, Essential Talls 10% Off with code: PP2. Horseware 25% off with code: HW2017. EIS 10% off with code: EIS2017. Sox Trot 20% off with code: Trot2017. Jin Stirrup 15% off with code: Jin2017. If you need to make multiple purchases to use all the codes you want… they will combine shipping & refund you the difference.

Big Dee’s – up to 70% off

Fabulous Horse – 35% off everything including clearance plus free shipping with code CYBER35

Triple Crown Custom – 20% off accessories and custom blankets plus free shipping

Welsh Wear – 25% off sitewide and free shipping with code CORGI45

Point Two – 30% off sitewide on Cyber Monday plus daily sales, check their facebook for details

Blundstone – 15% off sitewide plus free shipping with code GIVETHX

Higher Standards Leather Care – 15% off with code 15OFF starting 11/24

Quillin – free shipping on orders over $79

Centerline Style – 25% off with code GOBBLE

Hunt Club – 25% off sitewide 11/24-11/27, plus orders over $75 get a free insulated water bottle.

The Head 2 Hoof Shop – all Buck-it covers 40% off with code BFCM17

Annie’s – 40% off entire stock of breeches with code 54321shop

Chillout Horsewear – 25% off all clothing with code DISCOUNT25

Valley Vet – various pre-Black Friday daily deals posted on facebook through 11/23, then more sales starting 11/24

My Selleria – 10% off sitewide with coupon code friday

C4 – 30% off sitewide with code C4BFDEAL

Schneider Saddlery – blankets up to 40% off through 11/27

Argento Eq – 20% off parlanti, baker, eskadron, pikeur, grand prix, and acavallo 11/24-11/27

Farmhouse tack – 20% Ariat Heritage zip field boots, free Snaks 5th Avenchew with orders over $50, free saddle pad with orders over $150

Kentucky Equine Research – 15% off products in the Performance line with code 15OFF

Horze – sitewide 20% off, other products up to 50% off

Just Riding – up to 50% off 11/24-11/27

Selwood Equine – various items on sale

Horseloverz – early Black Friday closeouts through 11/23, various brands on sale all weekend.

SmartPak – 15%+ off with coupon code Holiday17

State Line Tack – 25-30% off – 25-35% off

Back on Track – various holiday specials

The Distance Depot – 15% off store wide through 11/24 with code THANK15

Horse Lovers Outlet – 15% off through 11/24 with code BLACK15

Black Horse Equestrian – various items on sale

Total Saddle Fit – free stirrup leathers on 11/24 with orders over $100, use code BLACKFRIDAY

Manhattan Saddlery – 20% off with code BF20 plus free shipping

GhoDo – 15% off sitewide with code FRIDAY17 and free baby pad with purchase of breeches 11/24-11/25

ManeJane – 11/23-11/27 get 20% off and free shipping on orders over $100 with code BLACK FRIDAY

Rebecca Ray – 20-30% off sitewide


ADDED 11/23 PM:

Divoza – various discounts, plus 25% off any item of your choice with code BLCKFRDY17

Pixio – 50euro off any Pixio pack through 11/30 with code Christmas2017

Equo Equestrian – 30% off sunshirts and 20% off sitewide through midnight 11/24

Imperial Colt – 25% off 11/24 with code BLACKF25

Pony Xpress Club – 10% off with coupon code BLACKBEAUTY

FeedXL – 50% off with code BF2017

Uckele – 25% off orders $75 or more with code BLACK2017

Spur of the Moment – 30% off with code THANKFUL30 11/23-11/24

Atelier CG – 20% off and free shipping with code 20% BLACK FRIDAY

Grey Horse Candle Co – 10% off every order from 12:00am 11/24 through 11:59pm on 11/27 with code HORSESCENTS

C&C Signature – Any bridle for $95 (while supplies last) from 12AM-4AM 11/24 with code CCFLASH95.  15% off all products 11/24-11/27 with code 15offBK.

