Friday Four

Premier Equine is an evil temptress

Confession: I bought a new saddle pad. In my defense, 1) I gave another one of my plain square pads away, 2) Premier Equine is having a 25% off sale on these pads AND I had a coupon code (AW919 will get you £10 off). It was $50, leave me alone. My only teeny tiny complaint about my all-navy pads is that colored wool of any kind does start to fade in the sun or with washing, so I wanted to get the navy with natural wool to use as my daily pad, to keep the navy with navy wool looking… navy.

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I would probably have a dozen of these pads if they made better/new color combos, so even though I complain about it all the time maybe I should actually be thankful that the rest are so ugly.

Ponyo almost broke my heart

I pre-ordered Presto’s next season monkey blanket from Ponyo, and was crushed to see that there were no unicorn blankets available in horse sizes. Noooooooo. The sads. I mentioned this on social media and the owner responded saying that there had been a mix-up at the factory, so they wouldn’t have bigger sizes in the first shipment but they would have them later on. As soon as she knows how many and what sizes, those will be available to pre-order too. Shipping from the UK is expensive so she offered to hold the first one so they could ship together. Super helpful! So, crisis hopefully averted, because I was kind of dead set on Presto having monkey and unicorn blankets next year (and forever after because even if/when he outgrows or destroys them he will wear them until they’re absolutely in tatters).

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monkeys and unicorns

Chewy for the win

I noticed yesterday that Chewy.com is carrying my brand of feed now. It’s kind of a PITA for me to get this particular feed, I have to drive about an hour round trip from work, the opposite direction of home, and on more than one occasion they’ve only had a few bags even though I called before I drove up there and they said they had way more. Their price is really good, the cheapest in the area by a couple bucks, and $4 per bag cheaper than Chewy, but by the time you factor in convenience/cost of gas/wear and tear on my truck and the fact that there’s no tax on the Chewy shipment… it’s hard to resist. I ordered a month’s worth yesterday so we’ll see how this maiden voyage goes. It only ended up being $17 more than the other place, and it’s a million times more convenient. I’ve gotten dog food from Chewy for a while now, but never horse feed. 2020, what a time to be alive.

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This effing coronavirus

I think any and all of us who have any kind of remotely manufacturing-related job is already feeling the indirect strain of the coronavirus. A lot of the components that go on our PCB’s are made exclusively in Asia, and right now many of those manufacturers are shut down. If our own suppliers can’t get the parts they need to build our electronics, then we in turn can’t get the parts we need to build our products (which relate to the oil and gas industry). We are already feeling the squeeze, starting to see major part shortages, and it’s going to get way worse before it gets better. Kinda makes me start to wonder what else this could effect in our day to day lives, too, as shortages on certain things become more widespread, or as the virus itself spreads. I know there are already whispers of possibly having to cancel the Olympics if they can’t contain it, which would be such a bonkers situation. I’m not particularly a fan of the Olympics when it comes to equestrian sports (unpopular opinion of the day: I’m one of the few that would support a break from IOC altogether), but still… so much has already gone into it. Yeesh. That dystopian book is coming to life, folks. Has it started to effect anything in your life yet?

Side note: I’m starting to draft the post for the Hylofit review next week, if you have any questions or specific things you want to see, give me a shout.

With that, I leave you with my favorite meme of the week:

Presto was Framed

Y’all, I think I owe Presto a public apology. I’m pretty sure I wrongfully convicted him of a crime he didn’t commit. 

See, a few weeks ago I went out to the front pasture where the babies were turned out on a rainy day, and saw that SOMEONE had pulled down a chunk of ceiling insulation from the roof of the shed. 

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I immediately blamed Presto, because let’s be honest it had his signature all over it. He’s mouthy. He gets bored and finds things to play with even when he shouldn’t. He could very easily reach that part of the ceiling in the shed if he wanted to. Plus I found the chunk of missing insulation over near the water trough, and he has a history of putting things in there that don’t belong. All the evidence certainly pointed to Presto. Truthfully I never really even considered another suspect, it seemed so obvious from the start. If this was a true crime podcast, you’d be mumbling something about shoddy detective work right about now. 

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What the hell, ma?

About a week later I came out one evening at night check and found a corner of ceiling insulation pulled away in the corner of JB’s stall. Hmmmmmmm… that’s suspicious.

