If you haven’t gotten in on the blogger Yard Sale blog hop yet, go check out the master list here!
I, as usual, have a bunch of unused stuff laying around, so this seemed like a good opportunity to try to clean out a bit.
Paypal only, please. Shipping not included but I can get an estimate if you give me your zip code. All items ship via UPS ground. Spend over $150 and I’ll ship for free! Prices are not negotiable, I already put them at what I would be willing to take to save everyone some hassle. Whoever pays first is who gets it, sorry but I can’t hold things (mostly because I do not have the brainpower to keep track). You can either contact me here via the comments or message me through my blog’s facebook page.
Weatherbeeta 1200D turnout sheet size 81. Used twice. His Majesty Henry requires HUG blankets so naturally he can’t wear this one. SOLD
Quarter sheet, navy with reflective gray/white piping. SOLD
Ogilvy dressage baby pad, regular size. Black with white trim and turquoise binding. SOLD
Eggbutt gag with rope cheeks – $30
Total Saddle Fit black calfskin dressage leathers. Only used for about a month. I punched one half hole, otherwise like new. – $40
White Equine Couture breeches, size 30. New with tags. $40
Burgundy QJ Riding Wear breeches, an Australian brand. SOLD
hot pink C4 with black chrome buckle. Was cut to fit size 30, could be cut shorter but obviously can’t fit bigger. $15
Peruvian-made embroidered belt, fits size 30 on the middle hole so could go a little bit each way size-wise. SOLD
Style Stock tone-on-tone white stripe. SOLD
Custom made Burberry Horse white pique with navy and golden yellow piping. $20
It’s a Haggerty’s lavender sunshirt with The Plaid Horse embroidery down the arm. – SOLD
There’s been a little “meme” type thing going around all the breeder’s groups and pages on facebook for the past few weeks…
Sure, it’s funny. But also it’s… alarmingly accurate. And it doesn’t even include the upfront cost of buying a nice broodmare, which, newsflash, are definitely NOT free. Or the lab equipment, if you choose to ultrasound your mares at home to save trips to the clinic. Or the breeders courses that taught you how to use said equipment. Or the vet bills if the mare or foal encounter any complications. This could go on for a while, really.
I think a lot of times breeders get the short end of the stick. ALL THE TIME I see people complaining about how it’s ridiculous for a foal to cost 12k, 15k, 20k, or whatever. Sure, if you’re buying a backyard foal out of a random mare by a random stallion that will grow up with the potential for… who knows… then that’s too much. But if you’re buying from a breeder who purchased excellent mares, spent years honing their eye and their skill to make the best match possible, and devoted endless amounts of time and money into care to a produce a top-class sporthorse prospect, you’re getting a pretty great deal. Most likely the breeder isn’t actually making much off of that sale, if anything.
For every foal they successfully get on the ground and sell, there’s another mare back in the barn who cost thousands of dollars to fix a uterine infection, or another who did not ever get pregnant despite many expensive attempts, or another who aborted her foal mid-pregnancy. They will sit for the year, still receiving the best of care, and the breeder will try again next year.
I’m in the unique position where I am the average rider/owner, but I also have worked for breeders and have a lot of breeder friends. I can see both sides of this. Sure, everyone wants a super fancy foal for 5k, who doesn’t love a bargain, but at those prices someone is losing money. That someone is probably the breeder. And if they lose money on every single foal, they’re going to stop breeding. At least the ones that do it RIGHT will, because they can’t afford those kinds of losses. The ones that really do invest a lot of money in the best mares, and really DO spend a hell of a lot of time learning the ins and outs of bloodlines, conformation, nicks, etc. It certainly isn’t as simple as crossing a nice mare to a nice stallion. Being a good breeder takes knowledge. A lot of it. That’s a learned skill, and skill takes time and money to accrue.
So by saying that their foals and young horses are overpriced or too expensive, we’re effectively cutting the best breeders off at the knees. If we want to have good horses, these are the people we should be supporting, or at least understanding. They’re just like anyone else in any other job… trying to get by. Their expertise, and their investment, is certainly worth something.
