Review: Majyk Equipe Superhorse girth and Impact saddle pad

Y’all know I’ve been a fan of Majyk Equipe for a long time. The first pair of boots I bought from them, purchased in 2014, are actually still in use, having been handed down to a friend last year. That first pair blossomed into what can probably be labeled an obsession by this point, seeing as I now own many pairs (*coughcoughitmightliterallybeadozencough*) of ME boots. Clearly I’ve been really happy with the brand, so I was extra excited when I heard that they were expanding their line to include saddle pads and girths.

The saddle pads were first to launch, back in the summer. The line includes a non-slip all purpose pad, a mesh bamboo pad, a sheepskin half pad, and a shaped Impact pad. The half pad and the shaped pad are both shimmable, and the shaped pad has a layer of impact material already integrated along the top, as well as non-slip material on the bottom. As an eventer, that one piqued my interest the most, so I got the navy Impact pad (and now I also need white for shows, because the right answer is always more saddle pads).

The most unique feature of the Impact pad is the spine relief at the front AND the back of the pad. If you own a high withered or particularly sensitive horse, the design of this is pretty brilliant. The cutouts at the front and back provide a massive amount of clearance along the spine, preventing any kind of binding or chafing even during long rides or on clipped winter coats, and the wither area is lined with sheepskin as another layer of protection against rubs.

the back of the pad sits BRILLIANTLY both for air flow and spinal clearance

The pad also comes with shims if you need to tweak the fit of your saddle a bit, or if you prefer additional impact protection under the saddle. As with all of ME’s products, this pad is neoprene free – the impact material is their ever-popular ARTi-LAGE/BioFoam, which allows for much better breathability, less heat retention, and better shock absorption. The anti-slip material lines a good bit of the underside, making the pad feel really stable against the horse, and also features girth loops and billet straps to keep everything neatly in place. Although, if you’re like me and have a monoflap, feel free to go ahead and chop those billet straps off, because you don’t need them anyway. This thing sits so nicely on the horse, it ain’t going anywhere.

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If there’s one thing I’ve really come to expect from Majyk Equipe by now, it’s extremely thoughtful design. They are meticulous with the research and testing that goes into their products, and it shows. These pads are no exception. I’ve been using the Impact pad at home a lot, especially on gallops and long conditioning rides (and a few XC schoolings!) and it’s performed admirably. It never budges an inch, and I like that I can use it by itself without an additional half pad.

My only tiny complaint is that I wish the impact protection sections went about a half inch further back, since I have a large butt + long femur and therefore a loooong saddle. It fits my 18″ extra forward Devoucoux, but just barely.

After the release of the saddle pads, I was really excited to see what the girths would look like. It took a few more months, but the new Superhorse monoflap girth (they also make a long girth, for those of you with dual flap saddles) finally hit my doorstep last month. I was pretty darn excited about this fancy, beautiful creature, since Henry has been wearing a $35 synthetic ovation girth on his jump saddle for the entire time I’ve had it. And yes this ME girth is definitely fancy, but I like that it’s also unfailingly practical. It’s not a $300 french leather girth that has you cringing every time it gets wet and muddy, or feeling like you have to condition it after every ride. Those are beautiful and all, but let’s be honest, I don’t take care of my things that well. The ME girth is still synthetic – making it washable and rugged, but has so many of the “frills” that other synthetic girths don’t, which really set it apart from the others I’ve tried.

My favorite part is the shape and the cut. It sits SO nicely against the horse, with no gapping or uneven pressure, and has plenty of room behind the elbows for full range of motion. I’ve used it on a few horses now and it’s sat really well on every single one of them. The lining is a very squishy and soft perforated bio-foam (again, no neoprene) that is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and has a center vent to prevent heat build-up. It also has roller buckles and elastic to make it easier to adjust, especially from the saddle.

Y’all know that Henry is not exactly shy about his opinions, nor is he anywhere near stoic, and he seems happy and comfortable in this girth. I like the added belly guard protection too, since he wears studs on cross country. The center d-ring makes it easy to clip my breastplate to, and since it’s made from ridiculously sturdy ballistic nylon and stitched with heavy duty thread, I’m not worried about this thing breaking anytime in the next century. So far to clean it I’ve just hosed it off in the washrack, but the liner is also removeable for easy washing in the gross summer months.

So far we’ve both been really pleased with both of Majyk Equipe’s new products. As usual, the time and effort put into the design and materials really shows, not to mention that the folks at Majyk Equipe are always helpful and knowledgeable with my endless barrage of nosy questions.

As an added bonus, through the end of the year Majyk Equipe is running a special where you get a free pair of colored stirrups with any pad or girth purchase (plus they donate some of the $ to CA wildfire relief) from their website. If you’re thinking of having a Treat YoSelf moment, or I guess in this case it’s more of a Treat YoHorse, now is a pretty good time.

And of course, if you don’t need stirrups (or have a friend to give them to as a gift for Christmas) you can always use a Riding Warehouse coupon code and save a few bucks!

Really though, two thumbs up, well done Majyk Equipe.

Traditional vs Modern Attire

The latest “controversy” going around social media the past few weeks has been the mega-scandal of burgundy coats in the hunter ring. I have to admit, reading all the comments on this one made my eyes roll around in my head a lot more than usual. The vitriol and passion that some people have about coat color is kind of astounding, when you consider the myriad of other issues in equestrian sport that are, IMO, massively more important and critical.

