As sad as I was to leave Europe to return to the land where walking outside is akin to putting your face in an oven, I was happy to get back to my horses. I’m sad when I take even just one day off from the barn and don’t get to see them, much less 10 days. Plus I came back bearing gifts, and all sorts of fun new stuff to try on them. What’s more fun than trying new stuff on your ponies?
As soon as I rolled into the barn on Friday, Henry (ever the drama queen) pretended to be mad at me by retreating to the back of his stall. He does that every time I’m gone for more than a couple days. Show up every day, he greets me ears perked. Skip several days, endure his wrath. I gave him a handful of cookies and he magically got over it.
I wanted to try everything on to make sure it fit before I started taking tags off, lest I need to re-sell anything, so we started with Presto.
I thought Presto might hate the fluffy halter. Ever since he had to wear that muzzle as a foal, he was wary about things being brought up over his nose. Like no joke he didn’t really get over it until last fall, after A LOT of repetition and teaching him the “head down” cue. I thought all the fluff might garner some protest and make him think I was trying to suffocate him, but nope. He mostly just wanted to eat it. Which… watching a horse try to eat the halter that is attached to it’s head is akin to watching a human try to lick it’s elbow.
He got bored of that pretty quickly (because attention span is approximately .5 seconds), so I adjusted the fit and admired our $18 score. It’s so fluffy. I like it. I’m totally pretending like he needed a shipping halter anyway (he didn’t) and that it was worth lugging all over Europe in a backpack (my spine is still mad). I took him over to see what Henry thought of it…
and then moved on to Presto’s next acquisition. He was still bummed to find that this one wasn’t edible either.
These are the little faux leather bell boots that I found at Equip’horse for $20 and talked myself into buying even though I have like 4 pairs of bell boots already. In my defense, I bought these specifically for Presto (being able to reason myself into anything is my super power) and I do go through bell boots relatively quickly. Can one ever really have too many? It’s kinda like saddle pads. These bell boots do look really cute on him though and I kinda wish I had bought another pair, because I’m pretty sure they’re Equip’horse’s house brand but can’t find them on their website anywhere. Tekna makes some very similar to these although more expensive and hard to find. We’ll see how fast Presto destroys them. The faux leather itself seems very durable but I have my concerns about the elastic strap.
Once Presto was done trying on his new clothes (and putting everything in his mouth), we moved on to Henry, starting with his own super fluffy halter, and his fancy ice boots.
His halter fits him too, and he looks adorbs. He didn’t particularly need a shipping halter either but shut up it was $18. That’s basically free. I did kind of wonder for a minute if I should have bought them both navy, but I think there are two kinds of people in this world: those who match all of their horses to themselves (ie people who are orderly), and those who want each horse to have different things so they don’t mix them up (ie people who live in a state of chaos). I’m clearly the latter, as a human. Plus my horses also have different color schemes – navy and yellow for Henry, navy and green for Presto. They don’t have to match. So their shipping halters are adjusted to each of them and easy to keep straight without having to label anything. Works for me.
The ice boots are maybe a touch big for Henry, which I knew they would be. He was at the upper end of “medium” on the size chart, but Presto will definitely be in the “large” range, and I figured being a bit big is better than being a bit small. Large it was. They fit just fine.
After that it was on to the pièce de résistance…
This bridle is honestly my favorite thing that I bought. I had eyeballed the plaited hunt bridles last season but even I couldn’t talk myself into spending $200 for a hunt bridle when we hunt like twice a year. The vendor that had this one at Burghley (same vendor that had the halters, that place was dangerous) had plain flat hunt bridles with rubber reins for $30, or this plaited version for $50. SO CHEAP. I almost talked myself into the plain version, but then I was like “nah girl, you really wanted the plaited one last year, it’s your favorite style, it’s only $50, buy the damn bridle.”. So I did. And I have no regrets. I don’t get to hunt Henry much but I plan to hilltop Presto as much as possible next year, so I figured the purchase was more justifiable. Plus it was cheap, so
if when Presto chews up the reins I won’t be as mad.
I tried it on Henry to make sure it would fit, and then took it home to soften it up. It was pretty darn stiff, especially the reins. Belvoir worked it’s magic on the bridle itself, which soaked up A TON of conditioner but softened up amazingly well. The reins were a little more stubborn, so I went back to my h/j roots and pulled out the good ol’ warm olive oil dunk + baggie + sunlight trick.
That worked like absolute MAGIC, and a few hours later everything was soft and supple and beautiful. Like… waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay nicer than I ever expected it to turn out, considering how cheap it was. Nicest $50 bridle I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.
There are few things more satisfying than that first oil/conditioning on a new piece of tack. One of life’s greatest pleasures.
The only thing I bought for the boys that I didn’t really like was the lead rope. It’s soft and thick so I thought it might be good for ponying, but in reality it’s a little bit too short and EVERYTHING sticks to it. Like it’s basically just a ball of shavings now. But it was $4, so I’m not that upset.
As far as the stuff for myself, I’ve tried both pair of gloves and like them. We’ll see how they hold up, that’s always the real question. I really like the feel of the Fouganza gloves, they’re very thin but grippy, and I can feel everything through them really easily. Of course, that also makes me think they might not last very long. We’re 4 rides in with no signs of wear yet, so we’ll see. They were $16, it won’t be that upsetting if they die quickly. If they came in more colors I would beg Mimi to go to Decathlon and buy me some more!
That’s pretty much everything. It all fits, and I like everything except that lead rope. I really didn’t buy that much, considering the sheer number of stores we went in. I’m secretly relieved that Fairfax wasn’t there, because I probably would have blacked out and bought a breastplate that cost more than all of this stuff combined. I came in WELL UNDER the budget I had allotted for myself. When does that ever happen? Shoulda bought more bell boots…