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I dunno what happeneded, it just felled down

I grabbed the ladder and staple gun and put it back up. Now I was a bit suspicious of who really pulled down the chunk of insulation in the shed, but still not quite ready to let Presto off the hook yet. I mean, JB has tried to copy Presto in the past in some regards, so maybe he saw him do it and wanted to try it out for himself. But JB is also much spookier than Presto, and was definitely a little wary of the flap of insulation he’d pulled down that evening, so after I stapled it back up I really thought that would be the end of it. He’d probably tried it, scared himself, and that was that.

Au contraire.

The next morning I came out to feed and found the whole strip of insulation hanging down. JB was snorting at it like he had no idea how it got there, and now I was certainly less convinced that I’d nabbed the right suspect in the original shed offense. I stapled the insulation back up, made sure there were no little edges sticking out that he could easily grab, and that was the end of it for a while.

Until yesterday.

I went to go feed around 5am, and as soon as I opened the back door, I heard urgent, high-pitched neighing. I got worried, and hustled out to the barn, flipping on the lights. I peeked in Henry’s stall, everything looked fine. I peeked in Quinnie’s stall, everything looked fine. I peeked in JB’s stall and… goddammit, the insulation was down again. Except it had gotten REALLY windy over night, and the long chunk of insulation was wildly flapping in the breeze like a wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube man.

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Clearly JB had not accounted for the wind when he yanked it down, and he was plastered out in the back of his run, desperate for someone to save him. He screamed again when he saw me, like “LADY LADY OMG PLAAYZ HALP ME, DIS SKY DEMON FLAPPING AROUN IN MAH STALL TRYNNA KILL ME AND IMMA DIIIIEEEEEEE”.

I have to be honest, I laughed at his plight. Hard. For longer than was probably appropriate. Then I dumped his feed into his pan, took it out to him in the run, and proceeded to save his life staple the ceiling insulation back up again so he could come back in. I think now, after JB offense number 3, and none from Presto, that I might have had the wrong guy in the original crime. There’s no way anyone but JB could have pulled his stall insulation down, Presto wouldn’t be able to get to the place it was pulled from, with how the stalls are constructed. It’s still possible that Presto did the shed, for sure, but… I’m gonna overturn his conviction based on these further developments. All subsequent evidence certainly points to JB as the real perpetrator.

JB was sentenced to desensitizing lessons with the tarp, since clearly he’s got issues with flapping things. Oh, and I told him that if he pulls the insulation down again, I will staple it directly to his ass. I folded the end up this time so I don’t think he can grab it anymore, but we’ll see.

Sorry Pesto Pasta… 

Alternative Materials

I’m most definitely not a vegan. I could live without meat, no problem, and don’t generally eat that much of it, but the dairy… it gives me life. There is no point in living if I can’t have queso. The SO kinda sorta pretends/tries to be vegan (he’s watched waaaaaaay too many netflix documentaries if you ask me), but he like eggs, so he’s not particularly successful. Mostly he’s vegetarian, although he will absolutely 100% finish whatever I don’t eat, even if it’s meat. Still though, sometimes he comes home from Whole Foods with some type of godawful vegan cheese hoping it will be the holy grail, which is always 100% insulting to me as a turophile. And our relationship almost didn’t survive the vegan bacon that was actually coconut flakes.

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But, if you want to be vegan, I fully support that. You do you, I do me. I totally understand the appeal of the lifestyle. I have a few friends that are vegan, and as long as you don’t preach to me about the evils of cheese, we’re totally good. I do wonder though… how do vegan equestrians go about finding equipment? There are a lot of animal-based products involved in riding, particularly leather and sheepskin/wool. For a long time your only real option was Wintec saddles, other plastic type materials for strapgoods, fake fleece, and rubber boots. Cringey.

Robert Dover released his Robert Squared line of “luxury” vegan bridles last year, although they were mega expensive at $500+. It was advertised to be eco-friendly as well as vegan, but there’s no mention of what material is actually used. The bridles no longer seem to be available on their website, and they appear to have switched to making vegan riding boots instead. Which, there are some really decent vegan riding boot options these days, with several brands now offering non-leather options, including Fabbri. What they’re actually made of seems to vary, but… definitely a hell of a lot better than those clunky old rubber nightmares or the really bad synthetics that would start to crack and peel after a few months.

It seems like more and more of the bigger brands are starting to respond to the demand from the vegan equestrian market as well, as more non-leather options become available. Just this week Devoucoux dropped news of a new vegan option for any of their existing saddle models, the GT Option, which is made of… cork?

