Sweet Iron Co. Equestrian Threads

While I’m definitely not a fashionista when it comes to “real life” clothes, I’ve always been really into riding clothes. There’s just something way more satisfying about a great #rootd, ya know? I like things that are a little bit different though, which can be hard to find in the equestrian world where uniformity has been the name of the game for… ever. So when I come across cool new brands that aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, I tend to get excited. And when I get excited, things tend to just magically show up in my closet. Such was the case with Sweet Iron Co., a brand out of Australia.


I first came across this brand early this year on Instagram. They describe themselves on their website as “Australia’s newest equestrian apparel brand. Bright, funky and fresh clothing with no snobbery or ridiculous prices. Available in sizes 6 – 20 (Australian).”. I can definitely relate to that, except for maybe the bright part. Don’t worry, only a few things are bright. But they do have cool, subtly funky designs, a huge size range, and affordable prices. And if you’re ready to be put off by the whole overseas thing – shipping to the US was free and took about a week. You can’t beat that.

Originally Sweet Iron caught my eye with a couple of really cute polo shirts that had a skull pattern on them – I’m a big fan of skulls. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to bite the bullet yet though, so I just followed their account and kept an eye on them. Their product line kept growing, expanding to more polo designs, then eventually adding gloves and now long sleeve shirts. At that point, I was done for. Not only did they have gloves with a skull print, they made a houndstooth long sleeve. I can’t resist a good houndstooth, and I love long sleeves. So I bought some black breeches to make an outfit work, because of course I did, and then finally caved to the funky Australians.

I regret nothing

It’s always sketchy trying to guess at sizing based off of a size chart, but I’m happy to report that theirs is quite accurate. I’m a medium Kastel, bust of about 36″, and ordered the size 12. It fits perfectly. A little bit of breathing room, but it’s not baggy. The cut is really nice for the female figure, not boxy at all, and it has enough tail to tuck in without being crazy long.

I’ve had this belt for a year and never been able to wear it because my entire wardrobe was comprised of navy, brown, and green.

The shirts are made so that the collar can be worn two ways – folded over like a polo, or popped up for a more formal look.

The navy skull top

I like that their designs are a bit funky without being too “in your face”. I am not a fan of a crazy bold or bright pattern, so I like that they have shirts with skulls and unicorns and the like, but that you wouldn’t really even know it until you got up close. It enables you to be a little weird without being over the top tacky about it. I can appreciate that a lot.

yes, I did say unicorns

The gloves are right up my alley too. I don’t know why, but something about putting skulls on the gloves just gives them a fun, badass feel. I have really big hands so I was a little nervous about fit, since they only have the sizes available as medium and large. I typically wear an 8 Roeckl and the Sweet Iron size Large fits, but barely. The back is stretch lycra, so that does give some flexibility in the fit. The material on the palm is actually pretty similar to the Roeckl – a cell phone friendly, grippy synthetic.

grippy palm!
not gonna lie, if these were navy they’d be my new XC gloves

The other two great selling points of the brand are the size range – the shirt’s bust sizes range from 31″ to 47″ – and the price. With the short sleeve shirts coming it at $49, the long sleeves at $59, and the gloves at $35 (with free shipping, mind you!), everything is super affordable. You don’t have to feel guilty indulging your slightly funky side, since you’re not spending stupid amounts of money to do it. They’ve also got other accessories like stock ties, pins, hats, and socks, and have more stuff added to the line quite regularly. I know some new breeches and tights are in the works.

This is my new favorite outfit and I don’t even care if anyone thinks it’s weird #houndstooth4lyfe

If you’re looking for something a little different that won’t break the bank, I would recommend Sweet Iron Co for sure. I mean, who doesn’t want a unicorn stock tie, or skull gloves, or a rad houndstooth shirt? Ok, maybe some people don’t… but I sure do.

The Responsibility of being “Public”

When I started blogging, there were a lot of things I never considered. I wasn’t really sure how long I would keep it up, but I was definitely sure that no one would actually read any of it. Four years later, I’m still always surprised to realize just how many people DO eventually find their way here, somehow or another. If there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure, it’s that there is nothing low profile about chronicling your life on the internet for any and all to see. At this point I just assume that everyone reads everything… vet, farrier, trainers, clinicians, friends, family, people I ride with… you name it. And I’m continually surprised at how often I’m right. Word gets around, that’s for sure.