20 x 60 – 20% off bridles with code 12days through 11/30

Paul & Lydia – $49.99 handbags plus 30% off sitewide with code THANKFUL 11/23-11/27

Schleese Saddlery – up to 50% off select girths and stirrup leathers and up to $150 off select bridles 11/24-11/27

Stay Superior Equestrian – 30% off with code BLACKOUT01

EcoLicious Equestrian – 20% off 11/24-11/27

JoJo Sox – 40% off with code BLACKFRIDAY40 11/23-11/24

SaucyPiaffe – 10% off all orders with code SAUCY10


ADDED 11/24 AM:

Joules – 30% off with code FRIDAY30

CUATX Tack – 20% off Kingsley bridles through 10am 11/24 with code THANKS20

Equiline – 10% off already reduced prices on Equiline and Lorenzini with code FRIDAY10 – additional 10% off all liquidation orders 11/24-11/27

Equine Confections – 20% off sitewide

Malvern Saddlery – 20% off all in stock Grand Prix, Sarm Hippique and Pikeur Showcoats, Pikeur, lago and Equiline Breeches, Show Shirts, Fior da Liso Shirts, Sergio Grasso Boots (Excluding Walk N’ Ride Boots). Additional 15% off clearance 11/24-11/27 Free Shipping for all online orders $75 or more

PS of Sweden – 40% off select products

Schockemohle – up to 50% off select items

Jin Stirrup – 20% off with code BF2017

Paradise Farm and Tack – up to 80% off MSRP and double rewards points. Free shipping for USA orders over $45.00. New customers take 10% off your first order and earn 250 Reward Points by joining Our Customer Rewards Program.

Huntley Equestrian – 30% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Clear View Farm Leather Care – 30% off site wide 11/24 only

Jods Online – 15% off sitewide with code SAVE15

Hay Chix – 10% off plus free shipping over $100

Ariat – various holiday deals

Hay Where’s That Blue Stuff – through midnight 11/24 get 25% off with code SAVE25

Solo Equine – 30% off all bridles

Ruespari – 15% off sitewide with code GIFT17 plus free gift tag & sticker with every belt purchase.

The Tack Trunk – 25% off with code BLACKFRIDAY17

Topline Leather – 15% off all charms, jewelry, saddle pads, logo caps, Unicorn Bits, leather care, essential oil blends, & dog gear. $20 off all browbands. Free gift with each $75+ purchase.

StripHair – 25% off StripHair bundle

HUSK boots – 20% off with code BLACKFRIDAYSALE

Pearly Ponies – £20 off any order over £100 with code BLACKFRIDAY20.
Free stock pin and earrings gift sex with any browband – enter NO for stock pin option and your free stock pin and earring set will be automatically added to your order.

Equiture – 20% off sitewide with code BF20, 11/24 only.

Bit of Sparkle – 20% off all custom items and select ready made items through 11/26

Ace Equestrian – 20% off black belts through 11/24 with code BF20

Country and Stable – 25% off with code BFCM25

Carousel Horse Tack – 20% off with code EARLYBIRD20

Quick Knot USA – 10% off sitewide

Rising Star Farm – $400 stud fee for all RSF stallions, contracts and fees must be sent by end of day 11/24. Collection/shipping not included – to be paid at time of semen shipment. LFG. Cartier R  – frozen only. Cielo B – frozen only. Coronado WW – fresh only. Diabolo d’Esquelmes – frozen only. Figaro B – fresh only. Grand Reve R – frozen only. Valentino Z – fresh only.


ADDED 11/24 PM:

Shop USEF – free hat when you spend over $100, while supplies last through 11/27

Thinline – 15% off with code CYBERDEALS

Sagmae – 20% off Dy’on Black fancy stitched tack and 30% off black Butet bridles, breastplates, reins and accessories. Use codes BFD20 for Dyon 20%, and BFB30 for Butet 30%.

My Barn Child – 25% off sitewide with code ThanksSanta

Sporthorse Essentials – 30% off storewide and 40% off holiday baskets

Afleet Equine – 20% off equinety, Horse Hydrator, Icevibe, T.H.E. Equine Edge, Back on Track. 15% off Hidez. Free quick wraps with purchase of BOT mesh sheet.

Charleigh’s Cookies – 20% off on 11/24 with code blackfriday20

fama4all – Instagram only! Vilamoura bridle 25% off through 11/26

Dreamers & Schemers – 25% off gift cards with code SOCKS

Hunt Seat Paper Co – 20% off sitewide

Ride Heels Down – 10% off and free shipping with code 17RHDBF10

CWD – various items marked down

Sporthorse Lifestyle – 20% off with code shop small through 11/25.


ADDED 11/25:

Mackenzie & George – 10% off with code 10BF

Miasuki – up to 45% off select items

Equisense – new deal! Buy an Equisence Motion set and get an Equisense saddle pad and ear bonnet for free. Add the motion set your shopping cart, add the saddle pad and bonnet to your cart, then use code BLACKFRIDAY2.

