Blog Hop: In Others’ Words

Somehow I totally missed this blog hop when it was first posted by Feeding My Heart to the Hawk, but here I am sliding in on the deadline last minute, because what else is new?


Basically, she asked for a list of songs that pertain to us, our horses, and our riding.  I don’t already have a playlist that was built around Henry in particular or is tailored to us, and he’s such a friggin weirdo I’m not sure that I could come up with one that would be accurately cover all aspects of him. But what I definitely DO have, and have mentioned here before, is “hauling music”. Specifically, hauling-to-horse-shows music. The playlist is literally called Horse Shows, and it is tradition. I listen to it on the way to/from every show or XC schooling.

This started back when Bobby and I used to haul together a lot. I made us a playlist of songs, which kind of took on a life of it’s own over the years. Now it’s definitely more to my taste (when Bobby is involved there’s a lot of Lady Gaga… not really my thing, I am not that fabulous), but also with some really random stuff thrown in there. To me these songs are eventing, as I see it through my eyes. It’s adrenaline. Weirdos. Insanity. There’s really nothing civilized or posh about our sport. It’s fun. It’s gritty. Sometimes things go belly up and all you can do is persevere, then come back and try again. C’est la vie. That’s why I love it. This playlist makes me ready to get to the venue, get out of the truck, and Mother Effing Horse Show. But it also makes me feel like, even though nothing ever goes perfectly, it’s still always going to be the thing that feeds my soul. Challenges are part of the game.

If you fall pick yourself up off the floor 
And when your bones can’t take no more
Just remember what you’re here for

You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn

So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways. All my underdogs,
We will never be, never be, anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks

Tell me that’s not eventing and eventers.

It’s a weird collection, I’ll be the first to admit. From rap to country to pop to punk… there’s a little bit of everything. While I didn’t make the playlist with Henry specifically in mind, his influence is pretty clear. He’s definitely responsible for at least half the songs on the list. I mean…

Keep your eyes on my bum-bum-bum-bum-bum
You think you can handle this badonkadonk-donk

This is a Missy Elliot fan if I’ve ever seen one

We’d definitely see eye to eye on our favorite rappers, too (the ONLY correct answers are DMX and Missy Elliot, btw. But also if you don’t know every word to Lose Yourself, what are you even doing with your life?). “Because I’m Awesome” by the Dollyrots would for sure be his XC song, and it does remind me of him 100%. “Boom” by POD is probably a little too accurate of how stadium goes though…

As for the song Could Have Been Me, by The Struts… that one is my own personal life anthem in all regards. Most of the songs on that playlist I feel like I don’t really have to explain… if you listen to them you’ll probably understand where my head is at. Maybe.


I do have another playlist that I made back when I was doing really long boring trot sets with Henry, getting ready for the 3Day. I still play it sometimes when we go for long walk hacks, if I’m in the mood for music, but now it’s mostly a running playlist. Still… also sums us up pretty well. That one is mostly rock, and generally more modern (with some Beetles and Wilson Phillips thrown in for good measure).

Those are mostly just songs that I like that are a little more upbeat and you can kind of get lost in for a while. Or songs about not being a quitter. Because trotting forever sucks.

To give further evidence of my weirdness, I also have entire playlists of late 90’s/early 00’s metal, or Texas/Red Dirt Country. Sometimes it just depends on the mood, ya know? That Horse Shows playlist though… that one is sacred.

Unofficial Photographers

I’m a big proponent of the “pics or it didn’t happen” philosophy. Even before the age of digital media I LOVED getting those little proofs in the mail and deciding which ones to get, filling out the order form, and then waiting a few months for the photos to arrive. Now that everything is digital (and so much easier – praise) and social media is so huge, pictures are even more important. I love having the memories and I love looking at other people’s pictures on social media. Not to mention that it’s pretty hard to be a blogger if you don’t have pictures. Boring.

photo from the official show photographer

These days, it seems like just about everyone has a fancy digital camera. Except for me, of course, because I’m not a very good photographer and don’t have the patience for it. Maybe that’s why I value good pictures so much? But I like that so many people are into it now, because the more people there are taking pictures of my horses, the happier I am.