He’s totes famous (in his own mind)

There are pitfalls that come along with that, of course. The biggest struggle, that I think all bloggers can identify with, is deciding just how much to share. On one hand, you want to be brutally honest. Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, progress is never linear, and no one wants to read about someone who sugarcoats everything. I sure don’t, anyway. But at the same time, do you really want to put every single little detail out there on the internet? Putting yourself out there like this opens you up to a lot of criticism… I knew that going in, and I’m ok with that. That’s part of it. But at what point to we get to preserve some of our own privacy?

The other side of that coin is – at what point do we have a responsibility to preserve the privacy of others? This is a tough one, and there’s not always a black and white answer. Some people don’t mind being mentioned here. Others see it as a gross violation. And if I have something less-than-nice to say about someone in my life, is it fair to drag them through the mud here? It’s a sticky subject.


I definitely haven’t shied away from criticizing a couple of public figures in the past. If there’s some kind of controversy making the news, and I have an opinion about it, I’ll probably write about it. To me that seems fair enough (although plenty of people disagree with that, too). But if there’s something going on with me privately, either with a barn mate or a professional in my life, I try very hard to keep any details of those situations out of this space. And I certainly won’t write anything that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face, because I HAVE to assume that whatever I write about someone, they will eventually see it. I feel like I have to be able to stand behind whatever I write, unequivocally.

So, if someone at the barn takes my hoofpick, or if someone cuts me off in the ring, or said something rude to me, or if I feel otherwise “wronged” in some way like that, 99% of the time you’re probably not going to read about it here. Not in anything but a most vague and passing sense, anyway, and definitely not with any of their identifying details attached. Mostly because I think it’s rude AF to talk about people like that on a blog, rather than just working it out with them in person. But also because I feel weird about mentioning people on the blog anyway, even if it’s to say nice things. Privacy, and all that. I mean, clearly I’m not private, but some people are, and I feel like it’s important to respect that.

Except Bobby. I’ll say whatever I damn well please about Bobby. 

Of course, there are no rules about things like this. Everyone is different, has a different approach to blogging, and there’s not really a right or wrong answer. Some people do things differently, some share more, some share less, and others don’t shy away from criticizing the people close to them. It’s something that I find myself pondering a lot, though. So I’m wondering – if you’re a blogger, how do you feel about this? Are there certain things you try to stay away from? And if you’re not a blogger – where do you think the line is as far as privacy goes?

It’s in the Blood: WEG Wrap Up

Another WEG is done and dusted, and setting all the drama aside, I think we can all agree that we at least got to see some of the best horses in the world doing their thing. That part was awesome.

A couple weeks ago I broke down some stats on the bloodlines and pedigrees of all of the eventing horses – now I’m back with some stats on the top 25 horses from eventing, dressage, and showjumping.

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For real though, it’s interesting. I promise.


To start, let’s look at the top 25 (individual placings) dressage horses.

The average age was 12.8 years.

The average blood percentage was 31.5%. There were a couple of Lusitanos at 0% of course, but the lowest blood % on one of the warmbloods was 9%. That’d be your second place horse, Verdades. The highest blood % belonged to the first place horse, Bella Rose, at 49%. How’s that for contrast?

40% were geldings, 44% were stallions, and 16% were mares. However, of the top FIVE horses, 60% were mares.

De Niro had the most offspring in the top 25, as the sire of 3 horses. Diamond Hit was the sire of 2 horses. Krack C was the damsire of 2 horses.

Two horses had a full blood damsire – Bella Rose with an AngloArab damsire, and Mister X with a TB damsire. One other horse in the field had a full AngloArab as the dam’s damsire.

20% had a showjumper within the first 3 generations. The 4th place horse, Cosmo, is by a 1.60m jumper stallion, Van Gogh.



Next – the top 25 individually ranked jumpers.

The average age was 11.6 years.

The average blood percentage was 42%. The lowest clocks in at 29% and the highest is 56%. The top 3 horses were slightly below this average, at 32%, 33%, and 36%.

40% were mares, 24% were stallions, and 36% were geldings. However, yet again, of the top 5 horses, 60% were mares. Also worth noting that the gold medal dressage horse and the gold medal jumper were both chestnut mares.

Lord Pezi was the damsire of two horses, and Diamant de Semilly was the sire of one and damsire of another.

None had a dressage horse within the first 3 generations.

Never doubt the power of a German woman with a chestnut mare


And finally, back to the eventers. We already looked at the whole field in depth, but let’s take a look at how the stats shook out with the top 25. 

The average age was 12.5 years.

The average blood percentage was 62%, with the lowest being 37% and the highest being 100%. The top 3 horses were 53%, 69%, and 72%.