Swanky Saddle – 20% off storewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Life Between the Ears – 15% off with code INSTA15

LeFash – new deal! 20% off all sale items with code SMALLBIZ on 11/25 only.

Shop Tomas – 15% off

Equestrian Prep – 20% off all Equestrian Prep apparel through 11/27 with code BLACKFRIDAY

Snaks 5th Avenchew – 25% off 11/25 with code SMALLBIZ25


ADDED 11/26:

Wilker’s – 20% off with code TWENTY

Snaks 5th Avenchew – new deal! Starting at midnight use code CYBERSNAKS for 30% off.

Galleria Morusso – 20% off with code BFW20

Nupafeed – 11/27 only. $35 off 3 liter liquid magnesium, $40 off 5 liter liquid magnesium.

Worldwide Tack – 20% off with code CYBER20



Equus Now – up to 40% off

Eponia USA – 30% off select apparel

Freedom Ice Wraps – Buy one set, get one free!

Bit of Britain – 20% off plus an extra 20% off clearance with code CYBERMONDAY, with free shipping on orders over $50

Beval Saddlery – get a $25 gift card for every $150 spent online

It’s a Haggerty’s – 20% off everything in the etsy store

Carousel Horse Tack – 20% off everything online until noon with code CYBERMONDAY20

Annie’s Equestrian – 25% off sitewide with code MONDAYFUNDAY plus free shipping on orders over $50

The Plaid Horse – sale on “comfy gear”



NaBloPoMo Day 22: The Importance of Riding in My Life

I haven’t been able to participate in Clover Ledge Farm‘s NaBloPoMo prompts so far this month because I already had so much other stuff scheduled, but I’m gonna try to swing in here at the end and do a couple. Better late and incomplete than never, right? Plus I’m working hard on putting that annual Black Friday sales list together for you guys so I can post it tomorrow. Hope you’re ready to set your wallets on fire.

Anyway, today’s NaBloPoMo is “The Importance of Riding in My Life”… and like many of you, riding is absolutely critical for me. My world has revolved around horses and riding for such a long time, I don’t think there’s any other way that I could (or would want to) live. I eat, sleep, breathe this stuff, and spend most of my time thinking about it or reading about it or writing about it. One track mind? Definitely. Obsessed? Yeah probably.

Image result for weird horse girl meme

I’ve tried to take a break from riding a couple of times… it doesn’t go so well. Apparently I have a pretty obsessive personality in general, and I don’t do well when my mind isn’t super occupied with something. On the first “break” (which ended up being, like… a month a half…) I threw myself into cooking. Like a lot. All the time. I bought so many cookbooks and made so many trips to the grocery store. The second “break” was when I first leased Sadie to Michelle – the plan was to get all the horses off my bills for a year or so and pay off all my debt. That was a cute plan. With nothing else to do, I threw myself 110% into triathlons and crit racing. For real, I was working out 2x a day just to keep myself busy and my mind occupied, and even then I ended up borderline crazy in the head. I was skinny, I was fit, and I was busy, but I wasn’t happy. Luckily that horseless period only lasted six months before I bought Henry.

I am definitely not myself when I’m not riding all the time. I just seem lost, like I’m floating around without a purpose, and I have nothing “fun” to give me that little reprieve from the stresses of real life. My stress and anxiety level starts to go up, and I find myself feeling uncertain about pretty much everything. Riding is definitely more than a hobby for me. It’s fun, sure, but also it gives me something to strive toward, and it keeps me grounded.

Image result for we lose ourselves in the things we love horse

I’m also one of those people that needs their own horse, rather than just riding a bunch of others. I really enjoy building a relationship with a particular horse, growing over time, and bringing them along. I get an incredible amount of satisfaction out of that. Horses are so fantastic in that they never want anything from you (except maybe cookies) yet they’re willing to give you everything in return. And the truly great thing is that no matter how long you ride, there is always more to learn. Horses keep us humble. They show us our strengths and weaknesses. They teach us how to win, and they show us how to lose. They teach us what it’s like to persevere, and what it really means to have courage. And yes, sometimes horses break our hearts, but they also know how to fill them up like nothing else really can.


