Horse People are a Different Breed

This past weekend as I was sitting in my nice comfy chair, sipping on my vitamin water, jump judging at a horse trial, my friend Michelle (Presto’s “other” mother, and owner of Willow Tree Warmbloods) was attending her very first breeder’s course.

Michelle in a cleaner, more palatable scenario

In these courses you learn to do some of the vet work yourself, to avoid having to haul mares and foals to the vet a lot, reduce some of the cost, and make everyone’s life a little less stressful in general. When you’re breeding several mares a year, many of which have foals at their side, and the closest vet is an hour haul away, the simple act of going for an ultrasound becomes an ordeal and introduces some unnecessary risk. Hence why a lot of breeders choose to buy some of their own equipment and do the basic stuff themselves. A lot of it isn’t rocket science.

So there’s Michelle, arm-deep in a mare, taking her first shot at an artificial insemination. That’s a normal thing for your average wife and mother to be doing on a Sunday afternoon, right? Her friend had even come along with her to the course, so she can help assist Michelle with her mares during breeding season. As Michelle was completing her first go at AI, she simultaneously learned what can happen when the mare has a full bladder.

The best part of this, once I was able to stop crying from laughing so hard, were the reactions when she posted this on her facebook page. All the breeders and horse people were like “Oh yeah, that’s happened to me too – warning, don’t wear boots unless you can seal the top!” wheras all the non-horse people were somewhere between squeamish and vomiting. The guys more so than the women, of course. It really highlighted just how much gross stuff we, the species known as Horse People, become completely accustomed to over time.

I showed the video to the SO and he was part laughing and part looking like he might throw up. That of course just made me laugh even harder. Then I had to make a meme for Michelle because that’s the kind of friend I am.


We horse people definitely do a lot of gross stuff. I’ve been shot in the face with puss, hit in the head with poop, touched so much pee that it doesn’t even register anymore, had smegma in places no one ever should, been elbow deep in a mare to reposition a foal, covered in snot from head to toe on a fairly regular basis, and laid out and inspected a lot of placentas. Not even deterred. In fact, I took way more pictures of that one infected placenta than could ever be considered normal. Because fascinating. But bring in a human with a cut and I am OUT. Or human babies and poop. Gross. Nasty. Ew.

There’s so much we do every day and don’t even blink at anymore, yet normal people would find revolting. Like the time SO went running to the bathroom to wash his hands because Henry left a lot of slobber behind in the process of eating a peppermint.

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We’re weird people, that’s for sure, but there aren’t too many badass chicks out there who can say they know how to AI a mare. You might be covered in piss, Michelle, but high five to you girl. Horse People are my favorite. Oh and extra special thanks to your friend for getting it on video, since I’ve watched it more times now than I care to admit. That is pure entertainment right there.

Revamping the Med Kit

I realized last week, as I was tearing my trunk apart looking for furacin to sweat a leg, that I had completely lost control of my horse medical supplies.

My corner of the tack room. To be fair there are a couple things here that aren’t mine…

I used to have everything relegated to a small rubbermaid, but at some point I outgrew that and then just stopped putting things back after I used them, so all my supplies ended up separated, spread out, and lost. I couldn’t even find my damn thermometer last time I need it, and ended up having to scrounge through the barn’s med cabinet. That’s the ultimate in pathetic.

So I’ve started pulling everything back together, taking inventory of what I still have, and jotting down things that I know are missing or have been depleted. I figured I’d wait and buy a container for all this stuff after I’m done assembling it, so I know what size I need. But so far I’ve been pulling all kinds of stuff out of the far reaches of my trunk… dmso, furazone, corona, ace, banamine, bute, dex, animalintex, vet wrap galore, etc. So disorganized.