To be clear, I will support the official photographer of a show every single time, 110%. If there’s someone on site taking pictures, standing out there all day, organizing and editing all that crap, you can bet I’ll buy at least one or two, guaranteed. Or literally all of them, like I did for both weeks of Chatt. #noregrets

But I always see other people, non-professionals usually, out there taking pictures too. Whether they’re just having fun with their camera, or practicing, or waiting for their wife/daughter/whatever to go by, there are cameras everywhere at shows. Sometimes the people shooting pics are teenagers that I know, and can seek out on Instagram. Sometimes it’s a show dad with nice equipment and a great eye (shoutout to Dusty!). Other times I have no idea who they are, and may or may not ever find out.

Photo from Dusty, who is a photographer in his own right, but not the official show photographer.

I’ve gotten several pictures from such photographers just because they happened to post a picture of me and someone who knew me happened to tag me in it (for real, how do y’all find these people? Tell me your secrets!). If it’s a good picture, I’ll buy that one too. No joke, I will buy every single picture that anyone takes of me, if it’s a good picture. I do not discriminate.

Granted, I know that this isn’t true of everyone, and this is why official photographers are generally none too pleased to have other people snapping pictures nearby. It’s a sticky situation, and I see both sides of things. Anything that threatens their livelihood is ultimately bad for anyone who doesn’t have their own personal paparazzi following them around. But the more pictures I have, the happier I am. Especially if the official photographers didn’t make the best choices about which jumps to stand by, or didn’t have the staff to cover very much of the course.

My favorite pic from the whole 2 weeks, from another unofficial photographer. I only found it because a friend tagged me in the photo on Insta.

I’m always kind of torn on this, because on one hand I feel a duty to support and protect the official photographers, a dying breed. On the other hand, I want more pictures. Always more pictures. Sometimes they’re actually better pictures, too. I can’t help but feel kinda guilty about it though, despite the fact that I’m still giving money to the official photographers.

How do you guys feel about this? Will you buy All The Pictures, or do you limit yourself to just one or two? What are your feelings on unofficial photographers at events?

Trailer Accoutrements

I’m obsessed with the new trailer. Like when I drive up to the barn every day and see her sitting in her spot, I can’t help but smile lovingly at her… that type of obsession.

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Betty 2.0, probably.

But I am admittedly a little overwhelmed with all the possibilities here. I knew from the start that I wanted to put fans and a camera system in the horse compartment, but otherwise that part of the trailer is good to go. The other trailer was essentially just a horse compartment, so I’ve had a long time to think about things I wanted there. But the tack room… that big, beautiful tack room… there are so many possibilities, and a whole new world.

On one hand, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want that space to end up having a whole bunch of crap in it. I rarely show out of my trailer, I don’t need a full set of grooming equipment, sprays, ointments, extra tack or spares or whatever else. I don’t want to open that tack room door and be like good god why is all this shit in here. When I go to shows the vast majority of my stuff is in my tack trunk, and that’s how I want it to stay. Even if it’s organized, I still don’t want to have a bunch of crap in the trailer. Gridwall is out. Gridwall would inevitably end with me putting All The Things in there, junking it up, and making it into exactly what I’m trying to avoid. I do not want it to be a general storage space. I hate clutter, even organized clutter.

I also want to keep the floor relatively clear, or at least have it be quick and easy to shuffle stuff around to make it relatively clear. I ordered a little twin air mattress to take to shows if, for some reason (like extreme rain or cold), I don’t want to set up my trunk tent. That might happen one night a year, if that. Probably less. But the twin mattress fits perfectly into the length of the tackroom and the width of the door opening, so I want to make it easy to clear that part out and sleep there if I need to. I also want to feel like I can change clothes, hang out, or sleep in there without knocking stuff down or drowning in crap. Right now there aren’t saddle racks in the tack room, but they’re on order and I already know where they’ll go. That will be a decent chunk of space, obviously, but not floor space.