16% were mares, 8% were stallions, and 72% were geldings. The top 5 were all geldings.

60% had Selle Francais blood, 26% had Holsteiner blood, and 28% had both. 28% had at least one full Thoroughbred parent.

Jaguar Mail was the sire of 2 horses in the top 25. Three stallions had offspring in the top 25 of both the jumping horses AND the eventers: Diamant de Semilly, Balou du Rouet, and Vigo D’Arsouilles.

Of the DOUBLE CLEAR XC ROUNDS: the average blood percentage of those horses was 66%. And of those double clears, 33% had a full thoroughbred sire. 20% had a full thoroughbred dam. Another 33% were either full French AA or had French AA in fhe first 2 generations.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, riding on a horse, horse, hat and outdoor

And my favorite statistic, which has nothing to do with the horses but everything to do with an epic mic drop: ALL 3 INDIVIDUAL GOLD MEDAL WINNERS WERE WOMEN.

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A Tale of Two Weekends: Henny’s Story

While Presto was walking through water, wearing a way-too-big surcingle, and learning about ground driving, Henry was having a different weekend experience. Well… slightly, anyway.

It did include jompies, of which Henry was a fan

You already heard about the Friday afternoon hack with both boys. While Presto was falling on his face, Henry was plodding dutifully along, up and down the hills, with few complaints. That horse really does love to hack out, he’d stay out there all day.

Ok, he had one complaint. One big walking, biting complaint.

Saturday was his second visit from the new farrier. Even though it will take us a few cycles to really get Henry’s feet where we want them to be, I was already much happier with how he’d felt and looked throughout this first 5 week cycle. The first couple weeks were like a whole new horse, I could immediately feel more shoulder freedom and better/quicker breakover behind. Around week 4 he started forging a little bit on our long trots out in the field, but he never got to where he was looking super long or unbalanced, or felt wonky. That makes me MUCH happier.

The farrier was able to continue taking things in the right direction. shortening the toes up more and encouraging the heels to keep growing. Henry needed to be drilled and tapped this cycle too, with show season starting back up, and I was really happy that the farrier countersunk the stud holes and checked each one with an actual stud before he put the shoes on. That makes things easier for me. There’s nothing worse than getting to a show and finding you’ve got a bum stud hole.

He did charge me quite a bit more this time than last time, which I didn’t really realize until I went back and looked at how much I paid the first visit. This time was like $100 more. I guess that’s what I get for thinking he didn’t charge me enough last time lol. But both boys’ feet look massively improved already, so I can’t complain too much. If anyone in the Austin area is looking for a good farrier, I would definitely recommend him. He was even early for our appointment. What sorcery is this?

After the farrier was done I tried to get on and do a productive dressage ride in the arena but someone was so wild from the cold front that he just kept turning into a dolphin, so I gave up and let him canter for a while. Sometimes there’s just no point in forcing the issue.

On Sunday we were up bright and early (more accurately: dark and early) to head down south for a jumping lesson. We needed one. Badly. Since Chatt, in early July, I have jumped a grand total of twice at home and 3 times in XC lessons. Our first fall horse show is 2 weeks away. We should prooobably get on that. No wonder stadium is our worst phase.

As soon as I started trotting, my Trainer proclaimed that Henry looked the best she’s ever seen him. I told her that he’d just gotten shod again by the new farrier the day before, and agreed that he’s feeling so much better in general. Amazing what having balanced feet will do, eh? Especially having the hind toes shorter and more squared off, he’s feeling much stronger behind.

Shout out to Quidley and Sam for those extra creepy Halloween decorations that I’m pretty sure Henry didn’t even notice

The lesson went decently enough. Trainer is kind of mean in that she doesn’t give me a smaller course anymore, I get to pop over a little fence a few times for warmup and then we go straight to a bigger course. Which is actually fine, because (no one tell her) I find the bigger fences to be a little easier to ride. You have fewer options when they’re bigger – better sit up and go forward. And I have to give Henry credit, even with so little jumping in the past couple months, he always picks right back up where we left off.

But in my case it means that I’m still having all the same old struggles. Controlling my upper body better. Half-halting sooner. Keeping that inside hind underneath him in the turns, and thus keeping his shoulder and poll up. Not getting weak to a deeper distance. All the things that I know and have heard a million times but still struggle with anyway. Now that the ground has softened up a bit and I fixed my jump course, we’ll be jumping once a week again. I get so freaking annoyed with myself making the same damn mistakes over and over.