I’m still figuring out what all I’m missing though, and keep paging through Riding Warehouse veterinary/health care section to try to fill in some of the gaps. They do offer a handy-dandy first aid kit that’s already put together and packed with lots of the most crucial stuff… there’s a basic one and a vamped up trailering one. Pretty tempted to get one of those as well, to keep with my small “trailer trunk”, because I’m nothing if not paranoid, and that seems much easier than schlepping the entire med kit around when we’re hauling.

this is smart

But I also need to complete my full med kid for the barn, and I’ve got a good portion of what I need already.

  • DMSO
  • Bute
  • Banamine
  • Dex
  • animalintex
  • vetwrap x 8 (apparently I’m good at buying that)
  • clear eyes
  • eye ointment
  • corona
  • swat
  • hoof boot
  • poultice
  • hoof pack
  • saran wrap
  • brown paper
  • scissors
  • duct tape
  • elastikon
  • cool cast
  • durasole
  • hoof testers
  • rasp
  • the world’s nerdiest but best ice boots (these are a floater item since I always take them to shows, and they’re a bit big to fit in a reasonably sized container)
  • wraps and bandages (also a floater for same reason)
  • liniment
  • alushield
  • omeprazole paste
  • safety pins
  • rags
  • syringes – 10cc and 60cc
  • needles
  • dosing syringe
  • rubbing alcohol
  • witch hazel

But most notably missing (so far) are:

  • Betadine (I swear a lose a bottle every year)
  • new thermometer
  • stethoscope
  • bandage scissors
  • more furacin, I’m almost out
  • more latex gloves, I have 2 left
  • thrush stuff
  • hoof nippers
  • twitch
  • gauze
  • Epsom salt
  • diapers
  • head lamp

How I lost my thermometer, stethoscope, and twitch somewhere over the past few years is a mystery, but they are definitely MIA. There’s probably more, too, but I can’t think of it off the top of my head right now.

So, what do you guys have in your med kit? Do you keep a separate first aid kit in your trailering supplies?

The Clothes Horse

You would think that a horse living in Texas wouldn’t really require that many clothes. Our problem is heat, after all, not cold. Well… normally, anyway. This winter has been nuts by Texas standards.

Yes, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. In Texas. For the third time in 6 weeks.

I can’t really blame Henry’s overly extensive wardrobe on this winter, though. That horse has been accumulating clothes since I’ve got him, and it’s to the point where his pile of blankets is occupying a whole corner of the tack room. This is especially sad considering I just gave away a few blankets and coolers that I wasn’t using anymore. It was a huge struggle to find blankets that didn’t rub him, so we went through 4 of those before I finally got smart enough to settle on his HUG style ones – a turnout sheet and turnout blanket. I absolutely love those things, they were worth every penny and fixed the shoulder rub problem that a bunch of other blanket brands plus a shoulder guard could not. Both of them are teal with orange piping, which isn’t my favorite, but whatever.

eats money. wears money.

Originally he had a nice wool PS of Sweden quarter sheet but when he decided to sprout a butt it looked more like a teeny cape. I was sad to sell that thing. I replaced it this fall with a plain nylon quarter sheet, which I feel pretty meh about, so he might be acquiring another quarter sheet at some point. Really I want what the Brits call a loin rug, that attaches to the saddle… so that will probably happen eventually.

current superhero cape

The cooler situation is where things really start to go off the rails. Does a Texas horse need 3 different coolers? Probably not. But he’s got his lightweight knit Saratoga Horseworks award cooler from AECs, which probably gets the most use. It’s the perfect weight for 50’s and 60’s type weather, and I use it as a dress sheet at shows or when we travel, if it’s cool enough.

that’s a champion right there

Then there’s my vintage Miller’s heavyweight wool newmarket cooler. This thing actually has a Miller’s tag on it, so it’s minimum 20 years old. The wool is really thick and warm, really a bit overkill for Texas, but I do seem to break it out once or twice a year. This year it’s definitely seeing more action.

very vintage. much chic.