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I don’t think it’s what I would choose personally, I love my french leather, but I am admittedly super intrigued by this. I’ve not seen anything like it before. How does it wear? Do you have to do any special care for the cork? Does it “break in” the way leather does?

Ironically the handbag I wrote about last week, that I got from Outfoxed, also has cork accents. It looks identical (aside from color) to the material on the Devoucoux. This of course led me to grab and examine the cork on my bag more closely, trying to picture it on a saddle. I can actually kinda see it. It’s almost got the appearance and feel of grain leather, although is missing some of the natural tackiness of leather.

the cork on my bag, which is actually super pretty

I haven’t seen a price listed for the GT option yet, but from comments on social media it doesn’t sound like it will be significantly (if at all) cheaper. And while I don’t want one, my curiousity is hella piqued. A cork saddle is a new one for me. It’s not something I’ve ever seen before on a product like that, and I’m dying to know how it feels and holds up over time, particularly parts like billets. I fell down a major rabbit hole googling cork vs leather to learn more about it.

What do you think of the cork saddle? Are there any vegan equestrians out there that are using some of these leather alternative options?

Gold Star for the Baby Horse

While part of the weekend was spent getting paint for my jumps and riding Henry, I also made some time to mess with Presto and do some stalking. I have made a bit of a hobby of seeking out and following all the Mighty Magic offspring I can find, especially in the US, (because I’m a creeper) and this weekend there were 3 showing at Pine Top, with 2 of them doing their first Advanced. One finished 3rd and one finished 5th.

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Perfect Mason. 3rd in his first advanced!!!

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It’s fun to see their videos on social media (do I follow several people just because they have MM’s? Maybe…) and go look at my dorky little nugget in the backyard. I wonder what Presto would think of his brethren and all those big jumps.

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maybe someday?

Last week I bought a $16 roll of extra heavy resistance band to play around with, and I figured that my best option for guinea pig was Presto. He’s level headed and relatively unflappable, and has had enough desensitization to where I’m pretty sure I could wrap him up entirely in a tarp and he wouldn’t bat an eye. If I’m gonna be messing with flapping straps and tightening things around a horse’s butt, I trust him to stay chill about it more than Henry (side note: this is the beauty of having one you’ve raised yourself).

I brought Presto in, brushed him, tacked him up, and then started messing with the roll. Naturally I dropped it, unrolling it entirely underneath him, accidentally left one end flapping in the breeze, got it stuck wound around one hind leg… it was 6 yards of chaos. But Presto just stood there, unfazed, while I sorted my shit out, got it cut to size, and figured out how I wanted to attach it. Gold star for the baby horse.

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he’s trying to eat the lunge line, because clearly he’s just so distressed about his butt band

I just had him walk around me on the lunge line while I made adjustments until I was satisfied with it, then I asked him to trot a few circles each way. He was, all in all, relatively unimpressed with my ghetto invention. I’ve got a feeling Henry will have many more opinions about it when I make his, but luckily now I have a better plan of attack at least.

After I was done tinkering with the band, I untacked Presto and took him back out to the front corner of the property where you can kinda see the cows that he had a meltdown about last weekend. He sat there staring out into the distance for a couple minutes, but quickly lost interest. I’m starting to think Henry fed him some kind of horsey ghost story about evil Moo Demons and that’s where the sudden bovinophobia came from, but I don’t have any proof of those allegations.

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THE LEGENDARY MOO DEMONS

And yes, he’s finally wearing the fancy navy leather halter I bought for him over a year ago. At first it was so big that the crown ended up sliding like halfway down his neck, even on the tightest holes. Just to get it on him this weekend I had to let it out a hole on each side. He looks cute in it though, even if you can’t really tell that it’s navy.

After we were done ogling the cows I put him back out with his friend, did a little bit of in-hand stuff with JB, and then went to clean the barn. As I was stuffing baling twine in a trash bag I had a stroke of genius (or maybe just a stroke) and had an idea for a new toy for Presto. I know that historically he’s been a fan of jugs, especially if they have a few rocks in the them for extra noise. And I know that he also loves holding onto ropes, since he puts every lead rope, crosstie, and lunge line in his mouth. I decided to try braiding the baling twine into a rope around the handle of the jug. It was literally a toy made of trash, plus a few pebbles for chaos.

But did he like it? Well… judge for yourself.

OF COURSE HE LIKED IT. He loves trash, he loves noise… there’s no world in which it was possible that he wouldn’t like it. He made a game out of dropping it over the fence and then pulling it back in. Naturally the other horses all hate it, although they generally find it less offensive than the ball.