Henry was great though, I have no complaints with him. We had some rails but they were my fault. I think we’re both starting to figure out the ride in the hackamore, though. It’s a little better. It’s definitely not there yet – my timing is even more important when we’re bitless – but it’s improved.

When we got home Henry proceeded to find the only muddy spot left in his turnout and roll in it. Pretty sure he was looking me in the eye the entire time he was grinding the mud in. That’s okay though… between me and Presto he puts up with a lot, so he definitely deserves a nice roll in the mud every once in a while.

A Tale of Two Weekends: Presto’s Story

It was yet another really full weekend here with the boys! It was actually one of the few “at home” weekends I have for the next month and a half or so, but somehow it never fails that things just kind of happen anyway to fill up the days. Granted, even a quiet weekend at home can seem pretty full when you’ve got two characters like Henry and Presto. A lot happens between the two of them. First: Presto’s version of events.

Wait, what dis?

The forecast for the weekend looked pretty dismal, and the boys had been stuck in their stalls overnight all week due to on and off rain. They’re used to a lot more turnout than just the daytime. So on Friday afternoon I hopped on Henry, grabbed Presto, and took them both on a long walk out in the hilly field.

Presto’s version of mounting block shenanigans. How many times has Henry been sainted by now? It’s not enough.

Presto was a little bit full of himself for the first 20 minutes or so. At one point we were crossing a little natural ditch, and Presto was so busy trying to sneakily bite Henry that he wasn’t paying any attention to where his feet were, and ended up falling on his face. Splat. Baby horse go boom. The look of sheer bewilderment on his face was priceless, I wish I’d caught a picture. He minded his feet a lot better after that, though.

The worst of the rain was supposed to come through Friday night/Saturday morning, so I tucked the boys into their stalls with extra hay. Since the water system in Presto’s outside shedrow has been under repair, he’s been in the stall next to Henry in the main barn. I have to admit, it’s kind of nice having them right there next to each other. Convenient, for sure, when you’re a helicopter horse mom.

Is it actually necessary to spread your food ALL OVER YOUR STALL before you eat it?

I woke up on Saturday to some major pouring rain. Like that shit was coming down sideways for about an hour. I needed to go to the feed store on the way to the barn to pick up more alfalfa, so I waited until mid-morning for the storm to pass. Still though, the road I usually take to the feed store was closed due to high water, and I had to drive all the way around to come in from the other direction. Texas is so saturated by this point that even just an inch or so of rain is causing some flooding.

I knew my fields would be too wet, but I wasn’t sure how the arena would hold up. Generally it takes ridiculous amounts of rain to make that thing unrideable, but it has happened before. Once. I had to laugh when I walked into the ring to inspect the footing, though… the back half, where the round pens are, is covered. The rain came in so sideways that the covered round pens had standing water in them. I’m talking several inches of standing water. The uncovered part of the arena was wet, and had a puddle in one corner, but otherwise had already dried out quite a bit. This was kind of perfect, because you know what I saw when I looked at that underwater round pen?

looks like a water schooling opportunity to me

The plan was to introduce long-lining/ground driving to Presto that day, so I dressed him in his way-too-big surcingle and took him out to investigate the underwater round pen. He snorted at the water a couple times before splashing his way around. At this point I’ve dragged him through so many puddles he isn’t particularly impressed with water in any form. I’d like to keep it that way.

That done, we got down to business. I had him trot a minute or so each direction on the lunge line to get his focus. With the storm came a nice little cool front, and Presto was the most wild he’s ever been for “work”… in that he spent one whole circle snaking his head around so much that I thought he was actually going to buck for the first time. But no. Just a lot of slithering.

Dis my fancy warmblood, r u jealous?

After that I hooked up the other lunge line (I have actual long lines coming, but… who can wait when lunge lines technically work just fine for the first time?) to the outside of his halter. As he walked a circle around me I gradually moved the line from over his back, down to behind his haunches. That isn’t totally new to him, I’ve been running the lead rope around his butt and under his tail for a long time, to get him used to the idea. He just kept chugging right along at a polite walk, so I gradually moved myself more and more behind him, to a ground driving position. It took some clucking to keep him going, but before I knew it – voila – he had it.

The steering was sketchy, that’s for sure. Not only is it a new concept for him to be directed that way, but a rope halter isn’t exactly my favorite thing to use for something like this. I will probably end up trying to rig Henry’s side pull next time we do it. But we still managed to walk all over the arena, making figure 8’s, turning and walking over poles, and even going between the skinny standards over a pole on the ground (ok, that one took 3 tries). For a first attempt at ground driving, though, I was pleased with his effort and the fact that he seemed to understand it pretty much immediately.