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SCANDALOUS

But if you waded through all those comments and arguments and opinions, it really all came down to one thing: tradition. The big argument against burgundy is that it wasn’t a traditional color – not one that you would see in the hunt field. Which is true… it would be a faux pas there. Other folks pointed out that we are far from being traditional these days anyway, so why not let people wear a coat that is still a relatively conservative color.

I was thinking about this more last weekend as we were getting ready to fox hunt. Especially as I donned my stock tie, and watched all the full members of the hunt put on their cubbing outfits with canary vests and green and brown tweed coats. Velvet helmets, black dress boots or brown field boots, horses with a traditional hunter clip (no legs clipped) or trace clip, banged tails, and flat bridles. Horses that were, while ultimately well-mannered, spicy and eager to get going, and easily leaping into a flat out gallop that could go for hours. Honestly, foxhunting bears a lot more resemblance to eventing these days than it does to the hunter ring.

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just a bunch of casual foxhunters who are all actually eventers

But the h/j folks aren’t the only ones that have been talking a lot about the subject of traditional attire lately. Eventing and dressage have had the same types of dialogue, trying to find a balance between modern and traditional. With all the modern fabrics and changing demands and dynamics of the sport, many are ready to abandon tradition completely. Others cling to it as being vital to the soul of equestrianism. Every year it seems there are minor rule changes about what colors are allowed, or what embellishments, or what logos and how big they can be. Sometimes the rules get more lax, other times they get more stringent, like we can’t even decide amongst ourselves which direction we’re really going.

Image result for cadre noir badminton
one of the most traditional outfits there is when it comes to eventing: a military uniform

There are also those who believe that updating our apparel to something that looks a bit more in line with other sports will help our image as a whole. That part of why we get such a bad rap with the general public during events like the Olympics is because we look so different – elitist and unapproachable and… archaic. Not like what people generally think of when they picture an athlete.

So I’m curious – where do you stand on this? Do you think it’s vital to our sport to cling to more traditional attire, or are you in favor of giving equestrians a modern facelift and more freedom with their apparel?

Big Kid Things

Presto has settled nicely into his “getting less attention” routine over the past couple months. I used to get him out every day for grooming and tying, plus doing some kind of groundwork at least 3 times a week. He’s been on a bit of an off season break lately, only coming in a few days a week, and doing any kind of “work” maybe once a week.

He loves me, can’t you tell?

Mostly this is because his basics are so solid that they don’t require as much maintenance anymore. He knows whats expected, and aside from being a mouthy (seriously, we’re in that stage where he wants to put everything in his mouth), over-curious, sometimes a bit cheeky yearling colt, he’s about as well behaved as you could possibly want. The fun part, though, is how he picks up right where we left off every time. His mother was almost freakishly smart, albeit in a sometimes evil way (effing mares), and he seems to have inherited the best parts of her brain. Sometimes we have to do a little bit of remedial work when he loses focus, but for the most part he learns really fast and the lessons stick.

also he is adorable, and no I’m not biased at all

Last week while he was in the barn for a quick grooming session, I set my dressage saddle on him. He’s worn saddle pads and a surcingle, so I just tossed it up there on a whim, figuring he wouldn’t care. He didn’t. Although he seemed slightly alarmed when I told him he looked like a proper dressage horse.

A WHAT???

Since he hadn’t cared about that, I decided a few days later to take it a step further and have him wear a saddle for real – girthed up and in motion. I ordered him a wittle bitty 20″ girth a few weeks ago from Riding Warehouse in preparation for this, since all of Henry’s are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too big. We went out to the arena, lunged a couple circles each way at walk and trot, and then I set the saddle on him and slowly girthed it up. I sent him back out on his circle, wondering how he would react.

Yeah, no shits given.

Since that was apparently super boring to him, I went ahead and dropped the stirrups down so they could flap against his sides. After the first few steps of that he slowed down and looked at me like “Um… is that normal?” and I told him he was fine, asked him to trot again, and on he went, no further questions asked. I really liked his reaction there, though. The point of all the work we did all spring/summer was teaching him to think his way through things instead of just react to them, and we saw it in action pretty perfectly in that scenario. For him to feel unsure and look to me for guidance (rather than just blow up), then trust me when I say he’s fine… that’s exactly what we’re going for.

We did some transitions on the lunge line with voice commands, then since we were only about 10 minutes into his lesson at this point, I went ahead and tacked some of his Stand Still work onto the end of the session. Namely, standing at the mounting block quietly, and ground tying.

is it necessary to look THIS bored?

I stood on the mounting block, jumped up and down, leaned over him, snapped the stirrups, smacked the seat of the saddle… basically all the scary noises and movements I could think of. He calmly took a step away the first time I started snapping the stirrups, but I put him back in place and started again, and that time he stood still. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I could swing a leg over at this point and it would be totally uneventful.

Ground tying is a little bit harder for him. His focus quickly wanes as I move away, and the yearling colt brain just can’t keep his feet that still. He understands the concept though, and he’s calm about it.

he knows what that finger means

We finished up with me walking a few slow wide circles around him while he stood still in the middle, which is about as good as his ground tying skills get at the moment.

This week the farrier came again, and I tested Presto by clipping him into the crossties in a regular halter (not rope) and leaving them to their own devices. No more hand-holding or helicopter mom, he’s a big horse now. And he was super.

This is what a good boy looks like

Next we’ll start shifting our focus back to the bridle, something he is less of a fan of, and then do more long-lining. We’ve still got a loooooonnngggg time.