That said, there are certain things that I do want to keep in there, and ways that I want to maximize the space I do have. Some stuff HAS to live in there, period, and will come out when we get to shows – like the muck cart, buckets, little trunk of show-only supplies for stall setup, etc. So essentially the only things I really want on the floor are the things that will come out when we get to a show. Or things that are small, or that can be easily moved to the horse compartment once I’m parked and unloaded if necessary (the water jug, the traileraid, extra bag of shavings, etc).

I’ve already bought a few things, including but not limited to:

  • two broom grippers to put on the wall, to hold the muck fork and the broom
  • a folding step stool (which stores flush to the wall behind the blanket bar that I also stuck the head divider behind)
  • various bungee cords and carabiners, because those are always useful. (these will go in the tray on the door).
  • a small wall mirror (which goes… on the wall, obviously)
  • a rug (floor, obviously)
  • a hanging organizer (left wall, the big open space)

The trailer also has a built in clothing/blanket rack across one front corner, where I can potentially hang all kinds of stuff (currently I’ve only stuck a rain coat there). I also have 6 bridle racks, and the little leftover corner space behind the spare tire has proven to be the perfect holder for a folding chair.

she’s been christened!

All the other things I can think of that I want to keep in the trailer will fit in the hanging organizer that I bought. I’m not feeling much of a need to buy more crap to hang on the wall at this point, but maybe I’m not thinking it through well enough. Nothing on any of the trailer accessory websites is jumping out at me either. I think I might buy another fan just for the tack room though. Kinda digging those.

they put out some surprisingly good air flow

So, what are the most useful/favorite things that you’ve put in your trailer tack room? Or what do you wish you’d done differently?

Mooraffe? Girmoose?

Guys, I got actual scientific verification of Presto’s species. Let me set the stage for you…

I was sitting in Discount Tire on Monday afternoon, delighted to have found a National Geographic while pawing through the magazine collection in the waiting room. Can we all agree that National Geographic is the best magazine? They definitely have the best pictures, at least.

Anyway, I was thumbing through kind of mindlessly when a little blurb at the top of an article caught my eye.

I know that animal. That’s Presto!

National Geographic seems to think they’re extinct, but I definitely have one. It’s official: he’s a Girmoose.

NOT FUNNY, LADY! (also, maybe I should have named him Legs?)

Even the height part of the girmoose is starting to feel a bit too accurate. While Michele was here on Tuesday I asked her to help me measure him for a blanket. I can normally guess pretty well just by looking at a horse, but his proportions are so ODD that hell if I even know. He’s really long but really narrow. And yeah I know, it’s way too hot to even be thinking about blankets right now, but this is prime blanket-buying season and my favorite HUG sheets were on sale.

Skeptical girmoose

After we did that she asked me how tall he was now, and I said I dunno I stopped measuring him. But I also cave to peer pressure pretty easily, so we sticked him and… he’s freaking 15.2h. He’s grown an entire hand since March – so about an inch a month. What the hell, kid? Usually that’s how much you’d expect them to grow in their entire yearling year! If he would like to pump the brakes a bit on the height and focus on his topline, I’d be ok with that.

Gotta admit though, he’s got great hair.

Surely that growth rate has to start slowing down at some point, right? RIGHT??? His mother didn’t do this, she grew really really slowly. He’s already as tall as she was as a 2 year old.

I ended up ordering him a 72 sheet. Really I wanted to order him a 70, he’s a few inches shy of that right now, but figuring he won’t wear it until Dec/Jan, I was trying to guesstimate what might fit by that point. But for some reason the 72 was $30 cheaper than the 70… so he might be wearing a bit of a dress. Or it might fit. Who knows. Trying to guess how big a girmoose might be in 5 months seems fairly hit or miss.

I also caved to a clearance sale and snagged him a pretty navy and hunter green scrim sheet for $20. I figured he can wear it at FEH Champs to keep the dust off and look fancy. Or to cover up all that kind of embarrassing sun-bleaching until the last possible moment before he goes in the ring. Whichever.

If I only take pictures of him when he’s wet, you can’t tell how buckskin he is

I’m not sure if the ponying on the hills is helping or if it’s just natural maturity, but he does seem to be filling out at least a little bit. Sometimes, anyway. He looks different every day. He’s almost as wide as a 4×4 now, instead of a 2×4. Of course, FEH Champs are still 2 months away, so who knows what he’ll look like by then. Fingers crossed it’s a little more horse and a little less girmoose.