The third cooler I bought because it made me sad. Yeah, I have issues. But it’s an award cooler from the Netherlands for the best jumper foal, and it was for sale on a facebook group for $15. It caught my eye because it was my colors, but once I read the dutch embroidery I had to buy it. I couldn’t stand the idea of a nice award cooler like that ending up as a cat bed in someone’s tack room or something. Presto isn’t Dutch, but maybe someday he’ll wear it and pretend. Let’s be honest, Presto doesn’t know wtf he is anyway, he’s German and American by blood, yet his sire lives in France, yet he’s registered in Belgium. Why not add the Netherlands to the mix?

beste springgfokte veulen

Then of course there’s the Back on Track sheet, which Henry mostly wears at shows when it’s cold enough, or occasionally at home if they’re stalled for some reason. I got a great deal on this thing and he seems to like it, so it stays.

Then of course there’s his oh so attractive sleazy that he wears when he’s braided. Henry already looks like a quarter horse and when you put this thing on it makes it even worse. Totally nerdy but it keeps him from rubbing shavings into his braids, plus it makes me giggle, so it’s earned it’s place.

oh dear

And then, of course, there’s the bonnet collection. I sold several old ones last year (we won’t talk about how many I bought) so it’s not THAT bad. A dapper horse needs lots of hats, I’m pretty sure that’s the rule.

There a still a few blankets and coolers sitting in my garage that I haven’t rehomed yet, but probably need to. I mean… I think Henry is pretty well outfitted at this point. Just wait til Presto gets big enough to have his own wardrobe too (he doesn’t even know how close he came to ending up with one of these this year). That whole tack room will be filled to the brim one day.

Review: Ovation Celebrity Euroweave breeches

If you’ve read any of my past breech reviews, you guys know that I am a big fan of the Ovation Aqua-X breeches. They’re comfortable, they’re flattering, and they’re super affordable.  They’re also very lightweight and cool, which is what I need here in Texas for at least 9 months of the year. But when we started talking about doing some foxhunting and I realized I needed to buy a pair of tan breeches (I am so completely assimilated as an eventer now that I legit did not have tan breeches anymore), I figured I should opt for something with a thicker fabric. Foxhunting is generally a cooler weather sport, after all.


So I reached out to my favorite Ovation rep and asked for recommendations. I liked the Aqua-X so much that I decided it was worth giving one of their other models a try. When I described what I was looking for (heavier fabric, but not an actual winter breech… there’s a lot of galloping involved, you warm up fast, and you’re in the saddle for a long time) she immediately recommended the Celebrity Euroweave.

I opted for the knee patch with a euro seat, since they were for hunting, in the regular length. The fit isn’t quite as good on me as the Aqua-X (which fit like they were made for me) in that the waist is just a little bit gappy. I have this problem a lot with breeches, since I carry more weight in my hips and thighs. They’re definitely a better fit in the waist than any of the Equine Couture, TuffRider, or Pipers that I’ve tried… the amount of gap is pretty similar to how Tailored Sportsman’s fit me. Other than that, the fit was pretty good, and they were definitely comfortable. They have my ever-coveted sock bottom, which has become a requirement for me, wide belt loops, and some cute piping detail at the pockets.

piping on the charcoal color

I tried them out for the first time at a tiny schooling show for a couple of dressage classes, and they were quite comfortable. The most impressive thing was how well they washed up afterwards. I am a huge pigpen and seem to just attract dirt, slobber, stains, and general yuck. I just threw these in the regular wash and they came out looking new again.

The next test was rolling them out for their intended use – hunting. One of the reasons the rep recommended this particular model was that they have a bit of a stretchier fabric that uses Dry-Tex™ technology to help wick away any moisture, making them a great choice if you’re going to be wearing them for long periods of time. I wore these things for 12 hours that day, 3 of which were mounted, and I never once thought about my breeches. To me that is the ultimate compliment. They were super comfortable, and the weight was perfect for galloping around in upper 50’s temps.