Black Friday Buzzkill

I love the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday weekend. Not the go-out-in-public-and-fight-somebody-for-a-TV-at-Walmart version, but the stay-home-in-PJ’s-and-browse-all-the-horse-stuff-online-for-hours version. It’s the best. Usually I stock up on whatever essentials I’m low on, snag an item or two for myself that I’ve been waiting for a big sale to buy, and get basically all of my Christmas shopping done. One fell swoop. Boom.

But this year I’m a little horse poor. Boarding two horses has of course taken a bit of a toll on my “play money” fund, plus I bought a new trailer this year, plus I’ve done more shows than I usually do. My side hustle game has been strong, but still. There are a lot of money-eating things coming up around the corner too (USEA and USEF renewals, my truck registration, the horses’ insurance, Presto getting gelded, shots/coggins for everyone, etc etc). It made me a little bit gun shy this year for Black Friday.

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Couldn’t care less about my #horsepeopleproblems

The two things on the top of my Need Upgrades Soon list are stirrups and a XC vest. I figured I would just keep my eyes peeled and see which of those items came up with the better deal. I could get one, but not both. Boy were the sales full of temptations though. Like the new Cambox ISI3 for $235. I have the original ISI2, and love it, but the ISI3 has WiFi and you can control it with an app, and upload videos directly to your phone. Want it. Don’t need it. Still really want it.

I also really wanted a pair of brown Fabbri boots (30% off, WHAT?), a Valentine Equine navy and white checked coat (also 30% off), an Asmar show shirt (60% off makes them reasonable), a couple pairs of white Animo breeches (they were $120. not kidding.), and another package of Quick Knots (so rarely on sale).

Alas, I got none of those things. It still pains me, all the way to the depths of my soul.

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Quick moment of silence for all the things I wanted but could not buy

Not all was lost though, I did find good deals on both Freejump stirrups and cross country vests. In the end I opted for the stirrups, since they were about 45% off of normal retail and the vest I wanted was only about 20%. So my new navy Freejump Pro’s should be here today, and hopefully I like them. I will say, of all the brands I contacted, Freejump was by far the most helpful. The rep called me, discussed my issues and the different options, offered to help me find trial stirrups if I wanted, and then sent me videos of the research they’ve done. That means a lot. Other companies: take note.

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I also stocked up on dog toys at Petco, scoring 17 of them for $25. That should keep Stewie busy for at least a week. I can’t wait to open the box and make it rain toys on him.  What more could a 13yo Jack Russell ask for?

Presto did get one thing too, from his Auntie Michelle. A super pretty custom scrim sheet with the Willow Tree logo. He will have to grow into it, but maybe he’ll let Uncle Henry use it in the meantime to rep his peeps.

I hope you guys had more fun with all the sales than I did. What did you get? Let me live vicariously through you.

Pony Time

Over the course of my 4 day weekend, I spent approximately 8 hours in the saddle and  24 hours with horses in some regard. I also got to sit on 3 different horses and do a wide range of activities, from riding tackless to schooling XC to foxhunting to a dressage lesson. It did not suck. I have to figure out how to get more 4 day weekends and make all of them like this one.

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The shenanigans started on Thanksgiving Day, which was my least horsey day of the weekend. Still, I snuck away before lunch so I could ride with Hillary, her hopping Inca over some fences, and me swinging up on Henry tackless to take Presto for a pony around the field. Reason to love Henry number 9 million-and-something (who can even keep count anymore). Not many horses would tolerate this kind of crap, but he’s a trooper.

On Friday I hauled down to Pine Hill for a mini-XC school, one more little tune up with Trainer before the show this weekend. The ground was still very wet, so we couldn’t jump much of the Prelim stuff, but Henry popped over everything like it was all very ho-hum. I think he feels ready. Granted, I think he’s been ready for a while, it’s his pilot that’s had some catching up to do. Although you know what’s weird as hell? THIS.

Prelimentry

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I’m kind of weirdly excited though, and mostly just hoping we don’t get any more rain before Sunday. I don’t think the course can handle it, and I really want to go show my pony. Everybody do an anti-rain dance.

After I got off of Henry I got on another green horse to hack him around while the next group schooled. Another bay thoroughbred who was a very good boy. Aren’t they all?

I stayed over at Trainer’s on Friday night so that we could get up early to go FOXHUNTING the next morning. Although Henry had to sit that one out, since he’d XC schooled the day before and I really needed a dressage lesson on Saturday. Guess who Trainer offered up for me to ride instead?

my bay thoroughbred trifecta is complete

It’s Flat! Her OTTB that I keep threatening to steal. I love him, I’m the captain of his unofficial fan club, and I dunno what Trainer was thinking letting me ride him because I was really tempted to just sneak off and keep riding him all the way home.

Hello, I’m creepily obsessed with Flat

And Flat (naturally) was a super fantastic good boy for his first hunt. He waited patiently all the times we had to stop, handled himself really well in the group, didn’t mind the hounds, and boy did he love the gallops. I can see why he was a winning racehorse, he’s so athletic, you can feel it just sitting on him. This horse is going places, y’all… you heard it here first. We had a blast out there, and Henry will get his turn in a couple weeks for the Blessing.