Buying nice young horses isn’t for everyone. For many people it’s not practical, or they can’t afford it, or they don’t want a baby. All totally legitimate and fair reasons. But even if you’re not part of that buyer’s market, next time you see the price tag on a really nice foal, instead of raising your eyebrows or muttering something negative, take a minute to think about what it really took for someone to produce that horse. The blood, the sweat, the tears, the hours… all of it. Breeders really are, at least in my opinion, the unsung heroes of the sporthorse world. If we want to keep them, we at least have to appreciate and understand their endeavor.
Okay and maybe Friday and today count, too. It’s been a very testosterone-filled last few days in general.
It all started on Friday, with barnsitting. The herd includes the trakehner stallion Kovington, aka Toni. He is big, black, beautiful, and super weird, so of course I love him.
But I also spent a ridiculous amount of time and got up stupid early to watch stallions. Usandro’s owner had alerted us to the fact that he would be at the Saint-Lô stallion show in Normandy on Saturday and Sunday, so of course I went to digging. I found out that clipmyhorse.tv was live streaming the event, and I located a program and order of go on the facility’s website. Watching Usandro was going to be a highlight, of course, but there were several other stallions in attendance that I wanted to see. And since France is 7 hours ahead of us, this required setting my alarm for 4am on Saturday. When does interest cross the line into obsession? Probably there.
But I got see Usandro and a couple others in the stallion parade, then got up and ate breakfast and did some chores before logging back in on my computer to catch a few solo presentations of some of the others that I was interested in. Like the Heraldik xx son Herald (he’s related to Presto!). I am clearly biased toward anything with high % TB, especially a Heraldik, because I loved him.
And there was also Luigi, who we met at Tal Milstein’s stable in Belgium. He is ridiculously nice, definitely a horse to watch for the future.
After another break to muck stalls I was back inside on the computer, just in time to catch the LEGENDARY Diamant de Semilly. He looks pretty good for 27.
And then there was Diarado, who was REALLY REALLY pumped to be there. I swear, some of these older stallions that are retired from competition and at the beginning of breeding season… they were horse kites. Diarado accidentally dropped his handler though, which I admit I spent most of the day watching the video and chuckling about. Gotta give the guy credit, he had a very quick and athletic recovery (although he mostly stuck to walking Diarado after this… probably wise). Maybe a lunge line instead of just reins attached to the super excited stallion next time, eh?
Usandro’s owner also posted a few pictures of him meeting his maternal grandsire, Welcome Sympatico, that really made me wish I was there. Add Saint-Lô to my bucket list of horsey events that I want to attend at some point. February in Normandy seems fine by me.
On Sunday I set my phone to 4am again (I repeat – is this a sign that I’ve totally lost my mind?) so that I could catch Usandro’s actual solo presentation.
And then a couple horses later was MIGHTY MAGIC!!! I was really excited to see him “live” since of course I’ve only seen promotional videos and competition videos of him before. He was a bit tense but still impeccably behaved. I was quite disappointed that Clipmyhorse had his pedigree information wrong though (he is clearly NOT an Ampere x Jazz, come on guys) and the English commentator guy spent the entire presentation talking about bloodlines that aren’t his.
Clearly he didn’t have an information sheet on Mighty Magic either, because he never mentioned any of his accomplishments (um hello, 7yo eventing world champion, French national FEI Children’s dressage champion, sire of eventers up to 3* level???). I have to assume that they had it right at the stallion show itself, or it would have been quickly corrected, but the Clipmyhorse feed never realized their mistake, so MM got totally gypped on that end.
I loved him just as much as I always have, though. Which I guess is probably a good thing, since I have a foal by him now. I really need to make a point to see him in person the next time we’re in France.
After another break to do chores I was glued to the live feed for the rest of the morning (again) and got to see all kinds of “big ones”, like Plot Blue, Malito de Reve, Big Star, Canturo, Monte Bellini, Qlassic Bois Margot, Upsilon, Cristallo, etc etc.
For a breeding nerd like me, it was captivating. I wrap up barnsitting today, so one more afternoon with goofy Toni. Granted, I’m a little tired from lack of appropriate sleep, but hey… my alarm not going off until 5 this morning was kind of nice.