After that, it was farrier time. It’s to the point where I can just stick him in the crossties for the farrier and leave him, and he’s totally fine. I was on the other end of the aisle tacking up Henry, so I just walked over there every once in a while to make sure everything was ok.


He’s totally a big boy for the farrier these days. A+, gold star, the farrier loves him, so I’m happy. It’s super important that he has good manners for that.

Presto’s regular turnout was a little slick so I stuck him out in the arena while I did some stuff with Henry in the barn. He was standing there happily grazing around the perimeter when I put him out, then a few minutes later I heard the sound of hoofbeats and baby horse screams. It was like he suddenly realized that he was alone, so he was out there running laps.

Well ok, he ran like… 3 laps. Then he settled down to a trot for another lap or two.

This horse is not particularly good at or dedicated to being wild, which I’m 100% ok with.

Ok, I’m done, take me back to my food now please.

A little corner paddock had dried up pretty well by early afternoon, so I stuck both boys out there for the rest of the day to graze. It’s taken me a while to trust them together unsupervised, because Henry can be a real jerk and Presto is a little dumb about knowing when to run away, but they both seem to have settled. Henry is less rude than he used to be (I think he secretly likes Presto, even though he would never admit it) and Presto is quicker to vacate the area when Henry’s ears go back. I don’t really want them getting turned out together all the time, because they’d end up attached to each other, but it’s nice to at least be able to turn them out sometimes and not worry about them too much.

On Sunday it was dry enough for Presto to go back to his regular turnout with his donkey friends, which he loved and they hated. He likes to play Cutting Horse with them, against their will. Since he’d been so good on Saturday I just left him alone with his friends, only going out there to say hi and check him over.

It looks like we’re supposed to get a few days off from the rain now, which all of us are happy about. Being stuck inside sucks. I’m going to try to pony Presto a couple more times this week, and then Friday we leave for FEH Champs! He is not in a particularly flattering phase right now, but oh well.

Starting the Young Jumper

Yeah I know, another book review even though I said I don’t really like book reviews. I’m making exceptions for noteworthy ones, okay?

pay no attention to the huge mess on my table

I ordered Starting the Young Jumper by Charlie Carrel a little while ago and completely forgot about it until it showed up. I waffled for a while on whether or not to buy it in the first place… it wasn’t cheap. But I’m always interested in books about starting and training young horses (Reiner and Ingrid Klimke’s Basic Training of the Young Horse is one of my most treasured riding-related books – it was not cheap either) and this one looked like it might cover some things that a lot of other books don’t. So I paid my $45, and I waited, and eventually it came.

to give you an idea of what all it covers

The quality of the book is excellent. Hardcover, but also spiral bound, to make it easy to leaf through. The paper is nice and thick, and there are lots of pretty pictures, as well as pictures of the subject matter and how to execute said test.

As far as the quality of the writing, if you’re expecting the eloquence of Charles de Kunffy or the relatability of Tik Maynard, you might be disappointed. The writing is just ok, and the first few chapters of the book read a little bit like advertisements for Colts Unlimited and some of their partners. However, if you can read past/through that, there’s a lot of really good information here.

Most of these ideas will not be new or foreign to anyone who has brought babies along before. There are a few different ideas/ways to approach things that I haven’t seen before though, and a lot of really excellent quotable tidbits. I’m a sucker for a quotable tidbit.

Granted, some of the methods outlined in the book aren’t super executable for most people. Like their specially constructed crossties that allow a lot of options and training opportunities when it comes to teaching horses to tie. I don’t have that, nor do I have a way to make that. I have to make due with what I’ve got. However, they’re still really good ideas, and something I will keep in mind if I’m ever in the position of building things for myself. You can also still take the gist of what they’re doing and morph it to fit whatever situation you’ve got.

I’ve had some colt starting type of books before, but what I really like about this one is that the end goal is a sporthorse – one that jumps and shows for a living. Not a cow horse or a trail horse. Sure, many of the basic principles are the same across the board, but other things are different, and it covers more specialized things such as freejumping and lead changes and preparing for shows. It also talks about the type of horse that is best for jumping, what qualities matter most, and how to pick one. It’s kinda like if a Frank Chapot book got together with a Clinton Anderson book and had a perfect little baby.

Bjorn Ikast quote

It also talks a lot about what responsibilities you have as a rider, if you’re going to be training and riding a young horse. That has a hell of a lot to do with how successful you are, but I haven’t often seen it addressed so directly and so thoroughly. Love that.