After hunting we got back to the farm and I hopped on Henry so Trainer could help me with a couple of the parts of the Prelim test that I struggled with at Texas Rose. Some minor tweaks led to massive improvement (hey, guess what, I just wasn’t doing shit right… shocking, I know…) so he got to be done relatively quickly and then we headed home.

dressage lesson selfies

On Sunday a cold front started to blow through, with a nasty wind, which made me feel kind of (but not really) bad that my main activity for the day was body clipping Henry. Again. For the 3rd time in 8 weeks. I am about freaking tired of clipping, if he could stop trying to be a woolly mammoth that would be super.

WHURRT??

He at least got to go on a nice long walk hack with Annie and Presto first, in which the horses were total morons and proceeded to spook at everything. Parked trailers, grass, hay bales, gates, trees, a bag, each other… you name it, they were spooking at it. They had fun though, and that’s what matters, right? Then he got stripped naked and now he just looks goofy as hell with his super fluffy legwarmers.

I hope everyone else had an equally horse-filled (and food filled!) long weekend! Only a few more work weeks left until the next one.

Black Friday Sales 2018

Alright fellow equestrians, here we are, the post that everyone loves to hate (or hates to love?)! I hope you’re ready to get some good deals and set your wallet on fire. Some of these sales are already active, many won’t be live until tomorrow or Friday. I’ve included date info where I can, but if you’re not seeing the sale yet, try their page again later. As always, I will keep adding to this list as more sales pop up (I know for sure there are TONS more coming, I’m just waiting on details so I can add them to the list), so keep checking back here. New ones will be posted AT THE BOTTOM BY DATE ADDED!

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Riding Warehouse – 25% off sitewide including closeouts starting 11/21, with some manufacturer restrictions. Discount will show up automatically in cart. There are also a few other special promotions:

Luxe EQ – 15% off storewide, including sale items, with code BLKFRDY18 (some manufacturer restrictions apply) starting 11/21. Extra discounts up to 40% will be automatically applied on: Cavalleria Toscana outerwear, sweaters, and Anique shirts. Check for announcements on Instagram and Facebook for additional discounts through Cyber Monday.

Teddy’s Tack Trunk – 15% off orders over $30 with code TEDDY15 from 11/22 to 11/26.

One Horse Threads – Starting 11/22, 30% off all clothing plus free shipping on orders over $60 with code 30FRIDAY. Free notepad with every order over $100.

Dark Jewel Designs – 15% off 11/23-11/25 with code Thanks18.

Ride Heels Down – 10% off plus other discounts throughout the site, as well as free shipping, with code 18RHDBF10 starting 11/23.

Majyk Equipe – Starting 11/23 free pair of stirrups with any pad or girth purchase, and a free hanging boot bag with any full set (front and hinds) of boots. $5 from every sale over $100 will be donated to California Wild Fire funds.

The Connected Rider – various items up to 70% off, plus 15% off with code BLACKFRIDAY. product giveaways. Spend $99 and get a free crystal brush, spend $125 and get a free Horze Saddle Pad. Buy a Noble Equinessentials tote and get a free Noble wine down hoof pick. Buy a Wintec Saddle and get your choice of free gifts plus a saddle pad. Buy a Bates saddle and get a free Luxe leather upgrade.

Gray & Co Designs – check their Insta daily for different deals

The Printable Pony – 20% off sitewide

Royal Equine – 20% off all in stock products 11/22 through 11/25 with code shopsmall

Ecogold – on 11/23 use code BlackFriday for 15% off black saddle pads and boots

Pixio – $58 off any purchase over $700 with code BLACKFRIDAY

Equisense – on 11/23, the first 50 Equisense Motion packs will be 50% off, after which they will be 30% off for the rest of the day.

State Line Tack – various deals and 25-30% off sitewide

Horseloverz – various deals, see link for details

Do or Do Knot – Free breakaway loop 3 pack ($12 value) with each halter order from 11/23-11/30.

Horze – up to 60% off sale items plus an extra 20% off with code EXTRA20

Triple Crown Custom – 40% off plus free shipping

Hunt Club – 25% off sitewide with code BF2018

Knixwear – up to 50% off sitewide

Point Two – 30% off ProAir

Asmar Equestrian – up to 60% off starting 11/22

The Herbal Horse – email subscribers get early access coupons and doorbusters at 50% off! 25% off sitewide with code BFCM18.

Cambox – up to 50% off the ISI2 and ISI3.

FeedXL – through 11/27 at midnight PST, all new plans, upgrades, and renewals are 50% off with coupon code BF2018

Spur of the Moment – 30% off your entire order (some exclusions) with code THANKFUL30 from 11/21 through 11/26.

Bel Joeor Metier – 10% off and free shipping sitewide 11/20-11/26

Big Dee’s – various deals including 20% off Back on Track and 35% off helmets, check on their home page for specifics.

It’s a Haggerty’s – on Black Friday, buy 2 items get one free (sitewide, applied at checkout). On Small Business Saturday use code SMALLBIZSATURDAY for 20% off and free name or monogram embroidery. On Cyber Monday use codes: 10OFF for $10 off orders $60 or more, 20OFF for $20 off orders over $100, 30OFF for $30 off orders over $150, 40OFF for $40 off orders over $200, and 50OFF for $50 off orders over $300. Between 11/23 and 11/26 get 15% off all large (10+) orders.