It’s been doing nothing but RAIN here all week, thus I have not actually sat on my horse since Monday, thus I now cannot think of anything but sitting on my horse. When I went to bed last night it was storming. When I woke up this morning it was storming. Currently the radar looks like this:
So I have no idea when I’ll actually ride again, I’m bored out of my mind (to the point where I’ve been CRAFTING, wtf), and I’ve had nothing to do all week but ponder. Like for real, I spent 15 minutes this morning wondering why it’s called a “pat” of butter before I finally googled it. What else do I have to do that was more important than learning the origin of that term? Nothing. Literally freaking nothing.
Anyway… one of the things I was thinking about was ride time. As in how long you spend actually riding your horse. As an eventer this can be a very “well it depends” subject for me, because, well… it greatly depends on what we’re doing. Conditioning rides can easily be an hour plus, but dressage rides could be as short as 25 minutes. Charles de Kunffy (and thus my dressage trainer, who is a CdK protégé) believes pretty strongly in the fact that anything more than 30-45 minutes is not good for the horse mentally. CdK has said “What you can’t accomplish in a 30 minute ride is for tomorrow.”.
Our dressage lessons are 45 minute blocks, with several walk breaks thrown in. I always get on and walk for 10 minutes before we start, so I end up being on for about an hour or a little under, with only about half of that being actual work. I try to stick to the same thing in my dressage rides at home, and sometimes if Henry is being particularly good I won’t even school him for that long. If he gives me good work right from the beginning, I try to reward that and not continue to hound him for moremoremore. I have no desire to ruin his naturally good work ethic or fry his brain (which, let’s admit, is delicate enough already). Sometimes if I need to log more saddle time, like if I’ve missed a conditioning ride for whatever reason or if the work session itself ended up being short, I’ll just throw a hack on to the end of the ride. More saddle time, but no mental pressure.
For jump sessions it’s pretty much the same. We warm up, sometimes with a long 15-20 minute trot if I’m trying to add some conditioning, and then jump a few courses. Sometimes we just do pole work, or canter a couple of low fences to work on rhythm/my eye/position. My jumping rides are generally pretty short too though, pretty much never more than 30-45 minutes.
The only exception to that general time frame, for me, is conditioning rides. Those tend to be long and low trots, or trot sets, with canter sets thrown in. There’s lots of walking before and after, and sometimes I just do a long 30 minute trot framed by 15 minutes of marching walk before and after. It depends on the temperature, the ground, what we’ve got coming up, and what else we’ve been doing. It’s a pretty rare occasion though when I am on him for more than an hour to hour and fifteen minutes. Those being things like group lessons, trail rides, XC schooling, etc. They tend to be either low pressure or have a ton of walking time, though… it’s not just a big block of work.
And of course, Henry is a mature horse, in regular work, and he’s an eventer. If he was a young horse or had a different job, the ride structure would look different. I’m excited for my Seaver girth sleeve to get here though so I can start tracking all this stuff (and heart rate!) via an app instead of just in my head.
So I’m curious, fellow equestrians – how long do you typically ride for and why?
Last week May as Well Event (who has the cutest little squish of a mare, btw) did a 30 Facts About Me post that I thought was a really great idea. We know a lot about each other’s horse-related lives, especially in the present or not-so-distant past, but what about that non-horse stuff, or things that happened a long time ago? I think it’s interesting to learn more about each other, so I’m adopting her good idea and bloghopping it! I hope other bloggers participate too.
1. I am a super picky eater. It’s not that I want to be, it’s just that a lot of things make me want to barf. I have texture issues more than taste issues… onions and coconut and lettuce have the most sickening crunch, mayo and mustard are just slime, and please don’t get me started on sushi. Vomit.
2. In my life I have moved a total of 18 times. I’ve lived in North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and Maryland. Someday I want to end up in either NoVa or the Aiken area.
3. I’m super into tiny homes and probably could totally live in an RV too. I like the idea of minimalism and flexibility, plus not being tied down to one place.
4. I have 4 tattoos, three of which are literary in some way. I have the last two lines of my favorite poem Invictus on my arm, a quote from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on my collarbone, a quarter sleeve with Hogwarts plus a mishmash of some original cover artwork from the Chronicles of Narnia, and then a random horse on my hip. Even though I’m not religious, the Narnia books are my all time favorite.
5. Along those same lines, my favorite fictional character is Reepicheep. He’s just a mouse, but he’s pure courage and honor and adventure and I love him.
6. One of my first jobs was as a receptionist at a hair salon. For anyone who knows me, this should be extra hilarious. All the stylists called me “the pit bull that guards the front desk”.