I probably need to stop buying/making toys for the baby horse, this is a slippery slope. It’s just… far more entertaining than it should be.

Don’t Leave Me Unattended in a Walmart

First of all – thanks to everyone who weighed in last week about the idea of a monthly vlog for Presto. The results were overwhelmingly “yea” with 318 votes to the 10 “nay” votes. 97% of you have spoken. I’ve started outlining his first intro vlog, and I can already see that this is maybe more work than I thought. There’s just so much to say about him when it comes to summarizing his first 3 years! If there are any specific topics or questions you’d like to me to address in the first vlog, drop me a note. 

Henry’s like wtf why don’t I get a vlog

Aside from working on Presto’s vlog, it was a nice weekend around the farm. The weather has been doing this thing where it’s cold and wet during the week but nice on the weekends, which is frustrating from a horse-keeping perspective but definitely convenient otherwise. I got some stuff cleaned up and reorganized, and nabbed a couple more colors of Oops paint at Lowes (burgundy and gray – $1.25 each!). They’re small containers, but definitely enough to put stripes on poles. And last week at Walmart I found THE BEST STORAGE BIN EVER CREATED and it’s now holding a bunch of crap in my trailer. 

Look at it
I SAID LOOK AT IT

I mean how serendipitous is that? It’s got Presto’s motto on it and everything. If only it was navy it would be 100% perfect. Granted, if it was navy I probably would have bought like 10 of them. Living proof that I should not be left unattended in a Walmart ever. Just be glad I talked myself out of the unicorn lamp. For now. But I did also buy like a 50 gallon bag of sour gummies because I think that’s what you’re supposed to do at Walmart?

Aside from reorganizing and painting (and eating gummies) I also got lots of horse time in. Yesterday specifically was one of those days where I started messing with the first horse at 12:30 and next thing you knew it was 5:15. The famous equestrian “barn time” where 5 hours is actually only 1 hour. But I did get two good rides in on Henry this weekend. On Saturday we did flatwork, and he’s definitely feeling stronger and stronger pretty much every ride. He’s holding the counter canter pretty easily again now, and his canter squares are getting quite sharp again. He’s not quite as good in the contact as he had been last summer, we’re kind of having to re-cover some ground there (if only I could do all of his flatwork in his sidepull, we’d both be happy), but bit by bit he’s returning back to normal after his extended time off. 

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On Sunday we did a short jump school, and things are really clicking again over fences too. He’s jumping well and being really rideable, and always hunting for the next jump. It’s really fun to be back in our element, and I think the time off really did him some good. He seems really happy to be back to work. And my eye is starting to return to normal too… which… it isn’t GREAT, but at least I can sort of see some kind of distance most of the time.

To help with that I’ve been cantering a lot of poles and doing my favorite “crazy eights” exercise. Basically you start at 1, and when you’re one stride out from the pole you say “one”, then 2, count down from two strides out, then 3, count down from 3 strides out. On and on up to eight, and going both directions. I usually just start at 3 and work up to 8 to save some time. Oh, and you can’t cheat and change the canter to fit what you called out, you have to keep the same rhythm and stride length all the way to the pole. If you’re wrong you try again. It’s my favorite game.

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Henry is also – knock on wood – continuing to handle his new friendship well. He gets along really well with his mare friend Quinnie, but I haven’t had any problems separating them when it’s time to ride. Quinnie will immediately run off to go find the babies across the fence, and Henry will calmly watch her, but there have been no histrionics from either of them. They are actually quite hilarious to watch, because they’re basically the exact same horse. One’s just a 20-something ex broodmare and the other is a 13yo TB gelding. Henry has settled into more a level friendship with her rather than being her devoted slave like he was in the beginning, but they’re almost always joined at the hip. It’s so nice to see him finally have a real friend. 

Presto also had quite a busy weekend, too, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow!

Small Business Spotlight: Outfoxed

I’m not much of a girly girl. I’m always wearing jeans or leggings, my nails are very au naturale, it takes me about 10 minutes to get ready for work in the morning, and I get a haircut like once a year. For a long time I never even carried a purse, then finally caved and had something very tiny. Somehow over the years, as things tend to do, that purse has gotten bigger and bigger, and more filled with junk. My last purse, a Kohl’s special that I bought like 6 years ago, had to have weighed like 15lbs and contained just about everything but the kitchen sink. 