Summer Vacay

In case I haven’t mentioned it 10,000 times already, it’s hot as balls in Texas right now. Like… 30 seconds outside and you can literally feel your skin melting off and your eyeballs shriveling up. That type of hot. If you’re unfamiliar with Texas summers, go turn your oven on and stick your head in for a while. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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this is what it feels like to live here

I usually try to give Henry a decent “vacation” period every year anyway, so it wasn’t exactly a hard choice to do it after Chatt when we came home to triple digit temps. Pretty much the same thing we did after Coconino 2 years ago, really. People who live in normal climates do winter vacations for their horses… but winter is way more pleasant here. Very early mornings are still kind of bearable for riding (I mean, compared to afternoon, anyway) but still, the horse has earned some downtime.

Auntie Michele of fatbuckskin came to visit yesterday, so she took over walking duties for the day! First time he’s had a saddle on since Chatt. Dunno why she looked at me like I was dumb when I asked if she wanted to hack out bareback…

Of course, Henry being Henry, this doesn’t mean that he just gets to be turned away for a month in a pasture. 1) HAVE I MENTIONED IT’S REALLY HOT? He spends days snoozing in his stall in front of 3 fans. And even then he’s fairly miserable. 2) He doesn’t actually do well when he isn’t ridden at all. He loses that SI and hind end strength pretty quickly, especially since he’s fairly sedentary in his pasture at night, so I’ve been getting on him bareback with his sidepull every other day and going for a 45 minute brisk walk hack out in the big fields. 3) He would die without a dozen cookies a day and his 10 minutes of currying, pretty sure.

When a “cold front” is a high of 99 degrees.

Henry actually quite likes his walk hacks, I think he enjoys getting out of the barn area for a change of scenery. I’ve been taking Presto with us too, hoping to get a little bit of “conditioning” on him before FEH Championships. I mean… walks in the field won’t hurt either of them. Keep the event horse loose and retain some fitness, and try to put a little bit of a badonk on the baby. I think the only part Henry doesn’t really love is that Presto tags along, but… thems the breaks, kid. Big brother duties, that’s just how it goes. It doesn’t stop him from spooking at every bird that flies within 30 feet of him. The yearling is less spooky than the 11yo.

Also Henry gets SO sweaty with this heat that I have to hose him off and put skin stuff on him regularly or he would be totally hairless. As it is, I’m barely keeping the rest of the hair on his face. He’s just so gross right now, he gets sweaty and crusty and itchy in an endless cycle.  He does seem to enjoy his afternoon baths too, though. He seemed to be handling the mid-90’s temps decently enough, but the 105-110 degree days have just been killer.

He’ll get a couple more weeks off and then I’ll slowly start putting him back into his regular program. I don’t have any show plans for him until October, so no rush. He’s already getting a little fat though… might have to cut his food back a bit!

We’re all just laying low right now, taking a bit of time to recharge the body and mind, and dreaming of some cooler temps.

Betty White 2.0

Some of you may remember my trailer, Black Betty turned Betty White, that I bought a few years ago for $500 and subsequently fixed up to make road-worthy. The $900 horse in the $500 trailer… it was quite apropos. Betty is the first trailer I’ve had in a very long time, and though she is far from fancy, she granted me the priceless qualities of freedom and independence. I’ve spent the last 2.5 years driving that old 1980’s model trailer all over the state of Texas. She’s logged many many miles and been nothing but a faithful servant throughout.

However, even with all the remodeling I did a couple years ago, she really shouldn’t be anything other than a “runaround town” type of trailer. She’s sound and solid, but she’s really old, and she’s not had the easiest life. Now that I have two horses to haul around, am traveling a lot, and logging more miles, it was well past time to upgrade to something newer and more suitable.