7. I’m not really that into TV/movies. I do like documentaries and the occasional very interesting TV show (ok, exception: Parks and Rec. The only sitcom I’ve ever loved.), but generally of the Netflix variety where you can watch it all at once. Commercials are stupid and so is waiting. If not for the SO I would probably not even have a TV anymore, I prefer to read.
8. My most awkward and uncomfortable side gig ever was when I picked up a few sports modeling gigs. One was for a stock photo company that sold the pictures to whoever the heck wanted them, and somehow different pictures ended up in 3 magazines (Competitor, Austin Fit, and some other cycling one I forget the name of). I hate having my picture taken so for real it was SO AWKWARD OMG. I basically spent a lot of time running or cycling back and forth in front of the same spot, or drinking water, or some other stupid thing, while a semi-creepy dude took a thousand pictures and everyone else stared.
9. Despite a lifetime involved in a lot of different sports, I’ve only managed to crack a few ribs, a tailbone, and a toe, and break an elbow. Really not bad, all things considered! Knock on wood.
10. I have very little interest in shopping for, talking about, or participating in things that are not horse or riding related (ok, maybe literature-related is alright). I’ve given up trying to be well-rounded. I tried, I swear.
11. In school I took 2 years of French (of which I remember very little), 3 years of American Sign Language (I can still sign at least 3 Green Day songs, a Foo Fighter song, and a Garth Brooks song, if that’s worth anything?), and have been working on German over the past year.
12. My first CD ever was the Lion King soundtrack. I still know every word. No I’m not kidding, EVERY WORD. I’ve also seen The Lion King the movie at least 10 times and The Lion King the play once (I’m down to go again, just not in Vegas because Vegas sucks). Generally not a fan of Disney movies, but that’s the exception. Probably because there are no people in it.
13. As a kid I swam competitively and did a ton of swim meets. I still really like to swim, I find it to be super relaxing. Just don’t have much time for it anymore.
14. Kind of along those same lines, when I was a kid I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. I was really in love with dolphins and orcas.
15. Six years ago when I started doing triathlons I was surprised to find that I was actually kind of naturally talented at it, mostly because I have never felt like a “natural” at anything. I won several triathlons and ended up “on the podium” (top 3) all but twice. Money-wise and time-wise I ultimately had to choose between riding and tri’s, but if I had the resources I would have totally kept going. Riding is so much more difficult for me, comparatively, but it’s where my heart is.
16. My favorite subjects in school were creative writing (it was an elective for us and I took it as many times as they would let me), journalism, and history.
17. I’ve always fantasized about living overseas and would love to make that happen someday, even if it’s just for 6 months. I think it would be really cool to immerse myself in another culture.
18. When I’m too old/broken to jump anymore, I will get a buckskin, palomino, or roan reiner.
19. Most of my family is from, and still lives in, Arkansas. I lived there for 7 years and I gotta say, I think it’s the most underrated state there is. The northern half is especially beautiful. If it had a better horse scene I could live there in a heartbeat.
20. My mom was very crafty, especially when it came to sewing. She made sure that I learned how to sew (by hand and by machine), quilt, and cross stitch really well as a kid. I distinctly remember spending one summer handstitching a Pink Panther wall hanging. It was not, and still is not, my favorite activity, but I’m glad that I know how.
21. I was in Girl Scouts forever and I loved it. The camping part especially. I was very much a tomboy and really liked learning all that stuff. Still kind of am and still kind of do.
22. I’m borderline obsessed with Maya Angelou and have read everything of hers that I’ve been able to get my hands on. Also listened to her audiobooks that she herself narrated. There was just something about her and her life that is so captivating to me.
23. I have fallen off a horse on my birthday THREE TIMES. Considering that I don’t fall off very much, and I’ve only ridden on probably a little more than half of my birthdays, this is an impressive statistic.
24. I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but throw a warmblood stallion’s name at me and I can probably give you a full dissertation of him and his entire pedigree. This is why I don’t have room for other things in my brain.
25. I hate wine AND I hate beer AND I hate coffee. But, like… water and juice are good. Maybe a cider or a cocktail on rare occasion.