Divoza Horseworld – sale starts 11/23, sitewide discounts and 25% off one article of your choice with code BLCKFRDY18

Chick’s Saddlery – up to 88% off various items

PS of Sweden – 20% off sitewide starting 11/22

EquiInStyle – free shipping and 10% off with code BLACKFRIYAY through 11/25

Equine Network Store – 25% off with code BESTEVER25 through 11/28

Dressage Couture Designs – 10% off with code BLACKFRIDAY18

The Burlap Pony – use code THANKYOU from 11/23-11/26 for 15% off

Voltaire Design – 25% off accessories from 11/23-11/24. 5% of profits go to victims of the California wildfires.

Total Saddle Fit – Nov 23rd 20% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Centerline Style – 25% off sitewide with code GOBBLE

Mary’s Tack and Feed – 20% off PS of Sweden, and up to 50% off Ariat, Arista, Beacon Hill, Essex, and Cowgirl Tuff through 11/30

Arc Equine – deals starting 11/21

Ellany Equestrian – all products 15-30% off sitewide, plus buy one pair of breeches and get an elastic belt free 11/23.

Equifit – various items on sale

Dalia Lehmann Equestrian – 30% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY from 11/22-11/24

JODS online – 20% off + free shipping on all outerwear from Nov 23-26 with code SAVE20

Galleria Morusso – up tp 60% off select items through 11/27

Dreamers & Schemers – one free pair of socks for every 2 pairs purchased with code IAMAWESOME

The Horse Studio – liquidation sale, with an additional up to 50% off with code CLOSEOUT

Schneiders – up to 70% off blankets through 11/24

Blackjak Refinery – select items on sale throughout the week, check link for details.

myselleria – 15% off Nov 19th-25th with code BLACK

Equiport – different daily deals, check the link for more info.

Harcour – up to 60% off on 11/23

Black Heart Equestrian – storewide discounts up to 50% starting 11/22

Horse Pilot – up to 50% off on 11/23

Solo Equine – bridle blowout sale on 11/23

VTO Saddlery – 20% off most orders over $100 starting 11/22

Aztec Diamond Equestrian – sitewide sale starting the afternoon of 11/22

Kastel Denmark – 20% off and free shipping 11/23-11/26

Adam’s Horse Supplies – 15-20% off select brands plus special deals on various items

LeFash – extra 15% off sale items with code BLACKFRIDAY through 11/26 plus special bundle offers and free shipping.

EnviroEquine and Pet – buy one get one free 11/23-11/24 with code THANKFUL18

HorsePreRace – 35% off 11/23-11/26

ADDED 11/21 PM:

Devoucoux – 30% off bridles and reins on 11/23

C4 – 30% off C4 belts starting 11/23

FITS – buy any breech and get 50% off a belt, plus free shipping in the US

Flair Strips – free shipping on all orders plus a free Flair towel with orders over $40 from 11/23-11/26

RevitaVet – 20% off through 12/25 with code holidaytreat

World Equestrian Brands – 20% off 11/23-11/26 with code BlackFriday

USEA – 25% off all apparel with code SAVE25

Manhattan Saddlery – from 11/23 through 11/25 use code BLACKFRIDAY2018 for 20% off Manhattan Saddlery House Label, Ego7 boots and apparel, Equiline Ash breeches, KEP Italia, Parlanti Miami & Denver boots, and Pikeur Ciara, Lugana, & Rodrigo breeches, plus 10% off Parlanti Essential boots and 70% off our entire sale section. Discount applies to in stock items only. Free shipping in lower 48.

Higher Standards Leather Care – get 15% off 11/23-11/26 with code THANKFUL.

Worldwide Tack – 20% off sitewide with code CYBER20 from 11/23-11/26.

The Distance Depot – from 11/21-11/23 get 15% off sitewide on orders over $75, plus free shipping with code THANK15.

Hound and Horse – various discounts and specials

Boy o Boy Bridleworks – Free shipping on every item in the shop on 11/24 with code SHIPFREEBSB18

Fabbri Boots – through 11/26 get 30% off sitewide

ADDED 11/22:

Arenus Animal Health – 40% off Benefab Western saddle pads, polo wraps, and hock boot pairs from 11/23-11/26 with code 18BENEFAB40.

Affordable Pet Test – 25% off sitewide from 11/23-11/26.

Rick’s Saddle Shop – various discounts and specials 11/23-11/25.

Snaks 5th Avenchew – new deals each day 11/22 through 11/26, check website for details.

Alessandro Albanese – 25% off selected items through 11/25.

Stubben – holiday saddle sale, everything under 1k.

Milbrook Leathers – 25% off with code blackfriday.

Valentine Equine – 30% off with code Blackhorse

Premier Equine – 35% off most in stock items from 11/22-11/26

Breeches.com – 30% off sitewide with code TSALE

Equibase – 40% off past performance subscriptions from 11/21-11/23 with code BLACKFRIDAY

Eponia USA – sale starts 11/23, 25% off sitewide

Dover Saddlery – special offers plus 20% off select brands with code CM18TWENTY

Country and Stable – 25% off with code BFCM25

Equestrianista – 25% off sitewide with code: amaze starting 11/22, plus a free logo hat on orders $100 or more.