OG Betty White and Betty White 2.0

I made this decision only a few weeks ago. I was cleaning Betty out, checking her over, and thinking that I was probably pushing my luck by asking as much of her as I did. Hauling long distances with both horses in it was likely toeing the line of trouble. So I did some online research, figured out what kind of budget I was looking at, and started very casually window shopping. I knew that I wanted pretty much the same configuration – a 2 horse bumper pull straight load, no mangers, with a ramp. I really wanted a dressing room this time (I have a lot of crap, y’all) and it definitely had to have the capability to take the divider and centerpost completely out to convert to one big box stall for long hauls. I also wanted at least 7’6″ interior height since it appears that Presto is going to be… large.

On the east coast, that would be a dime-a-dozen type of trailer, popular and easy to find. Down here in Texas, not so much. This is the land of the western QH… most people either have little tiny 2 horse coffin trailers with mangers, or they have big slants with living quarters. They definitely DON’T have them in extra tall height, either. Plus the budget that I was comfortable with meant that I would definitely be shopping for a used trailer of a good brand, because my only new options would be pretty low-end. I hunkered down and prepared to wait until the right trailer came along, even if it meant I had to wait 6 months or even drive out of state to get it.

And then, as if the horse trailer gods heard my silent wishes, she appeared. I was browsing fairly mindlessly through the trailer ads when I stumbled across a 2 horse Sundowner that was located just a couple hours away at a dealership. I closely examined all the photos, called and talked to their sales manager, and made an appointment to go see it a couple days later. The price was excellent, below market value (like I said, these kinds of trailers aren’t exactly high demand here), and I had their sales people draw up the financial paperwork so I could get an idea of the exact numbers I’d be looking at. From there I decided how much of my savings that I wanted to plunk down for a down payment (bye money!) and was surprised at how relatively quick and painless the payments would be. Hmm… interest piqued.

I went ahead and got all of my own paperwork in order, money moved around, insurance plan in place, etc, and then drove up bright and early Saturday to look at it in person. I mean, why not, right? They’d actually done some work on it since the online photos had been taken, replacing some lights, light covers, wheel caps, given it an acid wash and full service, etc. It looked good. Really good. I was the only one at the dealership that early, so the mechanic who had done all the work on it went around and told me/showed me everything he’d done, while I thoroughly checked out the trailer. If I was being super picky I wish the head windows were dropdowns instead of sliders, and the tack room actually does not have any saddle racks in it. Those are quite minor though… I can live with the windows and I can put saddle racks in easily. The floor, roof, and all the major components are in excellent condition. Clearly the previous owner really cared for this trailer well. Aside from a few minor dings in the horse area from some naughty hooves, it’s pretty darn spotless.

It also had all the main qualities I was after, including a generous dressing room and a 7’6″ interior height. The horse compartment is huge. Plenty of room for Presto’s donkey ears in this thing!


So even though I hadn’t really been planning on buying a new trailer yet, I couldn’t think of any good reason not to buy this one. It seemed almost serendipitous. Since the paperwork had already been done, it was just a matter of signing things and writing checks.

One of the buttbars had been set exceptionally high (I’m assuming a draft horse occupied that spot?) so I did ask them to lower that down to a normal height, in line with the other one. That took all of 5 minutes. As did changing out the ball on my current hitch, which of course was a different size. Within 40 minutes of my arrival at the dealership I was back on the road home, this time with a very shiny, very fancy, VERY upgraded Betty White 2.0. She hauled easily (although wow she is definitely bigger than OG Betty) and Henry seemed very interested in checking her out once I got home.

Dis mine

Aside from saddle racks I’m also going to add a fan on each side and a wireless camera system so I can see the boys inside the trailer. All of those things are already here, ready for installation. Along with a lot of other really random stuff from Amazon that I wanted for the tack room. I’m still deciding exactly how I want to set up that space, but that’s a post for another day.

Otherwise there’s not much to do. She’s road-ready! Granted, we’re on a mid-summer pause in activities, so she might just end up sitting for a little while. I won’t get tired of looking at her any time soon though. Hope you like your new chariot, boys!

These horses, they are really rotten.