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Since I’m downsizing everything else in my life, I really thought it was past time to downsize the bag as well. Plus the cats had made a game out of playing with the tassels on the old purse, so that thing was… looking rough. Even for me. So when Outfoxed, a small company that makes handbags, stock ties, and a variety of other things, had a Valentine’s sale, I jumped on it. 

As you may guess from the name, Outfoxed does have a lot of foxhunting themed items mixed into their collection. In the handbags especially, there are a lot of really cool prints built into their bags. They also have a lot of other prints too, both equestrian-themed and not. They do a lot of custom work, and can make basically anything you dream up, but they also keep a stock of pre-made items for sale in a variety of styles. Totes, larger handbags, crossbody, wristlet, wallet… you name it, they make it. 

Since I was looking for something small I was thinking either a crossbody or a larger wristlet, and as I paged through the sale items one in particular really caught my eye – a mid-size wristlet in a vintage-looking foxhunting print with hunter green cork accents and a touch of rose gold. Into the Etsy cart it went. I deliberated over a couple others, because it was really hard to choose, but in the end I really liked the size and the colors of this one, so it was the winner.

The construction is really nice and it’s quite well-made. The inside has a zipper pocket and an open pocket, and it definitely looks like it could take abuse. I think the size is pretty perfect: small enough to be easy to carry, but still big enough to fit all the necessities. 

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The first step was dumping everything out of my old purse, which was… relatively embarrassing. It contained:

  • gum
  • a package of plastic buckle snaps
  • a usb to wall plug converter
  • triple antibiotic ointment
  • bandaids
  • ibuprofen and aspirin
  • alcohol wipes
  • sunglasses
  • 3 rolls of elastic wrap/tape
  • 4 carabiners
  • a roll of exercise band
  • braiding wax
  • two yellow sharpies, a highlighter, two pens, and a Tide pen
  • lottery tickets
  • omeprazole paste
  • a latex glove
  • a dog poo bag
  • rubber bands
  • a tape measure
  • a unicorn pin
  • a bracelet
  • two wallets
  • a tootsie roll
  • three peppermints
  • one spur
  • a pack of needles
  • a dover gift certificate
  • a few old dressage tests, health certificates, and copies of coggins
  • lots of stickers
  • a Mr Rogers postage stamp
  • a hoof pick
  • a noseband gauge
  • a pulling comb
  • two tubes of chapstick
  • proof of insurance
  • checkbook

This is why I can’t have a big purse. I’m a walking dumpster.

The only things that made the cut into the new bag were one wallet, the chapstick, the gum, the tape measure, the hoof pick, the gift certificate, the proof of insurance, the checkbook, and the bandaid/alcohol wipes/antibiotics/painkillers. Oh, and the tootsie roll. For emergencies. 

Everything fits perfectly, and the new bag is way cuter than the old one. Much easier to carry too, now that I don’t have tons of junk.

I think my favorite thing about the new bag, though, is that it comes from a small business and was handmade with love by a fellow equestrian. It’s so professionally made, and much more unique than anything you’d buy at a big box store. All of those things make me love it even more. I think I may need a crossbody bag too, for when I travel. 

If you’re looking for a gift or a new bag (or a stock tie) or have been thinking about something custom, I highly recommend Outfoxed! To follow along or get in touch with them, you can check out their website, Etsy, facebook page, or Instagram. The Valentine’s day sale is still going on, too, so check out the sale section for even better deals!

Monthly Training Vlog?

As I’ve said many times on here before, I am a big fan of the US Event Horse Futurity. Not just the idea behind it (promoting US breeders and helping bridge the gap between breeders and trainers/riders) but also the execution – they post monthly vlogs of each entry so you can learn about them and follow along with their training. I found last year’s vlogs to be super educational, particularly Maya Black’s and Doug Payne’s, seeing how they introduced these young horses to new things and how they handled any issues that arose. It was also fun to see the horses progress from month to month, and how different they all were.

The introductory vlogs for the new 2020 Futurity class (which I also love, because the intro ones are done by the horse’s breeder and they explain their reasoning for the breeding and take us through the horse’s baby years) have started hitting the facebook page, and I’ve been eating them up. It also got me thinking… would anyone have any interest if I did something like this for Presto? He won’t be doing the Futurity next year unless a) I win the lottery b) Maya offers to take him for free (hahahahahahahaha), but I do get people asking me questions all the time about him and his training.