Not to mention that I really do have so very little in common with non-horse people. All of my best friends are my horse friends, and they’re the only ones that truly get me. Non-horse people just never seem to quite understand what makes us tick, or why we do the (usually completely insane) things we do. Plus, like, for real I cannot sit there and hold a conversation about Pinterest or Stitch Fix or whatever celebrity-du-jour for more than 30 seconds. It’s just not important to me, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Image result for weird horse girl meme

So really, riding is of the utmost importance in my life. Hobby, therapy, family, purpose, sport, interpersonal relationships… you name it and horses & riding are “it” for me. I can’t even imagine a reality in which I didn’t have horses and riding in my life… it sounds horrible.

Ashley Adams Redux: Cross Country

Am I the only one that’s like “oh thank god, cross country”? Not that we’re super great at XC either, but after stadium day I was looking forward to something that I was a little less shit at.

Henry thinks that’s debatable

As we started warming up Ashley was on us right away with some of the same things from the day before – move the horse around, play with opening and then shortening the stride using seat and leg, keep them straight in the shoulders, etc. She still wanted to see the horses stay in the outside rein, and she wanted quicker and easier adjustments to the size of the stride and the balance of the horse.

add this tiny log pile to the list of things that Henry is not impressed with

I didn’t know it at the time, but a couple weeks ago at Texas Rose they had someone (or a couple someone’s, I dunno) out there on XC judging us for the Charles Owen Technical Merit Award. I had no idea, so when they emailed my score sheet I was like wtf is this. On one hand it was pretty cool to get some comments, but on the other hand there was literally no context given as far as what a good score is, and you don’t see anyone else’s score so you have no idea where you stack up in comparison. All of our scores were between 7.5 and 8, but like… I have no idea what that actually means. Really most of the takeaway that I got was that they told me to shorten my stirrups (which I meant to do before XC and totally forgot) and that we looked competent (LOL). I like the idea of the technical merit award but without any context the scores are kind of useless. I did remember to shorten my stirrups for XC day of the clinic though, so… thanks?


We went through a couple little warmup courses, which were fairly uneventful. Mostly feedback about keeping the balance and not letting the shoulders drift around turns and keeping the horse straight. I in particular really have to be there with a strong leg when I half halt from the seat so that my horse keeps coming forward instead of getting too up and down. Then we moved on to a little course, the toughest line of which was chevrons to the water, because it didn’t line up well and the approach was wonky. You basically had to come straight after the chevron, then rock them back, square the turn, hang a right, and then you had about two strides before jumping into the water to get them straight. I think I got yelled at once for letting him get too long and not keeping the power in the canter, which… that’s significantly less than stadium. I think I even got a few “good”s. Hell hath frozen over.

From there we moved on down the field to a combination that was a chevron, bending line to a faux-corner (made of stadium jumps). That got thrown into a couple of courses, riding it each way. It was a little bit of a forward distance when we jumped the corner second, but a whoaing distance when we jumped the corner first. That line worked out okay for me both ways, but we had to redo another bending line of smaller fences (ahem… twice) when I didn’t do an adequate job of changing the balance with my seat and leg in the middle of the line. Again, I need to be a bit more clear and effective, and not be afraid of really CHANGING the canter around, without going to my hands to do it.


After that we jumped the coffin line backwards, which rode really weird, but Henry is a champ so he powered through it like no big deal. The rest of the group had a lot of trouble here, I think because their horses are just a little lookier in general, which made the distances come up weird. Henry is definitely an easier ride in those situations.

Overall it was a good day, and I got some stuff to work on that I think will really help us in some of the combinations that we see at Training. I really appreciated that at the end Ashley went through all of us individually and recapped for us, telling us what we really need to focus on when we go home. It was a good review, especially considering my brain was reeling from everything that was thrown at it. So we will work on those things, and hopefully by the time we see Ashley again we will suck at least a little bit less.

Ashley Adams Clinic Redux: Stadium

Yeah, it does feel like we JUST did a clinic with Ashley. It was a little over a month ago actually, but the clinic was such a great success that Trainer brought her in again. Word on the street is that we’re going to try to bring her in on a pretty regular basis, which would be great. I think. My brain is still trying to reconcile everything that happened to it this weekend.

At the last clinic I took a private stadium lesson with Ashley on Friday and then let Trainer ride Henry in the clinic so she could get her “big jumps” post-baby balls back. This time it was all me in the clinic itself, starting with stadium on Saturday.