26. I don’t really believe in the “institution” of marriage anymore, or organized religion. But I believe very strongly in an individual’s right to believe (or not) whatever they choose and marry (or not) whomever they choose, and I’m open to lots of different kinds of spirituality.
27. I keep a fairly small group of close friends, and most of them I’ve known for at least a decade. It takes me a while to warm up to most people and feel comfortable with them, but once I do I’m pretty fiercely loyal and if you mess with my friends I will absolutely cut you.
28. The first horse I ever rode was named Cinnamon, at a friend’s birthday party in the late 80’s.
29. My two favorite types of food are Mexican and Indian. Basically if there’s spicy chicken and rice, preferably with some kind of cheese, I’m down.
30. I feel like it’s really important to me to be brave with my life. To do things that might intimidate or scare me, but to always still have the courage to do them, if I want to. And to stay true to who I am even if it means going against what is “normal”. I feel like life should be an adventure of my own design. I think my biggest fear is getting to the end of my life and realizing that I lived it doing things that someone else (be it society in general or any one person) wanted or told me I should want, instead of what I actually wanted for myself.
When I was at Pine Hill on Sunday I finally picked up Henny’s 2017 year end award ribbon from Trainer. She grabbed it for me at the banquet last month, because, well… if you’ve ever met me then you know that I’m not exactly the banquet type. I’ve been to enough of them by now to know this about myself. I rarely drink, I don’t really like large gatherings of people, and I don’t like having lots of eyes on me. So, yeah, banquets aren’t exactly my bag.
We finished 4th for the year in Training Senior for GHCTA. On one hand I’m really proud of my horse and it was fun to put the ribbon on his bridle at the barn and snap a quick picture. Training was nothing but a wild dream a couple years ago, so to do it and not die is pretty awesome to me. I’ll take the recognition in a tangible form and be grateful for that. We only did a few shows, so how we scraped up a ribbon is a mystery to me. I’m not really super into ribbons though, so I did struggle a bit with what to do with it. Ultimately it ended up on the ribbon wall in the guest bedroom, with some of Henry’s other eventing ribbons (the ones that I have not lost along the way, because yeah that’s a thing I do sometimes).
Part of my apathy towards ribbons has to do with the fact that I figured out a long time ago that progress can’t be measured by satin. Sometimes you luck into a ribbon you really don’t deserve, and other times you go home empty handed when you should be wearing a Rolex and carrying a trophy. That’s just the way of the sport. Ribbons are fun to stick on the halter and take a quick picture of, but beyond that they just don’t tend to hold much meaning to me personally.
I also struggle a little bit, ethically, with the idea of year end awards. They are straight up point accumulations, and most of the time the people who show the most are the ones at the top. I have a hard time getting excited about a system that ultimately ends up rewarding those who show their horses into the ground rather than those who pick and choose a schedule that is in the best interest of the horse.
I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I’ve gotten the big fancy year end ribbons and prizes and gone to just about every show of the year, back in my h/j days. I felt like I didn’t always make the best choices during those years, and I vowed not to do it again. I’d much rather get to the end of the year and feel like I did right by the horse and myself, rather than feeling driven by points. And hey, if I do that and we manage to squeak out a year end ribbon, then that’s just gravy I guess. Points are not something that I ever want to have on my radar, though. I don’t want my decisions to be influenced or driven by that.
If year-end prizes were calculated off of some kind of average, I’d be more into it. Like the dressage awards with their highest average percentages and stuff like that. I have no idea how it would work, and I’m not really interested enough in it to figure it out, but that method is certainly more appealing to me as an eventer. I feel like we have to be extra aware of how much we show our horses.
Henny sure did look cute in his white ribbon though, and I had a momentary swell of pride in the fact that I was looking at a year end ribbon that said Training on it and it was on MY horse. I suppose that’s the real purpose of them, whether I really believe in the system or not.
How do y’all feel about year end awards? Do you plan your whole season with those in mind, or are they just coincidentals?
Yep, Presto is an official, card-carrying, USEA-registered horse. So legit now, man.