The Celebrity breeches come in knee patch and full seat, tons of color options, and regular and long lengths. At under $100, they’re a pretty solid buy for a cooler weather schooling breech or a mid-weight show breech (see-through, they are not!).

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Oh, and I did finally take the plunge and order some Aqua-X breeches in full seat. Verdict? I love them! Finally, a pair of full seats that I actually like. We look so legit at our dressage lessons now (j/k, we don’t, but hey at least we’ve got the right wardrobe).

Risk Acceptance

When we were XC schooling last Saturday, a friend of mine had a fairly scary fall that left all of us a bit rattled. It was one of those scenarios where a mistake was made at a solid fence that did not allow for such a mistake, and when it’s horse vs solid fence, the solid fence almost always wins. We were talking about it on the way home and she asked me if I was going to blog about it. I immediately said no, thinking she was talking about her fall. I don’t blog about other people’s mishaps, as a general rule. But she said no, not about the fall, but about everything else we’d been talking about – the risk, and the responsibility.


She’s right, it’s a good topic. Riding is, in and of itself, inherently risky, and eventing is one of the riskiest equestrian sports. It’s something that I’m extremely aware of and think about a lot. I put my and my horse’s well-being on the line every time I swing a leg over, but especially when we’re out on the cross country course. This isn’t something I take lightly.

The way I personally see it is that there are essentially three parts to this: 1) acknowledging, and being very realistic about, the level of risk involved, 2) doing anything and everything you can to reduce said risk, 3) accepting that even if you try to do everything right, sometimes shit just happens.

Acknowledging and being realistic about the level of risk involved is mostly about being very self aware. Riding around with a “this is dangerous, omg!” monkey on your back is counterproductive – a confident rider is generally a safer rider – but I think having a healthy amount of respect for what you’re doing is necessary to keep you and your horse safe. We all know the person that wants to go out and XC school and see what kind of fences they can make it over, just for fun (or a photo). Bravery is one thing, but not when it comes at the expense of being realistic about what we or our horses are capable of in that moment. That’s when it crosses over into recklessness.


Doing anything and everything in your power to reduce the risk is something that eventers have gotten really good at. We load up on safety equipment (sometimes to the point of buying things just because a product is marketed as safer, even if it’s not actually proven to be such), we develop fantastic technology to wrap our horses legs in, we do trot sets until our eyeballs fall out from boredom so we can avoid the situation of an overly fatigued horse or rider. We spend a lot of time schooling complex exercises, working on improving reaction times, and learning what to do when things don’t go as planned. We fund study after study on fence technology, equine cardiology, course design, etc. We ice and we poultice and we handwalk and we cold hose and we theraplate and we magna wave. We even have clinics to learn how to fall off correctly.

Then there’s the last piece, the piece that we’re a lot more reluctant to talk about: the fact that no matter what we do, this is a risky venture. It’s pretty likely that at some point, if you do this for any period of time, you or your horse will end up getting hurt. And that’s not an eventing-specific thing… that’s true for pretty much all horse sports. There is additional risk in eventing, though, and we have to decide whether or not that additional risk is worth it to us. If we DO decide that it’s worth it, I think it’s a vital personal responsibility to constantly keep point number 1 in mind, and continuously evaluate and re-evaluate point number 2. At the end of the day though, you have to be able to accept the risk, put it in your pocket, and kick on anyway.


As we were talking I could tell by the look on my friend’s face that she was replaying the incident over and over in her mind. I told her stop, and I made her give me her camera to take home so I could erase the footage of it. It was clearly already ingrained in her mind, she didn’t need to watch it happen from afar. I asked her if it was possible to change what already happened. She said no. Ok, so it’s done, let’s move on. Do we know what went wrong and why? Yes. What can you do about it? Learn from it. Work on correcting the problem. Don’t make the same mistake again. Respect the bigger or more technical fences more. Ok, so let’s focus on those things.

It’s a lot easier said than done though, and I could see the deep-seated guilt about the minor scrapes and general soreness that her horse was now sporting. I totally get that. That is the downside to equestrian sports, and it sucks.