As for OG Betty, don’t worry, she’s going to a great home. I’m passing her on to a friend of mine who bought her own farm a while back and doesn’t have a trailer yet. She has two teeny kids at home so she doesn’t really haul anywhere, but now she’ll at least be able to if she needs to, or when the kiddos get a little older and her schedule frees up a bit. It’ll be the perfect semi-retirement home for OG Betty, and she’ll get to bring someone else all the freedom and happiness that she’s brought to me. Happy Trails, OG Betty, and welcome home Betty 2.0!


I finally got all my digitals from Chatt and wow, the photo series from our rider miss/horse save are pretty impressive. Impressive enough to where I just had to share all of them in sequence today, because this is definitely a #misseditmonday if I’ve ever seen one.

First, how about that OH SHIT look on my face when I realize that we are really about to be screwed.


Yep… this is a problem.


Oh god.


Henny the Magician, pulling a rabbit out of his hat and saving both our butts. Pretty sure this is that fabled “fifth leg” that eventers are always talking about, in action.



And then, like… phsyics happened, and I came perilously close to becoming a lawn dart. You can see Henry questioning all the life choices he’s made that have led him to this destiny of being an amateur rider’s horse.


After that I just took a nap for a while I guess, while Henry was trying to decide whether or not he should jump the roll top with that sack of potatoes flopping around up there like that.

Oh hey look, mom, ROLLTOP!
Uh… mom…?

Then he realized he was on his own here, and maybe he shouldn’t jump the rolltop with me hanging off the side of him like that. At least one of us is capable of making good decisions. He veered gently left, and I finally got an arm back underneath me to push myself back up.





Alright, let’s try that again.

Take 2 went a lot better.



Henry for sainthood! Don’t botch an upbank, guys. 0/10, do not recommend.

Friday Faves

I’ve got 3 things that I’m really into this week, and they aren’t enough by themselves to make a post for each, so ta-da…. Friday Faves!

Ribbons for Winners

If you follow me on Insta then you’re already acquainted with my new favorite ribbon. I saw this on facebook last week and just Had To Have It, because nothing has ever described my riding career as accurately as that thing. It’s got positivity, humor, and perseverance all in one. How could I not buy it?

It’s from a company called Ribbons For Winners and they say they have new styles coming in the next few weeks as well. They’re also open to suggestions so if you have any brilliant ideas, hit them up on facebook!


Majyk Equipe/Jonty Evans

Fans of international level eventing have probably heard about the significant brain injury sustained by Irish rider Jonty Evans last month during a fall at Tattersalls. His condition has stabilized, although he is still hospitalized and faces a long hard road ahead with his recovery. They haven’t said much about his prognosis, I think a lot still remains to be seen, but he will for sure accrue some extremely high medical bills during this time. To help ease the financial burden, Majyk Equipe (one of my favorite companies!) is sponsoring a giveaway to benefit Jonty. The prize pack includes lots of great stuff, worth over $500, including things you can’t actually even BUY! The winner will get: Color Elite XC boots in Turquoise, Sport/Dressage boots in Turquoise/White, ME’s new Luxury AP saddle pad, a Team Majyk jacket, and other Majyk team gear.

To enter: make a donation to the David Foster Injured Rider’s fund, being sure to reference “Majyk/Jonty” in the comment box. The suggested minimum donation is just 5 Euro, but feel free to give whatever you can. These funds will go directly toward Jonty’s medical bills. After you complete the donation, forward the email confirmation to – this will be your raffle entry.


Rebecca Farm/Aachen live streams

I. Love. Livestreams. It is modern technology at it’s very finest, if you ask me. And this weekend we’ve got TWO fantastic live streams available – Young Rider Champs from Rebecca Farm, and Nation’s Cup dressage/showjumping/eventing from Aachen. Both are FREE! To watch Rebecca you need a fan membership from USEF, which you can get for free with the code NAYCE18. The live stream is available on USEFNetwork. Shoutout and best of luck to my friend Georgia, who is riding her OTTB (that she picked out and brought up through the levels herself in just 2 years!) Menue Rendevous in the 1*!

To watch Aachen you will need a membership, BUT you can sign up for a free 30 day trial and not have to pay (you can watch for a little while before it asks you to log in). Totally worth it to see some of the best international level horses, of all disciplines, in the world. Aachen is pretty incredible. Definitely on my bucket list of shows I must attend in person someday.