If I made a monthly training vlog, would anyone watch? He’s not a 4yo, obviously, so he’s not going to be doing anything super exciting, but he’s about to get started under saddle so maybe some people might find that interesting? I was thinking it would probably include a lot of stuff I mention doing with him here on the blog, but with videos and a lot more detail.  I would do an intro one first (this is a good example of an intro vlog), and then monthly updates thereafter, showing where he’s at and telling you what he’s been doing.

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It’s something I would obviously be interested in watching with other people’s horses, but I know I’m an extreme baby horse nerd and relatively atypical, and maybe I’d be the only one who cared. So before I devote hours into making videos, I want to get a gauge for how many people would actually be interested in watching something like that. If so, any specifics on what you’d want to see, or questions you’d want answered? If not, is there something else you’d like to see instead?

All eyeballs on the new SS2020 stuff

Just because I have a new “one in, one out except for necessities rule doesn’t mean that I’m not still window shopping and paying attention to new stuff. I like pretty things. Sue me.

I found a UK company, Ponyo Horsewear, that makes BADASS blankets that I definitely must get for Presto for next season (since, as expected, the hand-me-down’s he’s worn this year will not live to see another winter). They have two prints in particular that are perfect for him:

Monkey Bananas - 100g / 250g
monkeys and bananas

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Unicorn Magic - 250g / 400g
unicorns pooping rainbows

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I couldn’t decide which one to get so I’m thinking he’ll get a light sheet in the monkeys and a midweight in the unicorns. They won’t be available in his size until next month so they’ll definitely be for next winter, but they’re just too perfect. Shipping from the UK is expensive, but if anyone local to me is interested in buying some too, let me know and maybe we can do one order and split shipping.

Otherwise, the SS20 collections are starting to roll out. Equestrian Stockholm already rolled out a nice dark green color that captured me probably more than any other matchy set ever has. It’s pretty.

I think the matchy sets still just aren’t really my thing though. Not like that anyway. Maybe if the pad had navy trim I’d be in, the beige just kind of kills it for me. Or if I liked the shape of the jump pad. Or if the boots weren’t shiny. I seem like like very matte suede and very sparkly glitter, but not really anything in between and def not patent. Maybe when they go on sale I’ll like them more. It’s a lot of money to spend on mass quantities of exactly perfect color coordination for someone who literally spent all of Sunday wearing her $29 riding tights backwards and not realizing it until she took them off in the evening (that happened. I did that.). The green is really pretty though.

Speaking of green, the SS20 collection I was most looking forward to was Premier Equine’s. I’m low key obsessed with the merino wool pads, and my only complaint is that most of their color combinations are ugly AF. Like, no, I do I not want lime green and turquoise, or hot pink and dark green, or orange and teal. I have the plain navy ones and the plain white ones, because those are the ones my eyeballs can handle, but I was totally down for adding another pad to the collection if they did some new color combinations. I was all up in their instagram suggesting new dark green merino pads like a crazy person. Like dark green with navy or dark green with natural, or even dark green with gray. I’d buy that.

hims need green

But they rolled the collection out without adding any new color combos to the merino wool collection at all. It’s confusing, because you know what people will buy 9000 of, if you just keep making them in new seasonal colors? Good saddle pads. Equestrian Stockholm and PS of Sweden have made entire businesses based on that premise. PE did add other new saddle pad styles and shapes, but largely in basic colors. And I don’t want new pad styles, I want the trusty merino wool ones that are A++. So, sadly, another year goes by at PE with the same bad color combos and no new ones. Womp womp.

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Luckily I had already pre-given up on PE and ordered a Presto-color-palate pad from Hufglocken last month, because coupon. Navy with dark green and gray piping. It will probably be months before it gets here but that’s fine because I didn’t actually need it yet anyway, it just drove me damn bonkers to look at his green bridle/green breastplate/navy pad that just did not coordinate at all. The pad needed some green to make it cohesive (but not too much green to make it matchy matchy), okay?

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me, trying to choose a saddle pad. I think I went with 3 but I forget now…

I am still holding out a thin glimmer of hope that Punk Ponies will someday roll out a version of their glitter boots in a nice super dark green. Those would be mine in .2 seconds if they did, I don’t even care what I’d have to get rid of to satisfy the “one in, one out” rule.

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I’ve also, as always, been keeping my eye on Riding Warehouse’s “new” section. They’ve added some good stuff lately, like Ego7 boots (they even have brown!), the Champion MIPS helmets, fancy new girths, clothes in new SS20 colors (Kastel, we have to talk. Are you ok?), and lots of new saddle pads and colors. Again, a slightly disappointing lack of dark green all around, but there’s some burgundy, which I’m also kinda into. Ya know… if it can’t be navy or green.