So while a few parts of this book had me impatiently turning the pages, the overall material is very good, applicable, and useful. If you own a young sporthorse, or plan on ever possibly owning one, this book is a really important addition to your library. A little pricey yeah, but if you consider that it’s right around the cost of a lesson and you get to keep all the material in a nice spiral bound reference form, it’s definitely a justifiable purchase.

No Regrets

Remember when I was talking about the Labor Day sales and how well I restrained myself at Riding Warehouse? Yeah, well.

In that post I mentioned how I had a lot of regrets about not buying the brown TraumaVoid helmet and some Horze Grand Prix breeches while they were on sale. I wasn’t kidding. I had so many regrets. I didn’t even make it 8 hours past publishing that post before I caved and bought the helmet. It went on sale after Labor Day – $199 plus it came with a $25 gift card, and free shipping of course. That was an even better deal than during the Labor Day sale. And when I innocently added it to my cart there was only one left in my size. That’s a sign if I’ve ever seen one. Let’s be honest, I never stood a chance anyway. Resistance is futile.

The color is perfection

Did I neeeeed the pretty brown helmet? I mean… not totally, I have other helmets. But it did prompt me to toss my old GPA Speed Air (my previous daily schooling helmet) in the trash, where it definitely belonged. I’ve been wearing the brown TraumaVoid every day since, and I love it, and it perfectly matches my brown Ego7 boots, and now I regret nothing. It’s my new favorite helmet.

Image result for regret dr who gif

But it didn’t stop there.

Of course it didn’t.

As soon as that helmet arrived, and I registered it online at TraumaVoid, and packed it away back in it’s bag to take to the barn, I pulled out the $25 gift card and was contemplating where to put it so I wouldn’t lose it or forget I had it. Then, lightbulb moment.

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Why not put it toward the breeches I wanted? Riding Warehouse gives discounts if you buy multiples of certain things. With those breeches, if you bought 2 or more pairs, they were marked down from $109 each to $89 each. Already a $20 per pair savings. BUT WAIT! I also had a 20% off coupon code (I almost always have coupon codes, FYI). That knocked them down to $72 each. $37 off per pair! BUUUUT WAAAAAIIITTT!!! Toss in the $25 gift card I got from buying the helmet. BAM! Now they’re $59 per pair. $50 off the regular price per pair.

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At that point it would be a crime NOT to buy them, right? So that’s how, within one week of posting about how I had resisted all this stuff, I found myself now owning ALL OF IT. Brown TraumaVoid, white Horze breeches, and black Horze breeches. Yes, that gift carded lasted all of one hour in my possession before I used it.

You win again, Riding Warehouse. You win again.

But it gave me a great opportunity to include so many of my favorite things in one post via GIFs. Now we’re all winning.


Mid-WEG thoughts

Now that I’ve finished watching the eventing XC and showjumping in it’s entirety (ok, mostly, because round after round of stadium makes my eyes bleed), I have a few thoughts about WEG so far.

First, that endurance debacle was just WOW. Watching that unfold on Ahmed al Hammadi’s page was more dramatic than any soap opera you could imagine. It was just a shitshow from start to finish in every single possible way. However, I am a big fan of the meme that’s going around of the Frenchman flipping the officials the bird. It makes me chuckle.


After that whole thing, my hopes were not very high for the eventing. Especially with a hurricane on the way. I am not the biggest Tryon/Bellissimo fan anyway, so I didn’t have a lot of faith. I have to admit though, I think they pulled it off as well as they possibly could have. The footing ended up being excellent – even on Monday after all that rain, the stadium ring looked fantastic. The XC looked better than I thought it would, and I liked that the mistakes generally resulted in runouts and refusals rather than falls. That’s ideal. I still don’t like CMP’s tendency to make everything look like a freaking miniature golf course (bees, squirrels, turtles, waterfalls, fountains mushrooms, cantering under/through construction equipment… kinda makes me gag) but the result was a good one and I can’t begrudge him that.

I was shocked at how many problems the little waterfalls caused. Some really steady horses and veteran riders fell victim to trouble there. Wanna take bets on how many people spent the plane ride home trying to figure out how to finagle their own waterfall bank at home?

The horse that ended up jumping down into the ditch in front of the Weldons Wall – THAT IS MY NIGHTMARE.