The horse’s safety in particular is something that constantly weighs in my mind. Sometimes I DO wonder if this is worth it… thinking about how much “easier” his life would be if he just cantered around the hunter ring jumping 3′. I know that’s a job he would hate, though, and I would hate it too. Henry is a pretty safe cross country horse, meeting my top two requirements of safe jumping style and good sense of self preservation. Not to mention – he loves it. Genuinely and truly. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so today we’re going to do what we love… we’re just going to try to be as smart about it as possible. Mistakes will happen though, that’s just reality.

So we keep working, keep conditioning, and keep trying to get better. I always keep the risk in mind, but I try not to let it turn into fear. Being fearful can be just as dangerous as being overly bold. I accept that there is more risk in my chosen sport, I strive to always make us as safe as possible, and I’m committed to never asking more of my horse than he’s capable of giving. To me, that’s pretty much all I can control, so I have to choose to worry about those things and let the rest go.

Finding the Gallop

Henry is not what you would call a naturally talented galloper. That beautiful, fluid, effortless gait that thoroughbreds have been bred for, selectively, for centuries… he does not have it. He’s naturally a bit high-highed, and the faster he goes, the more it looks like a wild flinging of legs that’s mostly just going in circles instead of forward. Bless him, because in his mind he is SO FAST.


He also doesn’t have much desire to gallop. It’s not at all surprising that he never made it past the training track to a real race. Not long after I got him I managed to track down his breeder to see if she remembered him… her words were “Oh yeah, that portly little bay colt. The only damn thing he ever ran to was the feed bucket.”. Yep, she was definitely thinking of the right colt. Henry is generally a quiet horse, but when he does have some excess energy to expel, he tends to get stuck going up and down instead of forward. He may have taken after his stakes-winning sire in mannerisms, but definitely not in gallop.

Apple did not fall far from the tree in the derp department.

This hasn’t been a problem in his eventing career, since we’re at the lower levels. When we moved up to Training we both kind of had to learn how to hustle a bit… 470mpm is fast enough to require some conscious effort on my part. I’ve learned to be very aware of the path I take and the ground I cover, not taking any more steps than I absolutely have to. We land and we turn, or we land and immediately go forward again… no dawdling or taking a scenic route.

Thus far he’s had no problem making the time at Training, except for Texas Rose where we took a long route option. Prelim speed would definitely be a lot harder for him though. His stride is shorter and relatively bouncy… not the long, efficient, ground covering gallop that you’d look for in an upper level horse. Luckily we have no upper level aspirations, so it’s not a problem.

Land and GO

One of the unexpected side effects from our foxhunting adventure is a marked improvement in Henry’s gallop. We spent most of the beginning of that day hustling our butts off to stay in the middle of the pack. Henry would go just as fast as needed to in order to keep up with the other horses, but he never really settled into a nice smooth open gallop. Finally on one of the longer stretches, about an hour and half into the hunt, Trainer’s horse went blowing past Henry like he was standing still (um yes, her horse was actually a real racehorse) and another little mare came up quickly beside him. I don’t know exactly what triggered it in that moment, but Henry decided to dig in.

His stride suddenly felt like it doubled in length, and it seemed like his belly got lower to the ground. He decided he was done getting passed, and he started moving those little legs like he’s never done before. He finally found a real gallop.

*cue clouds parting and angels singing

At the end of all of our conditioning rides I usually let him have a short little gallop stretch if the ground isn’t too hard. Before that foxhunting day, he would definitely speed up and go for a little breeze, but it was still mostly just a lot of leg flinging. Since that foxhunting day, every time I let him out he lengthens his stride and those little legs start flying like a quarter horse in an all out sprint. Something finally clicked in Henry, whether it was simply the desire to go faster or just figuring out how to do so. He’s still not FAST, but he’s definitely faster, and his gallop is a lot more fluid.