Yeah, all I’ve got right now are the pics I took with my phone from Michelle’s camera screen. Learn to like it.

It’s no secret that stadium is our worst phase at the moment. As I’ve gotten better at the XC ride, I’ve gotten worse at the stadium ride, and I’m pretty sure I just live on the strugglebus right now. My eye has gotten a lot better, but my ability to be effective has gone on vacation somewhere and I dunno when it’s coming back. Soon, I hope. I miss it terribly. The horse needs a much better ride from me as the jumps go up, and right now he’s just not getting it. So I was 1 part excited for stadium day with Ashley, because she is the level of buttkicking that we really need, but also like 3 parts seriously dreading it, because I knew it would be tough. Especially when she started with “Okay, it’s off season! Time to get serious!”. Well shit, it felt pretty serious last time!

Some of the takeaways were the same as before, which isn’t surprising considering it’s only been a month. I really have to keep the POWER in his canter, and I have to do a better job of supporting him more with my leg and seat. My reaction time also has to be quicker, and my aids have to be more clear. Ashley said (and is 100% correct) that I suffer a little bit from paralysis up there… I tend to just sit and wait for it to be over, which is about as unhelpful as possible, and makes Henry end up really stuck in his lower back, therefore not good with his hind end. I really need to RIDE more, not be afraid to change the canter or the shape or the balance, not be afraid to move my body around and move his body around. I also need to be sure to really support him off the ground with my leg, pressing him up and across the fence. My patented maneuver is to abandon him and freeze up in the last stride, which again… about as unhelpful as possible.


I also need to get better about riding from my seat and leg FIRST, not my hand. She emphasized always PUSHING the horse forward into the whoa or the re-balance, and keeping them always connected in the outside rein. Like seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “OUTSIDE REIN” and “KICK” all weekend, across all the lessons, I would be buying myself a pretty bangin Christmas present. Pulling on the inside rein and not using enough leg were common themes. We also practiced riding deep and powerful to low wide oxers to improve the horse’s shape across the fence.

Ashley said I really need someone around all the time to remind me to keep moving and changing things around, which I totally agree would help me a lot. Too bad I ride alone 99.9% of the time. Too bad I have literally 3 jumps in my field. Too bad I don’t jump very much in general. I’m going to sit down this week and re-examine my normal ride schedule and put more jump schools in there over the winter. Also gonna try to find some jumper classes over the next few months, so I can give myself some more practice in the ring. The horse doesn’t need it so much, but clearly I do. We’ll keep doing lessons whenever we can, too, obviously… I just continuously find myself wishing that I lived somewhere where all of this was a little easier and more convenient. Living is Austin isn’t helping my situation.

But at the end of the day, all of those things are just excuses, so I need to find a way to get it done anyway. I need to build some more jumps, fix my broken ones, and get creative with my schedule to make more jump schools and lessons possible. I need to focus more and I need to ride better. I owe it to my poor saintly horse, who is probably pretty tired of packing my paralyzed monkey ass around stadium. Guessing he’d appreciate a little help on my part.


However, I think the best part of Stadium Day was our potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Trainer’s husband fried up some turkeys and everyone brought sides to share. I ate so much that I kind of wanted to throw up, but I regret nothing because it was all so friggin good. Plus everything is better when you drown your feelings of inadequacy in gravy and stuff them inside of a dinner roll!

Image result for food cope gif

Grem Update

CATS, am I right?

one of us is excited that she can jump on the mantle now

The good news is, Grem is still really cute. The bad news is, she grew into her ears. I know, it’s a bummer, I miss those big bat ears. Her tail sure is FLUFFY now though so I guess it balances out.

I’ll be honest, the SO was not that happy with me when I showed up with a cat. He didn’t say as much, but his face gave him away. Neither of us have ever been cat people, and we had sure never talked about getting one. More dogs, yes. Always more dogs. But a cat??? Now, though… NOW he’s that guy that’s seriously obsessed with his cat. OBSESSED.

I won’t even tell you how many toys he’s bought her. I can’t, honestly, because they’re all under the couches and coffee table. She’s a hoarder deluxe.

Any initial hesitation Grem had about the dogs is completely gone now. She quickly conquered them and now rules them with an iron paw, spreading fear and terrorizing her subjects on a daily basis.