And last but not least for the XC stuff: I was really wowed by Ingrid, Astier, and Sam Watson’s rides in particular. They’re all so smooth, so bold, so balanced, and as a result… so fast. They all did an impeccable job of just staying in the middle, keeping their leg on, and not getting in the horse’s way. No yanking, no big changes to the rhythm. It made everything look effortless and easy. I must have watched the full replay of Ingrid’s ride at least 5 times by now. It’s poetry in motion. I have always been a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Ingrid, and she did not disappoint.

Having the last rail in showjumping was a heartbreaker for Ingrid, but I like Ros Canter a lot too, so I’m not sad that she won. Her horse was jumping fantastically on Monday and Ros had ice in her veins.

I’m bummed for the US team, but not super surprised. But CAN WE TALK ABOUT JAPAN?!?!? WOW!

Watching a top level rider epically miss a distance will never stop making me feel a tiny bit better about myself, even if that makes me a bad person.

Also bummed that the dressage freestyle got cancelled, but how could you not be impressed with Isabell Werth and Bella Rose? A chestnut mare, with a French AngloArab for a damsire. How about THAT? The average blood percentage for the dressage horses is somewhere around 35%, but Bella Rose has 49%. And no Donnerhall or Rubenstein. That’s pretty rare these days!

Not to mention their all female podium – two of which were on mares. Suck on that, boys.  We were darn close to an all female podium in eventing too, until Sarah Ennis’ rail. Heh. Heheheheheh.

Image result for who run the world gif

As soon as the Games are totally done I’ll do another post about the breeding of the horses in each of the main 3 sports, along with blood percentages and all that fun stuff. For now… on to the jumping!

Intolerance Testing by Affordable Pet Test + GIVEAWAY

So, I’m not sure if y’all know this, but Henry is a delicate flower. Shocking, I know. If you so much as look at him wrong he’ll end up with a bald spot or a swollen bump. Summer (or should I qualify that as “Texas Summer”, which is like mid April to mid October) is an especially hard time of year for him. He has a harder time breathing in the heat and humidity, and various plants or things in the air seem to set him off fairly regularly. He never has any kind of extreme reactions, just a more mild persistence with the occasional extra flair. Skin funk, hair falling out, major itchiness, goopy eyes, some random bumps or raised skin, etc. I’ve always kind of been curious about what all could be bothering him, but none of his reactions have ever seemed severe enough to pursue the more invasive intradermal testing. When I saw Affordable Pet Testing, though… I was intrigued.

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APT uses bioresonance testing on hair samples from your animal. They’ve been doing cats, dogs, and humans for a while but this year expanded to offer testing for horses as well. Basically you yank out a little chunk of hair, send it in, and they test it for intolerances to 63 different food items, 28 environmental items, 31 nutritional deficiencies, and 8 heavy metals. Full list here.

Notice that I said “intolerances” and not allergies. They’re pretty clear about this in all of their disclaimers, saying:

As a reminder, 5 Strands® Affordable Pet Testing only tests for non-IgE mediated reactions or “intolerances.” This type of reaction may have a delayed onset with symptoms appearing several hours or days after ingestion or exposure and lasting a longer period of time.

IgE (Immunoglobulin E) allergies, which are caused by the body’s immune system, are NOT measured by 5 Strands® Affordable Pet Testing. These reactions occur within minutes of ingestion or exposure and are diagnosed through a blood test or skin prick test by veterinarians.

wants to know if “dressage” and “mom’s bullshit” count as official intolerances

I’m not totally sold on the validity of this kind of thing, but figured “why the heck not” and sent Henry’s sample in. They emailed me when they received it, and then I had the results back in my inbox 4 days later. All told it was about a week from when I put in the mailbox to when I had the results.

The first attached document was the “How to Interpret the Results” page. It explained the three different levels that show up on the various results pages:

Level 3 (Stop)
Level 3 intolerances are considered items that the body registered an imbalance to and may be very likely to cause noticeable symptoms. Reactions may show up as inflammation, digestive issues, skin problems, fatigue, etc. Level 3 items should be eliminated from the diet. Your main focus should be on level 3 items first.
Level 2 (Slow down)
Level 2 intolerances are items that the body has registered an imbalance to that may result in reactions such as itchy skin, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. Level 2 items should be avoided or reduced at least for a short period of time.
Level 1 (Be aware)
Level 1 intolerances are items that the body registered a low level imbalance. While there may be no noticeable symptoms, they may potentially cause issues with ingestion or exposure over time.

First up, the heavy metals test.


I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what to make of this. Seems like everyone is intolerant of Uranium, right??? I kinda wish they explained this one in more detail, because I really don’t know what to do with this information.