KJ Creations – 50% off KjC Studios with code Holladayz, 10% off EIS shirts with code EIS2018, 20% off in stock Parlanti with code BootMe

ADDED 11/23:

Southern Equestrian – up to 30% off tees and 15% off sweatshirts, and a free PopSocket with all orders placed 11/23

Celtic Rose Candle Co – 25% off with code CYBER25

Paddock Threads – 15% off storewide 11/23-11/26 with code SAVE15

Blundstone – 15% off with code GIVETHX through 11/26

Shop Halter Ego – 20% off sitewide (discount applied at checkout) and free shipping over $50

Two Bits Equestrian – buy one, get one 50% off through 11/26

Equestrians Against Normalcy – All decks $4 off through 11/26

Katharine Page – up to 50% off on 11/24

Ride-away Equestrian – 20% off sitewide with code RABF18 through 11/23

Equi-Prism – 25% off sitewide

Horse Guard – 25% off all AutoShip orders with code THANKSAUTO or free swag with purchase using codes REDHAT, GRAYHAT, BLACKHAT, or TAILBAG.

Sporthorselifestyle – 25% off with code TGIF

Just Riding – 20% off sitewide plus up to 50% off items in the Black Friday section

Smartpak – 15% off plus orders over $75 ship free with code Holiday18

NetEquestrian – 60% off sitewide

EquLifestyle Boutique – 20% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY through 11/26

Fager Bits – 20% off sitewide with code BLACKFRIDAY

Performance Equine – 10% off sitewide with code PEN10

Finish Line Horse Products – 15% off

Horse and Rider Books – buy one item, get another item 30% off

Ruespari – 15% off sitewide with code HOLIDAY15

Equiline – 11/23 buy an show shirt and get 20% off Ash or Cedar Breeches, 11/24 Sage K showshirt marked down to $120 with code SAGEKSPECIAL, 11/25 get 20% off saddle pads and ear nets with code HORSE20, 11/26 get 20% off Equiline tack and Lorenzini with code CYBER20

KER – 15% off Performance line with code 15OFF

Draper Therapies – On 11/23 get 15% off and free shipping with code blackfriday15, on 11/24 and 11/25 get 10% off and free shipping with code thanks10, on 11/26 special deals and markdowns on various products.

Struck Apparel – up to 35% off select styles

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Spur Tech Spur Straps – buy 4 straps get 2 free or buy 2 straps and get Zip & Clip bag free

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USEF store – 30% off regularly priced items and 40% off sale items with code GOLDENDEAL

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A Bit Tacky – 20% off orders over $50 through 11/26 with code BLACKFRIDAY

Grey Horse Candle Co – 10% off with code HAPPYHOLIDAYS from 11/23-11/26

ADDED 11/24:

Equiderma – 40% off with code SAVE40

The Equine Office – 40% off orders placed through 11/25 on watercolor portraits, acrylic portraits, and brushes.

DecoPony – 10% off $30 or more with code Merry10, 15% off $50 or more with code Merry15, 20% off $100 or more with code Merry20.

Ecogold – 15% off flip pads on 11/26 with code flippingmonday

Incrediwear – Buy 1, get one 70% off through 11/26.

Nupafeed – sale on 11/25 only

My Barn Child – 25% off equestrian tees with code TEES25

Quick Knot – 20% off

Teddy Bear

Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time with Henry knows that he has a lot of opinions. About pretty much everything.

Image result for opinions gif
Henry’s life philosophy

If you do something that displeases him, he will not hesitate to let you know. Granted, the list of things that displease him is quite long. Like dressage. Or Presto being in his personal space. Or Presto looking at him. Or me looking at Presto. Or taking too long to bring him dinner. Or using a brush he doesn’t like. Or touching his private areas. Or looking at him the wrong way. Or giving him cookies he doesn’t like. Or not giving him cookies. Or not paying attention to him. Or paying too much attention to him. Or giving him kisses or hugs in public. Or pointing at him aggressively because he’s being impatient and it’s rude AF.

2n0l5k
does this count as a trick?

You know… totally reasonable things like that.

He acts like such a grumpy little shit, but trust me when I say that it’s only skin-deep. Sometimes I catch him being really sweet when he thinks that no one is looking. He just doesn’t want to ruin his street cred.

Image result for gangsta gif

He knows my truck, and usually meets me at the gate when he sees me coming (unless I did something the day before to displease him – see above list). I can see him watching me all the time, trying to be casual but still looking happy to see me. At least until he catches me looking, then he goes back to pretending like he doesn’t care. His big bad boy exterior is just an act, and I know it. He really reveals his true self under saddle, where (aside from wearing a decidedly displeased look and helicopter tail in dressage) he generally has a pretty darn happy expression and likes his job. This is especially true on cross country.

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I SEE DA FENCE

I feel like cross country photos are the only ones where his outsides truly match his insides. His fake grumpy gangsta facade is just too impossible for him to keep up with, and all you see is his sheer joy at being Henny. Which is why I have about a million pictures of him galloping around XC, looking blissed AF. I love it. That’s the true Henny, underneath his mareglare exterior.

Although he still gets a bit displeased when I try to offer such ridiculous assistance as “HENRY SLOW DOWN”. Which ironically is the same face he makes in dressage when I say “Henry get IN FRONT OF MY LEG”. Seriously horse, pick a viewpoint.

NO I DO NOT WHOA THAT IS FAKE NEWS

Despite his extraordinarily rude faces, he would never actually bite or kick or any of that. He knows I would end him. While that hard line does exist, I admit that I offer him a certain amount (ok a lot) of leeway that I don’t give Presto, when it comes to attitude. I guess because Henry has proven himself to be golden on the inside, when it matters. Also because I think he just kind of enjoys his grumpy persona. It’s the complete opposite of Presto, who has more of the “Oooo what are we doing? OMG, I LOVE THAT!!!” approach to pretty much everything. He is the Buddy the Elf to Henry’s Walter.