Really I was going to wait to decide whether or not to go ahead and get his Future Event Horse registration until later on in the year, if at all. I didn’t want to take him to FEH unless he decided to stop looking like a donkey at some point (which I am not holding my breath for, btw, since his mother looked like that for LITERALLY YEARS). But then USEA released the FEH schedule, and, well… there isn’t a lot for our area. There are two March classes held in conjunction with USEA recognized events, which, like… show me a yearling that is show-ready in March. Unless you want to body clip it and keep it in a stall and feed it like a show hog, none of which holds much appeal to me. Presto has an early birthday compared to most but even he would be just BARELY a year old for those shows. Most yearlings don’t start looking acceptable til late summer/early fall. Early in the yearling year is generally REALLY unattractive.
But our latest FEH class (not counting Championships) in this area is in June. Soooo… hmmph. If I held out until he decided to be slightly less hideous, his yearling FEH opportunities would be gone. Now I’m kinda just like well screw it, if he’s hideous and acts like a demon donkey, then so be it. He’s not for sale so if he doesn’t score well then whatever. Mostly I just want him to get out in the show atmosphere and start learning how to behave in the ring. And of course I want to support the USEA programs at the same time, so FEH it is. Since I don’t want to/literally cannot show him in March, nor do I want to drive 6 hours to Oklahoma, our only other two options are May and June.
They’re both at the same venue near Houston, and honestly they might work out for the best anyway. They are held in conjunction with an unrecognized derby, not a recognized event, so there are WAY fewer people and the atmosphere is much less grand. They’d be good little shows to let him get his feet wet without blowing his mind completely, and if he’s really hideous or terrible then at least we didn’t embarrass ourselves in front of everyone in Area 5.
Therefore I decided to go ahead and do his FEH registration with USEA (thank you USEA for making this level of registration only $25). At least now it’s done for the year and I don’t have to remember it later, and it also means that he’s officially in their system, which is kind of fun.
Of course, if he’s gonna be ready for FEH by the end of May, I need him home in April. He’s got to start learning about the triangle and standing up properly for confo, and get less feral about trotting in hand. So we’ll see if I can actually make this happen, but I’m definitely going to try.
I also took a screenshot of the USEA membership form page as I was filling it out because I thought it was too funny. No wonder people new to the warmblood world find the whole thing to be extremely confusing.
By a Holsteiner stallion and out of a Zweibrucker mare, but he’s registered Belgian. Yet by blood he’s mostly TB with some Hanoverian and Holsteiner thrown in. And actually he’s Belgian Sporthorse (sBs) not Belgian Warmblood (BWP) but USEA didn’t have that option in their dropdown. It’s always fun to try to explain to people how any of this warmblood stuff works (clearly it is mass chaos).
I mean, mid-February is basically spring in Texas, so it makes sense. I volunteered at an event yesterday from 7:30-4:30, and only remembered to slap on a little sunscreen at noon when I turned in the materials for one job and picked up the materials for the next. Thank goodness for sunshirts, but the left side of my face and both of my hands are pretty pink today. Awkward sunburns are a basic part of equestrian life, right?
I was originally going to enter this show, but… um… totally forgot to send my entry in until a couple weeks before. By that point there was a wait list a mile long so I didn’t even bother, and instead emailed the volunteer coordinator and offered myself up for the day. Then of course last week there was a chance of rain in the forecast and a ton of people scratched at the last minute (we need to talk, Texas eventers, I mean come on…) so I actually WOULD have gotten in. But oh well. And all of that was completely for nothing, really, because the weather was absolutely perfect and the footing held up really well.
Originally I was supposed to work Bit Check in the morning and then XC jump judge in the afternoon, but then they needed someone to fill in as a Warmup Steward for dressage and I got plugged into that hole. I used to get the little morning jobs that were un-eff-up-able (like scoresheet runner) but this one was like… legit responsibility. I got stuck in some traffic just a few minutes away from the venue and took the opportunity to review the job description again.
Pine Hill has the absolute best volunteer program. They have videos about each job, as well as in-depth written instructions. You know your assignments at least a couple days in advance, so you can review all of the materials before you get there and show up feeling a little more educated and confident about what you need to do. Plus there’s a nifty rewards program for their volunteers where you earn various little pieces of “Pine Hill” gear as you accumulate hours. In my previous years as an eventer I’d done pretty much the bare minimum of volunteering, and mainly just as an XC jump judge (because that’s the easiest and most fun job if you’re an eventer). I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in volunteering over the last year though, and I’ve definitely developed a greater appreciation of and respect for all of the people that are necessary to make an event happen. We are a sport that relies very heavily on a large force of volunteers, it’s really so important.