What new stuff has caught your eye? Any SS20 collections that are really blowing you away?

Presto’s First Road Hack (Pony) Adventure

I didn’t really have a specific plan for what I was going to do with the horses on Sunday. It was quite warm, Henry had jumped the day before, and I’d done some groundwork with Presto. I wanted to do something with both of them but wasn’t really sure what. I’m struggling these days to come up with things to do with Presto that are new or interesting or even consume like 1% of his effort/attention. 

And then as I was grooming Henry, it hit me: why not try ponying him on the road? It was a practical idea for a couple reasons. 1) I haven’t ponied him much at all lately, maybe once in the past 4 months. 2) I need him to start getting used to the road. I want to spend the summer hacking him, and would really like to ride him over to the 80 acre farm down the road at least once a week. It’s not very far from our gate to theirs, but it does involve walking down our street to the stop sign, and then a very short maybe 20-30 yards down a busier/higher speed road to get into their back gate. If I can start getting him used to the road before I ever actually climb aboard, we’ll be that much further ahead of the game when the time comes.

Henry is all of us with Pest-o right now

Henry himself is generally quite good on the road. For as spooky as he can sometimes be, he’s spent a lot of time road hacking and while he might sometimes get snorty about crossing ditches or walking past culverts, he’s trustworthy and excellent in traffic. Perfect tour guide for a baby’s first road adventure. 

I tacked Henry up, put Presto in his rope halter, and off we went.

The first “challenge” was getting out of our front gate. There are flags on either side of the entrance, big and billowy and snapping in the breeze. The first time I ever rode Henry out of the gate he was NOT a fan of them, but he’s gotten used to them by now. I wasn’t sure what Presto would think… he’s pretty bold naturally, but certainly does have a spook in him sometimes. So we rode up to the gate and I stopped and stood for a minute, letting him see and hear them. He didn’t seem to care at all, so we edged closer and closer until we were standing right between them. No shits given. Even when Henry flinched at a particularly loud SNAP, Presto didn’t care. 

Ok then… out the gate we went.

I turned right, heading down our quieter road first rather than toward the busier main road. First we stayed on the shoulder for a bit, until the first several cars passed us. I wanted to make sure we were safely on the grass and out of the road in case he spooked, but again he didn’t care. He’s lived close to roads for a while, so I guess he’s become accustomed to the cars passing already. The shoulder got too small and slanted to easily walk on so we graduated to the road, retreating down to the shoulder to stop and stand when a car came. He was good about all that, and patient. Even when a very loud very fast car came rumbling past, he didn’t mind. 

I turned up another side road and we were quickly assaulted with car doors slamming, kids running and screaming, and dogs barking and running up to the fence on both sides of the road. That rattled him a bit. There was some snorting and arabian-esque prancing, so we just stopped and stood and let him think about it for a minute. He was worried, but he settled, and we walked a little ways up that road before turning around and looping back. 

Then we retraced our steps but this time on the opposite site of the road, going back toward our gate. We encountered plastic bags (no problem) and lots of culverts (he couldn’t figure out why Henry was giving them the hairy eyeball). We walked up to the industrial building and checked out, which he thought was boring. And then, as we passed the building, he saw what lurked behind.

OH MY GOD

And so began his only meltdown of the day. All the other shit was totally fine, but the cows were his complete undoing. He snorted. He piaffed. He tried to turn and run for the hills. He bounced off of me and Henry. It was horrific, according to him. We stood there for quite a while just watching them, until I could finally get Presto to keep moving his feet forward. Eventually we got past them, and worked our way up to the stop sign where our road dumps out onto the main, busier road. We stood there for a while watching traffic zip by, which he didn’t care about. So we turned back around, he spotted the cows again, and the meltdown replayed.

Honestly. Cows? COWS? He’s seen cows before. At the vet’s farm there was a resident cow. He saw it EVERY DAY. I mean seriously, of all the things. I guess I should have known that whatever was the least logical scary thing would be the one that caused the hamster to fall off it’s wheel.

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me, watching him go apeshit over cows

Once he settled down we walked back to our gate, and I had him just stand there between the flags and watch some more cars go by for a while until he was bored again. Yes, standing between two big loud flapping flags and watching cars zoom past was the way to calm down the baby idiot’s brain explosion over cows existing. He quickly chilled out enough to where I moved him close enough for the flag to literally flap right next to his face, which I started videoing.