Image result for elf dad gif

Image result for elf dad gif

I’ve also caught him being awfully sweet to Presto sometimes too. I can tell he likes him, even if he would never ever ever ever ever admit it.

So yeah, it’s true that Henry has a tough guy exterior with a lot of opinions that are accompanied by his proverbial middle finger. But just between you and me… he’s a teddy bear on the inside.

Please don’t tell him I let his secret out of the bag.

Stirrup SOS

I might only be in my mid-30’s, but I’m pretty sure I have the knees of a 65 year old. Last week at work I sat down briefly at my desk to write an email, perched with one leg bent under my butt, and when I went to stand up and walk away, the damn thing wouldn’t even straighten all the way. There’s no way I would pass a flexion. I’m like 5/5 lame. Almost 30 years of riding (and far more running that I ever intended for my life) have taken their toll on my joints.

HollyHillXC18
It’s fun though, so whatevs.

Leg issues aren’t new to me. I have compartment syndrome too, which has always caused problems with my ankles. Wide footbed irons helped that a lot, even though I’m pretty sure it will never go away entirely. But over the past 6 months to a year, now that we’ve been jumping bigger fences on a regular basis, and I’m spending more time doing conditioning work (which equals more time spent in my jump saddle, with short stirrups, often in a half seat), my knees are starting to suffer. They’re definitely sore after jump schools especially, which makes me think that impact has something to do with it.

I’ve been using my Lorenzinis for a few years now with no complaints, but now, with my knees aching pretty regularly, I’m wondering if there’s something else out there that might help. Especially on the shock absorption front. Stirrup technology has come so far. Of course, there are also now approximately one million options to try to wade through. It’s a little overwhelming, trying to figure out which ones might work the best.

Here’s what I need:

  • Wide footbed
  • Extremely grippy. Like… for as decently grippy as the Lorenzini’s cheesegrater footbed is, I want something grippier than that.
  • Whatever will help my knees. Guessing some shock absorption maybe?

Here’s what I want:

  • Navy. Like for real everything should come in navy. I can live without it, but big bonus points if they’re navy.
  • Some kind of safety feature. Not a must have, but it would be nice.

I’ve already tried MDC, Jin, and Royal Rider. They were all fine, but I like the Lorenzinis more than any of those. Right now I’m most intrigued by a few in particular…

Tech Stirrups Venice

Big perk about these is that I can buy them from Riding Warehouse. I always prefer to buy stuff from them whenever possible. They are stupid expensive though, and don’t come in navy (big sads). They seem to get really good reviews though, from what I’ve seen.

Freejump Classic

I was not the biggest fan of the design of Freejump’s SoftUp Pro model, but this Classic model seems more my style. I’m definitely intrigued by the studded footbed. I can’t really find anyone that’s using them yet though, and again they’re pretty expensive. But they do come in navy AND I can also buy them from Riding Warehouse.

Flex-On

FlexOn

The eventer in me is screeching in delight at all the options you can get with these things (whoever decided to put a configurator on the website, they need a hefty raise). You can pick your colors, you can pick your grips, and you can pick whether you want a flat or inclined footbed. The shock absorption is supposed to be excellent. In theory, I love these. They would also be the cheapest of these three options. But I don’t really know very many people using them yet, nor have I seen them in person, nor can I really find any reviews of them, so they remain a bit of an enigma. They also don’t have the added safety features of the first two.

These definitely aren’t the only 3 options I’m looking at… I’m still perusing what’s out there, keeping my eyes peeled. These are the 3 leaders at the moment though. Does anyone have any of these? Or is there something else you can recommend for me to check out? My knees thank you.

Buying Domestic

I know, I was just ranting on the topic of buying US-bred horses a couple weeks ago, but a few people requested that I post a comment I made on facebook over here as well, to make it more easily shareable. Since it’s a topic I’m pretty passionate about, I won’t hesitate to use whatever little platform I have to shout about it from the rooftops one more time. I’m desperate to have these conversations, and when they actually happen I get excited.

HHPro181

Pre-story: last week Eventing Nation posted about who bought what at the Monart sale in Ireland, not long after the email blast about the Goresbridge auction that spurred my post a couple weeks ago. I typically don’t comment on articles on facebook, but I have to admit that on this day I was feeling weary and I couldn’t help but comment: “I wish we got as excited about people buying horses from American breeders as we do about imports.“. I thought it would be an unpopular statement but I was surprised (and excited, honestly) by how many people whole-heartedly agreed. And not just breeders, but riders too.

The comment led to some follow-up discussion, including a long, more detailed comment from me in response to others, which is what someone asked that I share here:

Yes, it’s harder to find horses here. America is a big country. But imagine if the American equestrian media would spotlight the breeding programs and young horse producers in this country on a regular basis, how much would that help people find them? This is the second thing from EN in less than two weeks about sales overseas. Why not a regular series about who is producing horses HERE? Why not talk about horse sales HERE (many have happened in the past, and for the most part have not even been mentioned by the media)? 

And yes, horses can be more expensive here, often because it’s so much more expensive to raise them and produce them that they have to cost more or someone along the way is losing their shirt in a big way. But also because why SHOULDN’T a really nice domestically-produced young horse cost as much as the Cooley or Fernhill that people are ever-so-willing to fork over $$$ for? And why not have frank discussions (which could lead to possible solutions) about why it’s so much more expensive to produce horses here, rather than just shrug, point people to Europe, and turn them loose with their wallets? 