I survived the morning as Warmup Steward without any real issues, thanks to riders being on point and paying attention. We wrapped up about 10 minutes early, which gave me ample time to hike back up the hill, pee, grab my chair, and go pick up my stuff for jump judging. I’ve pretty much never been at a jump that had many problems before, so when I saw that I had the water I was like “oh boy”. And there were definitely a few issues there throughout the day, a couple falls and some refusals, but all things considered it went pretty well. It’s extra fun to watch the water at a show that has a lot of green horses or less experienced riders… there were tons of very excited GOOD BOY’s and GOOD GIRL’s and celebrations when riders were proud of how their mount handled it. I’ve been there and know how that feels, so it’s cute to watch.
It was a long day, leaving my house at 5:30am and getting home at 6:30pm. I was tiiiiiiiiiiiired when I got home… like… more tired than if I had actually shown. It was worth it though. You can’t ask for much more than a beautiful day spent amongst friends and horses, even if I am a little bit pink (in patches) today.
Before we get into today’s post, don’t forget that Riding Warehouse is having their 15% off President’s Day sale and Luxe Eq is having a sale on white shirts and breeches! Buy yourself something nice and call it a belated Valentine’s Day present.
Alright, time to get down to business. I’ve had my Ego7 boots in heavy use for almost 6 months now, and the Tucci’s in less regular use for closer to a year. A lot of people have been asking how they’re holding up, especially the Ego7’s, and I think we’re far enough in at this point to where I can give a good assessment. First up, the Ego7 (I have the brown Orion).
I wanted these boots for a few main reasons:
1) I really love my Tucci’s, and Ego7 is designed by the same guy.
2) I wanted a darker chocolate brown boot this time, since I didn’t really like the way that my lighter brown boots had worn over time.
3) They had a ton of size options. Most of the other “off the rack” brown boots are way too short for me.
I bought these while we were over in Germany. No one here had the brown ones yet, and it was cheaper to buy them over there. Not knowing how their sizing ran, I probably would not have just bought them online from overseas, but since we were there I took advantage of the opportunity.
Overall I’m really happy with how these are holding up. I wear them daily (and sometimes on XC at shows), don’t take very good care of them, and they still look really good. They were so damn tight for the first few weeks that I’m honestly kind of shocked the zippers and elastic gusset held up to that. They really shouldn’t have. I have no freaking idea how that German guy at the tack shop got those things zipped up over my jeans the day that I bought them, because Jesus H it was a struggle in the beginning just for me to get them zipped over breeches. It kind of defied the laws of physics there for a while.
Ultimately I do think I needed a size bigger in the calf, and a smidge taller height (I like my boots really tall, so these are fine but… could be taller). They’ve stretched now and I can zip them without too much effort, but the left ankle remains a little bit tighter than I prefer, and I can’t get them zipped over my thicker winter breeches. If you fall in between calf sizes according to the chart, I’d recommend sizing up.
They’re comfortable boots though, and while the leather isn’t what I would consider top end, it’s appropriate for the price range. The design on these boots is pretty great, from the three-level spur rest to the full lining to the comfort tongue inside the back of the ankle. The dark chocolate brown color is definitely easier to maintain than my old lighter brown boots used to be. The color is still perfectly uniform, no rubs or fading anywhere, and I’ve been especially impressed with how durable the E-Tex inner calf panel is holding up. I was a little skeptical of that feature since it’s a synthetic material, but it’s got literally ZERO wear. None. It’s not even worn smooth, the grain is still perfectly intact. I dunno what that shit is… Teflon coated with unicorn poop or something, but I feel pretty confident saying that these things are going to wear like iron. For a mid-range boot, they’ve definitely been a solid buy for me so far.
As for the Tucci’s, well… they’re everything good about the Ego7 but take the comfort up a notch, increase the leather quality, and add a whole bunch of ridiculously amazing Italian decadence. The Ego7’s are solid boots but the Tucci’s somehow manage to take rugged durability and combine it with pure luxury. Sure, they took a little longer to break in than something like a Parlanti, but they also won’t fall apart in a year either. I can wear them all day at a horse show with no complaints – hell, I’ve even walked XC in them and not even realized it. They are absolutely beautiful, impeccably made, really comfortable, extremely durable, and the fit is perfect. I wore them daily for a few months after I got them, before I got the Ego7, and then set them aside to save for shows (although sometimes I wear them for lessons or on cold days with my winter breeches since the Ego7 don’t fit over them).