At almost 11 years old, guess he’s a wee bit late for his racing career, but I’m interested to see if I feel any difference next time we come out of the start box.

Trailering mishaps: let’s commiserate

Aside from Henry being a total moron in the trailer on Saturday, last week brought another interesting trailer-related event. A giant bird flew directly into my truck while I was hauling. Let me set the stage.

This monster didn’t even care enough to look up from his hay

It was late afternoon last Wednesday, and Henry and I were headed to our dressage lesson. It’s not very far, about 20 minutes door to door, and the route takes us down some kinda twisty farm roads but overall it’s an easy drive. There’s one stretch, only about a mile and half long, that has a couple of steep hills in addition to curves. The speed limit on that road is 45mph, and there I was, chugging up the steepest hill around 40mph.

As I came to the crest of the hill the road curved to the right, and at that moment I saw a giant hawk on the opposite shoulder, picking up something that looked quite dead. Another car was coming from the other direction, so the hawk hurriedly flew sideways to get across that lane before the car could get there. Clearly he had not spotted me yet, and in the process of getting out of the way of the other car, he flew directly into the grill of my truck. That bird was big enough to make a really loud THUNK, and I saw him tumble down onto the side of the road as we passed by. I think it’s pretty safe to say I killed the hawk.

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Me, for the next 10 minutes

Of all the things I’ve hit in my life, I felt pretty bad about that hawk. Granted, there was nothing I could have done. Even if I’d slammed my brakes on and turned Henry onto his head, I still would have hit him. Not to mention… he’s a damn bird… go UP, you idiot. Or the opposite direction, into the woods. Why do you have to commit suicide on MY truck? Now I’m a hawk murderer.

Henry looked cute tho, and we had a good lesson, soooo RIP Mr. Hawk?

Luckily it was a clean thunk, no dent or feathers or blood. Still though, it was weird.

Out of all the things that happen pretty much every time I haul – some idiot speeding to get around me and then going slower than I was, or someone riding so close to my ass that I can’t even see their car, or someone hurrying to pass me and then slamming their brakes on and turning – this was a first. I wouldn’t mind if it was the last.

What kind of weird stuff has happened to you guys before while hauling? Ever smack right into a damn hawk?

A change of XC scenery

Normally the vast majority of our XC schooling adventures take place at Pine Hill, or sometimes MeadowCreek. Neither of those facilities is particularly close to me – both are two hours, just in different directions – but they’re definitely the closest. Everything else is 3.5 hours or more, which makes it a bit more of a production. Sometimes a change of scenery, and jumps, is important though, especially for schooling. You can only jump through the same water complex so many times before you’re not getting a whole lot out of it anymore. So this past weekend we got up early, loaded up, and hit the highway to head north to Willow Draw near Fort Worth.

I loaded Henry up on omeprazole and gave him a nice fat haynet full of alfalfa, but apparently I need Regumate or something for his grump ass. He decided that he needed to out-estrogen the mare he was riding with (who never so much as even moved a muscle or made an ugly face at him at any point) and spent a lot of the time kicking and being a general turd. I have no idea why he sometimes does this. He did it in Bobby’s trailer while hauling with Halo a few times, albeit sporadically. Other times he rides with other horses just fine, so I thought maybe it was something about Bobby’s trailer (or Halo) that he was taking occasional objection to. Apparently not. I just own the most marish gelding on the planet. He rides like an angel in my trailer, and in fact had just been in mine a few days before to go to our dressage lesson. That day he kept his head buried in the hay net and I never heard a peep from him, which is his typical hauling demeanor. Guess maybe he just wants his own private chariot? I don’t know wtf his problem was on Saturday, but we got there and he had a fat left hind from all the kicking. Luckily he looked sound, so I decided to get on and see how he felt, and if anything he felt… great. Let the XC schooling commence.