I would love to see us stop glamourizing the idea of importing, and instead realize that really we have a disconnect in this country with buying domestic and supporting our own breeders and young horse producers. There are a lot of factors contributing to the problem and you never see anyone but breeders talking about it, usually because they can’t sell even their nicest foals for any kind of profit. But these are the things that make fewer people able/willing to breed and raise nice young eventers here, since it often means either higher prices or selling for less than what you’ve spent to produce the horse. Which leads to fewer people doing it. Which leads to fewer quality horses. Which leads to people going overseas and picking from whatever they’ve got left. 

It’s in our best interest to figure out how we can do a better job of supporting our own and making our system work for us. Articles about “who bought what from Europe, ooo fancy” are fun to read and all I guess, but when are we going to balance that with a spotlight on what people are producing and can be purchased right here in the US? We’re not doing ourselves any favors.

FEHribbons

I’m happy to report that there are some things in the works as a result of this. EN was receptive to the idea of articles spotlighting American breeders, which is a starting point. We have to help ourselves a little bit here. If you know of an eventing breeding program or someone who specializes in producing young horses here in the US that would make a good spotlight, let me know. If people don’t know about them, they can’t buy horses from them.

I also hope that we can be more mindful of how we, all of us (myself included), speak and write about imports. The US equestrian industry, at least within eventing, h/j, and dressage, has some sort of default mentality where we think that anything imported must automatically be better, fancier, and worth more… that’s just not true. Surely we can get behind our own horses a little more than that, and be proud of what we have available here now as well as what breeders are working so hard to produce. The quality of US-bred horses has gotten better and better, and IMO it’s important to recognize that.

And breeders – we have to support the programs that are being put in place, if we want them to work. FEH, YEH, the Young Horse Series… they will help the cause, but only if we participate.

There’s also another program in the works for 2019 that is pretty exciting – The US Event Horse Futurity. Specific details are still being ironed out, but if you have a young event horse or know someone who does, OR if you know of an up and coming rider that specializes in bringing up babies, please go like the Futurity’s facebook page! This will be a really cool program for both breeders and riders alike.

What else do you think we can do to help promote US breeders and US-bred horses? To help connect the right riders with these horses? To help change the mentality that imports are better? I’m all ears!

The Maker of Derp

Do you ever look at your horses, both doing something super weird at the same time, and think “Is it me? Do I have this effect on my animals? Am I a derp too?”?

What. Even.
Yes, ma, it’s definitely you.

It’s been stupid cold here for the past few days (for TEXAS in NOVEMBER anyway). Monday was dreary with a high near 40 degrees and a wind so strong it almost blew me over getting out of my truck. Normally the day after a show is a long walk hack for Henry plus pony for Presto, but I just could not even bring myself to take their blankets off. They got treats and extra hay and then I hastily retreated to the indoors.

knee deep in hay and skeptical about my intentions

Tuesday was slightly better. Sunny at least, and the wind was less disgusting. But Henry had a vet appointment to get his teeth done, and he’s such a cheap date that the drugs just about knocked him on his literal ass. There was much swaying, and no pinned ears (that’s how you know he’s REALLY gone, when he loses his ability to pin his ears). But his teeth looked surprisingly decent aside from a couple of sharpish points and small hooks. His jaw doesn’t quite line up so normally his teeth look worse even when I get them done every 6 months. The vet even said they weren’t that bad this time (this is the same horse who once had a team of vets gathered around him taking pictures of the inside of his mouth due to how freaking weird it is) so that’s a win.

His eyeballs still worked well enough to glare at me in his drunken stupor

After Henry was done I grabbed Presto so the vet could feel up his little baby jewels and see if he felt like they were ready to come off. Many jokes about Presto’s teeny tiny nuts later (they really are so small though), the vet declared that they are indeed ready, so now I’m watching the weather and waiting for just the right time. While the vet was packing his stuff I tied Presto by Henry’s stall and it took him all of 2 seconds before he pulled Henry’s blanket off the rack and tried to stomp it to death.

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It wasn’t me, I was framed.

Clearly baby horse had some pent up cold weather energy, so I decided to toss him out in the arena to let him play a bit before I put him up. He did not disappoint. Although I’m still not quite sure what gait this is. I think it’s all of them combined.

this is a FEH winner right here, ladies and gentlemen

He also does a pretty magnificent arabian impression. Hillary was watching and said “He looks a little arabian-esque today”. I was like “Hmmm… nope, I just don’t see it…”.

He should have been an arab for Halloween

In his defense he did have some cute moments amid all the weird-gait, snorting, flailing, arabian-impressions.

already a puddle jumper
uphill gaits, anyone?

He’s starting to look so much like a horse now. By spring he might not even look like a baby anymore at all, aside from just being generally awkward. This is both exciting and kind of sad. He definitely still ACTS like a weirdo baby though, so there’s always that. I did notice yesterday that both of my horses have weird things they do with their tongues, albeit slightly different. Henry flops his out the side and plays with it, whereas Presto curls his up in his mouth. Both of them do it when they’re bored. I must be really boring.

I also realized yesterday when I was getting them ready for a their hack that it’s getting harder and harder to see Henry over the top of Presto anymore. Should we take bets on when Presto catches up to him, size wise?

Couple of weirdos these two are, but I’m pretty weird too so I guess it works out. Maybe I DID make them derpy. Either way, I love them both to bits.