Dis my doge

For real though, the corgi is LEGIT terrified of her. He won’t cross the living room without first looking both ways to see if he can spot the cat, which he inevitably always fails at, and ends up getting divebombed by her anyway. You’ve never seen a corgi run so fast in your life.

Delia, on the other hand, is her best playmate. It would figure that the biggest dog (she’s a GSD mix) would be the one who likes her the most. Those two will play for hours, and Delia is really careful not to step on her or bite her, even when Grem has affixed herself to Delia’s face. Stewie just tries to stay away from her in general… it didn’t take him long to figure out that she’s sharp and pointy at literally every end.

She is still in that full-fledged psychotic kitten phase, where her only two settings are Sleep and Spaz. She’s awfully cute when she’s sleeping. She’s less cute when she’s galloping laps around the house, springboarding off of furniture, dogs, and people, inevitably trying to literally climb the walls in the process. She can jump up on pretty much everything now, and has learned how to climb curtains and window screens.

dear god why

She has this pretty cute habit of letting out a loud, throaty “MEEEEWWW” right before she does something terribly naughty… makes it kinda hard to get mad at her. There have been a few casualties of her insanity along the way, though.

But she’s also really sweet when she wants to be, and pretty “into” people. She will plop herself in your lap and demand cheek rubs, or try to cuddle your face at what is inevitably the most inopportune time. Again… pretty hard to get mad at her when she’s so damn cute.

Despite not being cat people she has managed to win us both over, and added a lot of humor to the house.

I do kinda feel sorry for the corgi though.

The Trust Factor

I gave Henry Monday off, then headed out on Tuesday with the intention of doing a long stretchy trot in the field. Except somewhere between pulling into the driveway and getting out of my truck, I lost any tiny amount of motivation I had and instead decided that it had been way too long since we used our trusty neck rope. How about a tackless hack instead? We could go for a long walk and add some trot in there, and Henry and I would both get a change of pace.

Can we talk about his exceptional Dad Bod?

So I pulled him out, brushed him off, picked his feet, grabbed his neck rope and an Ogilvy pad (aka my bareback pad) out of the tack room, put on my helmet, and off we went. First we wandered down the driveway towards the front pasture, then looped back up the side road toward the chicken coop. One of the barn workers was in there feeding the chickens, and when he saw me pass by, his eyes bugged out and he said “You ain’t got NOTHIN on?? YOU CRAZY!”. Direct quote. I just kinda laughed at him and said “You might be right!” and went off on our merry way to the field (where Henry was super, btw, and never put a hoof out of place).

I started thinking about it though, as we kept walking. Is it nuts to ride a pretty fit TB event horse around in the wide open with nothing but a neck rope? Maybe. Probably. I can’t think of another horse I would do it on. But I trust Henry a lot, and we’ve spent a long time building up our relationship to this point. I’ve had him for almost four years. We’ve done A LOT together. I know him inside and out, and he knows me inside and out. I can pretty much always guess how he’s going to react to something. I would also like to think that he trusts me just as much as I trust him. I think he knows that I won’t put him in an unfair situation, and I think he respects my authority as “leader” (most of the time, anyway). I’ve been really careful and deliberate about cultivating that part of our relationship over the years. I want him to always feel confident in what I’m asking him to do, and it’s really important to me that he trusts me.

I ride him bridleless with some kind of semi-regularity, every few months or so, and he is as predictable as any living breathing thing can be. Also, running off just is not something that he would ever do. Of all the things that are in Henny’s repertoire, running for no specific reason just is NOT one of them. Stop and graze with no warning, almost chunking me over his head? Yes. Spook at something and relocate 10′ sideways in the blink of an eye? Sure. But I’m almost as likely to fall off from those things with tack as I am without it. I know for a fact that he just isn’t going to take off in the field and leave me physically unable to stop him. If I fall off otherwise, then oh well, I fall off. Just like I might do on any other given day anyway.


I really do enjoy our little tackless fun days, and they present a great opportunity to work on riding only from my seat and leg. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty neat to do figure 8’s of 10 meter circles in the middle of a giant field with no tack on. We spend a whole lot of time doing hard serious work, so it’s nice to just have a little bit of relaxed, no pressure, pure fun sometimes. Most of all though I’m just super appreciative to have a horse that can gallop around XC like a total badass on Sunday and then trot around the field with no tack on Tuesday. Horses like that don’t come along often, and I’m going to enjoy mine as much as I can for as long as I can. If that means I’m crazy… I’m okay with that.