One thing I was really wanting to work on was combinations. Lately we’ve jumped a lot of height, but nothing has been particularly technical. We have no problem galloping down to a big fence anymore, but we haven’t been able to practice much terrain or adjustability in combinations. And pretty much the very first combination we did proved why we needed the practice. It was a small N table, right turn to a half coffin, house to ditch. On the first attempt Henry landed from the table and totally flipped me the bird on the half halt and fought me the whole way down to the house, which… didn’t work. On the second attempt I had to get a bit more aggressive with the half halt than I would like, but he listened and jumped through it well both directions. After that he was much more obedient about whoaing when I said whoa, dammit.

giphy-downsized-large (4)

We headed over to the first water complex, initially jumping just one down bank into the water by itself, then cantering out and coming back to the other down bank with a rollback in the water to a small bending line out of the water. I wasn’t sure how he’d be about jumping down into water, even as recently as last year he could be weird about it sometimes, and I for sure thought there was no way we’d make a good roll back to the bending line. That took a lot of organization and control. He really surprised me though, first by jumping down into the water pretty much textbook

giphy (23)

and then by making the downbank to bending line rollback feel easy. I was able to just close my left leg as we were landing and he turned right around.

giphy-downsized-large (5)

His typical down bank style has always been to take a flying leap off the damn thing, so I was particularly happy that he took a couple trot steps right at the base and balanced himself before dropping nicely down. It seems that he’s taking the time to think about them more, rather than just flinging himself off into space. We’ve been trying to get him to do that for literally years. Those flying banshee leaps start getting you into trouble when banks are part of a tricky combination, so I’m encouraged that the inclination seems to be lessening.

Then we went over to the stone tables and weldon’s walls, jumping the N ones first, then the T ones. These are gallop fences, Henny’s specialty. Easy peasy.


After that we went over to the combinations at the mounds, which I was really excited for. Their mounds are steep, with fences at the very top, and then Training and Prelim have bending lines to a corner at the bottom. It’s a very legit question for the level. I thought we might have an issue here. And we did, but it was with my inability to ride up the mound correctly, not with the jumps themselves or the downhill bending line to the corner. Derp. Henry had no issue with any of it. Once I got the idea of where was the right place to half-halt and where was the right place to push, everything rode great.

giphy-downsized-large (6)

We hopped over the trakehner on our way over to the other water, which I’m pretty sure Henry doesn’t even register as anything more than a hanging log anymore. When we got to the other water we made a little course taking the N route through first (which was just cantering through the water and out over a coop), then looping back to a small bank down into the water, then coming back through the Training route, which was a log vertical, 6 bending strides up the island, two strides across to a drop back down into the water. Another really legit question for Training. The first couple times through I just wasn’t aggressive enough, and we kinda creeeepppttt through the combination. Henry humored me, because he is Henry, but it wasn’t smooth. Finally I remembered to use my damn leg and ta-da, just like that the distances all worked out great and the thing jumped super.

giphy-downsized-large (7)

We also kept cantering up the hill and jumped the very skinny Prelim log that has a hell of a downhill landing, which he was great about.

Overall I’m super happy with how he’s feeling on XC right now. He’s getting a little bit smarter and more clever, and looking really confident. I need to be faster and more assertive with my half-halts in some of the combinations, and I need to be more supportive with my leg in the ones that naturally back him off. So basically… ride better and smarter. Got it. Here’s the full video if anyone is so inclined… the gif maker was giving me trouble today:

He kicked a little bit more in the trailer on the way home, and I iced and poulticed it Saturday night. It looked better yesterday but still kinda puffy, so I iced and poulticed again. We’ll see how it looks today. He’s still sound, so I’m thinking (and hoping) that he just whacked the crap out of it but didn’t do any real damage.

Horses. 🙄

New Year, New Giveaway!

I don’t really have a particular occasion for this giveaway except that I have a few things I’d stashed away specifically to give away and a new year seems like as good a time as any. We’re gonna call this the Friends of Presto giveaway! You can gain entries by following certain Instagram or facebook pages (details on that below) belonging to just a few of the companies that are near and dear to us (because if I did them all there we’d be here all day), or by leaving a blog comment. Trying to keep it simple.