After that was the deficiencies.


I’ve been pretty meticulous and intentional with Henry’s diet, although I can see his lysine being a bit low due to the type of forage we have here. The rest… I dunno. I’ll have to look at it more closely.

Next up was the food intolerances, which literally made me laugh out loud when I opened the document. Out of 63 food items, he had some level of intolerance to 22 of them. Honestly, that sounds about right. HairTestFoodIntolerances

Granted, most of this is stuff he would never eat anyway… not really sure how they decided on some of these things on the test, they seem a bit random. Except, ya know… SUGAR… and MOLASSES… and CORN… and BERMUDA GRASS. He’s on a low-sugar, no-corn feed, but  pretty much all we have in Texas is coastal bermuda hay. That’s what his pasture is, too. Not much I can do about that. He does get alfalfa as well, but clearly I’m not going to feed him only alfalfa. He hates apples, so that one isn’t an issue at least.

Last up was the environmental factors, which is the part I was most interested in. Out of 28 possibilities, he tested with an intolerance to 7 of them. Honestly I kind of expected more.


Mosquitoes and mold are easy to believe, I’ve seen those reactions in him before. But… leather? Rubber? Whaaaaa? Clearly the horse has leather on him daily, and I have to say I’ve never noticed any specific issues. Granted… I don’t know how I would necessarily tell, unless he had some kind of extreme reaction, which intolerances don’t generally create.

The test results are definitely interesting, although I’m still kind of left wondering what to do with this information. How valid is it? How much of an impact would any of it have on him? How would I really change any of this? I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it and talking to my vet about it. If I lived in an area where I had easy access to another type of hay, I’d be tempted to change him over for a couple months and see if I noticed any change. That’s pretty much impossible though, so… again… not totally sure what to do with all of this. I can’t really put the horse in a mold, bermuda, and mosquito free environment… welcome to Texas!

Horse, I just don’t know what to think of you sometimes.

But, while I’m sitting over here stewing over Henry’s results, Affordable Pet Testing has been kind enough to offer a free test to one of my readers – a $189 value! To enter here, leave a comment on this post (be sure that you leave a link or an email so I have some way to contact you if you win). I’ll also be running the giveaway on Instagram, so check out my post there for more ways to enter! Winner will be chosen on 9/24.


Long Yearling

Guess who turned 18 months old yesterday, and thus is officially a “long yearling”?!?

this crazy little beast

Said kiddo is also in the middle of a growth spurt again (or should I just say “still”, because I don’t actually think he’s stopped growing since April). You should see how much hay he can put away in a day. It’s been raining a lot here, so they’ve been stalled at night, and I’ve been throwing him like half a bale of hay at dinner every night. There’s never even so much as a speck left by the next morning. It’s like a teenage boy, hoovering food in mass quantities yet still looking scrawny.

at least the grass is back!

The good news is that most of his gross sunbleaching from the summer has finally shed out and he’s a relatively normal color again. The bad news is that he’s rapidly getting hairy. I swear when I left on Saturday, both boys were just a little hairy on the top of their rumps. When I got there Sunday they both looked like they were well on their way to full winter coats. And they also both looked hot, since it’s still 90 degrees. Henry might find himself body clipped soon, but I’m just hoping that Presto doesn’t get much hairier in the next couple weeks before we go to championships. The only thing worse than a yearling is a hairy yearling.

I’m kind of excited about him being a long yearling though. It means he’s closer to being a 2yo than a 1yo. Closer to being a real horse. Closer to being able to do more. Lately we’ve been working on the concepts of ground tying and standing at the mounting block – two things that require immobility, which is probably the hardest thing for a distractable baby brain.

The mounting block stuff, he’s pretty good at. I guess it’s interesting (and brief) enough to engage his brain. The ground tying has had mixed success. He’s pretty good until something else catches his eye, and then it’s definitely an “ooo shiny!” moment in whatever direction has caught his attention. It’s getting better though. If there’s nothing else exciting going on, he stands pretty well. As long as I’m relatively close to him, anyway. Small victories.

Still though, for a yearling (especially still being a colt), he’s pretty darn good. The main barn worker even said the other day that he’s one of the best behaved horses in the barn. I’ll definitely take that compliment, considering that aside from my two, the barn consists only of a bunch of older trail and pleasure horses.

Oh and yes, I will continue celebrating Presto’s half birthdays at least until he’s 3. Time moves so slowly when you’re waiting for them to grow up, I’ve got to entertain myself somehow.