So that was when he decided to grab the flag and yank it, breaking the flag pole mount on the fence and giving Henry a complete heart attack. 

I didn’t see that one coming, which was really dumb considering that I’ve known this horse for his entire almost 3 years, and if there’s one thing I should have absolutely expected, it’d be that. Breaking something? Totally in his wheelhouse. Scaring other horses in the process? Presto written all over it. He had no idea what Henry spooked at and tried to go back and pick the flag up. That would have been the end of me for sure, if he’d come at Henry with that thing. 

The flag is now rolled up in the house, and the new bracket will be here today. Thanks Amazon Prime. Dammit Presto. But, ya know, otherwise… pretty successful first road outing? We just gotta work on the bovinophobia (I was today years old when I learned that that was a word). 

All Horses. All weekend.

The payoff for making it through a cold soggy week was a relatively glorious February-in-Texas weekend. Temps were in the upper 70’s, it wasn’t too terribly humid, it alternated between overcast and sunny, and there was a breeze but no gale force wind. 

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these two remain BBF’s

On weekends like this I find myself wanting to do All The Things, both with pony time and with projects. On Saturday morning we went out to breakfast and stopped at Lowe’s on the way home so I could get some jump painting supplies. I grabbed a gallon of white paint, found a deep blue in the Oops section for cheap, and grabbed tape, trays, and brushes. I also picked up a few more poles, since I intentionally left some of mine behind at the old barn for them to use.  

Most of my jumps were gifted to me, and I’m extremely grateful to have them, but they arrived in my possession in need of paint/some repairs and I had not actually done any of that yet. They were useable as they were, and I was in a pinch, so they went straight to work. And they’ve been that way now for… years. I was way overdue. 

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some of the 19 poles.. you get the idea

It took me longer than I was hoping, but I got all the poles painted white at least. Some will get stripes put on later. I still have to paint the standards, and repair a few of them. Painting jumps does not make my top 10 (or 100) list of favorite activities, but they do already look so much better.

I also got another jump school in on Henry and I feel like we’re definitely back in our groove. My eye is returning and we’re both feeling more confident again. He’s forward and hunting the jumps, and I’m riding more positively. I’m looking to add a couple more jumper shows to our calendar in the near future, if I can find something that works. 

After I was done with Henry I also worked both of the babies in hand a bit. JB is learning the “send” commands and verbal whoa, and basic desensitization (fly spray is murder). He is way more sensitive and reactive than Presto, but also wicked smart and picks up on things pretty quickly. I’ve really grown to like him. He’s going to be that semi-weird, sensitive, one-person-horse type that I tend to enjoy (ahem Henry). 

Dis MINE, do not use on JB, he CANNOT HAS!

Presto was a little rude going to turnout the other day so he got a tuneup on moving his body based off of my body language or hand signals. Then he just… held his halter for a while. As one does. He gets salty any time I give JB attention and not him.

Later on when I let them in for dinner Presto put on quite the circus act/arabian impression, because he always has to investigate everything and the jumps having moving around/changed color was exciting. I took the opportunity to snap some pictures, to show how at this stage he can look really different depending on what angle you happen to catch him at. 

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I see a real horse in there, though. Also, I can’t wait until he gets some topline and sheds the extra 2″ of hair that makes his head look so freaking blocky. Right now he looks very much like his mother did when she was a coming into her 4yo year. Hopefully that means he’s maturing faster than she did, because lord help me if this thing keeps adding height until he’s 7 like she did. 

Facebook memories reminded me this morning that his mother left for her first 60 days training with the cowboy exactly 10 years ago today. 

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It also reminded me that six years ago today I took Henry for his first gallop, 3 years ago today I was posting pics of Sadie’s rapidly changing teats as we progressed on foal watch, and one year ago today Henry finished his second Prelim. What a day in history. 

On Sunday Presto went for his first road-pony-hack, but lord that is whole story in and of itself so we’ll talk about that tomorrow. To cap off the weekend both boys got a haircut (I am embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t even find where Henry’s bridlepath had once been) and a long curry session to help speed up the shedding. Henry’s entire front half is well on it’s way to being slicked off, but Presto is really just starting to shed. 

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I forgot to take “after” pics but both boys were looking a little ranchy

It’s supposed to be low-mid 80’s today, and then do the patchy rain thing again for the rest of the week. It’s keeping the grass green, at least, but I’m also getting a little tired of things being squishy. Thank goodness this place drains pretty well. 

Hope everyone else had a productive and horsey-filled weekend!