The best part about Clipmyhorse’s coverage?


Yep, they include the breeding information for each horse right there on the screen! I love this about the Europeans, they always have that kind of stuff easily available.

Happy Friday everyone!

The Cat Shituation

Okay, I confess, this isn’t exactly a horse related post. But it’s a story that I think really needs telling, because y’all… omg.

I know it’s been a while since I updated about Grem, the kitten I brought home from Willow Tree Warmbloods almost exactly one year ago. I didn’t plan on bringing her home, in fact I generally don’t like cats that much and definitely had no desire to own one. But geez she’s cute and since she was the runt of the barn cat litter I was legit scared she was gonna get eaten by something (also I am a HUGE sucker) so I brought her home. And I didn’t tell the Significant Other that I was bringing her home, I just showed up with a kitten and was like “SURPRISE WE GOT A KITTEN!”. In case you’re keeping track of all the ways that I’m a terrible girlfriend, add that to the list. His face looked something like this:

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But it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission, am I right? Especially if you’re holding a really freaking cute kitten.

reminder of what I was working with at the time

It just occurred to me that this is probably how an episode of Animal Hoarders starts.

Anyway, I digress.

Fast forward to now and guess who is straight up OBSESSED with Grem? Yeah, that’s right, the SO has become a legit crazy cat man. She has more furniture in our living room than we do, and he built or bought literally all of it. That cat is rotten as hell, but she is his baby. Naturally, she prefers him to me. You’re welcome for probably saving your life, ungrateful cat.


The only thing he did not like about the cat was the litter box. He’s weird about poop and pee, so I was the one in charge of cleaning it. I’m a horse person, poop and pee don’t even register in my world. So somehow even though I’m the cat’s legit savior, I occupy the favorite human #2 (out of 2) spot AND I became her personal janitor. That’s messed up.

Of course, when I left for Georgia for 2 weeks, those litter box duties fell to him. And when I got home I was pleased to find that he had in fact kept the litter box clean. I wasn’t sure if he would, but all seemed well. Then I get home a few days later and there is a huge freaking box on my doorstep that says LITTER ROBOT. What the…

I drag it into the house just as SO is pulling in the driveway, and he’s super excited to see the box. He’s like “Oh great, it finally came! Wait til you see this, it’s SO COOL!!!”. Meanwhile I’m looking at him like this:

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Because I had a pretty good guess of what a “litter robot” might be, and I knew it couldn’t possibly have been cheap. It has the word ROBOT on the box, after all.

So he pulls this thing out of the box and it is a huge giant contraption that looks like a spaceship. It’s WiFi enabled, it cleans itself, it has a really fancy blue LED nightlight that lights it up like a bad nightclub, its got an app that goes with it that tells you every time the cat takes a dump, you can control it from your phone, etc etc. Like… they aren’t joking. This thing is literally a robot. For cat shit. I’ve never even used a bathroom this nice.

To be clear: two weeks of having to clean the litter box himself and he bought a literal cat shit robot.

I asked him how much it cost and he seemed hesitant to name a figure, so I cut to the chase and Googled it. Five. Hundred. Dollars. For a cat shit robot.

She used it as a bed for the first couple days until she realized it was a shit box. Tell me that isn’t a pretentious looking cat?

I mean, it does have some pretty cool features. Granted, it’s so freaking huge that it doesn’t actually fit through the doorway of any of our rooms, so it’s currently living in a hallway. It definitely does clean itself though, and it pings you when the bottom shit storage tray needs to be emptied.

not full yet, just in case you were wondering!

But guys. Let’s be real here.


This is why we have separate bank accounts. This is why he’s never ever allowed to even so much as raise an eyebrow at ANY horse related item I purchase ever again. Neither of my horses have robots for their shit. I definitely don’t have a robot for mine.

AND THEN he started telling me about all the accessories we can purchase to go with it, like the $50 ramp or the $360 bamboo cabinet.

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Horse chicks are crazy? No, sir. Cat dudes are crazy. And I only have to say three words to prove my case:

Cat. Shit. Robot.