The prize package is small but mighty… the winner will get a hand dyed purple ombre lead rope from KJ Creations, a 2018 Presto calendar, and a $10 Riding Warehouse gift card!



Entering is super easy, you can do as many or as few of these as you’d like:

  • follow Ponyforapony on Instagram
  • follow KJCreations on Instagram
  • follow Riding Warehouse on Instagram
  • follow Lund Saddlery on Instagram
  • check out Usandro Tilia Derlenn’s new facebook page (extra point if you “like” his page, and another extra point if you comment on a photo! for real, I spent a long time setting it up, humor me here…)
  • leave a comment on this blog post telling me at least one subject that you’d like to see me write about in 2018

I think a lot of you probably already follow most of those companies so it could be as simple as just logging the entries on the form. Go here to do that (if you don’t do this part, I can’t see them!) :

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s it! The contest ends next Friday, so be sure to get those entries logged before then. Good luck!

The Great Annual Money Hemorrhage

Am I the only one who’s bank account starts looking a little ragged in January?

Image result for money gif
me right now

Christmas is always a bit of a blow. Especially because my job doesn’t do end of year bonuses, they do profit sharing, which (if we get it at all) comes at the end of January. Ya know… after you need it. Christmas has always been there though, and always makes a dent in the wallet. Not exactly unexpected. Yet somehow over the last few years the stars have aligned in such a way that A LOT of my other expenses seem to hit somewhere in December or January too.

First there’s the truck and trailer registration renewals – both due in December. With that comes the truck inspection, and I usually tack on an oil change while I’m in there because let’s face it, I put so many miles on that truck that I basically always need one. So kiss a couple hundred bucks goodbye here (assuming the inspection doesn’t find a problem that requires even more money to fix).

Then of course there are all the membership fees. USEA, USEF, and GHCTA for me. I did USEA in November, hoping to get a jump on the pain, but I haven’t done USEF or GHCTA yet. Bye $95 to USEA (membership plus $10 study donation). USEF and GHCTA can wait a little longer because for real I just don’t even want to think about giving more money away right now.

There’s also my USRider membership… I’ve never actually had to use USRider’s services yet, but I haul a lot, I usually haul alone, and I have an old trailer. I feel much better having it. Go ahead and tack on another $150 that’s due by February.

Henry’s insurance needed to be done, so I’m currently waiting on the invoice for that. I got a pretty good rate thanks to Blue Bridle, but still. There goes hundreds more dollars.

His shots, coggins, and teeth are due in January too. And technically his SI injection, but he feels pretty good right now so I’m opting to play it out and see if all the strengthening exercises we’ve been doing can help him go a bit longer between injections. Shots/coggins/teeth are expensive enough on their own, so throw a few hundred more into the fire. Oh, and I’m going to ask for an Adequan prescription, so yeah, add a few hundred more.

Image result for money fire gif

And just because I was already feeling light-headed, Henry has decided to very suddenly present with ulcer symptoms. Like for real, this horse had zero symptoms a few weeks ago. Then he had two minor “colic” episodes right after breakfast within one week of each other, decided he was girthy, and started grinding his teeth. I’m not shitting you, all that happened at once. Of course, he is the world’s least stoic horse, so all I can guess is that he’s just started feeling ulcery but clearly he thinks he’s dying. Because drama queen. And we all know how much ulcer meds are, right? Yeah… bye-bye to even more hundreds upon hundreds of dollars.

You’re lucky you’re cute, horse

Plus the cat just got spayed and the corgi got his teeth cleaned. I’m thankful that our small animal vet is very cheap, because that ended up only being a few hundred for both. Still, though. Byeeeeeeee money.

Oh right, guess who’s due for shoes in 2 weeks? What’s another $150 at this point?

January sucks. I’m not doing this right at all.