You can customize the Tucci’s a few different ways with different colors or finishes… I got the Marilyn model with a navy plain leather top, and while it seems like a lot of detail, it’s actually quite subtle. You can’t see all the punch/wingtip detailing or the navy until you’re up close. They’re definitely “wild” by hunter ring standards, but for the rest of the world they’re kind of the perfect mix between fun and conservative. I get compliments on these things all the time.
Yeah sure, all the punch detailing is a little more work to keep clean. I added a toothbrush to my boot cleaning/polishing kit and it’s worked just fine. Totally worth the 2% of extra effort for me, but if you don’t like that there is a regular field boot or regular dress boot model that are both just as nice. I love these boots so much that it’s a little ridiculous, and I’m especially impressed by how well they’re holding up. My favorite feature is the snap system that holds the zipper in place at the top. It’s genius, it’s easy, and it works. If I could afford it I would get the brown Marilyn’s too and call it a complete collection. They are head and shoulders above my previous Ariat Monocos, without a doubt. Worth every penny. If you’re looking for a solid, high end boot that is beautiful and comfortable yet also rugged enough to last a long time, definitely look at Tucci.
It’s no secret that I love my boys. We all love our ponies, right? And our dogs, and cats, and donkeys, and goats, and whatever else may be in a horse person’s menagerie. I’ve noticed that we tend to collect animals. We also tend to collect art of our favorite animals. Everything from the more typical paintings and drawings, to the more “creative” like, um… crochet ponies or glassware or socks or jewelry or belts. Yes, I think those things totally count as art too.
Throughout the years I have accumulated all of those things, related to one horse or another (and, somehow, lots of stuff featuring the corgi). If you can put my horse or my horse’s name on it, I probably want it. In my world there is no such thing as too many ponies. Henry and Presto wallpaper? Let’s do it, the whole house. The SO might disagree on that one though. Party pooper.
Currently I’ve really got most of my horse-related art on the walls in the guest room. Most of my paintings from Michelle are in there, with some of Henry’s ribbons. Another bedroom (that we currently use as storage) has a charcoal drawing of one of my old horses, and my favorite photo of Sadie hangs in the hallway between the entryway and our bedroom.
I’ve also got a couple of glasses that Michelle painted, featuring Presto and Henry. Having a friend that likes to paint for fun (and is super good at it!!!) is a huge perk. If I lived alone I would probably ask her to paint a life-size canvas of both boys for every room in the house and just call it a day. I’m kidding. Probably. (no I’m not)
There are also the Hamer & Clay ornaments, of which I have a decent collection going.
The one thing I don’t have is tattoos of my horses, mostly because a) if I started putting all my horses on my body I would run out of space, b) I haven’t come across an artist that I trust enough to really capture them accurately. I do have a tattoo of A horse, but it’s Fledge, the first flying horse of Narnia. Because if the rest of this post hasn’t convinced you that I am a nerd, the quarter sleeve devoted to literature (actually all but one of my tattoos are devoted to some kind of literature…) will surely do it.
Do socks count as art? I say yes. My Henry XC-face socks (officially my “cross country day” socks for 2018) remain, in my opinion, one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Yes, put my pony’s picture on items of apparel, please and thank you. The best part of these bad boys is the reaction people have when they first notice them.
Last month Because Pony had a sale on her digital drawings, and once I saw how cute Hillary‘s turned out, I had to commission two of my own. I mean… who wouldn’t want little cartoon interpretations of their horses? Okay fine, maybe I’m a child. But when you have horses as, um, expressive as my two nerds, it’s kind of fitting. And I have to say, she absolutely nailed both of them.
There’s screaming Presto:
And derping Henry:
Now I’m trying to decide what to do with the files. I could have them printed and framed, I just don’t know where exactly I’d put them. I did already order a nice vinyl sticker of each of them, to put on my Stanley trunk. They definitely make great stickers. These are so cute though, I feel like they need more physical representation than that. So…what to do, what to do?
What kind of art do you guys have of your ponies? Any fun new “outside the box” stuff out there that I definitely NEED?