*It’s a really nice cat shit robot though. Please don’t tell him I said that.

Can we talk about helmets for a minute?

With the latest article that’s been going around about the side-impact helmet testing done by an insurance company in Sweden, many interesting conversations have been sparked on social media. The article has been shared by tons of people, and in a lot of different groups, and I’ve read through all of the comments almost obsessively. Safety equipment, and especially the standards by which such equipment is tested and certified, is very interesting to me. If you want to read the full study results, not just a summary, they can be found here. I’m not going to offer my interpretation of it… I feel like people can read and do that for themselves.

Y’all, I really like helmets.

I first started delving deeper into all of the helmet testing standards a few years ago after the KEP helmet controversy. The big issue that came out of that situation was whether or not riding helmets are designed, or required, to protect from secondary impact – ie if your head hits the pavement, and then the horse’s hoof hits your head, is the helmet still in reasonable enough condition to help protect your head from the secondary impact of the hoof? Short version: not necessarily.

I thought that was pretty interesting, and started researching all of the different testing standards, how they ran their studies, and exactly what they tested FOR. Do most of us actually know that? Probably not. We tend to just go “well, it’s approved, it must be safe!”. It’s definitely safer than no helmet at all, for sure. But one might not offer as much protection as another. And do we even know what “approved” really means?

fancy tag… but what does it mean?

I was able to find a lot of information just via Google, and where I needed to fill in some gaps, I was generally able to do so via email. I heard back from all but 1 that I contacted… some sent me very basic “here is what we test for” type of information that wasn’t particularly useful, or was exactly what I’d already found via Google. Others sent me quite detailed information sheets and even videos of their test procedures. And then there’s good ol’ ASTM, who want you to pay $41 to buy the book (or PDF) of standards. Sigh. To be fair, they did answer some of my questions via email. Still, am I the only one who thinks this stuff should be very transparent and readily available?

For the most part I was very surprised to see what the majority of the testing standards actually cover. It’s FAR less than I would have imagined. Some are even just a simple *wham* to the top of the helmet and it either meets their criteria (whatever that may be) or it doesn’t. When’s the last time you got one nice, neat *wham* on the crown of your head? The most comprehensive, IMO, was definitely the SNELL testing standard, which is not a mandatory standard that any equestrian organization actually requires helmets to meet. Because of that, very few manufacturers have bothered submitting their helmets for SNELL testing at all. Even that standard isn’t perfect, and has some room for improvement as far as different types of impact that are more likely to occur during equestrian sports.


Aside from just a general lack of information, or public knowledge if you will, about testing standards, there are also a lot of folks out there who don’t seem to understand what helmets really DO or how they work.

No, a helmet will not prevent you from sustaining a head injury. Just because you got a concussion while wearing X helmet does not mean the helmet didn’t do it’s job.

No, not all helmets are created equal. Just because they all passed whatever minimum testing requirement your federation requires certainly does not mean that one is just as good as the other. Think of cars and their safety ratings (which is a system we don’t have).


Also, pretty much any helmet with extensive ventilation is likely to be at least a little bit (or a lot a bit) less durable under impact. It makes sense if you think about it. Any time you start putting holes in a structure, you introduce weakness to some degree. This doesn’t mean that a helmet with bigger vents offers less protection by default, but they require some additional engineering by the manufacturer to help increase the stability of the shell, which they may or may not have. Who knows… we don’t really test that. Paneled helmets (made of separate pieces that are glued together) also seem to be less likely to maintain their structural integrity beyond the initial impact. But again… not something that the majority of the current testing methods would encompass.

Of course, one of the single most important things when choosing the right helmet is the fit. If it doesn’t fit your head correctly, it won’t sit on your head correctly, which means it may shift and/or provide less protection during impact. Buying the best-rated helmet even though it doesn’t fit is just as bad as buying the lowest-rated helmet just because it’s fashionable.

I urge everyone who is interested in helmet safety to do some research for yourself, look into the testing methods, and see what impressions you come away with. Don’t just take ANY studies or “rubber stamp” certifications at face value… it’s very easy to be an educated consumer these days if you want to be.